Today I’m back home in Oz, doing bridesmaids duties – and despite my boss pleading with me multiple times to take my leave at any other possible time than smack-bang over the top of three year strategic planning deadlines, I’m bloody happy to be here. I’m just hoping that despite my absence everything at work goes to plan because, well, I’m going to have to take the exact time off again next year when I return home again for my brother’s wedding. Oops.
When you’re in your thirties, you suddenly find yourself knee deep in the “second wave” of marriages. In Oz, the first wave happens around your mid twenties, when high school sweethearts and other long term partners get hitched. By the time the second wave comes round, most of the first wavers are firmly established families with cute miniature people running around. The second wave comprises those friends who have been busy travelling the world and climbing the corporate ladder who are now ready to “settle down”, and those friends who have already been through short lived youthful failed marriage and are crazy enough to give it a second shot.
One of the problems with living abroad is having to make decisions about weddings you can and can’t attend. It’s not the money for airfares that necessarily holds you back, it’s the time required to get there – living a good 24 hour trip away from home, even before any of the time I might spend actually at the wedding, I’ve already got to factor in 3 days of travel due to time zone changes. Mesh that on top of limited annual leave, multiple weddings a year, and this year organising my own wedding, and there are times when difficult decisions need to be made.
The one thing I’ve realised from arranging our wedding is that although we’d love for our nearest and dearest to be there, we understand when they can’t. It is a lot to ask of people to spend their annual leave and money to be with you for a day – and I take it as understood that if they could be with us, they would.
So despite widespread reports of women turning into bridezillas, and expecting everyone to drop everything to accommodate their demands, I can honestly report back that none of my friends have transformed into said beasts, and none of those that I’ve had to disappoint with not coming home has held a grudge against me.
Friendship is based on a lifetime of shared experiences, not just special occasions. And on that note, I best be off to get the lovely bride a glass of bubbly to calm her nerves – because that’s what friends are for, right?
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