Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday wedding day: Reason, Season, or Life

Two things.

First, there's no way the day (and the events leading up to the day) would have been nearly as awesome if it weren't for the generosity and assistance of lots of our friends and family. Oldest Friend played her role very well, both listening to me kvetch about wedding stuff for a year and planning a rockin' bachelorette party (along with the assistance of everyone who attended, I am told). She and QIR helped us a lot the day before the wedding, assisting in our errands and arranging for everything to be finished that needed it. Other friends provided similar moral support throughout the year, and many people showed up to help the day before and morning of the wedding. EEK was a great officiant, writing the bits of the ceremony we hadn't written ourselves and doing it much better than we could have, and also being a good sport about being in pictures and such. Monkey and QIR helped with breakdown, Scarlett, Jason, Holla and Katherine did a large amount of cleaning in the rental house, as well as doing readings for us (the ladies) and being willing to wear a skirt (Holla) (I am told Holla and Simon also planned the bachelor party, though I wasn't involved in that, obviously). Our biggest angels were Leah and Simon, who were instrumental in our day: they listened to our plans leading up to the event, helped us pick a photographer, pinch-hitted as groomsman, and helped us with things like acquiring a PA system, emceeing better than anyone else could have done, and taking fabulous photographs, in addition to helping us decorate, take things down, set up the afterparty, and helping us clean the next day as well. I'm sure there are more people who did more things that I am not thinking of just now, but everyone will get a thank-you note, because we really appreciated everything that everyone did for us.

As I mentioned before, Dan and I stood up to the mic during lunch to thank everyone for coming and when it was my turn to talk all I could think about was how much people had done for us, mostly unasked, and how much poorer our day would have been without everyone's love, support, and help. I almost started to cry, and surely would have if I'd started thanking individuals by name as I'd intended to do, so I didn't. In the weeks since the wedding, I've had a lot more time to process and reflect on what a huge difference it made for us to have so many people there who wanted to help, wanted be a part of ensuring our day was as good as it could possibly be. I don't know what I can do to thank everyone. I'm still trying to figure that out.

Some of you may be wondering about the "pinch-hitting groomsman" comment. There is a story I have been wanting to tell on this blog, but have held off for months out of respect for the parties involved, or perhaps because I thought the situation might change. But I think it's time for the tale to unfold. Remember this wedding? The vegan medieval-renaissance themed wedding, that had no rain plan, that Dan and I spent months assisting with (and a significant amount of time and money the weekend of)? These people were Dan's best friends, people he knew before he'd even met me. They got engaged just before we did and planned their wedding in about nine months. Over the course of that time, they turned into those people you hear about, you know, the ones who become completely crazy and 'zilla when planning their weddings? Yeah, those people. They couldn't understand why they had so many fallings-out with friends or family members, but it became clear to me at their wedding when I saw how their friends and loved ones were treated - taken for granted, made to pay for things they shouldn't have had to pay for, and never once thanked. They spent months moaning about how much their wedding would cost, yet spent $800 on his and hers ipods ("a wedding expense!") They wrote a missive on their wedsite begging people to contribute to their honeymoon registry because, as they wrote, they deserved a 3-week European vacation, yet complained the day after the wedding about how few gifts they had to open. They convinced everyone they knew who had talents or time to do things for them (a huge vegan cake in the shape of a dragon, with handmade vegan fondant, which should have cost them hundreds was provided for free as a gift from a friend, for example), yet as far as I know nobody was ever thanked either in person or in note form for their assistance or gifts. Dan and I made their reception playlist, I did the bride's hair, her sister's hair, my hair, and all the flowers (with minimal assistance), and Dan spent the day running errands back and forth between the cabin where we were told we'd stay (and later had to pay for the privledge) and the lodge, where the wedding was. We cleaned up afterward. We worked our butts off, and never once got a word of thanks. And then they told us to pay them back for our lodging, which we were never told was part of the deal when they asked us to stay with them in their cabin.

We figured that after the wedding, and after their honeymoon, things would go back to normal. But they didn't. We went on a cabin trip with them in October, and it was clear that the changes were permanent. Dan had asked them just after we got engaged last year if they would stand up with him - the guy would wear the tux he already owned and Dan would provide a tie, and the girl could wear anything black and a scarf in the tartan (again, provided by Dan). They agreed to stand up with him. We spent months walking them through their wedding planning. After the cabin trip, we didn't hear from them again, other than through the grapevine - the girl got in a car accident (her fault) and they had to beg her parents for more money (they paid for half the wedding) in order to keep their heads afloat.

