Diary of a Wedding Guest

Two months:

Man: Invitation arrives, acceptance sent in thinking will return free gift. Make something from sticks and/or empty beer cans.

Total cost: Thirty-two cents for response card postage.

Woman: Invitation arrives, send in acceptance. Mark date on calendar. Fantasize about looking ravishing and meeting handsome, successful member of the opposite sex while enjoying free dinner and open bar. Will regale other guests with humble tales of personal accomplishment spiked with wit. Excellent idea.

Total cost: Thirty-two cents for response card postage.

One month:

Man: Easy. Dark suit, white shirt, blue tie, all of which already own. Watch ball sports, drink beer.

Total cost: Thirty-two cents.

Woman: Forget it. Old dress? New dress? Short? Long? Pants? What is everyone else wearing? Definitely a new dress - something sexy, but not enough to draw dirty looks. Yes, this is going to be expensive. Dress, shoes, bag, push-up bra - wait, push-up bra? Another one . damn those dressing room mirrors. Black, definitely black. Black alright because weddings are sort of like funerals: another one bites the dust.

Total cost: Thirty-two cents - so far.

Three weeks:

Man: Have forgotten will be attending. Play golf.

Total cost: Thirty-two cents.

Woman: Buy fabulous short, black dress ($200), along with three shirts and pair of shoes, unrelated to wedding attire but all of which were on sale ($121). Bad. Decide to keep dress, as will surely be worn to another wedding or at least several times in front of mirror at home. Maybe should look for something else cheaper, just in case. ...

Total cost: $321.32.

Two weeks:

Man: Sleep.

Total cost: Thirty-two cents.

Woman: No dresses to be found, but great Internet-only sales. Really did need to purchase new camera to take pictures of happy couple, along with "Greatest Dance Hits of All Time" CD so will not make fool of self at reception. Also, will impress friends, family and Mr. Gleaming White Teeth. (Do not exactly know who he will be, but will certainly have nice teeth.)

Total cost: $536.32

Later that week: Twenty-two long-distance phone calls later ($49), positive will be properly attired and once again excited by prospect of attending. Begin to rehearse chit-chat regarding aforementioned recent accomplishments. Hard to sound humble. Is overrated virtue.

Total cost: $585.32.

Week one:

Man: Drink beer, watch football.

Total cost: Thirty-two cents.

Woman: Damn. Forgot to buy wedding present, make transportation arrangements, get hair cut, lose last 5 lbs. Can still tone. Buy "Gutts and Butts" video ($10) and spend 45 minutes whimpering in front of television. 1 lb. free weights much heavier than 1 lb. chocolate.

Total cost: $595.32.

Later that week: Buy $100 worth of ugly crystal because all good gifts already purchased by other guests. Well, at least have great dress. Decide hair is fine and will drive to wedding, saving money on plane fare and providing opportunity to memorize "Greatest Hits."

Total cost: $495.32 (includes $200 deduction for savings on plane fare).

Three days:

Man: Bachelor party! Drink beer, engage in acts will not tell girlfriend about.

Total cost: $50.32.

Woman: Skip bachelorette party because do not want to be seen with sloshed woman wearing cheap veil and T-shirt with "Do Me While You Can" written on it. Decide not to go to wedding either, as will be sitting between 14-year-old cousin and cousin's fianc?(c)e's neighbor's son with bad hair and annoying laugh.

Total cost: $495.32 (will return ugly wedding gift but keep everything else).

Later that day: Realize not going not option.

Total cost: $595.32.

One day:

Man: Get up, look in mirror. Damn good-looking fellow. Will have to fight bridesmaids off at reception. Watch ball sports, drink beer.

Total cost: $50.32.

Woman: Dress is hideous, hair is quite possibly worst it has ever been. Mr. Teeth will never look in direction if attend in current state. Have internal debate over whether should be concerned with masculine viewpoint. Decide no, chastise self, regain lost confidence. Make emergency hair and nail appointment ($60) and spend four hours searching for new dress. (Must look good for self.) Look damn good for self in BCBG mirror. Expensive stores have nice mirrors. Must shop there more often. Buy new dress ($300).

Total cost: $895.32 (kept old dress just in case).

Later: Realize do not make $895.32 in a month, or even two, as still in school and current pay scale does not reflect intelligence, creativity and charm. Thank God for Visa.

Total cost: $895.32 (plus interest).

Later still: Leave for reception, arrive tired and crabby but with lyrics and rhythm to "Respect" under belt. Go to rehearsal dinner, get very drunk and pass out on aunt's couch. Did not dance on bar or discuss sex life with old people. Excellent.


Man: Get up, look in mirror - five times. Still a damn good-looking fellow. Will certainly have to fight bridesmaids off at reception. One at a time, ladies. Get dressed, watch more ball sports, drink more beer.

Total cost: $50.32.

Woman: Put on 10 lbs. of make-up, decide first black dress looks better than second black dress. Realize have bought control top panty hose and become convinced am prematurely turning into Mom. Have mimosa. Have another mimosa. Just one more mimosa. Leave for ceremony late, but sure looking great because groom's elderly aunt casts disapproving glance at hemline.

Total cost: $895.32, plus two months stress.


Man: Chase bridesmaids. Realize marriage means guaranteed sex. Might want to get married after all. Drink too much beer and pass out in party clothes.

Woman: Decide never to get married. Ceremony is long, dull and too focused on commitment and eternity. Mr. Teeth does not exist, only cousin's husband's neighbor's son with bad hair and annoying laugh. Will simply live as "Sex in the City"-like style maven, take exotic vacation and moonlight as Aretha Franklin's backup dancer when brilliant career becomes too mundane. Drink too much wine and pass out in party clothes.

Repeat three months later.