When our own wedding was approaching, and I was wrapped up in a pile of contracts, hot glue guns, and stress, my husband and I got some wonderful words of wisdom:
“The weddings you attend after your wedding are SO much fun.”
It sounded nice at the time, but I had no idea what she was talking about. How could anyone else’s wedding live up to the feeling of your own personal celebration? I was wrong. Attending a wedding after your own is the best- and here’s why:
1. You didn’t plan a damn thing
On the days leading up to the wedding, all you need to worry about is where you’re going to sleep, how you’re going to get there, and what you’re putting on your body. That’s it. Yes, you buy a card and gift beforehand, and the financial planning of all this can be stressful at times, but compared to overseeing travel, gifts, food, decorations, tips, and the general well-being of 150 people, every other wedding seems like pie. Easy, delicious pie. The only main requirement on the wedding day itself? Remember the invitation so that you know where you’re going and what time to get there. Otherwise, day-drink all you like, just make sure you look like a presentable person come 4pm.
2. At the end of the night, you are done!
Whatever state you choose to end your evening in is completely acceptable, unless of course, you’re a hot mess — clearly, please never be one of those guests. But a lot of people don’t realize how much certain couples need to take care of at the end of their evening. This is not the same for everyone, but we were responsible for removing all of our personal things from the dining room before heading out for the night. We had a group of friends and family members volunteer to help (and the venue majorly jumped in), but due to a time-crunch, our plan was “everyone grab something and put it in the bridal suite.” It isn’t always about shipping off and driving into the sunset. Especially smaller DIY weddings, you have a pile of gifts (with cash and checks) sitting out somewhere that needs to be looked after, several vendors that need tips, and most likely a collection of rental equipment that can’t just be tossed in a closet. As a guest? Just make sure you don’t lose your room key.
3. You appreciate every detail
As odd as this sounds, I have found myself more emotionally open at other people’s weddings than I was at my own. During our day, I went into theatre mode (since I work as an actor). I can’t fall apart right now, there’s a show going on. There are props to be checked, costumes and makeup to put on, groups of people to guide. But as a guest? Heck, I cry when I see the programs. I cry when I see the centerpieces, the tablecloth overlays, the signature cocktail. Because I know that that one drink required hours of Pinterest organization, tastings and trial runs, five emails to the wedding planner and venue, and the purchasing of little doodads to go on top of the glasses. It’s not just a cocktail, it’s several months of loving effort.
4. You get to dance during the “married couples” section
If the wedding includes the tradition of inviting married couples up to the floor, you finally get to join in. And, yet again, here come all the feels. You then get to sit and watch the couples that have been together for ten, twenty, and thirty years. A lovely couple we know told us that each new wedding is a reminder of their own vows. Experiencing the ceremony often acts as a renewal for their own reasons for getting married. I love this idea, and completely agree. No matter which traditions you choose to follow or not follow, there is something extraordinary about witnessing two people celebrating their love for one another in this way. And the post-wedding mindset enhances this appreciation even more.
5. A special note on crashing weddings
I like to follow rules (ask my husband), being rude makes me very nervous. But on our first anniversary, we visited our wedding venue, which has an attached bar open to the public during their large events. We knew there was a wedding going on, and at best, we hoped to catch a glimpse of our new anniversary buddies and wish them well. When the couple came out in the bar during the final hour, my charming husband approached the groom to quickly say hi and tell them we were married a year before. Now perhaps it was luck, or just the vibe of Cape May, but these two exploded with excitement. Not only did they invite us into the ballroom, but the four of us decided to come back next year to welcome the new May 2nd couple into the club.
If your wedding is approaching and you are starting to feel that pang of sadness with the end in sight, don’t fret, there is a lot to look forward to (other than the wonderful marriage of course). This weekend, my husband and I are attending a wedding of two dear friends we’ve known since college. As incredibly welcoming people, I know it will be a beautiful day. If you need to find me, I will be dancing with Ben, crying into my signature cocktail.