I know so many young men and women who go into terrible debt in their 20′s because of other people’s weddings. If you have tons of cash and can fly to a dozen destination nuptials each summer, then have at it, and please disregard this blog. For the rest of you, trust me. The money you spend on weddings the first 5-10 years out of college would make a hearty down-payment on a house.
But, you feel guilty. You feel like you SHOULD go. Others might be disappointed if you don’t.
I’m here to tell you that you should send “regrets” to most weddings you are invited to. They are a gigantic waste of money, particularly if you’re just getting by.
Here are 26 reasons you SHOULD NOT go to the wedding.
1. It’s going to cost you an airfare and hotel expenses, and the only way you can afford it is by putting it on a credit card.
2. You know one of the people getting married, but not both.
3. You actively dislike one of the people getting married.
4. You slept with either (or both) of the two getting married. Ever. And it was anything better than horrible.
5. There’s someone you definitely don’t want to see at the wedding.
6. You’ll be seated at the reception with a bunch of your friends you just saw at another wedding a month ago.
7. Two words: cash bar.
8. Or worse: no bar.
9. If you were going to have a wedding of 100 people, these people wouldn’t be on your guest list.
10. You haven’t had a real conversation with the person inviting you for two years or more. Facebook doesn’t count.
11. The money you would have to spend to attend this wedding could pay for a really fun three or four-day vacation for you, and you haven’t had a real vacation that you chose in more than a year. (Going home to see your folks doesn’t count.)
12. Because you have less than one month’s salary in savings. Honestly, you should have three, but if you don’t even have one, you shouldn’t be spending to go to this wedding.
13. You’ll be expected to pay all the expenses for your significant other to attend with you.
14. Your significant other won’t know anyone at the wedding other than you, and therefore will have to pretend to have fun.
15. The reception is in the church basement.
16. The couple is having their wedding at a destination they couldn’t have afforded without someone’s parents picking up the bill. (That means you can’t afford it either, and their parents aren’t paying your bill, are they?)
17. Your primary reason for going is because another friend says, “You have to go!” Bullshit. You don’t.
18. Their wedding registry pisses you off.
19. You look at the wedding party and think, “What a bunch of assholes.”
20. You realize that you are attending weddings instead of having an actual social life.
21. The person who invited you is more aptly described as a “coworker” than a “friend.”
22. There is a wedding happening within three months that you’d rather attend.
23. They know you have a significant other, and that person’s name wasn’t on the invitation. (This is a great one for all of you gay folks out there. If your significant other isn’t specifically invited, definitely don’t go.)
24. You are told, “It’s going to be mostly family and just a few friends.” Yikes! Code for dull, dull, dull.
25. Their family is deeply religious and you’re deeply not.
26. You have any reason to believe that you were invited because they felt obligated to invite you.
Please review the list. Any one of these should be enough reason not to attend. If you’re scoring more than five, and you choose to go, you’re an idiot.
Send a sweet note with a good (fake, if necessary) excuse, attached to a reasonably priced gift. Don’t try to impress them… they won’t remember who gave them what, anyway. Then take the money that you almost spent attending, and put it in your Roth IRA, your other retirement account, or pay it toward your credit card balance. The next time you have a chance to see the couple in person, invite them out for a nice dinner and let them tell you all the dirt and funny stories from the wedding. That dinner will be much more enjoyable than the actual wedding, and it will be cheaper, too.
A member. Brother. Sister. Teammate. Friend.
Active. Involved. Smiled. Showed up.
Hilarious. Fun. Cool.
But then. A new year. New girlfriend. New passion. New friends.
Never around. Checked out. Other priorities.
“Outgrew our thing.”
I’m here. You moved on.
Hate it. Feel angry, regretful. Unimportant.
Miss hanging out. Miss you caring.
About this. About us. About the group. About everything.
What’s the matter? Get here! Show up!
This was cool.
Less, now. Without you.
It’s not stupid. It still matters. To me.
You made promises. You were in. Then.
Others stayed. You didn’t.
Checked out. Other priorities.
This is bullshit.
What happened? You changed.
Come back. One night. Let’s hang.
Remember? It felt good. Hilarious. Fun. Cool.
Yeah, I know. New things. New friends.
Everything’s complicated. Choices.
But, my story. Still includes you.
You remember. I know.
Friends forever. But, not really. Facebook, maybe.
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Guest Column by Wayne Unger, Arizona State University
Thinking about being a leader? Considering stepping up and running for an officer position in your fraternity or sorority? You are the type of person we want. You love your chapter so much that you want to help it grow. You want to guide and direct your chapter to become better and achieve more. You want nothing less than the very best.
You’re dedicated to your chapter because you know what it is, what it can become, and what it can do.
Most importantly, you understand your chapter, its members, its values and its ideals.
Your desire to lead stems from your passion. We know this.
But, it won’t be easy. Leadership can be lonely. True leadership is tough.
You’ll be under-appreciated. You’ll work longer hours than anyone else, trying to better your chapter, only to have people complain. You’ll be the first to arrive and the last one to leave. You’ll be challenged in your decisions, and you’ll have to constantly defend them.
You’ll be frustrated when your chapter does not show up for this event or that. You’ll ask your brothers and sisters to do one thing, only to have them do the opposite, or nothing at all. You’ll question why it’s so easy for your members to attend the party on a Friday or Saturday night, but then why it’s so difficult for them to attend your chapter meeting or ritual.
Your members will surprise you, in good ways, and in bad.
You might get stabbed in the back. You’ll probably get very little sleep, and you might get that call in the middle of the night during a panic or crisis situation.
You may get told that you are the worst leader ever. You’ll probably get yelled at a number of times.
You will have to face tough situations that require tough decisions be made. Some of your members may not like you for your tough choices, but someone needs to make them. And, it’s usually you.
You might get pushed down, disrespected, cussed out.
You might cry and want to quit. You might tell yourself, “I didn’t sign up for this.”
We recognize that it won’t be easy. You might never win an award for your work. You might get a thank you every now and then. The complaints will certainly outweigh the times you’re told you’re doing a good job.
But, no matter how difficult it may get, that’s not why we do it. We choose to lead because we want what’s best. We choose to lead because we love our chapters, our brothers and our sisters. We choose to lead because of our passion for our fraternity or sorority.
The possibility to make a difference, to leave a legacy, to impact lives is what keeps us going.
Our passion is what serves as our backbone to every tough decision that needs to be made. Our dedication is what powers us through the long days and the sleepless nights. Our desire to advance our chapter is what continues to drive us through the ups and downs that come from leading.
Thinking about being a leader? It’s not for everyone.
It’s not for the resume builders. It’s not for the person who likes to please everyone. It’s not for the member who wants to tell others what to do.
It is for those who don’t need an award to keep going. It is for those who are willing to stand up for what is right. And, it’s for those who love their chapters.
Thinking about being a leader? With great power comes great responsibility, right? If you can handle all of this, then choose to lead.
Wayne Unger is about to graduate from Arizona State University where he was president of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and the Elections Commissioner for the Associated Students of Arizona State University (ASASU). He will begin a position with Cisco Systems this summer.
He says this piece was inspired by T.J.’s blog, “You Are Always Wearing Your Letters.”