I don’t mean it when I say I’m only here for the open bar.

Because the food is nice, too.

But the nicest part, the secret sauce of weddings, is for all the days leading up to it, you know how special it is. Most days, we go through the motions but nothing changes.

The morning of a wedding, though, a couple wakes up in their bed knowing they’ll never experience today again. That for better or worse, nothing is the same.

If you’re a guest, the day still feels a little rote: laying out the same suit, coordinating your tie, slipping into the right shoes. It’s the way you’ve done a dozen times before. Do it enough times, and nothing –the family drama, Chinese wedding games, or the chicken dance – may come as a surprise.

But for two specific people, this time it’s their family drama, their terrible dancing, and they wanted you to be a part of it.

I write this on a flight to San Francisco by the fluorescent purple glow of the Virgin American cabin. I’m en route to a wedding after missing one in New York last week. What’s the point of all the work to live on the west coast if I can’t make it back east for those days that matter? I wish writing this meant, “Yes, I know these days are special, and I’ll make every single one.” Unfortunately, life (as it tends to) gets in the way. I’ll miss more vows, cake cutting, and even open bars.

It’s important to acknowledge the decision. So 10 years from now, when I wonder how I missed out on so much of other people’s lives, I won’t wonder how life got away from me. I’ll know I made my choices.

Photo Credit: Lisa Graham

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