I Hate Weddings. I Really Do.

“Everyone loves a wedding” – so went the first sentence of a post by one of my favourite bloggers, an intrepid self-sufficiency enthusiast braving the vagaries of the Lithuanian outback.  I guess I must be the only person in the world who can’t stand weddings.

Maybe weddings are a bit like cats – you either love them or you hate them. Or maybe weddings are like other people’s kids – if you want people to be nice to yours, you have to stop yourself from kicking theirs, however much you’re itching to test those steel-capped boots.

People certainly seem to be in love with their own weddings. Theirs are always superior to other people’s, because, so they will insist, “tacky component X” was omitted, and replaced by “über-unique” ingredient Y”.

This “tackiness factor” they so decidedly spurned could be just about anything: the much-maligned white meringue dress, garish flowers, crab cocktail appetisers, bubble-gum-pink bridesmaids’ outfits with puff sleeves, etc.

Same goes for ingredient Y. The only criteria is that the guests pretend to buy into Happy Couple’s assertions that nobody had ever thought of it before, and that they laud its originality forever after, whenever the topic of weddings comes up.

The whole thing reminds me of a German muesli company I came across some months ago, who lets its clients customise their own personal muesli from 80 different ingredients. According to the company, this results in 566 quadrillion possible product combination. Well, I don’t even know how many zeros are trailing behind that figure, but there’s one thing I do know: Muesli is muesli and a wedding is a wedding, whether you have orange lilies or pickled Scottish thistles as your table centrepiece.

Dianawedding

This was once considered the cutting edge of fashion. As was the dress. Both were sustained by hot air.

The instigating couple will usually insist that their Big Day is all about “spending time with their loved ones”, rather than the bride gliding up the aisle in her decidedly-not-tacky outfit with all eyes on her.

Let’s do a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation here. For the numerically challenged (and I wearily count myself among them), let’s assume there’s a total of 100 wedding guests. Half of these are the groom’s and half the bride’s, leaving each with 50.

But, let’s be honest – nobody really *loves*  all of the people they’ve invited to their wedding, do they? We are probably only fond of half of our family (and that’s being generous). As for friends, only about half attending a wedding will be actually be friends of the bride or groom, the remainder being made up of their friends’ other halves. In essence: 50% of the guests are just there to stop the other 50% from killing themselves.

Now we’re left with 25 “loved ones” on each side. But wait! Quite a few of these, maybe not half, but let’s say just over one third – are “political” guests, like bosses, work colleagues or other acquaintances, who’d be mortally offended if they hadn’t been invited and your life just wouldn’t  be worth living forever after.

The upshot is, any bride or groom will have warm fuzzy feelings for 15% of the people sipping their bubbly. But it’s not like they can spend any appreciable amounts of time with them. After all, they are duty-bound to “do the rounds” like a pair of frantic mayflies who’ve spent the last 23 hours idly sunning themselves on a lily pad.

I should, perhaps, mention at this point that I don’t just have an aversion to weddings – it’s big social gatherings in general. My wonkily engineered social skills circuits go into deep freeze mode when exposed to a stampeding multitude of more than four. You see, I don’t really have the standard-issue “group of friends” where everyone has known each other since they were knitting mittens in Mrs Meyer’s needlework class. And although some of my friendships go back decades, I don’t tend to know their other friends very well. Having moved towns and countries several times hasn’t helped.

This gets me into some abysmal situations. Some twelve years ago, I attended (under duress!!!) the wedding of a friend from Uni. It was a mercy mission – she was new to the UK, so her local social circle was very small, so I felt obliged to “make up the numbers”. I didn’t know anyone at the wedding but her. And – horror of horrors! – I ended up on the leper colony equivalent for social outcasts: The Singles Table. Oh Dear Lord. I found myself wedged between Dreary Banker and ER Doctor, who needed to broadcast his professional superhero status to all and sundry. If only the Happy Couple had known back then that their wedded bliss would last a mere smidgen longer than my Singles Table ordeal… but that’s another story.

I have to concede, from the average guest’s point of view, that, if the food is good (and that’s a big IF), if there’s a bunch of good old friends to chat to, and if they enjoy drinking as much as Rod Stewart is bound to enjoy an all-female nudist resort in Sweden, I can see how the event would go down as a fun day out.

