NEW YORK — Of all things to have to attend in June a wedding. But this June wedding will be different. Because it'll be my seventh this year. That's because all my friends are getting married.
Oh, the competition in this wedding game! Each girl tries to outdo the last. It starts with the invitations. One came in the mail with a bow tie around the outside of the envelope; another came with glitter and confetti that spilled out everywhere (not a good time to be sending loose particles in the mail!).
Should I ever be in the unfortunate position of having to plan a wedding, I'll just schlep over to Kinko's: 8 cents an invitation from Mr. Xerox. And it'll be simple: Are you coming or not? None of this wanting to know two months in advance whether people want chicken, fish, or vegetarian. (They don't know yet! They'll tell you when they're hungry!)
Then the brides go nuts with the bridesmaids. One had six, so the next one had to have eight, which meant the following one couldn't have fewer than 10!
Not only do they have to outdo one another with the trappings, but it turns out that there's actually a race to the altar. Because, although getting married is important, getting married before your best friend gets married is even more important.
One girl I know found out her best friend was getting married in six months time. All of a sudden, in less than a week, her own, rather apathetic, boyfriend had proposed, the wedding date had been set, and the invitations were in the mail.
Then there's all the painstaking attention to detail involved in the planning process. Usually, the greater part of a year goes into deciding on just the right color of napkin, on the shape of the napkin, that the tablecloth should match the napkin, and that the bridesmaids should match the table. Yet for all the pained planning, there's never any good dessert at weddings. For me, the whole payoff to suffering through anyone's wedding is dessert.
And oh, the way the bride and groom make their rounds to the guests, acting like gracious celebrities toward people they've spent most of their lives complaining about. My friend Natasha got married, and every woman she's been bad-mouthing for the past 15 years was there. Nine of them were bridesmaids. Now, this was a Russian-immigrant wedding, and at these one can always spot the bride getting an evil eye from some relative whose own daughter is still single or engaged to someone with a lower salary.
Consider, too, the proud parents, especially the parents of the bride, with their smiles beaming for miles: They're so happy, so proud of their little girl. Except it occurs to me that this isn't pride it's relief!
There's so much pettiness involved with weddings especially with the gifts of money.
The question always comes up afterwards: Did they give enough? "What? That's all they gave? That doesn't even cover our cost of having them at the wedding!"
Or maybe it was too much: "$500!! Why did they give us $500? Does that mean we have to give their son $500 when he gets married?"
There's a simple solution: The next time you plan a wedding, just sell tickets to the darned thing!
It may sound cynical, but it seems as though sometimes people get married more for the wedding than for the marriage. I've observed one newlywed couple, fresh from a $25,000 wedding, at parties: She walks into the room, he walks out of the room; she walks out of the room, he walks into the room.
But it was a lovely wedding. She became pregnant right away. Why? For the baby shower.
In contrast to all of this hullabaloo, my city hall wedding cost a total of $50. I resolved that the matrimony industry would not dictate how much or how little my parents would have left for their retirement. And if things end up not going so well, I figure at least they weren't ripped off.
Julia Gorin is a stand-up comic and contributing editor to JewishWorldReview.com.