Reminder: The Why of Weddings

So many of you have been writing me lately, and leaving comments, worrying about your wedding being frivolous or not something you deserve. And let me tell you now: you deserve it. But more than that, your community needs your wedding almost as much as you need your wedding. They need it for hope, they need it for joy. When people are throwing bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and engagement parties for you, when they buy you gifts and they ask if they can help you with anything, it’s simply because they want to participate in your joy. They want to lift you up, and in so doing, let themselves be lifted too. And your responsibility is simply to let them (and write thank you notes afterward) and then to pass it on. That’s it.

Margaret, who’s dad died three years ago, left this poem in Morgan’s post about weddings in the faith of death, as a wedding reading she was considering using, and I think there is no better a reminder of why we do this thing that we call a wedding:

There are days we live

as if death were nowhere

in the background; from joy

to joy to joy, from wing to wing,

from blossom to blossom to

impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

– Li-Young Lee

First Picture: by Cameron Ingalls. If you haven’t seen this wedding on 100 Layer Cake, you must. It’s such a clear answer to the statement, “But I can’t do what I want, I have to…” Because of course you can. If you’re tired of all of this, grabbed your loved ones, find a tree, and get married under it this weekend.

The rest, wedding graduates, reminding us of why: Drea shot by Michele Wayman, Sarah, Me & a friend, and April, all shot by One Love Photo

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  • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “it’s your day.” And yes, I am the bride, but I am just one of TWO people getting married (so duh, it’s OUR day), but our wedding day also belongs to our families. With Josh’s grandmother recently passing away and one of my family members causing a whole heap of trouble, this wedding is bringing a lot of joy to our family members. And if our wedding can bring even the ittiest, bittiest piece of happiness during some challenging times, we’re going to keep planning no matter how much we want to run to the courthouse or how stressed we get.

  • That first picture gives me chills.

  • Not only do you deserve it but your friends and family deserve it. We went to a wedding on Saturday night and had SUCH A GOOD TIME we couldn’t get out of bed the next morning and just lay there talking about how we are getting old and HOW MUCH FUN WE HAD and how it was absolutely the most fun we’ve ever had at a wedding, even more fun than we had at our own!

    Nothing like lighting up the dance floor with your beloved in celebration of someone else’s nuptials. Eating some cake. Cheering when the bride and groom walk back into the building after a “ten-minute *cough* break.” Having your husband follow you out carrying a potted plant (centerpiece) and someone else’s shoes saying, “Blue shoes, blue shoes, don’t forget your blue shoes …”

    Weddings are so much fun! Spend what you want on them, on the things that are important. Don’t worry what anyone else things because anyone who knows and loves you won’t judge. Ask your friends to help out a bit (For example, I arranged the centerpieces and made the bride’s bouquet) Those memories will last forever. It’s so worth it!

  • Meg,

    You are such a good herder of the wedding cats of doom! I was up until 2 last night, re-reading Wedding Graduate posts, because I can’t convince my Sweet Intended (or myself, sometimes) that we deserve a wedding now, and we do not have to do the “after I get a new job…after we move…when you’re done with course work” (I’m in a Ph.D. program). It won’t be a stylish marriage, he can’t afford a carriage, but I’m trying my damndest to show him that we can have a wedding, a good one, with the circumstances we have right now, and the family we have right now, and that we’re good enough as individuals to be married in front of our loved ones, right now (well, December 29, at sunrise on a beach in San Francisco, hopefully).

    Anyway, I was up until 2 re-reading Wedding Graduate posts, and I saw April’s post again, and I love how she negotiated her circumstances and claimed her right to a wonderful wedding even in the face of people’s actions. Instead of taking that as evidence that she didn’t deserve their wedding, they took that feedback and turned it into fuel. So seeing her photo in this post made me go…yeah. Claim that. The ass-hats are just a sign that we’re doing it right. I deserve my Love Fest!

    • KD

      Exactly wasn’t going to cut it here…

      Pretty much love everything about this comment!

    • meg

      I might put “herder of the wedding cats of doom” on my business cards. I need a good title.

