Planning a wedding is a bitch. I assume people love the idea of marriage way more than the cost and aggravation of planning the wedding. If you’re wealthy and you love planning parties, have fun and please invite me. But for many, the money, time and anxiety spent on planning a wedding would only make sense if the success of the party determined the success of the actual marriage.

I suspect many would elope but for their disappointed mother. No matter how much the bride or mother (or some modern, heroic man) claim they want to plan a wedding, doing so is a huge burden. I imagine people feel pressure not to have the most basic party of their circle of friends, and to hover at average or higher. Elaborate flower arrangements are not the heart of the party—money is best spent on food, booze, music and plus ones.

The Wedding Business knows how much people value their wedding day, and they extort accordingly. In the way governments unshackled from the gold standard print their own money and determine the value of this currency, so the wedding industry says that actually a room, a band, a photographer no longer costs Y, but Y x 3. Love causes inflation and attracts vultures.

To be fair, the bride and groom can be the source of wedding mania as much as its victims. People getting married are liable to get swept up in their own self-importance and ask friends to spend hundreds, if not thousands, on things like a dress or the bachelor/ette party before the wedding even starts. If your people have Vegas money, cool, but often some in the group don’t, and feel pressured not to miss a friend’s celebration. This pressure breeds. People become inwardly resentful, if not outwardly, and suddenly there’s a beef where there should be love.

In my experience, bachelor parties are best inexpensive and core-focused: go up north, drink whiskey, smoke hash and play guitar. Indeed, this would make a flawless wedding. The lucky people attending such a party are grateful they weren’t asked to shell out, and can just chill meeting the good friends of whoever’s getting married. Then they know each other at the actual wedding, which is the point.

Also, spending several hundred so a circle of guys can watch their friend awkwardly deal with one or more strippers is just weird for every single person involved, and can be safely done away with. The formulaic bawdiness is trite and played out, and that everyone needs to be very drunk to endure the thing says it all.

I have no first-hand experience with bridesmaid politics but understand it can be a world of pain. After we help Syrian refugees, Canada needs a national strategy to save the victims of bridezillas.

Co-ordinating all the moving pieces surrounding a wedding and all the accompanying parties is hell, so remember this and be generous if an aspect of somebody’s irks you. Getting invited to a friend’s is an honour: I’ll do my part by cracking jokes with strangers at my table and getting drunk enough to actually dance. But if I get left off the invite list, it’s one less present to buy and I will continue to be your friend. We’re grownups. In return, don’t ask your people to do stuff for your wedding they really don’t want to do.

Some associated costs need to be graciously sucked up, even if you don’t love them. Maybe the people with expensive bachelor/ette parties are exacting revenge on friends who gouged them, or if their wedding comes first maybe they want to ensure they squeeze people before they get squeezed themselves. This perpetuates cycles.

I wish people in love nothing but continued love, however they celebrate it, and hope everyone, those who are single or who are in dubious relationships, finds the happiness that people appear to have at their wedding. But just because two people are in love doesn’t mean everyone needs to lose their mind.