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Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest

2.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,475 ratings  ·  239 reviews
Weddings. They’re fun, festive, and joyful, and at a time when people marry later in life—and sometimes not at all—they offer endless opportunities to reexamine love and what we want for ourselves, regardless of whether or not our aim is a walk down the aisle. In Save the Date, Jen Doll charts the course of her own perennial wedding guesthood, from the ceremony of distant ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 2014 by Riverhead
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 ·  1,475 ratings  ·  239 reviews

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Jessica Jeffers
This might sound way bitchier that I intend it to, but I want to ask the developmental editors who worked on this book why he or she thought this was ready to be presented as a final product that could be marketed as humorous.

In many cases, I would easily chalk this up to not my not being the right audience -- that happens a lot -- but, the thing is, I'm pretty sure I am the right audience. I'm a lady in my late twenties who isn't hitched yet but has attended many a nuptial and likes to read ot
Sep 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was a nope for me. I needed something to read to break up my Halloween reads and I was promised a hilarious send up of being a single girl/woman serial wedding guest. As someone who is that single friend at weddings I was ready for it. Weddings have been on my mind lately (you guys hear about that plantation wedding thing? Sigh) so I thought this would be a nice read in between horror. Too bad this book was not good.

Jen Doll's book bounces all over the place, but I can honestly say she soun
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
I don't want to go so far as to say that the book was downright bad, but it definitely wasn't good. Ostensibly the tale of all the weddings Jen Doll has attended, with each chapter nominally organized around one of them, it's really just a memoir about Jen Doll's life. If there is a "point" to the book, it's sort of a rumination on what it means to be a single gal about town who hasn't married by her later thirties and may not do so. And all of that is just fine for what it's worth. I didn't hav ...more
Jul 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Do you remember that episode of Seinfeld where J Peterman is supposed to be writing a book about his life, and for all the privilege and opportunities he has had in life, he just doesn't have any interesting stories or anecdotes? Now imagine he wrote a book about the weddings to which he has gone.
I sort of still can't believe that this got published. One can surmise based on various things within the content of this book that this author has led a somewhat charmed life, and I think that scoring
Mar 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is going to be a tricky one to write. So, let's put it off for a minute, shall we? This is where I'll tell you that I'm obligated to disclose the fact that I didn't purchase this book. Instead, I won it through a Goodreads giveaway.

Well, crap, that didn't last long, did it?

When I read the little blurb describing the contents of this book, I was under the false impression that what I would be getting was various wedding stories from hell, similar to what Concierge Confidential is to hotel
Kelly Tumbleson
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I admire Jen Doll's self-confidence in retelling incidents perhaps best left locked in the past, and I feel something like horrified pity for her friends.

Allow me to summarize over 300 pages:

"I wore a purple dress and high heels.
I didn't have a date and I hated it/I had a date and I hated him.
I didn't NEED a date/I didn't WANT to need a date/I didn't want the date I had.
I got really stupid drunk (againnnn) and acted like a small, undisciplined, selfish child, and while I may feel a twinge of re
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book. I was already in something of the wedding spirit when I picked it up, having just attended a string of happy spring nuptials. So I was primed and ready for a few laughs and some deep reflection on weddings and love and friendship.

I really wanted to love it, and while I did find it at times mildly entertaining (I may have chuckled in a couple places), I didn’t find it funny so much as cringe-inducing. I just couldn’t find any humor in the author's immature,
May 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandonec
Just because someone says "Wow, you should write a book!" doesn't mean you should. That is all. ...more
Rob Slaven
May 05, 2014 rated it liked it
As usual I received this book for free in exchange for a review. This time it was from LibraryThing. Despite that kindness I give my candid opinions below.

