I'm Going to a New Year's Wedding ... and I'm Happy About It

12/31/2011 04:54 am ET | Updated Feb 29, 2012

"Let's put significant pressure on ourselves to have a fun New Year's Eve." As usual, Someecards gets it right. How many times have you had a conversation about the hype surrounding the holiday? How often have you complained about the amount of money you end up spending? How many years have you sworn that you're not dealing with it again? Next year, you're just going out to dinner and a movie. No, scratch that -- you're ordering food and watching the ball drop in the comfort of your living room. I've heard friends express these sentiments repeatedly over the years, and yet when I've revealed my plan to spend this weekend at my friends' wedding, the reaction often was something like this: "They're having it on New Year's?"

No one really likes New Year's Eve anyway, and yet many people were (at least initially) dismayed that my friends would ask me to give up that date on their behalf. Trust me, I am happy to. You don't go to a wedding because you have nothing better to do, but in this case, isn't that just a bonus reason? When friends question this date, the implication seems to be that I am being forced to choose the lesser of two options to spend my holiday, as if I'd otherwise be skiing in Gstaad. (It is so cute that they think I can ski.) If I were in New York, I'm sure I'd make plans that would work out just fine, but I'm also sure these plans would not be without a bit of lead-up stress. My soon-to-be-married friends are essentially saying, "Here, we will bring together a bunch of friends and provide food and drinks and music. You just show up and look pretty. Oh, and don't even worry about the bill - we've totally got this."

Of course, it's not as if New Year's has a monopoly on head-shaking disbelief. I've heard people object to Memorial Day or Labor Day weddings, too, interfering as they do with three-day weekends, but I've always kind of appreciated them for the fact that I didn't have to take off work to be there. Really, there is never going to be a time that works for every single person on your list, and when you plan your wedding on one of these weekends, you do so knowing that someone might have plans - just as when you plan a destination wedding, you have to accept the fact that not everyone may be able to make the trip. There will always be something else your guests could theoretically be doing, but you hope that those close to you will make it a priority to be there. Given all that, New Year's Eve seems like just as good an option as any other holiday weekend - maybe better. Whereas I may or may not go to the beach for the Fourth of July, New Year's is one of those holidays for which you feel like you have to do something. Several years ago, a guy I'd recently stopped dating but remained friendly with texted me and said he'd just stayed in because he wanted to do yoga in the morning. Although he seemed perfectly content with this decision and although I do truly believe that the night is overrated, I was still happy to report that I had gone to a party.

For this particular weekend, the rehearsal dinner is on New Year's Eve, starting a little later than normal so we can all toast together at midnight. The wedding itself is the evening of January 1. This scheduling tends to strike people as funny because, as they point out, it makes it very likely a sizable portion of the guests will be hung-over on the day of the ceremony. To this I say: So what else is new? I have been to very few rehearsal dinners where guests didn't get drunk and have to deal with the after-effects the next day. So there will be some added Champagne? Okay. I have seen my friends rally and repeat many times before, and I have no reason to believe they won't be able to do it again. When they put their minds to it, they're like the Energizer Bunnies of alcohol.

Finally, there's the dress. My dress, I mean. Yes, the bride will look gorgeous in white, but this should always be the case. Over the holiday season - let's be honest, over the year - I am often struck with a feeling of "too many party dresses, not enough parties." I admire little cocktails dresses and flowing gowns online and in stores, but they rarely take up residence in my closet. "Lori, be realistic," I tell myself. "Why do you really need a minidress with top-to-bottom black and gold sequins and feathers around the collar?" (Reasonable Me is such a bore sometimes.) Thanks to my friends, I have a counterargument. When I saw this particular sequined dress on sale in November, I immediately flashed upon the upcoming wedding. I don't even normally wear sparkles - I'm far too self-conscious to get over that "Do I look like a disco ball?"-slash-"Will I singe someone's eyeballs with my reflective power?" feeling - but this dress was just so festive and fun. I sent my mom a picture, and she responded it would probably fit in just fine, as she expected there would be a lot of glitz at this wedding. Good answer, Mom.

If the recent Garry Marshall movie is to be believed, New Year's Eve is the most magical night of the year. I remain skeptical about that notion. That said, I hope that, for my friends getting married, it reaches almost that level, perhaps topped only by the one that follows it. If the apocalypse predictors are right, I will be spending my very last New Year's in a hotel ballroom in Austin, Texas. I am 100 percent okay with that.