Okay, everyone has financial setbacks. But the girl had quit her part-time job before their wedding because she didn't "feel like" working anymore, and since the guy was working full time she decided she'd go back to school to prepare for a master's degree. In January. The wedding was in September. And then she wrecked their only car.

We went to Italy in January, and when we came back the guy called Dan to say that he didn't think they'd be able to make it to the wedding. Not that they couldn't stand up with him - that they wouldn't be there at all. Now, we had rented a house in the area, and could have arranged transportation for them, so they'd only be on the hook for plane tickets. We told them how to find cheap plane tickets. He asked how long before the wedding we would need to know if they were coming. We were pretty sure this meant they weren't coming.

We never heard from them again.

Now, I don't know about you all, but if my really good friends, people who had just stood up for me in MY wedding, asked me to stand up with them and were getting married in another state? I'd figure out any way I could to be there. Especially if I knew about it a year ahead of time. Especially if they did hours of work for us and saved us potentially thousands of dollars. Especially if they provided transportation and lodging and all I needed to buy was a plane ticket. But if it were me, I would have thanked them for all their help, and would have been just as excited about their wedding as my own, asking them what I could do to help, because that's WHAT YOU DO. And if there was some insurmountable obstacle that meant I couldn't be there? You'd better believe I would have been doing whatever I could to help from where I was, and I would have called afterward to find out how things went. You know, because they were my friends.

They were our friends for years, and Dan's friends before he even met me. But being involved in their wedding, and in planning ours, we realized that weddings can bring out the best in people, and they can bring out the worst. You find out who your friends really are in stressful times, I am told, whether those times be happy or sad. This was a happy time, a time for joy and celebration, at least from our perspective. So many people who loved us and cared about us were there, helping us celebrate finally getting hitched after all these years. We had no idea that these people wouldn't be a part of that until about two months before the big day.

So Dan called up Simon, and asked how he felt about kilts. And Simon was happy to stand up with Dan. And so it was, and I am so glad things worked out the way they did. I have heard it said that friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or life. It's hard to imagine after so many years of friendship that the natural lifespan of that with original groomspeople has ended. It's not hard to imagine that Leah and Simon will be our friends for life. Or at least long enough for us to do everything we can to help out with their big life events. Because that's what you do for your friends.

7 comments:

Yank In Texas said...

Oh hell. That really sucks. I'm sorry. Friend breakups are just awful. Glad Simon could pinch-hit though. Weddings sometimes show people's true colors, which sucks, as it's usually to the great expense of others. Yours did- but in a really good way.

Cagey said...

Sigh. I know FAR too many 'Zilla stories. It is heartbreaking to find out your friends were not really friends at all.

However, as you noted, life always has room for NEW friends. :-)

Cilicious said...

I am sorry you guys went through that.
As Yank says, friend breakups are awful, and in my experience, they do tend to happen when people begin to pair off for life.

Leah said...

You're exactly right: that's JUST WHAT YOU DO. Of course, it's much easier to pitch in when you're helping lovely people instead of crazy ones, and especially when those lovely people have so many other lovely family and friends willing to lend a hand...

It was such a fun surprise to have been a part of your wedding the way we were. We were incredibly flattered when we first found out we were even invited, and then to be allowed behind the scenes to make a real difference in how the day turned out (i.e., making sure you guys didn't have to do EVERYTHING alone and could actually enjoy yourselves; even indie brides need help!) was a treat.

I too think we'll be friends for a long, long time. Maybe even long enough for us to come visit you for once! :)

Anyway, thanks for the thanks. The pleasure really was ours.

(Also, I'm glad you were finally able to rant about the bad friends in public. Just because it's hard to let some people go doesn't mean it's not the absolutely right thing to do. Those two really crossed the line. )

Simon said...

I have to tell you why I agreed...

You see, I went to a fortune teller slash palm reader a few days before Dan called me. Her prediction:

"You will get an invitation soon. IF you accept it, you find yourself on an inexorable path that will lead to the viewing of a bride's buttocks in the middle of the road."

How could I say no?

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

It was my pleasure to help. As Leah said, it's just what you do for your friends.

You know what this means, right? I have the right to festoon you with Indian jewellry and mehndi and make you hand out traditional milk sweets at my wedding! Just kidding..kinda.

Karen said...

That sucks. I'm sorry you had to find out in such a drawn out way. But I'm glad that Simon and Leah are stand up folks.

Congratulations on your wedding. It looked lovely and the stories and planning were awesome. I started reading you about the time my boyfriend and I figured out that we were going to marry each other. It's nice to find someone's story who is going through it before you. Thanks for laying the path so to speak.

I hope your marriage is full of much love and laughter.