Why Our Wedding Was Just Okay

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Our wedding was just okay. The ceremony was lovely and our reception was a lot of fun. But Clay and I both agree that if we were to plan a wedding now, it’d look a lot different than the one we had when we were 21 and 22.

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Yes – we were young. In fact, I was still in college (this is the part where I like to clarify that I only I had one semester left…). I suppose it’s not a surprise that we’d do things differently now in our 30s than we did in our 20s – especially since our wedding occurred before our frontal lobes were even fully developed. The one thing we wouldn’t change? Getting married. Of all the things choices, decisions, and actions we took in our 20s, deciding to get married was by far our best.

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Our wedding took place during the dark ages – you know, that period of time before Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Our wedding photos are analog and there was not one sky lantern in sight during our reception. TLC’s A Wedding Story, overpriced bridal magazines, and wedding binders at Borders were still the main sources of wedding planning material. We planned to get married after my graduation in May but the Army had other plans, so we scrambled and planned a December wedding in eight weeks. The wedding was typical – white dress, lace veil, six bridesmaids, six groomsmen, a handful of ushers, family, friends, a late-afternoon church ceremony, reception at a historic 1800s stone barn, dinner, dancing, bouquet and garter toss, and even little bells that rang whenever someone wanted us to kiss (what was I thinking?)

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That day, I was so happy to be marrying Clay. I loved him with every ounce of my being that day and love him even more so today. But the actual wedding hoopla caused me great anxiety. I realize now that I don’t really like being the center of attention unless I am speaking. Want me to give a lecture in front of 300 students? No problem. Want me to stand in front of 100 guests in a gown and perform wedding rituals? Not really my scene.

My favorite memory of our wedding ceremony is when the minister chastised us (nicely) for talking to each other during a pivotal part of the liturgy. Looking back, that moment symbolizes what about that day means the most to me – the idea of just me and Clay and no one else. We held a conversation up on the altar in front of an audience that wasn’t privy to it. I’m not even sure if our attendants heard us – I like to think that they didn’t. For that reason alone, I think I would have been happier with a much more intimate and simple wedding. But because I thought I was supposed to want the big dress, the traditional ceremony, and the classic reception, I just rolled with it. Our wedding was okay. I just wish it were a little more us.

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This is the part where I really confuse you – while now I wish that we didn’t have such a traditional wedding, I absolutely love attending weddings and will happily participate in the tradition with a huge smile on my face because love is worth celebrating. Just try not to spend $30,000, okay? Because that is ridiculous. And completely unnecessary.

Marriage is so much more than the wedding. I admit that I tend to roll my eyes at most wedding-related chatter because at the end of the day, it just isn’t a big deal. Or important. A $3000 designer gown isn’t going to make a difference on whether or not your partner is able to walk along side you during the darkest of times. When you’re both exhausted, covered in spit-up, and wondering why you decided that parenthood would be fun, it’s not going to matter whether you splurged for a live band or saved money on a DJ. And if you happen to fall down a grand staircase in your wedding dress or throw up in some hedges it’s just not that big of a deal. Yes – both happened to me on our wedding day.

Our actual wedding was just okay. And that is just fine because it isn’t really important when it comes to our story. We have experienced so much together and we make such a great team that it wouldn’t have mattered if we were married by Elvis in Vegas or if we held our reception at The Plaza Hotel. So while our wedding was just okay, our marriage has been absolutely amazing. And I’ll take that over well-curated centerpieces any day.

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