It’s not the first time that I’ve wondered or written about this, and yet every time I accept a glittery invitation from a glowing bride-to-be, I cringe a little on the inside. Most of my acquaintances are work friends, some of them unavoidable colleagues. And when they hand me their wedding invitations asking me to please come with my family—who they don’t even know—and stay on for the reception afterward, get on stage for a group photograph, and a special selfie later on…
Just to think about the happenings on at a wedding is tiring enough, and to add pain to pressure, we’d plan to “go as a team”. Because it’s a colleague, and because we’d have to face them every day once they return from their wedding celebrations, the team would make a unanimous decision to attend the reception at least.
When the day dawns bright and sunny for others, and dull and boring for me, we start calling up each other. “Where are we meeting, how’re we going?” “Let’s take a cab, and share the fare, let’s stay for a couple of hours and share the ride back.” “Let’s get them a gift card, and every one can pitch in a pinch of their salary.”—No one would care if one of us a little low on cash.
We’d call a cab and the driver takes forever to find our picket fences. We’s cruise along the street, on a ride that takes the better part of an hour. And as we near the venue, everyone would scramble on Google Maps trying to locate a wedding hall that seems to have disappeared from the street. The invitation would state the “event” starts at five and we’d be still trying to find the place at five thirty. After going round in circles, we’d at last find the place and head in—only to find that the bride still isn’t ready. The groom would be standing by his room door, on the phone with his busy boss as if his office couldn’t live without him.
I’d sneak a glance at my phone and it’d be 6 pm. The invitation would say 5, and the actual event would start at 7. We’d hang around people watching, manoeuvring around excited cousins running about munching sweets and old classmates of the bride in bright dresses, pouting their lips to flashes from iPhone 7s.
I’d look around at the groom and his best man talking with serious eyes and nervous laughter. The sister would run up to her brother—the groom—and flatten out his suit like a mother flipping out.
And we’d wait, sipping on a watery coffee, too understanding, too decent, and too annoyed to complain, until they exchange the rings, cut the cake, and call us for photos and gifts. We’d get in line after the bunch of squeaky young girls who spread whiffs of sweat and perfume as they flip their curls in my face. And when it’s our turn to wish the happy couple, I, along with the rest of the team, pull on a big fat smile on my face as if there’s no where else I’d rather be. We’d then pose for a group photo and a video clip for the couple’s photographer, and then someone in the team would pull out their iPhone demanding a groupie—as they call it now. First a front-facing, everyone-pouting photo for Facebook, and then a say-cheese Boomerang for Instagram, and at last a decent photo for the office WhatsApp group.
And I, since I’m not an absolute kill joy, would smile and go along. And at last, the photo session would end, we’d exit the stage so that the next group of friends can repeat the same process, and we’d head out in search of food, hoping it’d be worth the price of the cab and the gift.
Pray, tell me, am I missing the point?