I’ve been a best man once and a groomsman twice with quite a few more wedding party duties on the way. Each wedding has had a similar sentiment: as the bride and groom tie the knot, they are now basically dead to you. And the party you’re at is a funeral in which you’re a pallbearer to their old life.
Weddings begin a new phase of life and are pretty much a send-off because that person now has a family; not dating, not engaged, but the real deal Holyfield. When they get invited to weddings, it’ll be sent to the family of Johnny and Susie Dicknballs, none of that “you’re not married so you don’t get a plus-one” anymore. They file taxes together, get joint bank accounts and get “his” and “hers” monogrammed hand towels.
It’s no secret that weddings generally cost an arm and a leg these days. The average wedding is like $24,000 or some shit like that. I’ve shelled out a ton of money for quite a few weddings now out of respect for the person, knowing full well that I’ll only see them maybe once a year or every other year and I guess I’m alright with it. There’s not much I can do anyways, so I just deal with it. When my buddy Drew got married and I was his best man, I asked jokingly (I was naïve at this point) if I’d ever see him again. He assured me that we’d see each other similarly as always. In the three years since his wedding, I’ve seen him twice and talked to him less than five times. I get it. They have a family and people will always pick their love over their high school or college buddies, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less.
For some reason, everyone seems to be on a mission to get down the altar ASAP, and I can’t understand it. Knowing that half of marriages end in divorce, you’d think this would alarm people. Maybe think about it, date a bit, live together a few years and then tie the knot. But nobody seems to get that train of thought. As an engaged person, my life changed exactly zero and I still hate using the word fiancé.
I always wonder if its social media or some feeling of inadequacy that drives people to wanting to get married so quickly. Seeing people getting engaged or married and for reasons along the lines of, “My clock keeps ticking,” “How is that person engaged?” or “We should probably do this so I’m not an old maid (or whatever the equivalent for men is)” makes me cringe.
Getting married is part of the ebb and flow of life. People come, people go. When I handed over my buddy his wife’s ring, I was handing over the key to his new life, simultaneously seeing him off for myself. We’ll always be friends in some capacity. I get that life changes and we as people have to adapt.
Weddings are a time for celebration and congratulations, but there will always be the undertone of morbidity. These people will likely have kids, maybe move again, maybe get divorced; there are so many variables. I guess part of being a friend is knowing and understanding that they are not rejecting you, your friendship, and your memories, but that they are instead doing what biology and society said they should, which you can’t blame them for. As you wish them well, buy them that immersion blender on their registry and see them off, because it’s likely you won’t see these people for a bit and your lives together have forever changed. Remember to call them once in awhile, try to plan group outings way in advance or just let it go like that old lady in Titanic dropping her priceless diamond in the ocean..