Oct 02, 2011
The first time I got married, I was 19. My husband and I thought we were doing our families a favor by going for the civil ceremony, thereby saving everyone money. We had a judge, a simple white dress, a dark blue suit for David, a bouquet from Safeway, a nice dinner with our attendants and parents, and then a one-night honeymoon at the Comfort Inn across the street. Of course, all that money we saved would later be spent on the divorce, but at least we didnt go all out for something that lasted ten months.
That said, this time I want the whole encillada. But I still want to keep things in perspective, and not blow a wad of cash on a dress I only wear for five hours, a cake that will cost more than my car, or tons of little favors that will likely get left behind.
Funny how when you have no man in the picture, you are not dating anyone seriously, and you are just letting your mind wander, you fantasize about a wedding that is simple and focused on the true meaning of it all, the miracle of joining two different people into, as the Bible puts it, one flesh. You picture a simple ceremony, maybe a cozy garden party or small reception at the church hall, and you see the faces of those who matter most in the fantasy wedding. All simle, all good.
But then, as soon as the real thing seems possible, you begin to see your fantasy take a turn. If you find yourself looking at wedding shows, magazines, and other nuptual related propaganda, well, your fantasy goes from being lovely to, well....the stuff of paranoia.
I know of whence I speak, having recently subjected myself to this process. I used to envision a cozy, almost country affair. My church's sanctuary is able to double as both a place of worship and a venue for dinner and dance. For years I thought, "If I ever get married, I'm doing it here, and we can just have a simple potluck and a nice cake. " After all, isn't that how it was done a century ago? Peolpe got together, they wore their sunday best, the women brought the food and somebody played the fiddle. No David Tutura, no expensive catering, no taking a mortgage out on the farm for a zillion dollar dress.
But now, I am making the mistake of watching Four Weddings, My Fair Wedding, and other such shows. And now, I am fully paranoid.
Why? Because it seems a lot of the ideas I have are, according to these shows, bad. For example, I dont want to use a lot of live flowers. So, I will be using potted seasonal flowers as centerpieces. What cut flowers I do use will be gotten at the local grocery and why not? I know how to put a bouquet together. I want to use candles, but the church doesn't allow lit candles (for insurance reasons) other than those used for the ceremony. Thus, flameless candles to the rescue. I want to have a garland of fall leaves running down either side of the aisle, faux being the only choice. Some people in my life have alcohol issues, and many simply do not drink at all, so we will be toasting with sparkeling cider rather than champagne, and there will be no booze involved in the festivities. As for the music, my honey and I are karaoke people, as are many of our friends. So it stands to reason that we would have a karaoke DJ at the party.
I thought these were pretty good ideas, reflective of who we are and what we like, until I watched Four Weddings and My Fair Wedding. All these ideas were seen on either or both of these shows, and all were...
"Oh my God, awful!"
"Where is the wow factor?!"
So now, every time I consider an idea, a frugal alternative or something I think would be cool and different, I see four imaginary wedding guests leaning over my shoulder and making fun of me. Or I imagine David Tutura telling me my dress is boring and I lack flowers that look "AMAZING!" I begin to doubt my own taste, and I start telling myself, "If I HAD the money to rent an awesome hall and have a team of people build a replica of the Tag Mahal I'd freakin' DO it! But I don', so its a few tables and centerpieces from Safeway. Soooooorry!"
When I take a step back, however, I realize that the shows that, on the surface, are there to provide ideas and help really do more damage than good. I take a breath and realize that the people I will be inviting are our friends and family, not critics. Martha Stewart isn't coming, but my Aunt Madeline is. The Mayor of Seattle isn't on the guest list, but my mentor and father-figure will be. The people who love us the most will be captivated not by the floral arrangements or the music or the dress, but by the love and warmth that comes when the tribe comes together to celebrate one of humankind's oldest rites; marriage.
So I will continue to watch these shows, but will do so with a bit of distance. After all, I don't need to go for the coveted wow-factor. Two people in love; how much more of a wow do we need?
About a year ago, the man I love and I were lazily wrapped in each other's arms, and I brought up, rather casually, that should we ever take the plunge, we should have a wedding in October. I mentioned that I love the coziness that comes with the autumn, and that we could make it fun by adding some seasonal stuff; actually I said we could trick or treat instead of having a reception. I was joking, actually. We both love the fall, but we eschew Halloween because our faith is opposed to the occult. But, in reality, I admit, I was kind of fishing around to see what he would say. We'd talked about marriage before, but it was really more of a "what if" thing rather than a concrete plan.
Before I knew it, he was off and running. He was on the phone with his sister, telling her of his own vision of how it would work. And then, he was telling his best friend, who thought the whole thing was amusing. I thought so, too, because he was acting more like a girl than I, coming up with these great and fantastic concepts.
But a few weeks after that, he was arrested. I won't go into detail, but I will say that I found out that I had been living in denial for some time. The fact was, he was addicted to meth. No, he didn't look like the typical meth user you see in the posters; in fact, he looked healthy and robust. But looking back, there were signs. I only had to open my eyes.
Right now, we are apart. But he is the man I love, and loved the moment I met him, and I am giving him the time he needs to get clean and restart his life. I know he loves me, and I am praying and waiting. Will I wait forever? Of course not. But I have reasons, many reasons, to believe there is still life in this. Either I am a hopeless romantic or hopelessly niave. But either way, I am, first and foremost, a woman of faith. And when God tells me to stop praying and move on, I will.
In the meantime, I am planning the wedding we started to dream about. We will see what happens from there.