All of my friends, and I mean every one of them, complains on a regular basis about the number of weddings they get invited to every year. They complain about how much it cost, how creepy it is that their friends are getting married, how long/boring/lame they are, how annoying it is to get dressed up, how great it is to get hammered for free.
I on the other hand, have never been invited to a wedding. I have been a plus-one before and have been to two (yup, two) family weddings and they were both in the summer of 2003. Since then I have only been to one wedding and it was as my friend Jenny’s date. I can’t even remember the bride and groom’s names.
It’s not that people I loved aren’t getting married - facebook assures me all of the time that they are. The engagement photos, the wedding photos, the stag and doe photos - they litter my newsfeed. It’s just that I never get invited.
Now this is 100% my fault. I move, I always have. The longest I’ve ever stayed in one place is five years and that was Whitehorse: I was 13 when I left. I am great at making friends, at being a great friend, and then at accepting that friendships are often finite and that this doesn’t mean they weren’t beautiful. We were friends in a certain time and place, helped each other through the rough times, laughed during the good times, vegged on the couch and watched bad movies during the hung over times. And I’ll always love them: but I always leave.
I made a comment to my boyfriend that he wouldn’t need to go home as much now that all of his friends are getting married and having kids - it won’t be the same. A little shocked and disgusted he retorted “I still want to be their friends. These are dudes I’ve known my whole life and I plan on knowing for the rest, regardless of whether we play in the sandbox together anymore.” Okay, not quite that articulate, but something to that extent.
And bam. It hit me. Lifelong friends: I do have a handful. And they are the best. And if they ever got married I am certain I would get an invite. I can’t imagine that 2/3 of them (read 2 out of the 3) will ever get married, but I for sure have a spot in the 3rds wedding party. But apart from that…
I nearly had it all though. I have been so close to having that tight network of friends before, and then it always finds a way to end - usually awkwardly. A good friend of mine from grad school, perhaps my best friend, got married this last summer. We had all the same classes, lived across the street from one another, and shared a penchant for studying with a beer in one hand and a joint passing between the other. And when my epic cross-continental adventure was winding down last spring, I paid out of my ass to go and visit him in Latvia where he and his fiance were spending the summer.
I remember when he proposed, I was the first to see the ring, she and I threw him a surprise birthday party right before I left in December and I was on the short list of invitees to their originally planned destination vacation: I couldn’t wait. I have rarely felt so genuinely happy for another person, he was beside himself with excitement and so was I.
And then on my last night in Riga, he broke up with me. I know, can’t believe I am saying that. While his lady friend would never say anything, apparently she was not a big fan of our cross-gender friendship. And fair enough - in the very early days of our friendship we had crossed that line one drunken evening. It never happened again, although I would be lying if I didn’t admit that for a few months I held out hope. But then we settled into our friendship roles and I couldn’t imagine going there with him again - I loved him like I love my best lady friends. I am surprised she tolerated me as long as she did (and she is amazing by the way, I wish them the best), but apparently it really is hard for dudes and gals to be friends.
And so I left central Europe and learned through facebook of his new puppy and his eventual nuptials. But after our parting of ways, I let go of all of my friends from grad school. There have been a number of weddings, including what must have been the most fabulous of all gay weddings (he’s French canadian, he’s a sassy Columbian - it must have been loud, drunk, and unforgettable). But alas, I learn about all of them through social media.
So next time you get an invite to yet another wedding, keep in mind how cool that is. Someone cares about you enough that on today, their “biggest” day, they want you present. They want you in the photos, they want you as a witness, they want to share their love with you and ultimately thank you for helping them become the people and the couple that they have become. That’s pretty fucking special.