The nutshell view of this one is easy. This woman goes to a LOT of weddings, as I'm told women tend to do. While there she's made some insightful observations about the human condition. It should be noted this isn't a book full of witty wedding mishaps. This is no America's Funniest Weddings. It's a pointed and thoughtful look at how humans ma
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Dear Author,
I greatly enjoyed your book, but as I started to get to the end, it began to make me feel a bit exhausted. Why is that? Because as self-aware as you seem to be and through all lessons you so eloquently talk about, and the emotional ups and downs of relationships seen through the veil of the wedding attendee, one thing stands out. YOU DRINK TOO DAMN MUCH. The "occasional mortification" mentioned in the subtitle is because you always allowed alcohol to be the way you found to fit in an
Emily Hoornstra
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Being her debut novel, I guess we're supposed to extend some extra grace towards Ms. Doll. I made myself finish the book but it wasn't because I was so intrigued nor amused. Although I had hoped to be! Her self-deprecating humor through the course of all these wedding recollections falls flat and you can't help but feel sorry for her. She reveals some lengthy inner monologues about marriage but it isn't clear, even by the end, that she has drawn any conclusions nor figured anything out. And if s ...more
Nov 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Having only been to three weddings in fifty-four years, I was a bit intrigued by the premise of this book, which looked well-written and interesting when I looked through it in the library. However, I was unable to relate to the author, or her lifestyle; in many of the cases, the scene revolves around her being drunk, and ... pairing off with another guest. Ho Hum. Moreover, the couples are all friends of hers from the same demographic, no real variation on age and race; she attends one same-sex ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2019
Let me sum up for you:
-The author gets very drunk at just about every wedding she attends and chalks it up to 'well it's a wedding,' this would be only mildly concerning if she were a pleasant drunk, but the author shares that she is often beligerent, emotional, etc when she is heavily intoxicated. Bascially most of her 'mortifications' could have been avoided with responsible alcohol consumption.
-The author continually longs for companionship in the form of a husband, but then makes sure to go
May 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was really ready to like this, but I ultimately just was not that interested in the author's stories or writing. They all started to feel the same, and I didn't end up getting much out of them in terms of humor, entertainment, or life lessons. ...more
Jenn Meadows
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
I am a serial wedding guest. Last year I was in three weddings and I attended four more as a guest. This year, I bragged about how I was already done with wedding season with four weddings (one where I was a bridesmaid another where I was the guestbook attendant) to only receive another wedding invitation in the mail for a celebration in September. I spoke too soon. And in 2017, I already have three weddings lined up, including the one that I am one of the two major guests of honor.

I have a lov
Sandie, Teen Lit Rocks
I give this book a 3.5 -- 4 for the writing, 3 for the content. Disclosure: I know Jen via Twitter and have been a source in a few of her stories about Young Adult books. Generally, I find Jen a witty and thoughtful writer and have read/enjoyed all of her articles. When she told me about this book, I was expecting something different -- a hilarious and poignant wedding-by-wedding breakdown of what she's learned about relationships and marriage from being such a frequent wedding guest. And while ...more
May 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
I am attending five weddings this year. Five. My interest in this book is based solely on that: a curiosity as to whether this would be full of funny wedding stories, or offer some great insight into the wedding industry.


