*Katherine, Teacher & Spencer, Teacher*
I’m super excited about today’s wedding graduate post, and not just because it was shot by APW sponsor Allison Andres, or because Katherine and Spencer got their cake from the same bakery that we got our cake from. Nope! It’s because Katherine talks about planning a wedding with her inner flower girl in tow. I’ve talked pretty frankly about how much I’ve been obsessed with weddings since I was super teeny, so I completely feel Katherine on this. But in the end, I love this post the most because of her message of letting go and realizing when you’re marrying something you love… everything really does work out. Somehow. Inner flower girl and all.
Months ago my father wrote his own piece for APW about his wedding some thirty-five years ago. He waxed eloquently on the idea of the wedding being a beginning, on how life will have its twists and turns. Today I will tell you a story about what a hissyfit over beer and wine taught me about myself. My dad is a professional writer, and I am simply a first grade teacher who tries to keep it real. Here is my story:
My first brush with the wonder that is a wedding came when I was six years old and was tapped to be a flower girl. I remember going to a seamstress with my mother and grandmother to have my dress made. Oh my gosh you can actually have a dress made just for you? I was sold. Later on, after the wedding, I would routinely put on my flower girl dress, crank up Whitney Houston, and dance on my bed. Doing this made me feel invincible.
Fast-forward roughly twenty years to the invention of reality television. This genre has brought us many guilty pleasures such as American Idol, Survivor, and Dancing With The Stars. And, of course, The Learning Channel, aka TLC. Only God knows what exactly we are supposed to be learning from this channel, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t produce some fascinating television.
I loved watching to see the types of dresses brides were buying, the different centerpieces that were featured, and if a birdcage veil was considered appropriate. Were most brides choosing to go with a buffet or a plated dinner for their big day? Inquiring minds want to know!
Over time my love of weddings turned into judgment of weddings. Since my brush with greatness as a six-year-old flower girl, I had been crafting my big day in my mind. As I watched more television (and eventually read more wedding-porn blogs) my crafting turned into criticism. I would find myself attending the weddings of friends and loved ones and thinking, “Ugh, I would never have only one choice of cake. Guests need variety,” or, “Why on earth would you pick this song for your first dance?” I moved from being a woman with my own ideas, to being downright critical. And it was not good.
But then something magical happened. I got the smack in the face I needed and deserved. I had my classic f*ck it moment.
A week before the wedding I got an email from the hotel where the reception was being held. They were just confirming the arrangements and payment details. While going over this email I realized that the bar at our reception would only be open for one hour, and I had been under the assumption it would be open all night.
Now, to most people this would be frustrating. Annoying. Not ideal. To me this became the epic wedding meltdown to end all epic wedding meltdowns. I cried and cried. I cried to my fiancé. I cried to my parents. I cried to my sister. I had always wanted my wedding to be a giant celebration, a party to be remembered forever! And in my planning I decided that having an open bar all night was a way to make that happen. So when that didn’t work out, I cried because the dream I had for my wedding was gone.
Then I finally stopped crying and I looked in the mirror. First of all, I looked like a crazy person. And secondly, once I took a deep breath I realized why I was really so upset. Yes, I had thought we were paying for something and then when it turned out I was wrong, it was a shock and a disappointment. But the tears were about more than disappointment. I was worried about what my guests would think. I could hear the snickers and the under-their-breath comments about being cheap, about not being a good host, about wishing they were somewhere else.
But you know what? Who gives a crap? The bottom line was this: I was going to marry my favorite person in the whole world. No lack of alcohol or limos or individually wrapped pie pops or whatever else could change that. And if my guests couldn’t enjoy themselves in the presence of our happiness, then they aren’t worth worrying about.
And of course, our wedding was amazing. I have never been happier in all my life. Two minutes into our ceremony I started giggling uncontrollably. Some people may have scoffed at laughing through such a serious occasion, but I couldn’t contain my joy.
As far as I know, the short hours of the bar were a non-issue. Our DJ said that he had never seen a reception with so much dancing and partying. We actually broke the dance floor halfway through the party; the tiles were popping up all over the place. Some people don’t like to dance, but my husband and I do, so it was wonderful.
Television and many blogs have made weddings out to be a spectator sport. But in reality, there is no such thing as a “best” reception or a “winning” wedding. Your wedding wins because it is your wedding. You are surrounded by your most favorite people in the world, and you are wearing a dress (or suit, or sack, or whatever) that you picked out, because you liked it.
I’m not going to lie to you and say that the excited little flower girl inside of me is gone. Of course I still love weddings, but my perspective is a little different now. When I look at a wedding I no longer have secret evil thoughts in my head about everything that was wrong. I just see pretty details and happiness. I see the quiet moment when the bride sneaks a kiss from her groom next to the buffet table. I see the way the groom’s mother looks at her son. I see cousins reuniting on a dance floor.
My wedding was amazing.
Your wedding will be amazing. You are marrying someone awesome.
Everything else? Who cares?