Friday, April 16, 2010

Wedding Why's

Something I need to keep in mind with all of this drama is that my parents and many other people think of my wedding (and weddings in general) much differently than I do. I don't like weddings, generally speaking. There's just so much excess - over spending, creating tons of garbage. I see so many unsure people getting married because they are caught up in what they "should" do or are just excited about the planning. Plus there's "the show." The showiness, the image, the wedding itself, becomes more than the people involved in it. I know that many times in life, we are part of something bigger than ourselves (no, I'm not suddenly becoming religious, don't worry). It reminds me of Halle Berry's Oscar speech when she said "This moment is so much bigger than me." This is not one of those moments. Our wedding is NOT bigger than Andrew and me. Any idiot can get married... and many do every single day.

I don't view this as a ceremonious occasion. There is no need for ceremony. There is no amount of love or trust or commitment that is missing from our relationship that will suddenly fill our hearts when we say, "I do." I want to get married partially for logical reasons (power of attorney, financial matters are cleaner, fewer issues when we have children, etc). So, why not just have a civil ceremony with just the 2 of us, you ask? Because I'm not a stone-cold bitch. And part of the reason we're getting married is because we want a party (see, I'm not a bitch, I just like to party!). Andrew and I have been together for 10 years. 10 years! Why not celebrate just that? We've seen couples meet each other, date, get married, have kids, fight, then divorce in the time that we have just been "dating." I think I'd like to celebrate the fact that we've not only come this far, but also the fact that we've found someone who makes us happier than anyone else... and who puts up with our respective shit. People celebrate new jobs or new apartments or graduations. So, why not this? It's kind of a big deal!

So considering I view of our wedding as basically a 10-year anniversary party, it would be helpful to keep in mind that my parents, and Andrew's parents, and most everyone else view it as something different. Something ceremonious or a milestone or an achievement. Although that frustrates me, there is not much I can do about it other than organize an event and a ceremony around our ideal, hoping that everyone else "gets it."

The reason all this frustrates me is because some people clearly view our relationship as something less than relationships of the espoused. And I don't mean just grandmas or conservatives or religious folk. People our age too, who (seem to) think like us. Someone told us once right after we said we were getting married that we seemed "different" and even gave us a bit of advice... about something we already knew. This was someone our age who had been married for half the time we've been together, but because of that "marriage" status, was clearly more enlightened than us. It's not us who are different, it's others who are viewing us differently. I've also gotten from my mother in the past (maybe 5+ years ago) the advice that I should make Andrew commit and marry me because he could just up and leave me at any moment and I have invested a lot in the relationship. Uhhh, divorces aren't THAT difficult, mom. Yeah, it's a little bit more arduous than just breaking up with a boy/girlfriend... but commitment is a state of being. It comes from us, not some unseen force emanating from a marriage license. If I was worrying all the time that Andrew might leave me, that is good reason to BREAK UP with him, not rush to the altar! Who wants to live in fear like that? And once we're married, I certainly won't think, "I've got him tied down now!" nor will I feel tied down myself.

I need to keep all of this in mind because when I'm talking to parental units and many others about the wedding and any situation surrounding it, I could be talking about something completely different than they are. My question is - is there any absolute truth here? Is the truth that our wedding is just a simple celebration? Or is the truth that our wedding is a ceremonious milestone in our lives? Now, I'm not talking about the outlook on weddings in general. The truth is in the eye of the beholder there. But because this is OUR wedding, something much more specific, can't the true nature of it become what Andrew and I make of it? And what others perceive it to be is irrelevant? My problem is, while I can tell people that, I have trouble getting them to FEEL that way about it. For example, my mom telling me, "That day is for us" when talking about her not wanting bio-mom to be there... she's thinking of a different wedding, not mine. I don't know how to effectively communicate that to her.

