“What is it about a wedding that makes girls so damn crazy?” my boyfriend asked me after the first of soon to be four weddings this season that we will have attended when it’s all said and done.Â I can’t speak for all womankind, only for myself, so I decided to ponder that thought for a considerable amount of time.Â As someone who herself once walked down that aisle (then ran the other way out – I had a “starter marriage” many many moons ago), I can say it brings back some prickly memories.Â But that’s not to say I am not happy for those participating in ceremonies which I attend, because I am, even if years later, they choose to become part of the 50%.
It took me a long time to get over my cynicism about the whole “wedding” thing.Â I sent regrets on autopilot, or if I went, I had to self-medicate with a few too many glasses of champagne and a few too many times of checking out the single men.Â At one point I thought I was allergic to weddings.Â I’d discover blemishes, I’d start hyperventilating, I’d feel nauseous, this all before I’d even stepped foot into the church. What happened during the ceremony, well, you may not need to ever know.
Then there came a time when, due to my immediate friends and family, there were no weddings at all. It was a peaceful, oddly silent duration, almost the quiet before the sh*t storm, if you will, before the flooding of engagement announcements, the neatly embossed lettering in heavy card stock inviting me + 1 (or alone) to the happy occasion.Â When you date someone, the doors are opened yet further, sometimes doubling or tripling your pile of ceremonial notices.
And yet, and yet … well, as they say, “time wounds all heals” or something to that effect.Â Life goes on and I got over my wedding affliction.Â But that still doesn’t answer why women, single or not, have some sort of “crazy” reaction from weddings.Â Maybe it’s from the energy that tornados through that encapsulated time. Â Â I mean, more often than not (everyone has issues) families have been through controversial moments, they might have histories of estrangements, or have just lost a loved one, or even had in the past.Â Emotions are at an all time high, people’s senses are heightened. After all, two families have to join together to produce a traditional wedding.Â Money, especially nowadays can be tight and a sensitive topic.Â Then there’s the guest list, the setting, the food, the cake, the DRESS, the wedding party, the venue for both the ceremony and the reception, the invites.Â It’s a recipe for breakdowns, so we know that the level of stress is beyond belief for anyone who has anything to do with the wedding/bride/groom.
But the guests, while they can sometimes smell the stress or hear the gossip of the “who dated whom” or the trouble in paradise, often apply what they came to see, to their own lives.Â Perhaps there are these sentiments: “Will I ever get married (again)?” “Is it too late?” “Is it too early?” “What is the state of my relationship now?” “Will I make a good wife? “Forever is a long damn time.” “I don’t want to get divorced ever.” “I don’t want to get divorced again.” “Should we move in together first?” “Am I the one for him?” “Is he the one for me?” “I need a boyfriend.” “Why am I here alone?” “I’m breaking up with him when I get home.” “I hate my husband.” “Why did she choose that God-awful color for her bridesmaids?” and so on and so on…
I mean, let’s face it. Weddings are a lob for every good, bad, ugly mental state to boil up and over and we women, we tend to take it on with gusto, no matter what the condition of our own relationship status.
So, when I started in on Eat, Drink and Be Married (Self/universe), by Rebecca Bloom, her third “chick-lit” novel, about a destination wedding with four best girlfriends, each with their own set of baggage and I don’t mean Louis Vuitton, I was filled with trepidation.Â Would this book be a trigger for all my feelings past?
As I slowly got into it, I realized it is less about a wedding itself, as it is more about the lives of these four good friends whose trials and tribulations and state of flux are barely avoidable.Â Women who are about to or are 30, cannot avoid this.Â Speaking as a woman who is well past her 20′s and closing up on the end of her 30′s, I know this.Â The era of “the 20′s” can bring you to your knees.
The bride, Hannah, who defines Bridezilla, is taking out her cold feet and frustration and any imperfection in her life and wedding planing (she’s also micro-focused on being skinny and gorgeous) on her fiance, David, whom she met in college at a bar and they’ve been together for ten years.Â The couple lives in L.A. with a seemingly perfect life, minus the fact that she lost her mother to cancer years ago and now, not only is her mother missing from her dream wedding, she has a severe issue with her stepmother, Tess, who has only done the best she can to envelope Hannah with love.Â Hannah’s relationship with her father Rich, is at odds as well, as he now has a young daughter with Tess, she sees the difference in his late fatherhood attention with her stepsister Lexi, versus with her at the same age.
Then there is Zoe, the crazy make up artist with her blue or pink or green hair, her propensity for sleeping with random hot men and not knowing their name, her inability to allow anyone into her heart and life seriously.Â She is scheduled to do the wedding party’s makeup, and chooses to drive her way from LA to Tahoe.Â Here, she has invited the latest “random hot guy” as her date, even as she begins to see the real feelings she has for Graham, her best friend for years.
Kate is the sad, downtrodden friend, who is entirely uncomfortable in her own skin, so for her to even acknowledge those of the opposite sex is unimaginable.Â Her fashion style has taken the turn of a 40 year old suburban mother’s, much to the chagrin of her dearest friends who always had admired her confidence and sexiness.Â But Kate is suddenly the apple of David’s brother’s eye, Andy, and her reactions had me squirming in my seat, wishing she’d get herself together before she loses Andy before she even has him.
And then there’s Nina, who is married to Ben, who just found out she is pregnant and no, it’s not a happy early pregnancy. Nina, the career woman who is borderline anorexic, hated her mother, fears that she will turn into her, and has motherhood as the last thing she’d ever want to face.Â Meanwhile, she refuses to acknowledge and embrace her new state, which is killing her husband and if she keeps it up, can have the legs to ruining her marriage.
The weekend takes place in Lake Tahoe and what ensues, is less funny as the summaries had promoted, but more an emotional roller coaster.Â All four women offer a little something to which we can relate, well, at least I could.Â Women are complicated beings, the way they treat others is a direct reflection of how they at the time, feel about themselves, their own worth, and their own value.Â Kate is dealing with a devastating former abusive relationship, which she has kept from her best friends (many of us have allowed ourselves to be a part of a damaging, toxic relationship), Zoe is pretending to not need men, not to be in love with her best guy friend, and to play the role of strong independent career woman/party girl (we’ve all said, “I don’t need a man! And I don’t care about my best guy friend having a girlfriend!”), and Nina must reclaim her relationship with her husband, as she is secretly pregnant, unhappy about it as he is thrilled to be a father.Â Hurt, pride, anger, questioning the past, the future, and the now, all culminate for the girls and their families and friends, new and old at Lake Tahoe.
Alert: I did need a tissue at one point, toward the end, so just have one handy.
The take away is that weddings (especially intimate destination ones) can bring forth some of the most personal challenges, as they force you to look in the mirror, to look into the eyes of your loved ones, to face yourself and your situation.Â It’s what you do when you are presented with that moment that can define the next steps in your life’s path.Â Oh and also: Don’t fool yourself. EVERYONE has issues.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.