Going to a random wedding is basically like watching 1/6th of a movie

Generic Wedding Photo

Sometimes I think we — in the global sense, meaning “humans” — are conditioned to believe that every wedding we attend is some majorly special thing, because for two people — and two families — it truly is. The thing is, in your 20s and 30s (and beyond), you often go to weddings where, for you, it’s a flight, a party, a gift, and then … well, that’s it. I just went back through the last 10 weddings I’ve attended in my mind for this post, right? (Mine was in the past 10, but I avoided it.) You would think it would be hard to score an invite to a wedding if you’re not somewhat connected to either the bride or groom, and that’s mostly true — but out of the 10, I would say 5 (so half) are couples I’ll keep up with, probably meet any eventual kids, etc. and 5 (so again, half) are people I’ll have a cursory understanding of on Facebook or whatever (and probably click like when that first newborn picture goes up). This is interesting to me. 

Watched this movie last night:

Long story short: documentary filmmaker needed side money. He started making wedding videos. He filmed about 112 of them and then realized — and this gets a bit psychologically interesting/odd — that he was standing mere feet from two people on one of the biggest days of their lives, and yet … wait for it … he had no idea how their lives unfolded after that. 

So take these five weddings where I think the relationship will be cursory, at best, after I departed the wedding. The farthest back was years ago. I haven’t spoken to either bride or groom since. I think they have a kid. I’m not even sure, honestly.

So think about that: I was a part of one of the biggest days of their lives. I danced adjacent to them on the floor. I laughed at the toasts, all that.

I have absolutely no idea what happened.

They could be happy. They could be sad. They could love their life. They could hate it. They could face challenges head on or shirk from them. I really don’t know.

(And yes, you can make an argument that it’s possible you don’t even know this stuff about your own parents, because sometimes people are guarded with what they share. That’s life.)

Think about this, then: every time you attend a random-type wedding — friend of a friend, or maybe you were a B-Tier invite or whatever — you’re basically going to a movie, seeing the event that sets the movie in motion (which typically happens in the first 10-15 minutes of a movie), and then walking out of the theater with no idea what happens next.

I guess I’m not arguing that you need to keep track of every single relationship you cross — I don’t actually think the human brain would be capable of doing that, via Dunbar’s Number and other principles — but I do think it’s interesting how often this situation occurs.

How many weddings have you attended where you essentially have NO IDEA what happened to the two people afterwards? 

Ted Bauer