  • I have to say that this was was probably my favorite thing about our wedding – how happy folks were for us and how pleased they were to share in our joy (even the folks who couldn’t make it and were sharing long distance). I think we don’t get enough opportunities in life to share joy with those who are important to us, and we should seize every one. I didn’t really think about that as I was planning the wedding, but it’s definitely what stands out to me now.

  • Amy

    This post is a good reminder for me to both stay gracious as we prepare for a weekend back home with no less than three parties thrown in our honor, and to remember that people won’t get tired of “celebrating us.” Sometimes I feel like have to manage all the things people want to do for us so they don’t get burned out. I guess the joy of a wedding is really something to be shared by everyone–which is why we invite them in the first place!

  • jess

    Li-Young Lee is one of my favorite poets.
    Plunging this Sunday. Thanks, community.

    • Kathryn H.

      I’m getting hitched this Sunday, too!! Thanks, Meg, for this post. I really needed it today.

      • meg

        I wanna hear from both you ladies after :)

  • As a wallflower and a Type A personality, I find it hard to accept the spotlight. I can’t beleive that people would want to celebrate me (or us, for that matter) just for the sake of celebrating us, and I often feel that I need to take on the entire planning myself because I don’t want to be a burden in any way to my friends or family. Thank you for the reminder that people WANT to be a part of our day.

    • *believe* Sorry for the typo. My fingers were moving faster than my brain.

    • I relate 100% to your comment. Thank you for sharing it – it really touched me.

    • Just remember, you can always count on me to help in any way I can, because I like being helpful! And that’s why we found each other…to remind ourselves that we deserve this, and desire means “Of the father…” literally put, the Universe wants you to have it too! Sometimes the hardest thing in this process is remembering that appearances are deceiving, and we are never doing this alone.

    • angela

      i definitely relate to this! my fiance is the attention-lover, and i of course, am the one wearing the dress. sometimes it really freaks me out…

      and i am going to be asking my intended bridesmaids to actually be my bridesmaids in two weeks over breakfast and i already feel bad about “bothering” them with this wedding-thing. i think i was born without the bride gene.

      • Rachel

        Introvert here who is literally frightened of the possible reaction I have to people wanting to love on me all day long. I hate being around people for an extended period of time and I definitely disdain sharing my emotions with people. My wedding, I fear, is going to be more of a shoot-me-in-the-face moment than a “OH HOORAY PAY ATTENTION TO ME AND CELEBRATE ME BECAUSE I’VE DONE SOMETHING BILLIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE HAVE ALSO DONE!” It all just seems scary and awful, and the fact that other people expect me to not see hosting a wedding as scary and awful because I’m a bride feels like everybody has lost sight of who I am and what I need (namely, peace, quiet, and privacy!).

        • meg

          Right. But you’ve got it. They are celebrating you because you’ve done something billions of people have done. Something important (for you and your community), something that ties you to the eternal. You’re renewing their hope, you’re allowing them to celebrate and believe in love, if only for a afternoon.

          It’s a rite of passage, which is important, but it’s both about you and not about you at the same time. They are not paying attention to you because you’re a celebrity for the day, or even because you’re wearing a pretty dress. They are paying attention to you because you’re going through an important rite of passage, one that reminds us of our essential human-ness.

          They paid attention to you the day you were born too. One of the least original and most amazing moments of your life. You’ll just remember it this time.

          • Another moment when the “Exactly” button doesn’t quite cut it.

            Thanks, Meg. This one I’m printing out and clipping everywhere. My cubicle, my wedding folder (the one that gets carted around), the mirror in our bathroom….. <3

          • meg

            I wanted to say Awww, but it won’t let me respond. Stupid thread.

  • Shantel Nilson

    It is so easy to get wrapped up in pleasing everyone else, we forget we should also be pleased, and that it’s ok to be pleased! Thanks for reminding us.

  • Thank you for this post!

