Social barter effect of weddings


credit: internet

Recently, my husband met an old friend and he was discussing why he’d lost touch with a mutual connection and he reasoned that it could be because of my husband’s lack of attendance at this mutual connection’s wedding. To this his friend said that, holding such grudges for 3 months was reasonable while surely, this couldn’t explain a six year grudge, if any. This statement somehow legitimised my earlier hypothesis that people take attendance at their weddings very seriously. Almost as if to re-confirm it, yesterday, one of my best friends acknowledged her gratitude towards our attendance at her wedding despite not inviting us in person (Background – I invited her and her family in person). Almost six years ago, when I got married, I remember feeling the same sort of gratitude for everyone who made it to our wedding. Though I must confess that we’d already made it slightly easier for our guests by having the event on a Sunday..but still. Some people went to the extent of immensely helping us organise the events and we could never do enough to express our gratitude for that. But, this in no way trivialises the other attendees who didn’t help with organising.

Because attendance at weddings mean so much to people, we usually set up some sort of a social barter (I give if you give) to return the favour – i.e. either cut ties with the absentee (either temporarily or permanently, depending on our maturity levels) or make an extraordinary effort to attend the attendees’ wedding, if not already over. I am surely guilty of having used the attendance metric to decide my attendance simply because I am a lazy person and also, I have close to zero interest in attending weddings ever since I got married. You see, I have way fewer incentives since I am neither on a pursuit for cute marriageable boys nor do I crave north indian food at receptions because for a long time when I was a kid, receptions were pretty much the  only places one could devour unlimited roti and chaat level stuff in Bangalore (middle class people pleasures at its best). Also, very often, we get courtesy or FYI invites (bcc level) and those are best ignored, unless of course you’ve no lunch/ dinner plans for that day, just like Amir Khan and co in 3 idiots.

When I had set up a similar social barter system for birthday wishes/ calls, my friends called me utterly silly and immature. Maybe I was. But surely, all of these people who thought I was silly are guilty of such barter when it comes to their own weddings (and maybe other events as well, but I wouldn’t know!). I mean, its just a day when we socially legitimise the choice of our partners. So, why are weddings so important for us to justify cutting ties with people who have been with us through other highs and lows of our lives? Why does it become reasonable for us to expect our guests to throw away everything that’s happening in their own lives to come attend our weddings? Honestly, I don’t know the answer to any of this. May be we romanticise weddings as “the big day” a little more than we’d care about in the long term. It’s been almost 6 years since my “big day”, so I have forgotten any short term grudges that I may have held, but on this occasion, I’d like to sincerely apologise for the silly effects of my wedding’s social barter.


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