March 24, 2009

Mawwiage - That bootifoow awwangement

I'm getting married in July, and it seems that it's crunch time for decision making. I'm having a hard time picking definitive things that people will see. Oh sure, I had no problem hiring people and picking a place, but why is it so hard to pick an invitation? Why do I have to struggle with making a decision on the style of food to serve at the reception? Normally, I'm the decision maker. I don't waffle. I choose. However, with this whole thing, I'm scared of decisions not melding into each other and creating a uniform feel and experience. With my garden, I can put whatever the hell plant I want in and that'll be the theme for that plot. I don't feel confined. I feel liberated because I got the plant I wanted and can work with it. So what happens if I make 1 decision and then confine myself to that feel or experience or theme?

Tonight I've decided on a "Save the Date" card from It's the 7x5 Window Jacket Invitation that I'll customize. The colors are going to be pale pink and bold green for the whole shindig, and I think that's appropriate for July and the fact that it's a festive occasion. Pink and green are versatile colors and just plain fabulous.

I think part of the problem I'm having with decisions is that I'm not super keen on the idea of getting married. I'm not afraid of commitment and have considered myself indefinitely committed to my boyfriend of 5 1/2 years. We've gone through lay-off's, grad school (oof), disasters, sick parents, et al. We've been separated for months at a time, and while we're not the most romantic of couples, we're connected to each other and complement one another very well. We have compatable goals, compatable interests, and compatable personalities. I'm firey and ornery and passionate, and he's calm and quirky and empathetic. Of course we both have those same qualities. I'm not totally lacking in empathy, and he's not totally lacking in passion. Basically, we're good for one another and bring out the best in each other. Still, I don't agree with marriage and feel it should be a personal, not governmental, decision.

So why am I doing it? Probably for reasons that I'm not proud of and for practical reasons. I'd like to have children soon, and I don't want the hassle of being unmarried and don't want my children to deal with that. I also would like to have the experience of being married which is something you can't do unless you've done it. I'm also curious about what it means and how it can change and evolve. What does a feminist wedding look like? Is it even possible? I have no idea. I'm worried people won't get what I'm doing. There won't be any handing off the bride - my father doesn't own me and I'm not his to give. I won't be wearing all white because that's a stupid tradition - color is much more fabulous (yes, white is all colors in physics, but it's not what a gardener thinks of color). There won't be any bride's maids or groom's men. There won't be any garter or bouquet throws - you choose your own destiny.

Also, I like parties, and this is a good excuse.


  1. I know what you mean. I didn't have an aisle to walk down or anyone giving me away or any of that in my wedding. I did wear a "wedding dress," but it was from J Crew and not poufy or anything.
    Something about standing in a church chock full of people made me queasy. If we had to do it that way, we wouldn't have done it. We ended up having the vows (no big ceremony, just vows) in a garden outside the art museum, with just our immediate family and one friend each standing around. 30 minutes later, 100 or so people arrived for an awesome reception. everyone had to compromise a little, but it ended up being fun and relaxing.
    I love being married (2 yrs now), which kind of surprised me. We had a HORRIFIC year the first year, and maybe this sounds bad, but I don't know if we would have made it unmarried.
    Anyway, sorry for the book! Congrats to you!!

  2. Congratulations. I'm not a psychologist but I think I understand a bit of what's going on. Your ambivalence about what marriage means is carrying over into choosing particulars for the ceremony.

    If it were me, I'd opt for a small intimate wedding and a large reception/party. I'm sure you've thought of this though... All the best to you.

  3. I so understand the ambivalence, I think. I chose to get married because I wanted to and felt it was a personal commitment. But it's not just personal, it's a public statement. I felt a bit weird - like was I letting down my feminist principles? Also, everyone was so happy, and I was not used to social approval, it felt quite uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I did it, had a very small casual event and am still happily married 35 years later. So congrats and enjoy!

  4. I understand what you're going through, I did
    not marry until about 5 years ago I am 44
    years old now but happily married and can't have children. Congrats and hopefully you'll be happy!

