I Went to the Wedding And All I Got Was This Marriage...
When I was a little girl, my Dad offered me a large sum of money to go to the courthouse in lieu of having a big wedding. He was no dummy - two daughters equals two weddings. "Consider it a down payment for a house," he would say. And I gave it serious thought for many years and even after my engagement, but at the end of the day I wanted a wedding. It's just not all that I wanted...
People get married for the wrong reasons. Not all people, but a lot of people do. And to be honest - I don't know that there is just one "right" reason to get married, but there are sure as hell wrong ones. Here's a fun fact - my mother married her first husband (not my Dad) when she was still in college because she was tired of being a virgin. So she got married, had sex and was like, "that's it?" True story.
But that's not the only "wrong" reason people get married. Some do it because they want to have kids and don't think they should do it without being married. Setting aside my own personal beliefs on this topic, if you want to have a baby you physically don't need a whole marriage to do it. Some people do it because everyone else is - again, not a good enough reason. Still others do it for perhaps the WORST reason of all - because they want to have a wedding. A freakin' wedding...
We all know the types - more concerned about putting together the perfect wedding on Pinterest rather than thinking seriously about the future. Don't get me wrong - once you do commit to being married and begin planning a wedding, Pinterest is very helpful. I used it religiously. But something I did more religiously than pinning veils and bridesmaid gift ideas - I prayed and participated in couple's counseling with our minister. At the end of the day, four hours in one day is not worth risking "forever" for.
I've said it before and I will say it again - I had a fabulous wedding. It was magical and beyond my wildest imagination. But halfway through the reception, I was so ready to change into my Chuck Taylors and eat cheeseburgers with my new husband on a couch with wine. I've never told anyone this, but among the many "sweet nothings" my husband whispered to me during our first dance, the most romantic thing he said was, "wanna get out of here and go find a good cupcake?" He just gets me. For us - we were more excited about jumping into the crazy, imperfect and beautiful mess that is our marriage than we were about any of the pomp and circumstance. In fact - and maybe this is a piece for another day - the morning after our wedding we sat in the wedding suite and ate leftover cake and watched the football game. And it was romantic and real as hell.
Some little girls dream of weddings and dresses and honeymoons. But here's the thing - all of that stuff goes away. Sure you have wonderful memories and photographs from one of the most important days of your life, but if you put too much stock in the day itself, you will be disappointed. You put so much effort into the details of this big bash and when it's over, then what do you do? You think about something like a wedding dress - you are in it for four hours and then where does it go? Mine is beautifully preserved, but it's in a guest room closet. What's not in a closet that I can't ignore? - the husband I married who is right now sitting on this couch next to me and just asked me, "what's for dinner?" He's still here. And still relevant (and apparently still hungry even though he ate like three hours ago). And I will happily make him a meal. Because I married him for the right reasons - I wanted a partner that I didn't mind cookng a meal for because I knew he would hold me down in other ways. Sure there are bad days, and even days when I'm thinking "what the hell did we do?" but I'm in this - happily and willingly.
Look, I'm not some grumpy old judgmental married lady. I'm just someone who has seen too many people take the plunge because they want the fairytale. Screw the fairytale. It doesn't exist. If you aren't down with grinding - and I do mean grinding - through life with someone who you may or may not like on a given day, but you are committed daily to loving them and growing with them, then don't lie to yourself and say you want to get married if what you really wanted was the wedding.
Despite what this piece may convey, I'm a BIG fan of weddings. I encourage people to go all out for them, and enjoy the process of planning them, and dance their hearts out at them. Indeed, I love everything about weddings. But what I love more is knowing that the two people at the end of the aisle aren't only there for cake and champagne.
What do you think? Ever know someone who got married just for the wedding?
Feature photo (when we were plotting to escape the reception): Johnny Dao Photography