Saturday, January 26, 2013

Forget the wedding, get married instead.

Act #27:  Strive to forget your wedding day.

Lately it seems that just about everyone who is half my age or so, is getting married.  No matter how empowered and independent we are, how liberated we've become, many of us have been planning our wedding day since we were little girls.  For some reason, we are in love, enamored - not with our potential life partners - but with the romantic notion that one magical day will somehow transform us into fairy tale princesses.   Some have colors picked out, bridesmaids selected, a first dance song in mind.   Some are convinced that there could be no future moment that would rival those fleeting 5 seconds at the alter where we promise our undying love to our soul mate.

Of course this very notion has helped to create a monstrosity of a wedding industry, a slew of reality shows that portray women as overpowering, irrational, and controlling, extravagant multi-state gift registries - all culminating in a 2-hour event that often times costs more than a down payment for a house.  Or the gross national income of a small country. 

As women, the pressures that we place upon ourselves that day is astounding.  How many times have you heard someone reply, "the day I got married" when asked of the happiest moment in their life?  Having been down the aisle a couple times myself, I am here to live and tell, that your most meaningful, most memorable moments with your life partner will not take place on your wedding day. Period.  Or at least they shouldn't.  

And here's another shocker.  Some of your most meaningful moments with your spouse aren't necessarily going to be happy ones.  Of course you'll probably have those expected moments of bliss like the birth of your child, your honeymoon, the day you move into your first house together.  But the true moments that brought me closer to my husband have been these: 

The day I miscarried our first child.  The day my father-in-law died.  The day I found out that 20 children the same age as our son, were killed in their first-grade classroom. 

It was during these moments that I felt closest to my husband, Adam - someone I haven't even know for a fraction of my life.  During these moments, he went from being my lover to being my family.   During these moments that I knew for certain that we could, and would, uphold and uplift each other, not only in sickness and in health, but when it truly mattered.  While I will always have such fond memories of our wedding day (when we, and 50 of our closest friends and family feasted on boxed wine and good coffee at a surprise wedding that took place at our local coffee shop), there have been so many more monumental moments in our shared life together.  And I hope many more to come.

So while I would never want to minimize the beauty of ritual and ceremony, I challenge us as women to re-think how much sacredness we place on our wedding day.  How we've become the subject of ridicule (think "Bridezillas"), how we've allowed the wedding industry to capitalize on our girlhood dreams, how we've allowed society to imprint those dreams on us in the first place, and how we've been convinced that our weddings will somehow be less wonderful if we don't spend exorbitant amounts of energy and resources on them.

My sisters, if you end up finding love, and you are lucky enough to have the legal rights and choice on whether or not to marry, I hope you consider viewing your wedding day as merely the beginning of the book, rather than the "happily ever after" ending.  I hope you have a "good" wedding day.  But more importantly, I hope that 50 years from now you look back and barely recall your wedding day as a blurry, fading memory - one that has been out-shined and out-lived by a lifetime of more meaningful, more poignant moments that are way more gratifying than the day you hiked your ball gown up to do the electric slide.


  1. I like this reflection so. darn. much. When I first got engaged, I really struggled with the comparison game ("my friend did this"..."my other friend did that"), but I am so thankful that my fiance and I have been able to decide what we want for our day and go with that...even if it will look different or more low-key or whatever compared to other weddings. It will be the day we celebrate the first day of our marriage...a good day, but (as you said), hopefully not the best day of our lives. =)

    1. I trust that your wedding will be beautiful, as will the days that follow. Best to you both!

  2. Here here! The most important day of your marriage isn't the first, it is the last :)