Here is the “things that went wrong” post that I promised you. This issue is applicable to ALL weddings, it’s just more noticeable when you add a level of complexity: like having a destination wedding. Now be warned, this is a long one so you might want to grab some popcorn.
Weddings really show you who is there for you — and who isn’t. And sometimes it is surprising to see which person falls into which category! Most everyone who has planned a wedding has heard, “if they care, they will come.” And that’s very true — to an extent. I think the phrase can be too limiting because it fails to take into account financial hardship, sickness, and other extenuating circumstances. So, I would like to adjust that phrase a bit: “If they care, they will do their best to come…and at least let you know if they can’t.”
It seems like common sense, right? Try to go, but if you can’t, have some common courtesy and let the bride and groom know. Unfortunately, as I discovered planning our wedding, common sense and common courtesy aren’t so common anymore.
Like I mentioned in my wedding blog about cost, the DCL wedding package allowed us to invite as many people as we wanted. We knew that not everybody would be able to come, but we still wanted to extend the option to everyone we could. So we invited everyone who had ever been a large part of our lives. Not just the people we saw on a regular basis, but also childhood friends, former pastors, mentors – and just let them know that their “presence is our present.” The reason we invited each of them is because Dave and I genuinely care about people, and we don’t just stop caring when life gets in the way. It doesn’t matter if we live next-door and hang out every day, or if we live an entire country apart and only get to connect every couple of years. We don’t cut people out of our lives because of time or distance.
We were pleasantly surprised that so many of the people we invited to our wedding were able to come…but unpleasantly surprised that someone considered a lifelong friend, who had actually agreed to stand up as a groomsman, backed out of the wedding — without even telling us.
To be clear, Dave and I were not upset *at all* if someone couldn’t attend, because we knew a destination wedding wouldn’t be feasible for some people. My best friend was supposed to be a bridesmaid, but she wasn’t able to come and that is OKAY. The key difference between the two? My bridesmaid let me know when she realized she couldn’t go. Dave’s groomsman and his +1 canceled without a word. Not even so much as a courtesy text message. We didn’t even know they canceled until months later when we received an updated guest list from the cruise line, and they weren’t on it. Woof.
It still blows my mind to this day that anyone could be so disrespectful. I tried to justify the behavior; but let’s be honest, there is no way to justify something like that. There is no way to explain it away, no way to make it okay. It’s just lazy, inconsiderate, and immature.
I didn’t bother me too much, because people like that just aren’t worth my time or energy. But it did hurt Dave, and that’s not okay with me. Dave is a really wonderful person — and a fantastic friend. The army keeps him depressingly busy so he might be out of touch for bits of time, but he will always be there for his friends. It doesn’t matter if he hasn’t seen you for months or years: he will always be happy to talk to you, travel any distance to see you, pay any price to be by your side, and jump through flaming hoops to support you. And he has jumped through flaming hoops for that non-groomsman.
Despite 9 cross-country moves in 7 years, deployments, multi-month training exercises, dangerous overseas missions, and grueling military schools, Dave still invested in that relationship. Dave has driven hours and hours and hours to get back home, and then driven even further to connect with this guy. Dave has taken on extra 24-hour duties in order to get time off to attend events with him. Dave has spent thousands of dollars over the years traveling to parties and get-togethers to spend time with someone he considered a friend. But apparently, none of that warrants so much as a courtesy call.
So that was by far the biggest disappointment with our DCL wedding: discovering that some “friends” aren’t friends at all — and some aren’t even decent human beings.
But on a much happier note: the other 40+ people who agreed to go to the wedding all honored their commitments, showed up, and had an AMAZING time! We were very pleasantly surprised by the number of people that came to support us, and how many people from all phases of our lives still cared enough about us to come. There were, of course, people there that we got to see pretty regularly, but there were also a lot of people that we hadn’t been able to see in a long time – and it was AMAZING to reconnect with them and nurture our relationships. Even though we hadn’t seen them in a while, we were able to pick right back up where we left off. We also got to make lots of amazing new friends – all of our guests were able to bring plus ones (and plus two’s and three’s and however many they wanted to bring) and the people we met were sweet and lovely, and are now important parts of our lives.
So in nutshell:
1. No matter when or where you have your wedding, the people who care about you the most will show up for you – or they will be classy and RSVP “no.”
2. If someone doesn’t make the effort, and especially if that person is too lazy to send you a text, you’re better off without them.
3. Don’t cut people from your guest list just because you haven’t seen them in a while, you might be eliminating the people who love you the most.
4. It’s better to be pleasantly surprised on your wedding day to see who is really there for you, rather than find out later that half the people at your wedding couldn’t care less.
5. Don’t make people a priority when they only see you as an option.
And please people, for the love of all that is good, treat people with kindness and respect. Follow basic etiquette. Stay loyal to your friends. Make an effort. Just…be adults. That’s all.