In a scene at the beginning of “Wedding Crashers,” the Vince Vaughn character, Jeremy Grey, calls his co-worker and close friend into his office on a seemingly urgent matter.
“What’s going on?” asks John Beckwith, played by Owen Wilson.
He responds with a sigh and says they have three big weeks ahead of them. Then he delivers the kicker: “It’s wedding season, kid!”
“I’ve got us down for 17 of them already,” he continues.
They go on to debate which they enjoy more, Christmas or wedding season. The answer, of course, is wedding season.
It’s a classic movie, a comedy I can sit down and watch any time it’s on TV. Right about now, I feel like the Owen Wilson character and someone just told me I’m booked for 17 weddings. But the reality of wedding season becomes far less celebratory off-screen. Consider: the traveling, the gifts, finding baby (or dog-) sitters, buying new outfits and scheduling days off from work. If you happen to be in a wedding party, forget it. The list of responsibilities doubles. If you happen to also be getting married yourself in the same year — well, just hope your wedding is set for early in the season.
As the calendar flipped to June, I found myself in the midst of another jam-packed wedding season, with an estimated price tag somewhere north of $1,500, all things considered. Sometimes it’s better to just not think about the costs.
For my wife and me, the season actually kicked off in late April, when my cousin got married at a beautiful venue in Manhasset. Next weekend will mark our second wedding of the season, a two-day party in Queens for one of my good friends from college, who was a groomsman in my wedding last May. Another close friend with whom I lived with for a few years (also one of my groomsmen) is due up in July. He was kind enough to book a venue just a mile from my home. August features a fourth wedding, this one the farthest away, in Maine, for another cousin. The season winds down in September with one final wedding on Long Island for another cousin. At least, unless another invitation pops up in the mail.
If you’re noticing a trend here, yes, I have a lot of cousins. My father is one of seven children and they have a combined total of 21 offspring, giving me a whole bunch of cousins. And we’re almost all in our early 20s to mid-30s — prime wedding time. So, the barrage has been non-stop.
Last year, my wife and I attended six weddings, including our own, and had to decline invitations to two. The season started and ended at the same venue: The Three Village Inn in Stony Brook. My wife’s cousin had gotten married there in a winter wedding and 10 months later my mom got married in the same location. The wedding ended on a late October afternoon and, as we walked outside, we saw the outdoor chapel set up for another wedding, the lights beautifully shining on the chairs below. My wife spotted a familiar face: our co-worker’s mother. It just so happens our co-worker was getting married at the same venue.
How many people ever know two couples marrying in consecutive weddings on the same day at the same location?
At this point, I’ve attended so many weddings I could probably consider a career as a wedding planner. (My wife will cringe when she reads that sentence. Women always assert that men contribute nothing toward the planning.)
My experience with weddings, however, began even before I got invitations regularly. In high school, I worked as a photographer’s assistant for a family friend. This was before digital became the norm, so my responsibilities included changing the film, carrying bags and holding lights. It was a fun weekend gig, it paid well and I got to hang out with bridesmaids.
I worked all kinds of weddings, mostly in the city. I can remember missing Bobby Jones’ one-hitter for the Mets in a playoff victory over San Francisco in 2000 to clinch the series because of a wedding. Back then, without cellphones, there was no way to keep tabs on a game without sneaking off to a bar and hoping there was a TV.
The most recent wedding I attended happened to be the same night as a Rangers playoff game. A cellphone on our table had the game streaming all night.
You got to love technology.
The “Wedding Crashers” duo references 115 rules that they compiled crashing a random wedding. I found a website that lists all 115 and, although most are irrelevant for the typical person attending a wedding with a date, a few are still helpful.
For example, rule No. 91: “Never dance to ‘What I Like About You.’ It’s long past time to let that song go. Someone will request it at every wedding. Don’t dance to it.”
And, of course, rule No. 64: “Always save room for cake.”
The author is the editor of the Riverhead News-Review and The Suffolk Times. He can be reached at 631-354-8049 or [email protected]