Thinking About Weddings.

23 Jun

I’ve been thinking about and planning my wedding for awhile now.

Not in a wedding-obsessed-omg-I-have-had-the-napkin-colors-picked-out-since-I-was-ten-! way, but in a more practical, easygoing way instead.

I’ve been in four weddings: my friend Sarah’s, my friend Korey’s, my mother’s, and my best friend Becky’s. I’ve had a lot of time to pick out the parts that I like, the parts I don’t care so much for; I’ve had time to think about the things that matter to me. I’ve thought a lot about the idea of marriage, the commitment of marriage, the joy and freedom and terror and love of marriage.

When I first started thinking more consciously about wedding planning, I ran into the website 2000 Dollar Wedding. I really love Sara and Matt’s attitude towards their wedding, their rejection of the “wedding essentials”  WIC has pounded into our heads, and the focus on building a marriage versus just building an aesthetically pleasing wedding. The “yes, thank you, finally!” bells went off in my head; it was the first time I ran into such intelligent discussions about wedding planning.

The purpose of a wedding is the joining together of two people, in partnership, forever. Its not the dress, the bridal portraits, the coordinated tablecloths and centerpieces. It should be, wholly and simply, — raw joy.

And, practically, it is really refreshing to hear people speak about weddings and support the idea that it doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag.

And then I came across the super wonderful A Practical Wedding hosted by Meg.

See, the thing is: A and I will be getting married! And that is the best of all.

And I don’t have to buy All The Stuff. And I don’t need to feel too much worry for my guests. Yes, I want them to be comfortable. But they are choosing to come celebrate love with A and I! And that is more important than the food, or the flowers, or what time of day the wedding is.

I think I can best explain my current thoughts about weddings and marriages by going on a whirlwind tour of a few of the weddings that have been swirling around in my head.

(And, please click on these links and read these awesome posts in their original wonderful form! I just wanted to use this a place to jot down the most memorable quotes and moments that I need to remember)

1. Hannah and David, from A Practical Wedding.

From Meg’s intro: “Gorgeous pictures? Check. Day full of love? Check. Feeling of being emotionally raw and overwhelmed and Oh My God Is This Right Has Anyone Ever Felt This Way Before Am I Broken? Check, check check! So for me, this post is what no one ever told me about getting married. The thing is, the raw emotion is perfect, in it’s own way, but if it hits you, it’s nice to have a voice in the back of your head telling you, “Normal, this is normal.”

And from Hannah:

“Nothing anyone said prepared me for what it felt like to get married. I felt raw and shocked, my soul felt different and weird. I was scared. I went back to the B&B and cried myself to sleep because I felt wrenched. No one told me it was going to feel like that. I’ve seen a gazillion pictures of gorgeous glowing brides and no one told me that when your dad gave a speech and you cried it wasn’t a photo op, you were REALLY CRYING and a lot of people were looking at you crying and you were actually sad. I think it’s okay to feel raw and wretched. Marriage is a big deal. It is something to be taken seriously. I felt bad about feels scared and sad and raw and wrenched. I felt really guilty…”

…”I heard time and time again during wedding planning that the details don’t matter and for some couples maybe they don’t but my sister’s handwriting on my place card, my brother’s band playing, my nephew carrying the ring bowl my mother made, the bridesmaid assembled flowers everywhere, the tissue paper pom-poms hanging from the rafters, the flowered combs in my hair made by my friend who drank a box of Franzia and burnt the hell out of her fingers with a hot glue gun, these things mattered. I can’t even tell you how much they mattered. They felt like a gift and I felt wrapped in the sweetness and the love and the care that had gone into them. It was a gorgeous wedding and I felt the love. I felt the magical love we are supposed to feel but I also felt like I had been hit by a bus.”

