I’m beyond overjoyed to finally (finally!) bring you Ellie’s wedding graduate post. Ellie writes at Wedding For Two and has been stressing on twitter for months about not having quite the right thing to say, and about how she didn’t feel married after her wedding, and about how life has been hard lately, and that’s tough as a newlywed. But we recently we had a conversation about how your wedding graduate post should just be a letter to your pre-wedding self, and suddenly she had it in the bag. She told me, “Until now, I had been getting caught up in trying to express our wedding as a community event and talk about how we hired a family friend’s daughter as our photographer and how his ex-girlfriend made our cake (which a number of people warned me not to eat since it would be poisoned; it was not and people are stupid) and the way my college buddies played our ceremony music and how our friend’s wife did our wedding DVD and how all our family and friends pitched in and made our wedding day happen and it was amazing. But that’s stuff I thought that APW readers wanted to hear, and it’s nothing I hadn’t heard before, and it’s not at all what made our wedding amazing. So I wrote about how getting married wasn’t the important part, and the details really did matter, and I wanted a fluffy princess dress and a tiara because that is who I am, dammit. I also wrote about how getting married didn’t make us feel married and I didn’t feel married until our first really ugly fight.” Which is so exactly RIGHT. So without further ado, the lady herself:
I thought I knew what getting married and having a wedding was all about. I read all those blog posts that reminded me that the most important part of our wedding was that we got married. You should know something. Getting married was the least important part.
Why do I say that? Getting married is something anybody can do, any day of the week, anywhere. We picked this day and this place because they were important to us. We picked this day and this place so that our family could come, because at the end of the day, the most important part of the wedding was spending time with my family (because they’re all my family now) and feeling their love and support as I got ready to step out as a fully grown up married lady with my very own baby family.
As a side note: you should also know that it’s really okay if you don’t spend a whole lot of time with your husband on your wedding day – you get the rest of your lives.
The most important things about our wedding, to me, turned out to be things like the last few moments with my parents and my sister right before we walked down the aisle, and the way that I felt as I walked past everyone I loved and they were all smiling at me like crazy. It turned out to be enjoying the company of the people I love most in the world, as much as possible, for as long as possible.
I could tell you all about how the details aren’t really that important, but the funny thing is – they are. And I don’t regret any of them. I had a lot of fun putting our wedding together – from the evenings that I got to spend with my mom and my cousin, the afternoons I spent with my sister and sister-in-law, the frantic last-minute program folding and OOT bag stuffing done by our groomsman and his sister when they stayed with us before the wedding, the hours I spent with my husband and best man as we built our very own photobooth, and most importantly the quiet moments I spent with my sewing machine in self reflection about what I was preparing for and who I was to begin with. The details don’t really matter in the end, but like so many things, the important part is the journey, not the destination.
The projects we spent the least amount of time on – our favors, our guestbook, the programs – they simply didn’t matter and I don’t wish now that I had spent more time on them. Although if I could, I wouldn’t have forgotten our parent’s names in the programs. Oh, and even though I spent hours slaving over the details and my husband and cousins spent hours executing them on the wedding day, the thing that everybody is still talking about four months after our wedding? How absolutely perfect the weather was.
I should mention that as much as I stressed about projects and details, I fought against the attire requirements – worrying about expensive shoes and perfect jewelry wasn’t for me. Nobody noticed the plaid Tevas I got married in and they were really comfortable. Nobody noticed that my dress was hemmed just a bit too short for my dancing shoes, or that I had tan lines, or that I wore the same necklace my sister wore, earrings I’d owned for three years, and a veil I made myself.
I stressed a lot about my dress not being right. I bought it at Running of the Brides because I liked how it felt, but then I worried. I worried because every outdoorsy woodsy wedding I saw had the bride(s) in a simple dress. I stressed because a lot of the blogs talked about beautiful simple dresses and implied that we all should wear them to say “f*ck off” to the wedding industry. I stressed because blogs made fun of princess dresses. Eventually I realized I was feeling bullied, and at the end of the day, I was an ordinary girl who wanted a princess dress, and my wedding was going to reflect me, darnit. At the end of the night I didn’t want to take it off. I wore it to the bar afterward, and then they carded me. My dad vouched for me though, so it was okay.
I feel the need to warn you: the really, really scary part is that you might not feel married at all and you will wander away from the day with your husband thinking, “did we do this wrong?” You will look at the marriage certificate and it still won’t sink in. You will hit rough times, because even though you are married, you might realize upon returning home that you are still unemployed, you get bar results very soon, and what’s more, your grandmother is dying. These events do not make you feel more married. Eventually it happens – during an ugly but normal fight – that fight you have every few months about how messy the kitchen is – you realize that you are married, and you can’t leave, and neither can he, and it’s all good. It might happen differently for you, but as my sister said in her toast, “being married is like birthdays – you don’t always feel older on your birthday, but one day you just feel old.”
The best decision we made was to have a Sunday wedding, stop craft production on Thursday night, and spend the rest of the weekend with our family. There are people who think a three-day-wedding-extravaganza is silly, or that nonstop events are stressful, but for us, it was perfect. From Friday night at the Aquarium to the Saturday Morning 5k, the Rehearsal Lunch, the rehearsal itself (which was hellish) bar night with our best friends and cousins, breakfast the morning of the wedding with our aunts, the wedding, the after party, and the brunch on Monday, we actually got to see everyone and spend time with them and I felt so honored and loved the whole time. We owed some of these people our souls and quite possibly our firstborn child for all of the help and love and support they gave us, and I learned that on your wedding day, if something is important to you, even if it’s silly, your people will move heaven and earth to make it happen.
To sum it all up, your wedding day probably isn’t the best day of your life. But for a million tiny little reasons, it’s gonna be the day you’ll end up wishing you could relive over and over again.
Photos by: Prema Photographic