    I just got back from my bridal shower weekend and had a hard time falling asleep last night because of all the emotions I was feeling (and all the overanalyzing I was doing…). This was the first “event” surrounding the wedding (which is in two months!) where I got to feel all the love just chucked in our general direction. I have a sarcastic sense of humor and use cynicism as a defense mechanism when I’m feeling awkward….but I made a conscious decision to bring the wall down and just bask in being the center of attention for that day…reminding myself that people WANT to be there and WANT to shower me with love (and gifts!) and celebrate with us. I never want to put people out or have people feel obligated to do anything for me….but in the final countdown to our wedding I’m trying to surrender to all these events. No regrets that I didn’t fully let myself experience all of the wonderful parties and events…’s good practice for being fully present in the moment…which is my one ultimate goal for our wedding.

    • Nina

      I fully and completely relate and while I haven’t had any wedding events yet (they are all taking place in one action packed week due to lots of out of towners) I also really will have to try to just let it happen and appreciate that people WANT to do this!

    • KD

      That’s a GREAT way to think about showers, etc. I totally agree with not wanting to ever put people out. I will remember your words when my showers start…

  • Diana

    Thanks for the pep talk. I had a great reminder on Friday as to the “why” I am having a wedding. I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile and she was so excited for my wedding. She wanted to help ten ways to Sunday and couldn’t wait for the day! It made me get excited again and revisit all the reasons we’re having a wedding in the first place – to bring all of our family and friends together to celebrate. I think it’s normal to have doubts, especially when you make a wedding a priority, a time and money-draining priority. But happiness and love is a priority and a wedding is just that!

  • Thanks for this. It is indeed weird to continually hear “it’s YOUR day,” and we’ve only just begun the process. It’s also weird to think about registries, and showers, and everything that screams US US US. Most people simply aren’t used to harnessing all that attention, especially when it’s attention that they’ve brought upon themselves through the simple act of planning a big party.

    But sometimes, in our lives, we get to be selfish. We are allowed to – encouraged to – be self-indulgent, and those times feel really great. Birthdays are like that. Massages. Therapy. All the ways we can be selfish but in totally healthy, awesome, loving ways. And weddings are like it, too. A type of selfishness devoid of the negative connotations, and corroborated by all the loving friends and family that surround us. Because really, in the end, it isn’t about the couple getting married – it’s about that couple celebrating, recognizing, and thanking their community, their circle of friends, and all the people that made their partnership possible, directly and indirectly. It’s like at a concert or a sporting event – the main act might be on the stage or on the field, but they wouldn’t even be there without the crowd.

    Lovely poem, too.

    • meg

      Ahhhh…. but you’re not just planning a big party. The party is just to facilitate people needing to celebrate the monumental thing you just did. People are overflowing with happiness because of the monumental thing you are about to do, that they are allowed to witness and celebrate.

      And weddings, when done right, are anything but selfish.

      • Oh, I know – you’re absolutely right. I was trying to recast the word ‘selfish’ in a more positive light, because I think it can be really healthy for people – especially people who are humble – to indulge in themselves from time to time. Partly it’s because at some point I’m going to have to come to terms with the US US US! aspect of it all, and what helps is realizing that it’s OK for it to be about us. In fact, it’s more than OK. It’s the right thing.

  • kat

    Meg – this made me cry! It is something brides need to hear!

    I think because of the whole bridezilla revulsion, (smart, non-bridezilla-y) women feel the need to step as far out of the spotlight as possible, to say self-effacing jokes and diminish how excited they are about their weddings. It’s overcompensating, I think, for the whole bridal culture. Personally, I hate even using the word “bride” to describe me because of the whole ugly side of the business it entails.

    But we ARE brides, and we shouldn’t feel the need to apologize for that. Our weddings are not impositions (right?).

    My sisters are throwing me a shower in just a couple weeks; my cousin, instead of being bitter because I’m not having bridesmaids, has offered to help with anything I need at all; my mother has been more accommodating, flexible, and happy for me than I can ever remember. It’s amazing how happy people are to be helpful and involved, even if that’s just showing up.

    • KD

      I completely agree with your point. I think I tend to downplay any excitement about planning because I don’t want to be “that girl”. While I’m not the type to talk for hours about centerpieces or some crap I don’t care about… I love to plan and would talk about it, but I feel like I shouldn’t 1. burden other people with my wedding chatter and 2. don’t want people to think I’m obsessing over my wedding. The thing is…people ask because they actually want to know and think it’s fun to talk about. I love to hear other peoples’ wedding chatter!

