There was a time when I was offended when I wasn't invited to friends' and family members' weddings.
When you hear of somebody's impending nuptials, assume you're "probably" on the list and then spend weeks or months watching your mailbox, it's quite the let-down to log on to your social media feed and see they just got married without even extending you the invite.
When I was wed though, we only invited seven people and all our friends found out we'd been hitched (at the registry, it wasn't a big thing) via a Facebook post. From there on I realised it was hypocritical to get upset if I didn't receive any future wedding invites.
I've missed out on a few weddings this year, and now the season is in full swing (and I don't have a single wedding on the cards all summer), I'm announcing that I'm happy not to be invited going forward.
I don't mean this in a passive-aggressive way. I genuinely don't need to go to weddings anymore. Here's why.
When you live in a city, like most of us do, nobody gets married locally. Everybody goes for a vineyard or a country barn or a bloody tropical island. Destination weddings are the norm in New Zealand, making the whole affair very expensive and time-consuming even before you arrive.
MOST OF IT'S BORING
Ceremonies are the only exciting part of weddings. For the most part, they're genuinely lovely, at least when they last less than 20 minutes. There's a certain comfort in their predictability, and it is really heart-warming to see the expressions on two people's faces when the knot's officially tied.
Unless you're at the top table, the reception isn't really that fun. If a wedding was a mere half hour (and then you could just go out to lunch and swiftly drive home), I'd be all for them. But receptions, as they are, are a dull, drawn-out, excruciating affair.
DULL DECOR REIGNS SUPREME
It's always the same schtick: lots of white and beige ribbons and other ethereal décor. Lukewarm food. One good speech, three bland ones, and one totally uncomfortable yarn that goes on forever. Amateur DJ who plays Top 40 hits from 1987, 1997, and 2007. Old people having fun dancing; young people obliging them. Excessive alcohol, probably a bit of vomit somewhere, and definitely one sly hook-up between the singletons on the guest list.
THE DAY AFTER IS HELL ON EARTH
After a few hours' of unconsciousness in subpar accommodation you let somebody else choose for you, there's the post-wedding brunch or BBQ. Or as I call it: hell on earth. An entire sunburn-inducing morning of rehashing the night before whilst sweating out the booze that's still in your system, and chowing down a fry-up and probably more beer.
YOU HARDLY SPEND TIME WITH THE NEWLYWEDS
In amongst all of this, you maybe get to talk to the couple who got married – your friends – for 10 minutes. If you're lucky. The rest of the time is spent enduring small talk with strangers and judging drunken antics.
Those are only the logistics of why I don't need wedding invites anymore. I also genuinely think we, as a culture, are too sensitive about what not getting invited "means".
It doesn't signify that you're not important. Nor that you're not close enough. Or that you've done something to wrong them, or you've embarrassed yourself at past events and are seen as an undesirable guest.
More likely, it's for budgetary reasons, the couple doesn't want to ask you to travel, they want to keep the wedding small, or something else. No matter what, every reason for non-invitation is legitimate. And you can't hold it against the betrothed. Their wedding is about them and what they want. Every decision is their own – for you, it's just another day.
So here's my proposal for everyone I know that will get married, with the exception of very close mates who want me in the wedding party: You don't have to invite me to your wedding. Save your money.
Instead, let me take you out for dinner to celebrate after the fact. We can eat, drink, be merry, and have proper conversations. I'll even take you dancing if you want. No stress, no travel, no cost to you, no disgruntled or entitled other guests to worry about. Let us just get together casually and honour your commitment outside of the socially-expected fanfare.