The Pressures of Wedding Planning
Unlike most women, I never dreamed of planning a traditional wedding day. I dreamed of a quick trip to Las Vegas or the Justice of Peace. My wedding day, or at least the allusion I had created in my mind, would require little fuss and a lot of love. It’d be my secret to keep until I chose to share it. My wedding day would include me and my beau escaping to a romantic place and then sealing our love in a private ceremony, a memory and a journey that would be so much more practical than spending thousands of dollars on an event that lasted just a couple hours.
Then I turned 30-years-old and was still single.
The challenges of daily living, year after year, must have changed my world view because as suddenly as I had blown out my birthday candles, I now considered myself no longer the marrying type. The idea of attaching myself to one person for a lifetime seemed so far-fetched it rattled me with claustrophobia. It didn’t help that all the guys I dated during this time eventually dumped me, confirming this hopeless feeling that I was not lovable. Maybe some people aren’t meant to have life partners, I decided. Or maybe I had over extended my luck in love by having dear family and friends?
And then, like they say, when I least expected it I met Cory.
We had only went out on a handful of dates before I told him I wasn’t the marrying kind. He admitted that he wasn’t either. Our confessions to each other had brought me much relief. Instead of neurotically judging every action he made and debating if he was the one, I took the time to enjoy each moment we spent together. Somewhere in between taking the dog for a walk and our daily routine of living, my feelings changed.
“I changed my mind,” I told him bluntly. We were strolling around our neighborhood lake and had stopped to take in the view. “I think I would like to marry you one day.”
Up until I met Cory, I had never told a man I loved him. So the statement–even to me–felt awkward and strange. The ease with which is flew out of my mouth surprised me just as much as him. For once, I let the guard down. I took a chance. I wanted to lead by example instead of hide behind my pride. The fact I didn’t expect an immediate response in return, something I would have expected in any other relationship, is also how I knew I truly loved him. For the first time in my adult life, I was comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings with someone, even if it was followed by silence.
Smirking, Cory leaned down, kissed me on the forehead and answered, “Oh, yeah?”
He didn’t need to say anything more. It was obvious his feelings about marriage were changing too.
I had always considered marriage as something I must do. Now it was evolving into something I wanted to do, although I didn’t want to marry just anyone. I wanted to marry Cory. Yet even then, I still imagined us eloping. I was back to day-dreaming of the original plan. The thought of planning a wedding with many guests and many vendors and then the organization of it all–it was all too much, overwhelming even. A private ceremony seemed much more appropriate. After all, it was a venture that concerned just the two of us.
And then Cory surprised me when he proposed in Brooklyn while on vacation.
We obviously had discussed getting married for sometime before, but now the engagement was real. The idea of sharing our love with friends and family became much more appealing with every phone call to tell the exciting news. It was also an idea I noticed Cory wanted. Watching his excitement and anxiousness to celebrate our love eventually began to make me cave. What was I so afraid of? I had to ask myself. And eventually the answer came to me–how could one event accurately express how much I love Cory?
I hadn’t even made it to the first stages of wedding planning before I overwhelmed myself with hypothetical situations and thinking of every detail that could possibly go wrong. I had also accounted for a great expense and didn’t think myself worth it, never mind the fact that there are certain practices in traditional weddings I don’t agree with, nor see myself doing, ever. Then, just when I needed it most, Cory said the most liberating thing he could ever say in regards to our special day, “It’s our wedding. We can do whatever we want. It’s not like we have to follow any rules.”
Part of being a perfectionist, which I am sometimes guilty of, is being a rule follower. There are no rules or tangible handbooks that come along with getting engaged, however there are a lot of societal pressures. Now looking back, I feel it was those “norms” I was so desperately trying to avoid, not necessarily the wedding ceremony. I love my love story. I want to share my love story with everyone on the planet, and wish something of the same to everyone as well. Because love really is the greatest gift of human nature. And even when it seems like the world is ending, I think finding love is worth the wait.
Since liberating myself from expectations, I have really enjoyed planning our wedding celebration. It helps that Cory is super into the planning, too. As he puts it, “We’re just planning the biggest party of our lives. Let’s make it fun.” And when he says ‘biggest party’ I know that he means the party that best describes us and our connection. Basically, as I’ve come to realize, our wedding day will be just a party that we detail with our favorite things, like the colors yellow and gray, along with white flowers and mason jars and crossword puzzles and 80’s music.
Putting traditions aside, we’ve decided not to have a bridal party because there’s no friend or family member that means more to us than the other. It is our thought that everyone attending the wedding is a part of the wedding. We’ve sans invitations and opted for vintage post cards that directs our guests to a website (Why not try to save paper and recycle? Besides, it gave us a reason to take an adventure to the Rose Bowl Flea Market). We’ve also chosen to get married on a Thursday so our East Coast guests can enjoy the weekend exploring the West Coast (and then learned it was cost effective! Double bonus). Finally, the night before our wedding we’re hosting a ‘Movie Night Under the Stars’ for our guests instead of a private rehearsal dinner.
Breaking the rules of tradition is okay.
Not all weddings have to be a ceremony boxed in by societal parameters. This idea has helped me wrap my head around the planning and what the day actually represents. It’s also kept me from booking the next flight to Vegas. While breaking the traditional wedding rules is not for everyone, it’s perfect for us. Especially since it’s time we carve our own path and start our own traditions.