      I also feel bride can be a loaded word sometimes we don’t want to be associated with the image people have. Reclaiming bride?

      This post was great, Meg. Thank you!

      • Womyn, you are in my head! I think for me, it comes down to trying to be Meg Ryan’s character in “When Harry Met Sally.” We’re the worst kind of women- high maintenance, but thinking we’re low maintenance…I would add to that, “and thinking that we shouldn’t be, and that there’s something wrong with high maintenance.”

        Meg, remember Sarah’s “Feminism and Weddings” Graduate Post (Part II, specifically)? She was talking about “beautifying the commandment.” I think that “feminists” (the label or the leaning) can downplay our femininity beyond clothing or work, and actually believe we have to hate that which may appear frivolous or weak- the girly we struggled to liberate ourselves from. But people at their core are sacred, and deserve celebration (again, channeling Sarah) all the time. Weddings are one of the few times we don’t get laughed at for proclaiming our delight with our brilliant selves (remember you at 3 years old?). So as people, we get excited about this sacrament…and then we remember, we’re independent, strong women, and this is serious…and we squash our brilliance into a little, tiny, socially-appropriate box, and that can feel like guilt at giddiness. But this is supposed to include a PARTY, and I tell you what, I love my Sweet Intended enough to risk embarrassment, and I am gonna let myself be as excited about this wedding as I feel!

        • …apologies for length and relative scramble…I’ll re-write this over on my blog (this time with clarity!)
          You hit a nerve with today’s post, Meg!

        • meg

          Mmmmm hum. Of course I think about beautifying the commandment all the time, I had a Jewish wedding. That’s what I think about every day here, and I think others don’t think about it enough, really. Because that’s what all the pretty stuff is… it’s not just frills for no reason… it’s frills that are celebrating what is really important in life, ourselves, who we love, who loves us, the bonds and families we form.

    • Sevillalost

      I’ve already “exactlied” but I want to add on as well. :) I think your observation about the “anti-bridezilla” sentiment was really insightful, Kat, but I think sometimes it even goes deeper than that. How many times have we, as women or girls, been told to “be nice, don’t impose, don’t put anyone out, do for others before we do for ourselves…”etc?

      But as Bret Turner wrote, sometimes, we get to be selfish. And it’s not even really selfishness…it’s merely acknowledging our own worth and place and *value* within our community. And it’s hard, because for some of us (most of us?) it goes against a lifetime of conditioning.

      So yes, thank you, Meg, for posting this…and pretty much everything else you’ve ever posted. :) I’m hooked.

  • “…your community needs your wedding almost as much as you need your wedding. They need it for hope, they need it for joy.”

    Amen, Meg.

  • Margaret

    Love this. So true.

    (and not just because you mentioned the poem ;-)) I started to get nervous this weekend, because people were actually seeing some of the stuff I’d been working on (decorations, programs, etc.) and I just get intensely shy about it all… but people can be so unexpectedly generous and loving! And I kept thinking over and over, “It’s not just about me. It’s a celebration and ceremony, not a performance.” I just need to step back and let them enjoy it.

  • Krystel

    As we come closer to our wedding (4 weeks now!), the fact that it’s a necessary bright spot for some of my closest family members becomes more and more evident. I know my fiance just goes along with it all, even though he’d be fine with courthouse and no one there, mostly because I want it. However, I’ve also pointed out to him how he’s an only child and his mom is overjoyed and doing the wedding is a chance for all the people who love us to SHARE with us. My mom has been going through a horrible four years that culminated in an outcome no one was honestly expecting. She’s devastated. An artistic person, she’s been so depressed during the whole thing that for the first time in her life, she wasn’t really doing ANYTHING. I wasn’t going to do favors, etc, but she got excited about it and has spent the past year making things. It gave her energy, helped her feel involved, and gave her something happy to focus on, even if just a few minutes each day. Likewise, my sister is going through a bad divorce and for the past year, she keeps telling me how the wedding helps pull her through some bad days, she can’t wait to share that joy.