But if ever you happen to spot me at a wedding – and the likelihood is about as high as Halley’s comet coinciding with a solar eclipse during the leap year when the Middle East Peace Treaty is signed – I just want you to know that I’m inwardly reciting to myself that “this, too, shall pass” 566 quadrillion times.

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77 thoughts on “I Hate Weddings. I Really Do.

  1. June

    Ha! Thanks for the mention! I must admit to having had one of those “mine is different” weddings. There were 12 guests (including the priest, who could not be left out). As we went to a restaurant for their standard table d’hôte dinner I didn’t know what we would eat until we got there. All clothes were off the peg – no matchy-matchy. I loved it! But I also love the ones with the meringue dresses and crab cocktail appetisers. Guess I’m just a sucker for weddings!

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  2. catalinadelbosque

    I hate the build up to a wedding, the what-do-I-wear-will-there-be-anybody-else-I-know-there kind of thing. When I’m there, so long as I have a glass of wine and good music I really don’t mind! Recently we were at a wedding of a friend where we only knew the couple, we’d met their parents briefly and a few of their friends at the engagement party, and yes it was awkward at times and yes we left earlier than we could have but it was still enjoyable.
    I think everybody just wants their day to be different to everyone else’s, whether you interpret it as anti-tacky or pro-originality. There’s always that risk of what you think are cute little details are someone else’s cheesy glittery nightmare.
    For example, it’s very common here to have one of those old fashioned sweetshop styles with paper bags, I do think it’s really cute and a great idea and I’d be all for doing one, expect for the fact that three of the last five weddings we’ve been to have had one. It’s more about originality.

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Oh the build-up…. that’s brought back a horrid memory… about 20 years ago, I worked in an office with a girl who’d been talking about nothing but her upcoming wedding for an entire year. Then, at the last minute, the wedding was off. Oh, but a month later, it was back on, for the following year, so we had to listen to the whole tedious preparation shebang for yet another year!!! Even the people who liked weddings were close to strangling her.

      Two years later, she got divorced and subsequently had a couple of kids by somebody who was married to somebody else, LOL.

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  3. linnetmoss

    I’m with you on the big events. Basically, I am too much of a misanthrope to enjoy anything involving large numbers of people I don’t know. My own wedding is something I survived rather than enjoyed: I didn’t know 80% of the guests, I had to wear a big, hot, puffy dress (I felt like a drag queen) and be followed around by little girls who thought I was a “princess.” I took the damn thing off the minute I was out of the reception hall, and then was made to put it back on again because of other people’s ideas of what we should look like when we left the church. And there was NO ALCOHOL. The only good thing was the food, but I didn’t get to eat much of it. Still you’ll like my “different” detail: Chocolate Cake!

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Oh my, what a nightmare 😉 A good friend of mine told me that her wedding day had been the most awful day of her life. I think having been about 7 months pregnant didn’t help.

      But… no alcohol??? Linnet, how the hell did this happen?!? You LOVE your tipple!

      Yes to the cake.

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      1. linnetmoss

        His parents paid for the wedding, and it was all their friends who don’t drink for religious reasons. The church didn’t allow alcohol in its guild hall either. Mercifully my new sister in law gave us a bottle of bubbly to take with us for the wedding night. Gods, I needed it by then! All I wanted was to be alone with my husband. Or maybe just ALONE.

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      1. freebutfun

        A sincere one 🙂
        Is the person a hater of most things, is the person really afraid of cats, doesn’t the person just know how to be with cats and therefore doesn’t want to be around them, or does she just prefer other animals (but then that wouldn’t be hating, would it?).

        The way I read your post was that you hate the things weddings come with, it’s traits, not weddings itself. Would you eg hate a wedding too that was held on a field among 15-20 best friends and everyone to attend where asked to bring a dish as a wedding gift? Not big, not tacky and has happened.

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      2. ladyofthecakes Post author

        Let me spell it out for you: I. Hate. ALL. Weddings.

        Well, except for those I don’t have to attend or desperately try to get out of. Same for people who hate cats – if the cats are far away and not foisted upon them, they generally don’t feel the desire to exterminate the critters.

        And no, I don’t want to bring any blood dishes – I hate cooking! There’ll be another post on that 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. heatherinde

    Best. Photo. Caption. Ever.