…”I think getting married—the leaving one family and making another—is hard for everyone but I was twenty-three when I got married and so I can only speak to what being a young bride was like. I was a very young bride. Maybe not very. But definitely young. For me a huge part of the wedding, an unexpected part of the wedding was the looking back part, the end of an era part, the “you only get one wedding goddamn it and this is it” part”

“In the last two weeks leading up to the wedding I felt unbelievably guilty for feeling like this because clearly this was not an end but a beginning and honestly being twenty-three is being young, regardless of your marital status. But I cried when I turned ten because I felt my life slipping away really quickly and the wedding was a little like that. A milestone, come and gone. And I was scared. I was terrified, and I felt bad for being terrified, I was ashamed of my fear. Because I am brave, because I love David, because that is what we do. We educated women of the twenty-first century, we move, we grow, we change.” (emphasis added by me).

2.  Dana and Hunter, from A Practical Wedding

“When we were first engaged, we were hellza overwhelmed. There were so many options, checklist items, possibilities… we didn’t know where to start. So we sat down to hammer out what mattered most, and what we could let go. We quickly realized that, to us, the wedding wasn’t just ‘an event’ or ‘one day’ but a new beginning… and we wanted to kick it all off with that in mind.

Oh, and we wanted it to be a balls-out party. Can’t leave that out . And as we talked it over, our priorities revealed themselves: an authentic and personal outdoor ceremony, diverse cultural influences, making it interactive for the guests, hype music, free-flowing drinks, full and happy bellies, great photography, eco-mindfulness, and FUN fun times. We made these things our main focus, and tried to integrate them as creatively as possible. It made the process feel much more manageable, and much more “us”.”

…”So don’t worry that people will think you’re “cheap” if you DIY your own flowers, omit the favors, ipod your dancefloor, or whatever the corners you cut may be. Don’t fret about what they’ll think whether you want to be married by a pastor or a pagan queen. Its your day. Do it your way. Your guests are there to celebrate you and your love. Not to criticize your chair selection. And if they do, f*ck ‘em.

And don’t worry about everything being perfect. What does that even mean, anyway? What’s really perfect, is getting married at your own wedding. So just focus on that, and you’ll be juuuuuuuust fine.The rest, as they say, is cake!

My best advice? Just have FUN.
Don’t get pressured by expectation or tradition if that’s not your thing. Don’t feel you have to be uber-original, if tradition suits your fancy as a couple. Don’t be pressured to have a million perfectly coordinated details. Don’t confuse “expensive” with “better”. And don’t let self-consciousness impede your enjoyment.
DO honor your partner’s wishes and include them in decision making. DO just be your wonderful selves, and let the day be a reflection of that. DO surrender to the joy, breathe in the bliss, and let go. DO say please and think you a lot. (Its simple, but so true). And again, have fun.”
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3. I really love this post, also from A Practical Wedding, about marriage, and prioritizing the important things:
From Nancy: “But more, our marriage is about just two people: us. So, we have to prioritize our relationship and protect it from everyone and everything else. This means that we’ve made a pact not to disparage our spouse in front of others. That eliminates some of our easiest humor, but it makes sure that the other doesn’t feel bad. We try to put the other’s needs first and make them feel good. We try to make each other better too—to eat right and exercise, etc. …It’s cool, I think, that our wedding reflected this idea. That day was just ours. It was super-small and immediate-family-only, so we really just hung out with each other, and didn’t have to spend the whole time talking to relatives we never see or our parents’ friends. Also, we didn’t go into massive debt trying to throw a party for other people. That’s nice. If you’re engaged and thinking for ten seconds about a small wedding—I say do it. Down with the WICand everyone who makes you think that napkins and your special cocktail are more important than your future spouse, cause they aren’t.”
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4. This post about finances, also from A Practical Wedding.

“I think we’re making a mistake. I brought this up with my mother, a staunch second wave feminist, who stayed home with us when we were small. I explained that people felt that to be a good feminist, you needed to keep your money separate in marriage, even if you earned less. There was a gasp and a long pause on the other end of the phone, and then she said, “I think your generation got the wrong idea. We’re all supposed to be caring for each other. That’s the point.” She’s right.”

Its ok to feel however you end up feeling on your wedding day; its ok if things don’t go perfectly; its ok not to try and please everyone, and its ok if you don’t have all the “shoulds”.
And its also ok to have a totally gorgeous, detailed wedding.
But the most important part — the most exciting, happy, joyful, meaningful part — is the marrying your best friend part.

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