Announcing a wedding is a delicate thing, especially when you aren’t doing it by the books. Brandon and I sent round an engagement email without really considering whether we were planning to include the recipients in the wedding. A few months later, we realized we weren’t going to include anyone in the wedding besides a couple of close friends. Sure, we’d solved (or at least delayed) one problem—who to invite. But we’d created a whole new one—who to tell, and how.
I wanted to tell my family in person. Since they live on another continent, that was not an easy feat. We ended up eloping on the morning of our flight to Britain. I carried my bouquet when we boarded, and the first, perhaps most satisfying announcement followed, as we told our tale to the astonished hostess.
“So this is your wedding night? An overnight flight with Aer Lingus?” she asked, repeatedly, in apparent shock. She gave us champagne, but I think it was in consolation rather than congratulation. We sipped, exhausted, from little plastic cups.
We changed planes in Dublin and had time to drop in on Brandon’s friend Mark. I left the bouquet on a bridge across the Liffey. Brandon showed his wedding ring.
“Oh, like an engagement ring, but for dudes?” Mark asked, confused, before we filled him in.
Next we hopped on a plane to England. We’d been married twenty-four hours and hadn’t slept yet. When we made it to my parents’ house, not all the family was home from work, and we sat on our wedding rings and sipped tea until everyone arrived.
“We’re, ah, already married,” was my inspired phrasing. It went down well. Soon we were sitting round listening to stories about other elopements from earlier generations, which were much more standard than I’d realized.
Brandon was left with the potentially awkward task of telling his relatives by phone, but even that went smoothly. Unlike his sister, we had picked City Hall, not Dollywood, as our secret wedding venue of choice, but aside from that, I don’t think he surprised anyone.
We tried, both during that break and when we got back to the States, to inform as many friends and family as we could manage face to face. It just seemed polite. On the other hand, it wasn’t always feasible. Eventually we resorted to email again, a message somewhere along the lines of, “Hey, you know we said we were planning to get married? Well…” Everyone, without exception, was gracious and delighted.
Facebook, which I use for work as well as play, and where I have several hundred contacts, was the final frontier. Becoming “Married” on my profile was not a high priority—it didn’t concern contacts who aren’t close, and I wanted everyone else to hear it from me, not a status update. Several weeks passed before I eventually took the plunge.
“CONGRATULATIONS!” Facebook told me. “Madeline and Brandon got married in April 2012,” it told everyone we know. This was clearly untrue, as many bemused connections pointed out in the comments. I tried fiddling with the settings, but under the new Timeline, our wedding is forever fixed as occurring in the spring of this year.
Oh well. We already had a December anniversary lined up, and were revving up to our summer receptions. Our New Year’s Eve engagement party had been upgraded to an impromptu wedding celebration. We celebrated the day I got my Green Card. Getting married, it turns out, is really taking a full year. Rather than trying to correct Facebook, perhaps we’ll simply raise an extra glass of bubbly next year to commemorate the day of our social media union: Our Facebookiversary.
Photo credit: Joe Lingeman