My dad said something else to me that was pretty annoying. We've been talking about wedding stuff for a while now (obviously). And we met with a florist to get quotes. I feel spending money on flowers is dumb. They just get thrown away. One or two bouquets is fine, but to spends THOUSANDS? No thanks. But I do think flowers are beautiful. To solve this conundrum I found some awesome paper and fabric flowers that I can easily make, then donate after the wedding to live on forever in a hospital or nursing home. And fabric flowers are pretty "me" because I sew. I told my parents this a while back. My dad told me on the phone this week, "Look, about the flowers... we want you to go ahead and get real ones. We want it to be nice. Don't worry about the cost, we'll pay for it." No, I'm not ignoring his generosity. I've always been thankful for it. The problem is and has always been that they use money and "stuff" to show their love or to simply show off. They like name-brand things and live with lots of knick-knacks that are (apparently) big name, collectible china and crystal, and all that blah blah, yuckity yuckity, barf-o-rama bullshit. That's not me. So, my internal dialogue when he told me about the flowers was, "it won't be 'nice' if I make fabric ones?"
What's wrong with these?

Or these?

Or these?

Nothing, right? Except now I'm thinking that I will disappoint him if I make my 'not nice' flowers or he'll be embarrassed by them. Jeez, why is it that no matter how old we are, we still feel like little children when it comes to dealing with our parents? I hate that. I must say though, I'm glad to be dealing with stupid little things like flowers rather than the other issue at hand. I would trade 100 issues like this for that 1 big one.


  1. As a newly wed, Ill add my 2 cents. I like to think of myself as different when it comes to these endeavors. The one thing that has changed since getting married is a shift in the dynamics of the relationship. It's so hard to put into words, but something happens that really makes you feel like partners. I'm so much more relaxed since getting hitched. Come to think of it, it's what I needed all along to feel like being a couple for a greater reason other than shared company. I can share my time, bed, thoughts with anyone, but to choose your person makes everything that much better. Don's ask me why. I use to be more cynical and off the beaten path, but getting married has created more compatibility. Andrew is your person and you are celebrating that. I truly look forward to your day. BTW, I like your thinking and logic with the flowers, but here is my judgement, which may not be welcome.... fake flowers always look like fake flowers. Please don't be angry with me, but it's so Rainbow?? YIKES, I said it. Besides, you can always donate real flowers to a nursing home or hospice. I think they like real flowers too. But, of course...I will love what you love, because bottom line is it's YOUR DAY kid. :) I do like the side flower on the chairs though. Ok, I'll shut up now.

  2. Totally appreciate the perspective, Tina. Thank you! I'll be interested to see if anything changes in my relationship. I don't see how it could, but you never know!

    As for the flowers, they definitely wouldn't look real but the point wouldn't be for them to attempt to look real. They would look like what they are and that's that. What you see is what you get. But if I do decide to get real flowers, they're going to be cheap ones!

  3. It's your day. And it should be done YOUR way! I officiate weddings, and I can tell you...what you want that will make you happy is what any couple should do. It's your wedding. So whether you want it to be a party with fabric flowers is totally up to you. If others think it should be this way or that way...then they can get married themselves or renew their own vows to include those things.
    P.S. I'm also an adult adoptee who found his birthparents at age 26. I saw your profile on Facebook on the adoption page which is how I came upon your blog.

  4. Everyone else's opinion can only affect you and bother you as much as you let it. The fabric flowers will be beautiful, real flowers would be beautiful (and smell nice). Tell pops, thanks, but no thanks. They are who they are, there is nothing wrong with that. You are who you are,there is nothing wrong with that. If you don't want the flowers, don't have the flowers, put it right out of your head. The wedding will be as big or as small as you choose. It might be difficult to say no to things in the moment, for fear of hurting feelings, but once you've decided, try and let it go. I completely agree with the sentiment that weddings get huge and out of control. And when I hear people complaining during the process, I wonder, well, why are you doing it? Not the wedding, but the whole shebang? It's your choice. I understand that the people that love you and are near you apply the pressure of their vision, but I reiterate, thanks but no thanks and let it go. Like everything in life, people will have their own view of what things mean, in this case, what a marriage means. I don't know what it means or what it feels like to date someone for 10 years and you don't know what it feels like to be married. Maybe nothing will change, maybe you will feel a shift. Enjoy the process, enjoy the day and enjoy your life with Andrew. Let go of the rest!