The WORST Part Of Wedding Season...

PanicWeddingSeason_slide01Illustrated by SYDNEY HASS.
I want to get married someday — it feels somehow icky to say that; my post-feminist fingers protest even typing such a sentence. But, it's true. In theory, it sounds awesome to find someone you love like crazy and are so absolutely, positively sure of that you'd stand in front of everyone and agree to be teammates for life. And, somehow they feel the exact same way about you? Yeah, that sounds like a pretty sweet deal. It also feels about a million miles from where I am right now, which sometimes means I'm a million miles from my closest friends, even as they toss a bouquet in my face from four feet away.
Starting around 25, the first wave of engagements hits. It's a little jarring. Sitting at brunch with your childhood best friend, the one you once shared fake-gold friendship bracelets with, you suddenly realize you're splitting hash browns with a wife. Time marches on, relationships evolve, and, for some people, that means making it legal. The rest of us buy them mixing bowls.
That's not to say a wedding can't be a great time. A good friend of mine got married a few years ago, and I got my first shot as a bridesmaid. It was a blast: super-chill bride, sincere and simple ceremony, and a rollicking reception complete with Spice Girls repeats and apocalyptic champagne hangovers the next day. It was the most perfect party I'd ever attended. Yet, without fail, every hour or so, I'd look at the couple and think, Wait, WHAT are you doing?! Seriously? One partner, for life, forever and ever? How could you be so sure? And, what if it all falls apart? Maybe this is the divorce-kid in me, but a breakup after something like this sounded on par with a nuclear holocaust of the heart. Why risk it?
Those feelings faded in the three years since that wedding, but I still look at the rings on their fingers and think, Married! Like people in the movies are married! I'm 30 years old, by the way.
This summer, like every summer (and winter, fall, spring, etc.), I'm looking ahead to a handful of weddings. And, this time, I've decided to chill the hell out. Because, I may want to have a theoretical marriage myself one day, but, for now, I have an actual life to lead. And, I'd like to enjoy it.
PanicWeddingSeason_slide02Illustrated by SYDNEY HASS.
We didn't all begin at the same starting gate. Not everyone had their first boyfriend at 16, progressed through a handful of post-college loves, then settled into a cramped-but-cozy first apartment together. I watched many of my peers take that path, but many others didn't. It took me a long time (erm, is taking me a long time) to realize that the marriage-path people aren't actually walking away from the rest of us. They didn't make better choices. They don't win. If that sounds like a mantra, that's because it is. This is Bridget Jones' world, we're just living in it. So, sometimes you need some common sense in your back pocket to repeat over and over while you're dropping a third of your paycheck on someone else's mixing bowls.
In all sincerity, what I most covet in my engaged and married friends' lives is that assuredness. When I watched my friends walk down the aisle and felt that momentary what-are-you-doing freakout, another part of me (a little quieter part, but it's there) realized how brave and proud and thrilled they were. They'd gone through enough years to commit to a few years more. They gone through phases of doubt and fear and stupid fighting, and yet, here they were: taking the big leap, fingers crossed. I'd give anything for that kind of faith in myself, and in the future.
But, I think I just reached a new milestone of my own. I now know that it's okay to not be ready. It's okay if "ready" isn't even on the agenda. I know that the barrier I see between me and my married friends is one I built myself. And, I know that thinking this way — racing toward marriage and practically puking with anxiety the whole way — is only hurting me. And, my boyfriend. And, most of all, my friendships.
It is so easy to chalk it up to platitude, but the truth is there is no race to win. Most of the time, we know that. Of course we do. We may live in Bridget Jones' world, but she's got Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, and fucking Katniss coming for her. We know that marriage isn't the brass ring, but when your fridge is covered in save the dates, we might believe it a little bit less. And, that's okay. We're not traitors to the cause and neither are our wedded friends. We're all just here for the cake, so why not enjoy the party?

More from Entertaining

It’s called the city that never sleeps for a reason. On any night of the week, New Yorkers are enjoying a cocktail, a dance party, a special meal, a ...
What's it like to attend a Kardashian-West cookout? Would Kanye spin tunes? Would Kylie come by with all four of her dogs? Sadly, we may never know. But ...
There ain't no party like a puppy party and thanks to an Atlanta animal shelter, every party you throw can now include adorable little puppies. ...
This time of year just calls for a party — a night of mistletoe and merrymaking. But, if you’re like most city dwellers, you suffer the fate of a tiny ...
When it comes to throwing an insane Fourth of July bash, no one holds it down quite like Taylor Swift. Considering it’s one of the singer’s favorite ...
New Year's can be a super-stressful time. The possibilities are seemingly endless — one friend suggests renting a table in the club and getting bottle ...
Each December, we try to outdo the brilliant, last-minute solution we thought up last year for all the people on our lists who appear to have ...
It's hard to be the host. With a large crew of family and friends at your house, someone is bound to spill something — maybe even you. There's a snail ...
The 25th Anniversary issue of Martha Stewart Living hits stands next week — no minor feat when some of the biggest names in media have been forced to ...
Halloween was a lot easier when you were a kid. Not only was it cool to dress up, but there were so many events designed especially for you. We're talking ...
Back in 2012, it was reported that the average New York City wedding cost $76,687 — which was a whopping $48,000 higher than the national average. So why ...
You've got a lot to celebrate. Refinery29 and Paper Source are joining forces to make one lucky winner the hostess with the mostest. You'll be the life — ...
Let’s set the scene for a second: Imagine it’s 9:45 p.m. at your friend’s wedding, and you and your friends have just found your groove on the dance floor...
Podcasts are back: They are in vogue and they are profitable. While the Great Podcast Renaissance can be traced back to the serialized true crime ...