I'm a Guest at Your Wedding, and I Can't Wait to Talk Shit About It
Weddings are a referendum on the style, taste, and sensibilities of the newlywed couple.
It's such an honor to be a guest at your wedding. I'd be delighted to drink your alcohol, eat your food, and dance to the music played by your band. Just know that when the wedding's over, I'm going to go home and talk shit.
Imagine inviting me to share the most special day of your life, only for me to later privately nitpick every little detail of it. I'll critique the choice of venue, the vegetarian meal option, your first dance song, even your dad's toast speech. Will I remember the joy on your faces when you exchanged vows? Maybe. Will I remember if the cocktail hour finger food options were lacking? Most definitely.
Some call it ingratitude. I call it human nature. I can't find your floral arrangements ugly and not say something. Never mind that those flowers set you back over $5k. And never mind that you both love orchids, met at an orchid festival, and view orchids as a symbol of your love. As a guest at your wedding, I'm obligated to talk shit. I might even talk shit on the way home from the wedding—riding in the shuttle you paid for, drunk off the alcohol you paid for, eating the cookies in the goodie bag you paid for.
Mind you, I'm not going to talk shit to your face. You're way too emotionally and financially invested, so you wouldn't see it from my point of view. I realize your wedding day is the result of months of meticulous planning and preparation. And I understand the societal pressure to make this the "best day of your life" can cause a lot of undue stress and anxiety, not to mention intra-family squabbles.
I also know you spent a lot of money for all of us to be here today—money that you could have otherwise spent on an investment that doesn't judge you, like a mortgage on your first home.
All of which is to say ... you probably don't want to hear that I thought the banquet hall tablecloths were a tad gaudy.
But rest assured, someone else at your wedding will want to hear my critiques. And I'll want to hear their assessment too. Because weddings are so much more than a celebration of love. They're a referendum on the style, taste, and sensibilities of the newlywed couple. And judgement is delivered by the harshest of critics: your closest friends and family. Plus, you have to pay for the privilege.
I may love you very much, but I also just sat through a six-hour event in your honor. I need to find a way to make it about myself again, and I'll do so by ruthlessly comparing your wedding to every other wedding I've ever attended, then assigning it a score on a scale from 1 to 10.
If you find that rude and distasteful, you can return the favor when you attend my wedding.
Q&A on the article
Q: As someone planning a wedding, you’ve just opened yourself up to a world of pain.
A: Yeah, my fiancee didn’t want me to publish this.
Q: Anything you’d like to say to save some face?
A: I was trying to tap into the idea that people can go to an event, be given free food, drinks, and entertainment, and still find something to complain about. Just enjoy the party!
Q: Anything else?
A: “Shit talking” is an exaggerated way of saying “critiquing” :)
Q: Anything else?
A: Please still invite me to your weddings.
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The summer before my *first* wedding, we went to seven, yes 7, weddings (she had seemingly hundreds of cousins). I cheerfully drank and ate all that was offered while internally noting "we won't do that, or that, or that..." So I viewed these events as valuable learning opportunities even if I never did get the names of all those cousins (and aunts, and uncles, and...) straight.