    • meg


    • Kathryn H.

      Krystel, I feel you. This post, and the accompanying community response has me in tears. I never thought until today about how closely my wedding experience is linked with my sister’s miscarriage experience. The day my fiance proposed, we found out my sister and her husband were expecting their first child. Soon after that, fiance and I moved our August wedding up to May so that wedding travel plans wouldn’t conflict with her third trimester. Then about 6 weeks before the wedding, she miscarried. It was devastating. The loss was so tremendous, I felt like my wedding would be a garish distraction from the pain. In fact, the wedding details have been a great uniting force for my family, and it has lubricated the grieving process. Mom and Dad have said so many times that they are grateful for the wedding, so that they would have an excuse to call my sister and catch up, without opening the conversation with a question about the pregnancy. One of my clearest wedding memories is when, the second day my sister was losing the baby, we spent six hours sitting together assembling wedding invitations, folding whatnots and tying on whoozits, addressing 3 layers of envelopes, and weeping.

  • I needed to hear this. So far, in planning our wedding, I have felt constantly guilty for it. I have felt guilty that im burdening other people, and that I need to avoid asking people for help as much as possible. Which isnt the way I should be thinking because it puts unnecessary stress on me, and also it denies people who genuinely are happy for us and want to help that opportunity. This post has opened my eyes to the fact that….Im the only one who feels like this wedding is a burden on other people. They are just excited for us and want to be there to celebrate with us. I need to embrace that and stop preaching lies to myself.

  • kelly

    I’ve come to believe that not only is the wedding a day of celebration of your entire chosen “community” – your family, friends that make your family, more friends and even your coworkers and such….but it’s also joyful and celebratory for just about anyone! I used to find it “funny” – in the more uncomfortable way – when complete strangers would overhear something wedding-y about me, either through me talking on the phone, waiting in a line with a friend, etc. and said strangers would start asking me questions about the date, the dress, my ring, and on and on. I wasn’t exactly put off by it, but more intrigued as to why people feel (and admittedly mostly other women) the need to ask me questions that are on some levels personal (like my dress – it’s a reflection of me and my personality, not just a “pretty thing on a hanger”) and others just, “um, why do you care?” But now I know why people care – because it’s SOMETHING to be happy about and a small way to connect to another human being. So, now I gladly smile and gush about stuff to total strangers…hey, it makes their day and, if I’m totally honest, a little bit of mine, too.

  • Camille

    It’s funny – but your timing is impeccable! We’re just dealing with this now, since our shower is in 2 weeks. If I may share a funny little story…

    So we initially asked that there be no shower (we’ve lived together for a while, and no need to put anyone out) and my family was okay with that. Then my mom asked to put on a small shower, where a handful of people would contribute towards a larger item. I began to understand that it was for us, but more for everyone else, so we agreed.
    THEN my posse started planning a “surprise” shower..,and cue the silliness…

    Last sunday at my mom’s we’re sitting down for dinner, and the conversation goes as follows:
    Mom: have you put together a registry yet?
    C: kinda of….Roberta has a hand written list. *big grin*
    M: well how do you expect people to know what you want if you don’t register?!
    C: *sigh* good point. I’ll get right on that.
    M: or, you know, just get Chris to edit the one you have.
    C: For Chris to edit one, I’d have to have made one in the first place, no?
    M: Well if you DONT want a shower, just tell me! *glare* because they’re expensive, and a real hassle, and we’re only doing this for YOU.
    C: …..
    M: …..
    C: I’m in a tough spot mom, and I’m considering mentioning that we asked for no shower in the first place.
    M: Well if YOU don’t want a shower just tell me! I mean it! I won’t do it!
    C: *sigh again* no, mom. Let me get right on that registry. I’ll have it done Wednesday.
    M: I’m serious! It’s a big load off my shoulders to not put on a shower. Do you want a shower or not!? Because I don’t have to do it! It’s for you! Really!! YES or NO!?!
    C: oh please mommy. Shower me.


    But I do understand that it’s FOR us, but not about us. Or vice-versa. But lordy it’s tough to remember that under fire!

