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Andee & Collin

*Andee, Human Resources & Collin, Imprintable Sales*

On APW, we tell a lot of whatever the reverse of wedding horror stories is. And that’s for one simple reason: When I was getting married, the airwaves seemed to be full of wedding day disasters (that could have been averted if the couple just spent more money), and those stories were giving me nervous breakdowns. What I really needed to hear was that if I relaxed, things would probably be more or less fine. Not perfect, but fine. But that means we don’t always spend enough time discussing not totally loving your wedding. (Do you want to write about this? Send us a post!) So Andee’s story about her wedding not being the best wedding ever is just right. It’s a great story of coming to peace with yourself, but also a story of a wedding that clearly was the best wedding ever (for them). Let’s cheer-on her self-acceptance and compliment her outfit (holy sh*t that dress…). 

“Everyone told me it was the best, most fun wedding they had been to”—I will never say those words. The fact is no one told me that our wedding was the best or most fun anything. I’ve heard people enjoyed the crab, but that’s about as far as the compliments go. And it took me a while to be totally fine with our wedding. I loved that our wedding ended with us being married, but I hated that other people didn’t love or even like our wedding. People left much earlier than I had hoped. It hurt my feelings. After the wedding was over I began to doubt all the decisions we had made about the wedding. We got married in my parents’ yard, with all homemade food and only thirty people (including us) in attendance. It wasn’t a shotgun wedding, it was more of a “the bride has mild social anxiety disorder and planning a big party isn’t her bag” wedding.

When we first got engaged I was giddy on the love and excitement and I willingly fooled myself into thinking I could do the 150-guest wedding with dancing and cake cutting and a big dress and all that jazz. When I imagined my wedding before I met Collin it was always at the courthouse. But this courthouse type of girl fell in love with a wedding type of guy. Collin was dead set against a courthouse wedding; his family has been through a great deal of loss in the past several years and they needed something to celebrate.

So I pushed forward through my doubts about my ability to do the wedding thing and continued planning. We rented a venue, booked a photographer and a DJ, sent the save-the-dates to 100+ people. And then came the great wedding meltdown of 2011. It involved lots of crying and grinding of teeth and loss of sleep—all because I was trying to fit my square self into a round wedding. It just wasn’t happening. I felt like a complete and utter failure because I hated and dreaded my own upcoming wedding.

Something was not right; inside I felt severely unbalanced. My family was extremely worried for my health and sanity. Then one day in the midst of planning melt down, Collin said we were forgetting it, forgetting the big wedding. He cared more about me than anything else, and he just wanted to marry me, and he preferred that I be sane when we did it. I burrowed into his neck and cried tears of relief mixed with tears of guilt for being unable to do what he wanted for his family. He assured me it would be OK. We called the vendors, lost our deposits and were free for the next couple of months.

We floated blissfully unattached from wedding planning. We had a date set, but that was it. It was several hazy months down the road. We went to visit my parents one weekend and Collin said we should get married there, in their yard. Done. My mom would make the food. Done. I found a dress a few weeks before the wedding. Done. We invited our family and very closest friends. Done. My dad borrowed chairs and tables from his work. Done. I ordered flowers online. Done. Everything fell into place. It wasn’t a struggle, I didn’t have to medicate myself to sleep anymore, and my in-laws were just excited we were getting married. So it was very small and very simple.

If I had been paying attention, I would have realized all along that we are simple people. Our relationship was easy and straightforward from the beginning. I didn’t have to bend and shape myself into something I really couldn’t be when I was with Collin. We just naturally fit together and we naturally fit into one another’s lives. It wasn’t a struggle, so it was natural that our wedding should be simple and natural for us. No bending and jamming.

And then we were married, in front of the people who had most impacted our lives, the most important people to us. And the people that most needed something to celebrate were there and full of joy. And my heart felt fuller than it ever had in my whole life.

Even with an immensely full heart, I struggled for seven months trying to come to grips with our wedding. Every time I read, “People told me it was the best wedding they’d ever been to,” on APW I would cringe and question our decisions and my inabiltity to pull off a bigger wedding. I worried if I had hurt people’s feelings by not inviting them. I got married successfully but the failure of not being able to do the bigger wedding still hung around.

Then my sister got married seven months after I did. She did the big wedding with all the people and it was beautiful and Mexican Fiesta themed (we are Norwegian, she just likes Cinco de Mayo). It was incredibly fun and lively, and it was perfectly suited to them as a couple. It put my post-wedding questions to bed. I couldn’t have done the big event. It wasn’t possible for me to do it without being completely miserable. I did the best I could. And I got to marry a wonderful man in front of the people that mattered the most to me. I’ve been able to let go of all that guilt and angst about my wedding not being super fun or super anything really. It was what it was and it is done and it served its purpose. Our wedding may not have been the best wedding people had ever been to but it was definitely the best wedding for us.

The Info—Photography: Tiffany Wilson (With some photos by family and friends. Final photo was taken at Andee’s sister’s wedding, which Andee describes as “what closure and acceptance look like.”) / Venue: Andee’s parents’ home

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