I waited. I tried. The book is fairly readable, so it wasn't DIFFICULT. Indeed, Jen Doll is a good writer, mechanically, so it wasn't torture to get to page 318; however, when I got there I wasn't sure what had been accomplished. It is full of stories of her life (not laug
May 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Wait, I wanted this to be a super funny compilation of wedding stories from hell, but it really wasn't funny. Oh well. In honor of a wedding I'm attending this weekend, I took special note of this chapter: "When you're someone's date to a wedding, to the wedding of his friends, surrounded by others of his friends you're meeting for the first time - and when this person is someone who it seems may be important to you for a long time - you are a good sport. I wanted to be a good sport, and I could ...more
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Based on the book jacket, I expected a bright and breezy behind-the-scenes look at the bridal industrial complex and fancy "Sex in the city" type weddings (lavish country club or beach ceremonies, exotic destination weddings, cool/hip wedding guests, etc.) Instead, I was disappointed by the author's excessive navel-gazing. Pretty much every story revolved around her- her moods, her needs, her excessive drinking (which usually leads to her either having a melt down or passing out), her "justifyin ...more
Dana Giusti
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was hoping this would be a fun, lighthearted read to entertain me during a destination wedding weekend. Instead it was dull, dull, dull. I finished it out of a sense of duty, but there was no real merit in doing so.
Imagine a stranger talking to you, in endless detail, about the weddings of people she knows from high school and college. Nothing particularly interesting or unusual happens in these stories-maybe if you knew the people she was talking about, you'd find it more interesting, but si
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think Jen Doll and I would be awesome friends. I expected this to be a bunch of funny stories about random things that happen at weddings. And it is. But the author also muses about marriage in general, what it means to be married, what it means to be unmarried. It really resonated with me, as someone who thinks about these things. And as someone who has been to A LOT of weddings!
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Honestly I am pretty disappointed. I expected this book to be a lot more fun. Doll's weddings were honestly not all that interesting, and while I agreed with almost all of her statements regarding modern marriage, I think that all of her arguments could have fit into a solid 50 pages. It wasn't boring, but I would not read it again either. ...more
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: galleys
Funny, touching, and insightful look at the world of weddings from a frequent attendee. I loved the perfect combination of sharp wit and compassion that Doll uses to tell this story. Highly recommended.
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: love
This book did keep my attention and I liked some of Jen Doll's musings on single life but I got tired of the author's tales of excessive drinking at every wedding she went to, most to the point of calling negative attention to herself and detracting attention from the bride and groom. ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
So terrible I couldn't even get halfway through this. It's supposed to be "funny" and "smart" but really it's just a tale of her hooking up and talking bad about other people's weddings. I feel bad for her friends that read this book and whose weddings are included. ...more
Sue Pretty
May 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Dullsville! The author is neurotic and boring. Extra star for being a wino.
Dec 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, weddings
I enjoy stories about weddings, so I picked this book off the shelf in the library on a whim. The various sections on the different weddings the author has attended over her nearly forty years of existence can be amusing, but this is much more personal memoir than I was expecting. A lot of the commentary is introspection and sometimes the weddings and related goings-on aren't the feature of the section supposedly about them. Also, note: the "occasional mortifications" of the title are largely se ...more
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is NOT a fun, humorous take on weddings. Although the cover makes it seem like chick lit, it's really a memoir that uses weddings as a lens to reflect on friendships and romantic relationships. I think so many reviewers found the book and/or the author off-putting because it's a bit of an odd hybrid: there is too much of the author's personal story for the book to be *about* weddings, but the narrative skips through so many weddings that there's not much depth in the personal reflectio ...more
Tiffani Sharice
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
One of my flaws is that once I start a book and get to a certain point, its almost impossible for me not to finish it, once I've gotten to a certain point. So many times while listening to this book (audiobook) I found myself wondering why anyone would write a book like this. I'm in my mid-late thirties and I, like other readers, thought I'd be "the audience" for this book. I want to be married one day, but it just hasn't worked out that way for me, yet... so I thought this book would be pretty ...more
Nicole Caldwell
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wish I could give this book a higher rating, because the writing is quite charming and almost thought-provoking. I picked this up because I'm currently planning my own wedding, and I thought there would be some confessions I really should know before undertaking wedding planning. Instead, this reads like an autobiography and I really like autobiographies from people who really know themselves and their lives. I think Jen Doll has somewhat figured out why she isn't married yet, but above all I ...more
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Jen Doll has written for The Atlantic, The Atlantic Wire, Cosmopolitan, The Hairpin, New York magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Toast, Topic, Vice, The Village Voice, and The Week, among others. She grew up in Alabama and lives in Brooklyn and upstate New York.

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