23
Aug
06

Wedding Fatigue

I am well past this concept…I spent most of my late 20s attending weddings, and now my friends have moved into offspring production…somehow I imagine it’s even less kosher to describe any kind of fatigue around that!  But this op-ed from the Times describes what I bet we’ve all been through….but how is it that it’s written by a man?  Not that wedding fatigue should be a gendered concept, but as the author himself acknowledges below, as a man, “[he] doesn’t know the half of it.” 

 

Pass the Aspirin, Wedding Bells Are Ringing and Ringing and Ringing 

 

It’s exactly this time of year, as August grinds along, that you see young men and women suffering from a powerful seasonal affliction. They drag through their days looking drained, sluggish. It’s not the heat. It’s not even the humidity. It’s the weddings.

 

Summer is supposed to be a season of peace, of relaxation — time to hang the Gone Fishin’ shingle and take a break. Instead it has become a gantlet of festivities. Five weddings in a single season have left me a nearly broken man, and I have several friends and acquaintances who have gone to even more. I have wedding fatigue and I am not alone.

 

It is a testament to the charm and talent of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson that they managed to score a hit last summer with “Wedding Crashers,� a movie with the preposterous premise that two young men were actually trying to find more weddings to attend. Then again, there seemed to be two crucial advantages to their crashing strategy. First, they stayed close to home. Second, they attended only the wedding itself.

 

Nowadays wedding is an umbrella term. I could spend a few Saturdays listening to the exchange of “I dos� followed by a comparative analysis of the salmon and the filet mignon without significant strain. But participation in any given wedding is likely to require attendance at an engagement party, a wedding shower and a bachelor or bachelorette party, depending on gender. Some if not all of these events will require travel and accommodations. One can easily get stuck paying for multiple gifts, multiple trips and, I have heard reported, multiple lap dances.

 

It adds up, and not just financially. So, too, do the hours of travel, the displacement of jet lag, the weight of the suitcase and the numbing effect of airport security lines. The wedding proper can sprawl to a three-day event, from a group baseball game to the rehearsal dinner to a post-wedding brunch. By the end, the scent of fresh flowers is enough to bring on a headache. I find myself abnormally eager for the chill of matrimony-challenged autumn and the grind of a normal work schedule.

 

It is a rite of passage in your late 20’s and early 30’s to attend a lot of weddings, but there seems to have been a substantial increase in their size of late. These larger affairs mean more invitations for all of us. At a lovely wedding I attended recently with nearly 400 other guests, a friend asked aloud what exactly one would have to do in order to be left off the invitation list. A survey this year found that the average wedding costs $27,852, compared with $15,208 in 1990. That is just the average, to say nothing of the mind-bogglingly lavish affairs of the well-to-do. These are now professionally stage-managed events, carried off with the precision of state dinners.

 

The more taxing, elaborate and expensive the event becomes for the bride and groom, the easier it is for them to lose perspective and begin asking more of their guests. The share of so-called destination weddings, where guests are dragged to Hawaii or Tuscany, has increased 400 percent over the last 10 years.

 

When my parents were married, my mother and grandmother catered the event themselves, with two friends helping out. There were a mere 80 guests in attendance, less than half the current average. My mother even made her own gown for this Potemkin wedding. Yet our family’s shame is effectively obscured by the photographs of seemingly happy people in dresses and tuxedos, either excellent actors or blissfully ignorant of the fact that they had participated in such a low-rent affair.

 

Despite what you might think, I am not the Grinch who stole nuptials. I dance, drink and am sincerely one with the collective merriment at every wedding I attend. I am not here to dispute the beauty or significance of the milestone, nor will you hear any references to the much-discussed Bridezilla subspecies from me. I leave that to my female friends with the unlucky chore of acting as bridesmaids, who will safely and colorfully vouch for the fact that I don’t know the half of it.

 

Wedding fatigue, while at times a difficult malady, is hardly the tragedy of our age. It is very unlikely that help is on the way, though perhaps something similar to the Health Savings Account could alleviate some of the strain. It is the curse of wedding fatigue that it strikes those least able to afford it: young adults no longer receiving parental subsidies but still well below their earning potential. Victims tend not to have accrued very many vacation days and are — before the invitations begin clogging the mailbox — hoping to establish a first foothold in the real estate market.

 

Should you see one of these hollow-eyed soldiers trooping into work a few minutes late on a Monday, rolling suitcase dragging after, take pity and buy him or her a cup of coffee. If you happen to be a little older, beyond the reach of constant attendance at weddings but not yet under pressure to sponsor them for your offspring, make it lunch. If karma really exists, maybe your daughters will elope.

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1 Response to “Wedding Fatigue”


  1. 1 Jake
    August 25, 2006 at 11:49 am

    Wow… talk about an article I can really understand…

    I think he should do a follow up article once he gets married… 😉


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