Stephanie, Blogger & Iain, Software Engineer
Sometimes I feel like I had two weddings. Mostly because a mere three months and one week after my wedding, my younger sister got married. Sure I felt a sense of relief after my own to-do list was finished in March, but it wasn’t until after her wedding in June that I could officially relax and look ahead to the future.
When people found out that my sister and I were getting married three months apart their initial reaction was always, “Oh your mother must be so overwhelmed!” Or, “Your parents have to be so stressed out right now!” But truthfully my family was overjoyed. My dad was looking forward to walking us down the aisle, my mom was gushing to her friends about how thankful she was that we had both found men that complemented us so well, and my brother agreed to wear a kilt in my wedding and stand on the bride’s side in her wedding. My extended family was making travel plans and everyone was thrilled. It was my sister and I who struggled the most.
I am not proud to admit this but my initial reaction upon hearing that my sister’s then boyfriend wanted to propose shortly after I had become engaged was not happiness, it was panic. I was upset because I was older, this was supposed to be my year, and I didn’t want to share it with her. I was twenty-eight at the time and acting like I was eight years old all over again.
In my head it didn’t seem fair because I’d had to share everything with her my entire life. At only eighteen months apart my sister and I shared a room, friends, a car, and an intense emotional streak. Our childhood was easy and happy, but the worst memories I have from it are from arguing with my sister. (Our poor mother had two girls in puberty at the same time, and somehow came out alive. Our little brother threatened to run away from home during many a late night shouting match.) When you have a sister so close in age, everything feels like a competition.
My mom gently reminded me that yes, it’s hard to be the oldest sometimes, but imagine being the second child, you rarely get to do anything first. Imagine always following someone a step behind and trying to live up to the path they’ve set. My mom made a great point but I was still more interested in playing the victim. Plus, I knew we were going to be each other’s Maids of Honors, which meant double duty in a lot of aspects. I wanted so badly for the focus to be on my wedding because I was so excited to be getting married and so happy to finally be a bride.
I can’t tell you how it changed or when it clicked over for me, but one day I was just happy for her. The frustration over the situation was too exhausting and seemed silly so I let it go. My sister announced her engagement and I got to work telling her what blogs to follow (APW of course), and we discussed theme and ideas. We even went shopping together for bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses at the same time because well, we had TWO weddings to plan! We helped each other organize and craft from two different states, and we threw each other kick-ass bachelorette parties.
My sister and I had two completely different and yet perfect weddings. Mine was a dark, romantic evening wedding highlighted by my husband’s Scottish heritage and hers was a bright, beautiful daytime wedding appropriate enough for her former third-grade students to attend the dance portion.
While we had different colors and themes, we ended being married by the same woman pastor from our childhood. We ended up using the same photographer and the same hair and makeup artist because my sister trusted my opinions and research. This vendor sharing prompted me to invent the word shrendor for just such occasions. Share + vendor = shrendor. We had planned to reuse the bathroom baskets from my wedding at her wedding but alas they were stolen from the hotel (umm, who steals bathroom baskets!?!).
Taking me completely by surprise, and being the true family-loving selfless person that she is, my sister suggested we do a rock the frock sister shoot together in our bridal gowns the evening following her afternoon wedding. Well, no one understood this, and I mean no one. My sister was going to let someone else wear a wedding dress on HER wedding day? Who does that?
I understood completely. Here she was showing me how to be more loving. Here she was embracing the situation instead of fighting it. Here she was reminding me what weddings are all about.
The sister shoot was amazing, and the pictures are beautiful, but the memory of that one hour posing with my sister will stay with me forever. Our parents’ backyard was the ideal location, and we even let our wonderful partners join in the fun too. (The only dilemma was making sure I still fit my dress three months after my wedding—not an easy task by the way!)
For me, weddings are about new beginnings and about two families joining together. They’re about commitment and joy and the sweetest kind of love. They’re also about growing up and redefining your other relationships. Luckily, my sister and I found out that planning two weddings at the same time was a huge blessing for us. Next up, having babies around the same? It never ends! :)