I Suck at Weddings

Weddings and I have a sordid history.  Sure, I've been at like a zillion, but I feel like such a total shit for the ones I've had to miss.


The first wedding I was asked to be in, but was not was my Uncle's.  I was probably 11 or 12 years old, my Father's brother was getting married and I was asked to be a bridesmaid.  I vaguely recall the details, but I recall going over the costs with my Mom.  My parents were saving to buy a house at the time and I was at that insecure adolescent age where the thought of having someone pick a dress for me was outright horrifying.  I don't recall the actual reason, either stated or unsaid, but I wore a peach dress and watched from the pews.


The first wedding I had to outright bail on was my friend Kathy's.  The wedding was planned from the desk next to mine for months.  I loved the romance of a Christmas-time wedding and oohed and aahed over the dress and the details.  The reception was at Riverside Church and oh how I wanted to see the bridesmaids wearing elf shoes in an amazing historic church, but an ankle or foot injury or some annoying clumsy move kept me from making the trek on crutches on the PATH and then the subway.  I managed to rack up a lot of co-pays at the hospital that year, and a cab would have been well over a hundred bucks and I was firmly on my back going over the steps of R.I.C.E. the weekend of the wedding.


I quit my job and uprooted my life in 2006.  One of my best friends was planning his wedding for that Spring and I doubted I could make it.  More complicated was that his wife-to-be wasn't too keen on me since we'd dated many years before, I didn't have a job and my attendance was contingent on raising the funds to fly back to NJ.  My parents went with a close friend and her Mom and they sent me camera phone photos and video.  My memories of that wedding include trying to walk off the grief over missing it and finally sitting in on the lawn of the hospital across the street from where I lived in the Mission in San Francisco weeping in the sunlight, cursing the time difference and the miles between my friends and family


I was only in San Francisco for 6 months, but I managed to miss three weddings.  I was living with my then boyfriend.  I'd gotten to know his family as well as I could between NY, Texas, and then from San Francisco, and I wondered if my not being that that wedding might have ultimately changed things.  I hadn't found a job and so I couldn't swing the airfare back to NYC.  I stayed alone in San Francisco with the cats that weekend feeling absolutely horrible while the person I thought was the love of my life was at the wedding of his only brother.  That was a low-point of self-confidence and self-worth to say the least.


Shortly after that another best childhood friend got married.  It was a small church wedding, but I was in California.  I was back in NJ by the reception which was a low-key barbeque at her parent's house, and I threw myself into it, running back to my house at the first sign of rain for a tent.  I promised her a proper bachelorette after her son was born, but sadly the marriage didn't last that long.


Yet another close childhood friend was married in Jamaica about a year after I returned from San Francisco.  I don't recall if a discussion was had, but I would have loved to have been there.  Once again I felt as though finances made taking part in the NY/Jamiaca celebrations impossible.


Last year my cousin asked me to be in her wedding.  I had to decline as I lost my job in June and sharing in the costs of a bridal shower/bachelorette party/dress/etc led me to write one of the most difficult emails I've had to send.  “Sorry, I can't purely for financial reasons, I hope you understand, but I am really happy for you and I love you…." was basically the gist.  Read, I'm your loser-ass cousin who can't be in your wedding because it's too expensive.


A few weeks later, yet again, another of my closest friends from childhood, one who I happened to be with the night she met her groom to be asked me to be in her wedding.  Another gutting conversation about how much I wish I could…but…couldn't.  The wedding is at the end of the month and if I have to walk back from Baltimore, I'll bring flats.  She's been one of the most generous and accommodating brides ever and yet again I can't help feeling like I'm the one holding the bouquet of the world's shittiest friend. 


Thank goodness these things aren't about me, they're about the couple celebrating THEIR love or I would feel like the biggest Love-Grinch of all time.  While I'm almost relieved most of my friends and immediate family are married, I hate feeling as though I missed some of the key moments in loved one's lives I'd love to be a part of, not a barrier to work around.  Maybe one day I'll be a proper adult, able to attend the many weddings of friends and family, either at the alter or not – even better if gay marriage is legalized, sanctioned and accepted in my lifetime…but for the time being my track record is that I just flat out suck at weddings.

  • http://twitter.com/sukhjit sukhjit

    Even though this post breaks my heart… I still really enjoy your storytelling. I have a feeling there will be many many more weddings in your future, my friend.