All right, here’s something to liven up the conversation the next time you get together with your friends – when you get married, should you or should you not allow a +1 on every one of your wedding invitations? I admit that I wasn’t really keeping up with the times when I got my first invitation that didn’t carry a +1 for my boyfriend whom I’d been living with for longer than the bride had been with her fiancé. It seemed especially unfeeling, since my boyfriend and I had spent some really good times with the couple who were to getting married. So I just popped off an RSVP that said “we” were were really glad, and “we” would show up at the appointed time.
What followed was really embarrassing for me, and much more so for the bride. She stuttered and stammered and said over the phone that there just wasn’t enough space, that things were running seriously over budget as it was, and they couldn’t just change the rules for me when they had left out the +1’s on every other invitation. The next wedding that came up was three months later in the fall. This one was really funny, because it was my sister’s wedding. I slaved away for this wedding, and I still didn’t get a +1 invitation from my own sister. If I wasn’t married to him, she wouldn’t hear of it. I thought that was particularly cutting.
Somehow, – I’m really resentful of wedding invitations that show evidence of a less-than-welcoming spirit. I pay close attention these days, and they seem to use every feeble trick in the box to pare down the number of people who will be showing up. Sometimes they say it’s okay if you’re living in, but only if it’s been longer than three years. But as passionate as I am about this, wedding planners seem ten times more so in keeping it small and trimmed down. They just hate the way that large guest lists can send costs soaring and practically bankrupt everyone involved.
How on earth did weddings get to be such exclusivist gatherings? When did loving people attending seem like an unnecessary extravagance, but not a hundred doves set free or some other silly indulgence? Isn’t this is the worst of commercializing love and all that’s good and pure? The wedding industry has us believing that we need to up the ante on high end weddings with the most expensive crystal, the most precious rose-and-lily centerpieces, and perfectly expensive wedding favors. Meanwhile, we aren’t making any more money than we used to, and we are paring down our wedding invitations list until it looks more like a barbecue than an actual wedding.
A wedding is a celebration; it’s supposed to be about being welcoming – with open arms no less. It’s about having a great party. You don’t have a great party by keeping everyone out and limiting things to the people you absolutely know well. And how much life are they going to bring in anyway? How many times have you seen bored invitees who have been to a dozen of these hanging around and drinking by themselves or fiddling away with their iPhones watching videos? Why not bring some fresh blood into these events – weddings are, famously, places where unattached people look for someone nice. Let’s give them someone nice, and send out as many wedding invitations as possible.
More guests won’t have to mean too much more money. Parties can be about happy people, and not expensive decorations, you know? It only has to get so beautiful before the law of diminishing returns kicks in. So let’s invest our wedding money in getting in lots of people to share the happy event with, and not lots of expensive knickknacks with few people to enjoy them.