  5. Hi Angryredhead- I did the exact same as you. Waffled when it finally came down to doing it. We had been together for 5.5 yrs and owned a house together for 3 of those. We finally went to the judge and got married, no hassle, no fuss, no major money spent (I put it in the yard and house instead:) I felt good about that. We don't have kids together but his is now a 25 yr old girl and mine is a 13 yr old girl. We are a partnership, he is exactly my opposite much as you described yours. I am loud and opinionated, he is calm and strong. I have never for one minute regretted getting married, I also hate the give away part, how dumb. We look at ourselves as a team, and we are really a good one. Us against everything else. That feels really good. Good luck!

  6. It's a lot of stress planning a wedding. After watching 2 of my sisters and several of my friends plan giant weddings and all the stress they had, we had a small wedding in my parents backyard. My dress was a very simple non wedding gown type of dress. A lot of the reasons I got married was for the same ones you had, especially for kids, although nowadays that doesn't seem to make a difference to a lot of people. Anyway, I hope the planning goes okay and you are able to make it the way you both want it and have fun at the party!

  7. Last year my husband and I 'celebrated' our 30th anniversary of wedded 'bliss'!! That's a fairy-tale! It's impossible to be 'blissful' for 30 yrs-though it's worked itself out to a fairly 'smooth' place, I'd say! The thing with 'marriage' is that if you decide it ISN'T working out, divorce is a hassle in more ways than one. If you aren't married, splitting up is somewhat less stressful (though not easy). So much 'legal' stuff to deal w/divorce. But please don't take my comment the wrong way. Marriage is a positive 'thing'...if it can be called a 'thing'! It does signify a 'commitment' so it's harder to 'break' and does require 'work'. But it is all worth it, in my opinion!! I like your choice of pink&green--especially in July, where more common colors might be red, white & blue!!! Best wishes to you for a wedding you feel good about, and smooth-sailing in your marriage;-)

  8. Jan - Ha! Actually the difficulty of divorce has been a factor in my discomfort of being married. That might sound TERRIBLE, but the thing is that I don't consider myself any better than anyone else. 50% of Americans didn't think they would get divorced when they got married, but they still got divorced. I don't think I'm better than that 50% or more knowledgeable or whatever. I don't expect to get divorced, but still... no one expects to get divorced when they get married.

    Catherine - Mine might be big as compared to yours. I'm grateful of my mother and sister for helping me so much though. It's been a while since there was a "wedding" in the family, so everyone seems pretty excited to pitch in. Phew!

    Heather - It's creepy... we're so similar. We'll have had our house for 4 years and been together 6 years in July. I don't have an engagement ring for several reasons, but one reason is because I'd rather have a working garage door than a hunk of metal that I'll no doubt destroy/lose.

    Cathy - Thank you!

    catmint - lol!! I'm totally uncomfortable with social approval. I feel all weird especially when people refer to me as a bride or a bride-to-be. Ewwww!

    Grace - Actually, I think the ambivalence is a carry-over of always being told, "Your wedding is THE most important day of your life and you will NEVER EVER EVER be able to recreate it." I totally disagree with that, but still, it's lodged in my subconscious. It's funny you mention a large reception and small ceremony. I actually don't care if people don't show up for the ceremony, but I'm going to be PISSED if they skip out on the reception.

    Ginger - I've actually heard a few women say how being formally married made a big difference in their relationship, so it's not surprising. I do like J Crew wedding-related dresses. I wish they made a print dress in the same styles. I don't want a solid color dress, but most of the printed dresses aren't right. I might end up making mine after all. Also, we're actually getting married at a museum too. How funny!

  9. Don't worry whatsoever about if it all is streamlined and flows together. Choose things that you like, that you will be comfortable with, that you will want to remember and have pictures / memories of. The experience is for you and the groom, not other people. Wedding parties (bridesmaids and groomsmen) and guest only evolved out of the necessity of needing a witness to prove the event (wedding) happened. Also, more then likely you will have different "stations" where things will be happening...meaning that not all of your stuff (invitations, guest book, cake design, wedding favors, etc) are going to be side-by-side. Guest will only remember "Oh I liked that." Then they will see something else and say, "Oh I like that." It will all flow. No worries.