    • meg

      Um. Yes. That’s also true. I had some rather painful experances in that department, I’ve got to say. And I’ve learned that **sometimes** “No” is the kindest thing you can say. And you know deep down when you’ve gotta say it.

      (not saying you need to here :)

    • Meg P

      Oh dear! Mothers!

      We decided long ago that we wanted people to donate to a charity that we both support, rather than buy us presents, and it’s caused no end of trouble. It’s interesting because I had never realised how much joy a person can get out of giving you a gift.

      I think partly it comes down to priorities, our extended family sees the size of our tv and decides we are poverty stricken, but really we don’t watch that much tv so it would be pointless to us to invest a heap of cash in it. My aunt insists we will regret not having gifts because we won’t have special heirlooms that were wedding presents, and apparently we don’t understand how hard marriage can be financially and how much we will struggle. Though I don’t understand how wedding presents will come in useful when we have no food, because they will be too sentimental for us to sell and we can’t eat them.

      In the end we will accept the gifts that people insist on giving us but the whole idea was to help people who needed that money much more than us and show people that our marriage is important to us, not material things, and take the pressure off them to find us something.

      • KD

        totally giggling at this:

        “Though I don’t understand how wedding presents will come in useful when we have no food, because they will be too sentimental for us to sell and we can’t eat them.”

        hah, we always joke we’re going to register at Target and include items like boxes of mac and cheese and cans of soup on our registry…

  • Pingback: Words for a Wedding: Li-Young Lee « Kismet at Crow Hollow()

  • Colleen

    Crying…I’m just sitting on my couch here crying. I needed this today…especially after having a minor freak out about sending addresses to my best friend for my shower that she’s so excited to throw. I hate imposing on people, I hate asking for help….and I hate not having control. Needless to say, this process has been a struggle…a learning process, but a struggle. I sometimes forget that it’s not just for me and M, and it’s for me and everyone we love. It’s getting to bring together friends who haven’t seen each other since middle school and honoring our grandparents and their love and celebrating all the new babies in our lives and, and….just everything. I had two conversations with my mother tonight about the wedding and I was annoyed after both of them. This post just reminded me that she’s excited for me and isn’t trying to drive me nuts.

  • elyse

    thank you meg . . . i had to take a deep breath this weekend as our families started coming together to kick off a week of major life transition craziness. i don’t handle the spotlight well AT ALL, and i still can’t believe how excited people are to come to our wedding, that they are flying in from all over the world and taking off from work to celebrate with us! so i took my deep breath and got through david’s aufruf (The ceremony where a groom is called up to the Torah on the Shabbat before his wedding. Can also be the bride and groom, but not at our synagogue), and all of our friends and family celebrating us both there. And I got through his med school graduation, and people congratulating me on that accomplishment. And I got through closing on our condo, and people congratulating us on that. I had a moment the other day, overwhelmed by everything, when i thought ‘i just can’t wait until next week when it’s just us on our honeymoon!’ and then i nearly slapped myself. so for the next few days, i’m slowing down, taking it all in, and enjoying every minute.

    • meg

      Yes. But the honeymoon might also be the best part. Just sayin’…. :)

  • sarah

    i’ve been going through a lot of emotions lately re: the wedding, which is now less than 3 weeks away (yikes!)…. throughout most of the planning process, i really prided myself on enjoying the process, and keeping a level head. but as it got closer, it got increasingly hard to do so, mainly because of grad school end-of-semester and work being really busy. which in turn, spilled out onto the wedding becoming more stressful. my fiance and i started fighting about just about everything; i wondered if he even likes me anymore; my mom got upset about some stuff; my friends are being total lame-asses; i’m wondering why i even decided to have a wedding in the first place! at this point i feel like the whole thing has just taken on a mind of its own, and i’m totally sick of it and ready for it to be over with so i can go back to my “normal” life.

