Here comes the bride
To continue the trend of masking my own life crises as journalistic endeavors, I decided to write about my experiences attending a wedding this weekend. Or — and here lies the root of the life crisis — realizing there are only so many more weddings I can realistically attend before I am expected to be the one freaking out that the roses are not rose-y enough and that the tablecloths fall two shades short of beige.
Maybe this isn’t a life crisis or a journalistic endeavor. Instead, I think I just regurgitated the plot of “27 Dresses.” But I’m going to proceed in the hopes that someone out there can relate, and because my four faithful readers – my parents and editors, of course – expect a completed column.
Aside from my cousin’s wedding, which happened when I was in ninth grade, this weekend’s ceremony was the first wedding I have attended with my family. The bride is the daughter of our best family friends, so we five children have known each other since conception. These were the friends with whom my brothers and I choreographed a Spice Girls dance routine – yes, I said brothers – and frolicked through childhood. For Christmas we still alternate houses each year and participate in the best Secret Santa since Michael Scott’s “The Office” rendition. For all intents and purposes, they are family.
So when my brothers, the bride’s sister and I decided to predict the timing of our respective marriages, I believe it says something that they all pegged me to be last. For full disclosure, this conversation happened only after the open bar had been a-flowin’ for at least five hours. We also changed around our list almost 20 times in between gawking at our parents dancing to Nelly and replenishing our drinks. But still — last?
In a way, it makes sense. My twin brother and I are the youngest of the five, and one of us was the bride. If we stick to age-based assessment, I am totally exaggerating the significance of my last-place ranking. But let me flesh out what it could mean.
Perhaps I give out a career-oriented, independent-woman, wears-the-pants-in-the-relationship vibe. I will not settle down because I will not want to settle down. But I also do not want to wait until I am old enough to be “that questionable cat lady” before I embark on what is supposed to be life’s greatest adventure.
Being last also poses some serious issues because by the time my wedding rolls around, everyone will be “settled” down. I have calculated that my bachelorette party will be 3.68 times less aggressive with every year not married. For all you scientists, I derived the formula by taking the square root of “sorry, EP, I’m pregnant” and dividing it by, “I think 30 is far too old for male genitalia to be on every feasible party item.” The ceremony will have everyone else’s crying babies, and at that point divorce parties will probably be more fashionable. According to math and my characteristic pessimism, then, last place seems bleak indeed.
This experience also introduced another aspect of wedding life to me: the plus one. If the toughest critic around, Virginia ABC, considers me to be a legal adult, then I do not understand why I was so surprised to see, “Elizabeth Stonehill and guest” as an option. At first, I rejected the idea emphatically. Why would I subject myself to any more awkward introductions than already necessary at a wedding?
“Oh, hi, old person I have not seen in 10 years and definitely do not remember, this is my date. No, we are not actually dating. Well, no, see, nowadays there is a thing called ‘hookup’ culture, so it has been harder to get a boyfriend. Okay, great to see you too!”
As I daydreamed more about the idea – because really, it was never going to be a reality – I decided that it might make a wedding so much more fun to have a date. The whole thing is about companionship and prom-style pictures, right, so why not have my own fun with that? Alas, according to the “last” prophecy, I will have plenty of opportunity to test out the whole plus-one scene.
The final epiphany I ascertained from this night is a really specific one: Never, ever think it is a good idea to late night nom on Vegemite. Never.