    But really, all of this is a riot and so so true. For every fun wedding, there are at least 50 that suck. My best friend’s was awesome: 8 beers on tap, ice cream bar, nacho bar, live band, in a renovated brewery. It was way more like a great party than a wedding. Two years later, KABOOM. Just all that build up and planning and money money money for one day that yes, most people will not really enjoy that much, least of all the people who did the planning and paying because they’re too busy running around making sure everyone enjoyed the chicken or fish. Nutty.

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      I remember a couple of weddings where the food was exceptionally good, and that does make things a little more bearable. But how much can one girl eat…?

      And, I have to say, I don’t like parties, so the having-a-great-party-instead-type weddings (ah, so original…erm…) aren’t doing it for me either.

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      1. heatherinde

        Haha, well the ice cream and nachos came out later after everyone had the beer-induced munchies.

        I’m usually with you on that too (that line about any more than four people… oh God, so true), but this wedding was an exception. I did tell my friend that if at any point she saw me in the corner curled up with a bottle of wine it was probably best to just leave me there. It was the first weekend of my first trip back to the States in 2.5 years, and I anticipated mass reverse culture shock. Her (wonderful) but big and loud family + all our old college friends was a bit much to take in. Shots of moonshine helped.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. joannesisco

    hahahaha – I loved the last sentence “the likelihood is about as high as Halley’s comet coinciding with a solar eclipse during the leap year when the Middle East Peace Treaty is signed” 😀

    Now that I think of it, the best times I’ve had at a wedding were when I knew many people very well and it was an opportunity to chat and mingle with people I didn’t usually get to spend much time with. The most awkward were weddings on my husband’s side of the family – I speak nominal french and they don’t speak english. A looooong difficult event.

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      1. joannesisco

        LOL! – yes. All of my in-laws, for example 🙂
        Hence why we have 2 official languages.

        Having said that, in my part of Toronto you are more than likely to hear Cantonese or Mandarin. I should write a post about it some day 🙂

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  6. bevchen

    I don’t mind weddings as long as I know someone there. I hate any social gathering where I know roughly two people and am expected to somehow strike up conversations with people I’ve never met! And I would never invite my boss to my wedding! Do people actually do that?!

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  7. BerLinda

    I hate weddings. I hate the build-up, the total obsession that grips people. The fact that their wedding is the most important thing that’s happening in the world right now. My friend is getting married next year – her current guest list stands around 350 while the hotel will only take 280. Most of these are people that invited her to their weddings so she feels obliged to return the favour. Factor in colleagues from two different countries and more distant cousins than muesli bits and… Nightmare. IF I ever do get married, I’ll be taking myself and the hubster off somewhere, grabbing a couple of witnesses off the street and telling people about it afterwards 😉

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      1. BerLinda

        Now there’s an idea! And I never understand people getting married for the second time making a big deal out of it either. I mean, you failed once, everyone was a witness to that. Why would you go and do it all over again?

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      2. BerLinda

        Ha ha! You could probably achieve that by ‘bumping into him’ at the local supermarket. 😉 Why your colleagues, family, friends, and all of their partners need to be a witness to it is beyond me!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Ian Shaw

    We should therefore be very honoured (I think!) that you came to ours then. Come on, it wasn’t so bad was it? You didn’t have to dance or make a speech and you sat with people you know. Food was good too! 🙂

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      1. Trippmadam

        Is there a wedding without dancing? Then I might think again about getting married. (…thinking…) No, I’d rather not. Thanks.

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  9. Jackie Cangro

    Oh, I’m with you on every point. I often get positioned at the dreaded Singles Table. But once (and how pathetic was this?) there weren’t enough singles for a whole table, so I was put at the…wait for it… kiddie table. And, to add insult to injury, I had driven nine hours to get to the wedding. Don’t get me started on the “destination wedding.” Grrr…

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  10. NancyTex

    Weddings are good for one thing: EXCELLENT people-watching. My inner snark bubbles over in glee. The caveat on this is that I need a friend (not my husband) as a cohort in my snarking. What fun is nitpicking on so-and-so’s dress or how what’s-her-name is chewing gum like a cow during the ceremony, or how anyone could be so cheap to have a CASH BAR at their wedding? It’s no fun to snark on these things with a non-snarky husband. I need my girls to do that. 🙂

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  11. Heyjude

    I’m a bit like you. I have no friend circle from ‘when we were six’ days, or even Uni days. So the only people I tend to know at a wedding are the bride/groom and my partner! Fortunately not that many people bother with weddings these days. Though I should add that I have been married several times though you could probably count the number of attendees on a couple of hands 😀
    Oh, and no factor X or meringues involved EVER!

