Mailbag: My Friend’s Wedding Is On A Saturday In The Fall – Do I Have To Go?

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wedding saturday fall

Scheduling your wedding on a Saturday in the fall is your right as an American. You are more than free to carry out this plan, but you must do so at your own peril, as you will surely encounter a few disgruntled guests on your “thanks for coming” table-to-table reception tour.

In this week’s Mailbag edition (is this a PGP first?), we hear from a distraught college football fan whose friend scheduled his wedding on a Saturday in the fall, and he is invited — even worse, this particular Saturday in the fall is also the date of the Alabama-Tennessee game in Knoxville. Our emailer is a Tennessee fan.

His email is below.

Hey douchebag,

My high school friend just announced his wedding date. It just so happens he and his fiancé chose October 15th, otherwise known as the 3rd Saturday in October, otherwise known as the Tennessee Bama game. I am born and bred in Tennessee, went to high school in Tennessee, and the same can be said for all of my friends invited to this wedding (and the groom). My friends and I have been planning our trip to Knoxville for the game for the last three months. Am I crazy or does the have to be the work of the fiancé? There has to be a written rule somewhere against having a wedding in the fall, let alone on the day of what could be the biggest football game of the last decade in the state of Tennessee. Not only that, the wedding is scheduled in the afternoon, which if its a prime time game there’s no way I’d see any of it.

With all that being said. This friend and I are friends but not that close. We got to know each other at the end of high school and we talk maybe twice a year if that.

Is it completely of of base of me to say me and my buddies should just buy him a nice gift and still go the game?

Life tip:

Fiancé = male who is engaged.
Fiancée = female who is engaged.

File that rule away so next time you don’t imply your boy is marrying a guy, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Now to the dilemma. This is a recurring debate every fall for people in the “my friends are marrying age” demographic. I’ve put some thought into it and I believe I have a solid take. It comes down to this: Your friend knows what he’s doing, and choosing to schedule his wedding on a fall Saturday means that he has knowingly forfeited your attendance obligation. Where you fall on the friend scale can nullify this rule, however. We’ll discuss that later.

I equate a fall wedding to planning a destination wedding, actually. Let’s think about what it takes to attend a wedding in the town in which you live versus all that goes into attending an out-of-state or out-of-country destination wedding.

If all you have to do is shave and throw on your monkey suit to go to a buddy’s wedding in your town, you’re obligated to go. You have to go. Further, if someone plans a wedding in the town in which he or she grew up — it is to be assumed this is the hub of their friends and family members — this person is expecting the largest possible contingent of attendees. They want you there. They want everyone there. You’re expected to be there, and the guest book will be checked off.

A destination wedding is so different, though. If your friend plans his wedding in the Riviera Maya, for example, and you receive an invitation, you are not obligated to go. Think about all that is required to make that trip: You have to ask off from work, use valuable PTO, and you have to come out of pocket a grand at minimum, sometimes two or even three if you’re bringing a plus one. They want you to go, but you’re not obligated to go. That’s the important thing to remember. It’s a major commitment from you and they know this.

Having your wedding during a college football game, especially when Bama comes to town, adds an implied parenthetical at the bottom of the invitation that reads: I get it. You don’t have to come.

Now if this friend is a “close” friend or better, you have to miss the game. Or you could simply lose the friend, and honestly that’s not the worst decision.

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