Ok! So first! Later today, Anne will be back giving away her dress, Sisterhood style. Wheee! But first she’s here sharing her wisdom. What I love about Anne’s wedding graduate post is not just the visible joy, or the little girl with the flamingo on her head (though, obviously, none of that hurts). What I love is the way Anne talks about how planning a wedding can be a real coming to grips with what we want, and who we are. And pulling off a wedding can show us that we are so much more powerful than we think we are, and that it’s time for us to take on the world (So lets take on the world, yes? Deal!).
Most women have thought about their weddings in the years before the big day arrives. Many details of weddings are planned well in advance of even having a partner! I am no different. I had loose visions of what I wanted. There were elaborate letterpress invitations, a fancy white dress, and a beautiful space with candles and flowers. It was all very typical WIC.
Although it sounds silly to admit, I never imagined that my future husband wouldn’t want the same wedding as I did. I was fooled by movies where the guy says, “I just want her to be happy.” Lucky for me, that’s not my Husband. He challenges me. When something doesn’t seem right, he asks for a better solution. I love that about him. He often reminded me to consider the marriage instead of the wedding, and that became the theme of our wedding planning experience.
When it came time to start planning our wedding we were forced to discuss exactly what we expected. This was a really hard part of the process for me. Turns out, I didn’t really know what I wanted. I could pick out what I liked and didn’t like on wedding websites, (Monogrammed napkins? No. Gorgeous dress? Yes.) but I had no clear, overall vision for our wedding. I consider myself a fairly independent and confident woman, but I wasn’t sure that we could pull off the wedding we wanted. (This was obviously before I found APW!)
I was throwing around so many ideas, that I did not stop to think about what we wanted our wedding to be. After talking with the Husband, we decided we wanted a wedding where we could invite everyone we wanted and make them all comfortable. To us, comfortable meant a reception outdoors, in the sun, in summer time clothes, and it also meant a formal ceremony.
At the end of the day our wedding was definitely a perfect combination of our lifestyles. Isn’t that the point? We had a ceremony in the church I grew up in on a Sunday afternoon. Five minutes away, we had a barbeque under a tent. We had field games like bocce and beanbags with bubbles and coloring books for the kids. We had 120 people in shorts and sundresses.
We had a family member as the photographer. We DIY’d our own cupcake tower and BBQ rub favors. We got flowers at the grocery store. We had everything we needed to celebrate the birth of our new baby family. It wasn’t overly fancy, but neither are we.
Sitting on the altar during the ceremony, I was struck by the people around me. My mother (my maid-of honor and only attendant) sat to the right of me. My fiancé was on my other side and his brother (his best man and only attendant) sat next to him. I looked out at all of the guests. Never in my life had my college friends been in the same room as my coworkers and family. What an overwhelming feeling to see all of the people you love in one place!
Looking out at our guests, I finally realized what our wedding was going to be about. Our wedding was a celebration of every relationship in our lives. The Husband and I were honoring our relationship with each other, but we were also celebrating all of the other relationships in our lives – our amicable relationships with friends and coworkers, our familial relationships, our parents’ relationships (both married 30+ years, woot! woot!). All of these had shaped our lives and they continue to support us in our marriage. It was overwhelming and wonderfully perfect.
Photography copyright by Carol Willoughby