Thursday, August 7, 2008

You're The Real Thing, Even Better Than The Real Thing

The Rehearsal Dinner. [Nervous rustling of papers. Twisting of hair. Large sigh.] It's been "challenging." It's "special." It has a "good personality." I think you see what I'm saying here, si?

Despite the craptabulousnes of the RedEye (that would be Re(hearsal)Di(nner), named such because this event has been more painful that a trans-continental flight with 5 hours of sleep in an upright chair disguised as a full 8 hours), I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that this one I saw coming. Well, a little bit. As I've mentioned before, my brother got married last October and his rehearsal dinner invite list almost caused a wedding riot by my dad's side of the family. I won't go in to details on his RedEye flight, er, plight, but I can assure you it was miserable, despite ultimately working itself out.

But before I proceed with my own tale, I would, as usual, like to take a moment to digress. It's actually not really a digression since it's on the topic of rehearsal dinners, but it's also not directly related to my current story. So if you don't feel like reading, just skip down two paragraphs and read the direct progression of my narration. Otherwise, hear me out.

Am I missing something? Other than keeping in with the theme that weddings are not about the bride and groom, but about everyone else, can someone explain to me why people seem to get so offended if they are not invited to this event? Actually, I get it; I understand wanting to spend more time with the people you flew in from out of town to be with if you love and care about them and are excited for them. (And were it not for cost limitations, I would love to have all of our truly nearest and dearest spend more time with us.) So instead of talking in vague generalities, I'm going to lift the veil and be more direct: why is it that we need to tiptoe around the feelings of a bunch of people who neither I nor my groom are close with, are friends with, or quite frankly really even like? Why do they expect to be invited to an event simply because they have the same last name as one of us does? Shouldn't the event be about who you want to have there? Instead of creating a lovely memorable dinner for a couple on the eve of their wedding, it's about protecting the feelings of family members who you barely know, who don't call you on your birthday and who can't even be bothered to make small talk with you on Thanksgiving.

Curtain falls. Digression complete. Applause.

So in addition to my brother's experience, I knew that there would be another issue with the RedEye. First up, the date. I am getting married on Sunday, February 15th. That would make my rehearsal dinner on: YOU GOT IT. Zing. Valentine's Day. And not just any Valentine's Day - a Saturday night. You can imagine how eager a restaurant might be to give away a whole area of their restaurant to a group that will sit there for 5 hours instead of giving deuce tables to couples looking to spend massive amounts of money on bottles of wine and who will turn over a table in two hours. So I ignored Martha Stewart's suggestion that the rehearsal venue can wait for a while, and started calling restaurants the moment we booked that date. NO ONE WANTS TO HAVE US. No one. Actually, I take that back. One restaurant told us if we guaranteed $10,000 on food and beverage that they would let us use a private space. Thanks, asshat. (I know that the owner wasn't really being an asshat, but that's one of those words I love so much that I use it excessively and improperly.)

So instead of calling around I decided to walk from restaurant to restaurant basically begging (it's my experience that it's harder to turn down someone in person). I finally found a place that was willing to close part of their restaurant for us [hear that? angels singing!] in Little Italy. Perfect! What's cozier than a big Italian meal with some good red wine and a nice long table and your closest friends on a cold night in February? Nothing!

At which point I wanted to run everything by Mr. F. before signing a contract. We had previously decided that given financial constraints, our RedEye would be a small intimate affair for just the wedding party, our parents and our siblings. Total count: 30. Thus, my Italian Savior was a restaurant which had a small room that seated 28 comfortably, but could just squeeze in 30. So I ran all of this by Mr. F. while dancing around the room like a lunatic. "I've found a place! I found a place!!!" [Dance of joy.]

My excitement was not met with the response I anticipated. I looked at Mr. F's face and actually saw his lips moving and then watched his forehead crease and his eyes widen and then look sad.

He turned to me and said, "So you said only wedding party and parents and siblings, right?"


"So you know that two of my groomsman are my first cousins, right?"


"So you're saying we aren't going to invite their mom - my aunt - my mom's sister to the dinner?"


And then I started thinking. And my forehead creased, my shoulders drooped, and the corners of my mouth turned down as it all came together. Obviously we have to invite the first cousin's groomsmen's mom (Mr. F's aunt/FMIL's sister). And ob-vi-ous-ly if we invite her, then we have to invite Mr F's other aunt...and uncles...and grandma...and other first cousins.

And if we invite all of Mr. F's aunts, uncles and cousins, then...yes, we have to invite all of mine. Dinner for 30 is now dinner for...sixty. Not to mention the fact that...[thinking how I can say the following thing nicely...realizing that is not possible]...I don't like my first cousins and don't want them at my rehearsal dinner. And "not like" is a euphemism for "think they're spoiled brats who both judge and are overtly snide to all those who they deem 'conformist'; this being done of course from the comfort of a NYC downtown apartment paid for by their parents, who not only cover the bottom line, but managed to get them accepted into the colleges that they dropped out of to join a band. Cause having mommy and daddy support your like totally alternative lifestyle is like sooo non-conformist." Yeah, that wasn't nice. But it's true. Now you see why this Blog is anonymous, yes?

Goodbye! Arrivederci! Did you see it? My sweet little Italian family-style dinner just flew off...into thin the wafting aroma of homemade lasagna out through the window of a brownstone and down the street...goodbye.

1 comment:

redframe said...

I just want to sympathise! I think it's ridiculous that you (me, every bride) can't have exactly who you want at whichever occasion... I'm lucky that in South Africa we skip the redi completely but I had to make the same concessions for the wedding guest list and I think it sucks! I wanted a lovely intimate wedding of 80, but it ends up at around 140 thanks to the must-invite-all-family-members-even-if-you-never-see-them/can't-stand-them rule. We should revolt.