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  12. Anna

    So what you’re saying is, not to waste the paper on an invite for you? 😉
    I am fairly ambivalent about weddings – I have no aww-inducing illusions about them as an event (and they really seem to be more of a “work” for the couple involved), but I do like the flowers and the food and the dancing and the pretty dresses and nice photo backdrops…

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  13. pollyheath

    Ha! This is why I live far away from marriage-inclined friends and only had 30-ish people at my wedding. I really don’t believe that anyone actually likes weddings, especially those American monstrosities.

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      British weddings are hideous. Hideous, I tell you. I can’t tell you much about German ones, I don’t think I’ve ever been to one, believe it or not… but I bet my bottom dollar that they are equally as bad.

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  14. adamf2011

    Wait, wait!…forget about weddings! You’re going to need all the time you’ve got just to sample every single potential unique muesli variant — but it’ll make a hell of a blog post…. 😉

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  15. Kim in Fiji

    I thought I hated weddings – but you’ve got me beat by a universe! For me “hating weddings” is hating big, fancy, expensive ones. Small ones where I am genuinely close to bride or groom and feel confident that the marriage will be a happy one – I like them! I am happy to celebrate what I believe will be a joyful and permanent union. (The success rate of the marriages after small weddings I’ve attended is very high.) Might I be correct in guessing that your hatred of absolutely all weddings, no matter how small, intimate and well-fed, is associated with a dislike or, or lack of trust in, the institution of marriage?

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Maybe you’re onto something… we need a study to see if there’s a correlation between the “size” of a wedding and its durability 😉

      Granted, I’ve never considered it as a viable option for myself, but my issue lies more with feeling out of place at big social gatherings, rather than with marriage per se. People should do what makes them happy 🙂

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      1. Jenna

        They actually did a study on that here. The bigger and more lavish the wedding, the longer the couple stayed together. I think they said it had something to do with the number of witnesses and the amount spent.

        I can’t say much for mine – it was $70 and 14 people showed up in t-shirts and jeans. We eloped. It lasted 3 years. I like celebrating a marriage, not going to a wedding.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Charlotte Steggz

    I had to go to my cousin’s wedding a few weeks ago. She is very Christian. As much as I dislike weddings, I dislike overpowering religion even more. So when the vicar said “I hope that the love that they have for each other is only second to the love they have for God” it took all of my energy not to vomit over everyone.

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  17. TBM

    I’m not much of a fan of weddings. In fact, I now refuse to go if possible. Nothing against weddings or marriage or anything, I’m just not a fan. I usually sit at the table with the parents and grandparents and then have to introduce my partner. It’s always awkward.

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  18. camparigirl

    There is nothing more boring than attending a traditional wedding, eating mediocre food, stuck at a table with over dressed strangers. I have a policy of declining 99% of them. The other 1% is people who are so close I have to submit. That is why when I got married, we invited exactly 8 people, some family and my two closest friends. It was memorable.

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  19. Kim G

    What a hysterical post, especially that last paragraph. You seriously did have me laughing out loud.

    I’m like you — no circle of friends who’ve all known each other forever — for many of the same reasons. (OK, I’m still in the same country, but it’s a big place, and I’m about as far from my birthplace as possible.) And I always get stuck at a table where I have to make polite chit-chat for several hours on end with people that I don’t have much in common with.

    But next time I’m at such an event, I can go through the math of your post with these folks, and we can have a good chuckle about how few people at the party are in fact truly “beloved.”

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where there are now gay versions of these affairs, though I have to say they tend to be a bit less tedious.

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  20. prior

    I love your writing so much…
    i.e. “if you want people to be nice to yours, you have to stop yourself from kicking theirs, however much you’re itching to test those steel-capped boots” lmao

    and well, it seems that people spend so much time on “getting” married that they forget about planning for “being” married. And too often I have been privy to the before and after – and have seen well meaning couples spend way too much to then regret it once they realize rthe thousands they have dropped – and you wish you could stop them…. oh and I like your point about “if” the food is good…

    anyhow, I HAVE to share this fun Southwest airlines commercial we saw recently – it shows a lady dancing at different weddings and it just “says” so much – ha!

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