Monday, January 02, 2006

HAPPY NEW YEARS! (AND OTHER HOLIDAY-WEDDING DILEMMAS: PART I)

As the sun sets and the realization that I have to go back to work dawns on me, I want to write to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope that you all have a wonderful 2006.

It's amazing how quiet NYC is today. I walked around much of my NBH to discover that most people are burrowed inside, sleeping off this weekend's hangovers, downloading pictures from digital cameras, and wondering how they only ended up with $6 dollars left in their purses.

For many years, I did the "pay SomeObsceneAmount for an all-you-can-drink bar" (where you have to tip the bartender $20 so they actually look your way) and had grown tired of that scene.

Instead of succumbing to the pressure of having "fabulous" (i.e. glamorous) plans, TallGuy ditched our dinner reservations at the last minute, ordered mushroom and eggplant pizza, and started a 24 marathon (neither of us had ever seen the show, and we had the first season on DVD). We were blissfully content.

I started to wonder, though, about one of BigSis's friends, who was attending a wedding this past Saturday evening. Although I didn't talk to her, I wondered whether she was excited about having an "alternative" on New Year's Eve--or if she found this to be an imposition and rather selfish on part of the bride and groom. It therefore made me wonder about the sensitive nature of having wedding celebrations on holidays, and what goes through guests' minds when they receive an invitation for that date.

Since I was in LawSchool, I've seen friends/acquaintances/family members receive invitations for weddings on the following dates/weekends:

*Valentine's Day
*Memorial Day Weekend
*Labor Day Weekend
*July 4th Weekend
*The 'X' Factor??

Guests oftentimes must set aside their schedules in order to attend wedding celebrations, so as not to offend the friends or family members who invited them. However, the question then becomes: does having a wedding on a holiday (or the weekend of a holiday) HELP guests--or become an imposition?

Again, with many of these topics, I believe that there is no clear-cut answer here, and that it all depends on circumstance. I'll speak to a few of these holidays to elaborate on my point, but this discussion highlights the question of how well brides-to-be know their guests (and how willing guests are to acccommodate their hosts).

1. Valentine's Day (VDay).

Although it may seem sweet and appropriate to have it on VDay (obviously fitting in with the "till death do us part" theme of love and togetherness), I know that one of my friends who attended a wedding that weekend was annoyed--because she very much wanted to be able to celebrate VDay with her boyfriend and do something "coupley" with him. It particularly irked her because she didn't know the bride and groom, as they were her boyfriend's camp friends. Although she went to the wedding and got over not being able to really celebrate VDay with her boyfriend, she did say at the time she thought it was a little selfish on the part of the couple, since they weren't the only ones who would have liked to celebrate the holiday--and that to her, VDay should have been about spending quality (i.e. alone) time with her boyfriend. Incidentally, this also was their first VDay together.

While that was my friend's reaction, who knows? I'm sure some guests appreciated the sentimental value, and liked the idea they were at a wedding on VDay--and had a good time dancing and spending time with one another.

The VDay holiday issue certainly cuts both ways, as does the issue of the "long weekend"....

2. Memorial Day/Labor Day/July 4th Weekend

It seems that people choose these long weekends to have weddings in order to accommodate their guests. As I once had to travel to Wichita for a wedding, I can attest that my friend's having it the weekend of Memorial Day was a perfect move, as there were many guests who had to travel (like myself and TallGuy), and it was a good way to avoid missing a lot of time at work. While I'm sure there are people who do observe these holidays, I know that others find the long weekends a good time to do their traveling. I was certainly pleased that my trip to Wichita could fall on a long weekend, and I booked my flight back to NYC so I could get back early enough on Monday morning and get myself prepared for work the following day.

However, there is certainly the flip side to this topic, as I can understand that guests may be apt to make other plans during these weekends, and may do so well in advance.

3. The 'X' Factor

Believe it or not, there are certain dates/times of year that may actually affect your plans--without your even realizing it until it's too late. I recently heard a story about a couple who graduated from UConn and had inadvertently planned their wedding the same weekend as the Final Four. As ridiculous as it sounds, the fact that they planned her wedding for that weekend actually created a real problem (i.e. UConn made it to the Final Four and the game was the same time as the wedding). I have NO idea whether the rabid, UConn fans they invited to the wedding were in their hotel rooms during the reception watching it on TV, or if they wheeled in a television. Although it may seem silly to an outside observer, I can attest that college basketball is no joke to someone who graduated from a good basketball school.

Sports can be an interesting wildcard. Take, for example, what happened to my mother at her wedding: the bridesmaid's husband was listening to Redskins-Giants game on a transitor radio with the earphone in his ear (and this was thirty+ years ago, so the contraption was a little more noticeable than an IPod!)

Therefore, the 'X' Factor (or something like the Final Four) is something to try and think about. Although it may be difficult to spot, it may actually be a date/weekend that could cause complications for the most base level reason.

I'd like to point out that much of this, I believe, has to do with the TYPE of wedding you're going to have. Is it big or small? Mostly family or not many relatives? Is it convenient or inconvenient for most invitees? (And, with the 'X' factor, is there a group of guests who has the same interests which may come into conflict with a particular date? Ie the date of a planned family reunion? Super Bowl weekend? Something else that would cause some interference--no matter how silly it may seem?)

While these questions may not be easily answered, it's best to think about the size and scope of the wedding in order to determine whether doing it on a specific day/weekend is a good idea.

In closing, my advice would be to think about all facets of a date (particularly if it's a holiday or any of those described above), and choose wisely. You know your guests--you must use your knowledge to think what will be the best situation for most everyone involved. Sure, it may inconvenience a few, but again, you cannot please everyone. As long as you try to consider the feelings of guests, then you've already protected yourself.

Stay tuned!

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