    it’s just really frustrating, because i’m excited about the part where my fiance and i get married, but the rest of it is really starting to scare me.. i know that i’m a control freak and that’s a problem for me. i’m worried about things going wrong; what people will do or say; and most of all, how i’ll feel in reaction to it all. i’m worried that i won’t be able to control my emotions, i won’t be able to control how i’ll react, and that i’ll end up inadvertently ruining for myself the very day i’ve looked forward to all year. people keep telling me that i can’t control anything but myself, and i just need to keep a positive outlook and not let anything get in the way of that… but i mean, easier said than done, people!!! i’m just so frustrated right now, and i feel totally alone and like no one is on my side… this is so not want i wanted to feel like right now! help!! :(

  • Gia

    One of my wisest clients once told me that having a wedding is a value. And so it is. It’s a family value and a community value. And I still believe that there is something very powerful about marrying your partner in the presence, affirmation, and celebration of your community. Cute detail obsessions–and the judging of cute detail obsessions–AND budgetary woes aside, lots of couples still connect with this value. And it’s great. Every time out. Every wedding.

    One of the clearest and happiest memories of my own wedding day is turning around during the ceremony and seeing all my friends and family smiling back at us. I can still see everybody’s faces and, truly, am still stirred by the overwhelming gratitude I felt in that moment.

    Last spring, when my father was dying from leukemia, my cousin Bre got married. All of us — my siblings and our families, my aunts and uncles and cousins and all their families– had been traveling back and forth to NY for months to visit my dad in the hospital, and it was so hard, and so sad, none of us knew what to do with ourselves, particularly at that point, just a few weeks before his death. But Bre & Jeff’s wedding was amazingly and perfectly just-the-thing. We all cried through them saying their vows (or at least I did!) and everybody danced and talked and laughed all night. And we were really REALLY filled with joy and happiness — for them and for all our family: for us.

    When Bre and my Uncle John were doing the father-daughter dance, I kept thinking, “these are the moments we are all *supposed* to have.” And I know it doesn’t always work out just so, but we do deserve it.

    Thanks, Meg, for a heartfelt reminder.

  • Erin

    Thank you to everyone who have posted their thoughts and comments on this post. This is literally the FIRST time I’ve read anything that addressed some of the awkward feelings I’ve felt re: all the attention and money, etc., that go into being a bride. My fiance keeps saying “they WANT you to have opinions and to want things” and it’s something I’m still trying to understand.

    But, thank you Meg. Your words make a ton of sense.

  • Crystal

    I cannot begin to describe how grateful I am to have stumbled upon this blog, and this topic.
    We had our legal wedding yesterday, with a small circle of family and a few friends, and now we’re preparing for our big party, which is in 3 weeks.

    It’s only been a few weeks since I’ve been able to say, and then only to my closest friends and in an apologetic tone: ‘I really thought I was immune to the romance of weddings, but it turns out I’m not. I’m loving it.’
    Especially the comments about the bridezilla revulsion, the guilt towards friends and family who are going through rough times and the fear to impose struck quite a few chords.

    But you are all so right about weddings being a source of hope and a reminder of what’s pure and true. What I noticed most when we were walking through the city centre yesterday, on our way to the (medieval – and gorgeous =) ) castle for our photoshoot: so many people’s faces lit up when we passed them, tourists of all nationalities and ages asked us if they could take our picture and wished us a happy life, people called out to us with congratulations and comments on how gorgeous my dress was or stopped to wave, pointed us out to their children, …

    Afterwards we had bubbles and bites in our sunny back garden, and I have never felt so united with both our families.

  • lfaith

    thank you for this!! i know everyone says it should be “your day” and you should do what “you want,” and sometimes its hard for me to remember that even though i “want” a small wedding, there are too many people in our lives to let that happen. And so, when it takes me three months and I still haven’t found an affordable venue that can fit enough of our small-town-love-you-to-pieces-and-want-nothing-more-to-celebrate-with-you-people in our current big city location (which apparently does not believe in big family style celebration type weddings), i have to resist the urge to just beg my honey to go with just our immediate families (which would still be over 50 people). and all in all, i know i do want all those people there with me on that day, or it wouldnt be the special day its supposed to be. So, when friends tell me I should just do what I watn and forget what other people want, I’m going to just stop and remember this. i might print this out and hang it over my desk. haha.

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