*Laura, PhD student in Public Policy & Francisco, Research Economist*
When we did a call for submissions earlier this week, we asked for each of you who got married this year to consider writing a wedding graduate post. And for me, Laura’s post explains why. This telling of our wedding stories, sharing what we learned with each other, this passing of the baton? For me, that’s the core of what APW is about. And the baton Laura is passing is a damn good one. Let’s dive in.
My husband is from Mexico and I am from California, so when we got engaged it seemed that we would have a plethora of amazingly gorgeous places to have our wedding, right? Uh, well not exactly. When it came to thinking about where would actually be affordable, practical, and right for us, we ended up deciding on my hometown in the Sacramento Valley—not exactly an amazing beach town or Napa Valley wedding hotspot, if you know what I mean. However, when we considered the prices and logistics of wedding sites by the water or among vineyards, suddenly a hometown wedding seemed just perfect. (With one exception: There is a significant probability in my hometown that any day in July—when we wanted to get married—will be a scorcher…. Thus, I started regularly checking online averages and recent July weather temperatures in the area.)
My husband and I are planners (see weather researching above) and generally people who like to have things organized and in order. However, despite our best intentions, it turns out that planning a wedding requires much more flexibility and ability to “go with the flow” than I had ever anticipated.
From the minute we got engaged, I was surprised that other people’s emotions were involved in our wedding. This was our decision, our wedding, our marriage, so why were others emotionally invested in our wedding or our decision to get married? However, what I experienced during the wedding dramatically changed my perspective on the involvement of others. Our wedding was a truly community event, and I came to understand how support from family and friends makes “going with the flow” possible.
Yes, this was our marriage. Yes, it was our decision. But our friends and family were there to support us, both in planning and on the day of the wedding. When I think back on our wedding, I think of all the little actions of love and assistance our friends and family made to help us throughout the process. These are the memorable things that will stay with me forever. These are the moments that made me realize on my wedding day that, yes, the day was about the new life my partner and I are going to create together, but it will be a life that includes the support and encouragement of those who mean the most to us.
So what were those things that I remember?
I remember my grandma and Uncle Danny going to the florist to buy some orchids for my hair, even though this required buying the whole plant. I remember my good friend Leah going to a copy center to make copies of all of the programs the day before the wedding, even though it was something I had planned to do that day. I remember my friend Magie doing my makeup and feeling that I was being taken care of by familiar and knowledgeable hands. Sandra hanging out with me at the salon as I had my hair done as we caught up about life and love. I remember Sarah loaning me her earrings and making sure my dress was properly steamed (using the steamer that Aunt Alana brought up from Los Angeles). I remember the fact that the preparations for the wedding were such fun because my awesome friend Marita is a fabulous wedding photographer, and I was able to feel at home with my best friends in the world.
What else do I remember?
I remember my dad, who was so proud and nervous, walking me down the aisle. I remember my brother acting as our DJ (and website designer) creating the atmosphere that made us be in the moment during the ceremony and party down at the reception. I remember my mom’s husband, Richard, officiating in Spanish and English at our bilingual ceremony (and giving us tips in the weeks before the wedding on creating a meaningful celebration).
I remember my mom, who did so much, telling me on the brief walk across the lawn to the reception, that the wind had knocked over all of the flower centerpieces on all of the tables (which she had designed and put together with the help of grandma), but that she and the caterers had everything back in place (with new tablecloths!) before I arrived to the wedding site. As my mom told me the story, I was amazed that she and everyone else had taken care of these little details so that Paco and I could have a wonderful day.
Before the wedding, I was nervous about the potential for heat on the day of the wedding. Getting married away from the coast in California in the summer means you are taking risks with potentially sizzling weather. We were lucky to have a beautiful, sunny, and mild day that provided a basking sunshine on our late afternoon wedding. However, even more than the sun, Paco and I were surrounded by the warmth of those who care about us. We were surrounded by those who showed their support for our new union through so many different ways. These are the details that mattered at our wedding.
Despite our tendencies to carefully plan, through the process of planning and having a wedding, I learned that you must let go. However, I also learned that when we let go, there will be a supportive network of friends and family to help us through to the next step. Thus, the wedding was a wonderful and joyous symbol for what’s to come. Though we can’t control what will happen in our future, and though I know there will be ups and downs, after the wedding I feel more confident than ever that Paco and I are surrounded by a community that will get us through the rough parts and will help us to become our best selves. While we have selected each other as our partners in this journey called life, what a blessing to know that we are surrounded by such love and support.
I understand now why others were emotionally invested in our wedding and our marriage… and I am so thankful.