    Also, don't worry about going "outside the norms" like not having a wedding party or being "given away" or having a traditional wedding dress. Trust me. Do what you want to do. The book on "how to do a wedding" has evolved so much that anything goes. There are SO many different styles of weddings and blending of styles. I'm also a wedding photographer and when I get asked questions of how something should be done...I first ask how they would like to do...then give them a traditional answer, then a contemporary answer, and then a mixture...almost always, the traditional answer gets thrown out and the bride/groom get excited about contemporary or a blending of styles. The last two weddings I did (I also consult a little bit), did exactly like you. You're not going against the norm. You are expressing your individuality. And, it's not just a "young generation" evolution either.

    About your wedding do not have to do white, or long and flowy, or a veil. Most of the weddings that I have done, the bride has had on a version of white or silver or champagne, but have been very nontraditional styles. I also model, and every wedding runway that I have walked has only had just a couple of white dresses, but they weren't your average white dress (my favorite was, a huge dress made out of white feathers, the bride pulled on a string and the feathers came off revealing a cocktail dress underneath for the reception and to be used again at other parties). Most of the dresses were color or had prints on them.

    I also LOVE the fact that you are getting married in a museum...there's your traditional factor. It's a MAJOR element in your wedding. Although it's traditional, it's highly contemporary because its not your average wedding location. You can go way off the beaten path because the essence of the museum will tone down some things. Also, think about it...when you go to a museum, it is full of different and unique stuff. A museum isn't full of the same piece of art work, or photographs, or blown glass...every piece is unique and different. So, guess have a streamlined theme...and you didn't even know it.

    Hope you are having a great day!

  10. That's very true - not every single piece is going to be side-by-side. I suppose I can pick things according to what I like. That's how I garden. I figure if it's something I like, then it'll all blend together because I like things based on my own aesthetic. Still, I'm worried about cohesion. I still want it to make sense. For a class in grad school, we did a museum exhibit where each group was assigned a glass case. Nearly everyone did an abstract exhibit except me and my class partner. We labeled everything! We wanted people to know what everything meant and how it related because we didn't want people wandering away thinking, "What was that all about?" "No idea, beats me."

    I'm not all that worried about what people will think. I think most people have given up on me, so everyone is just thrilled that I'm getting married at all. Everyone's been worried because I've been with my SO for over 5 years now and have been saying that I would never get married. Ever. You can imagine the relaxing of expectations.

    I've come to understand weddings and funerals as being for everyone else. You do it for others and work yourself into it. It isn't all about me and my SO - we're just the excuse. It's really about the event. We're doing it for others. If we were to just do it for ourselves, we'd keep all the money for ourselves and elope. I doubt we'll recoup what's going into this thing. There is a definite selfish element to it - it is a bit narcissistic . I'd just hate for people to not have a good time though. I don't like events that aren't planned for the convenience and enjoyment of the guests. I'd hate for people whom I love and care about to have less than an enjoyable time.

    That's why I'm having guest seatings because I fear for the clique factor. There'll be plenty of time for cliques outside of the dinner, but I don't want a guest to feel unwelcome or like an outsider because he/she doesn't know everyone. This is a very real concern of mine. My family is HUGE! My SO's family is tiny. I don't want it be a battle field at the reception. Plus it's easier to get to know others if you're forced to. It's less uncomfortable because everyone's going to be in the same boat.

    I want this to be enjoyable for everyone. I want it to be a "thank you" for all those people who've done so much for me and my SO. That makes it a lot easier for me. Thinking it was all about me as the bride and my only day to shine in the world as a woman makes it pretty intolerable. I'd rather it be about everyone else and bending the traditions so it's something my SO and I can live with.

    Blah, my thoughts on the subject are so jumbled. I'm not even sure if the above is really true or not. It's something I'm still working on.

  11. I LOVE the seating idea! That's a great way to help with the clique factor. Yes, technically, weddings are for other people and not the bride and groom. I hope you have a wonderful wedding. You seem like a very cool cat.

  12. Cheers, Adam! I really appreciate the encouragement. And didn't you know? I'm the coolest cat around!


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