Brandy & Karl

Earlier this week we talked about second weddings and how they should be a source of deep joy, not of shame. So we thought it was a perfect time to dig Brandy’s excellent Wedding Grad post out of the archives and share it with you. It’s about letting yourself off the hook, letting yourself experience joy, and learning that weddings really are not about you (exactly). Brandy also writes at Second Chance Happiness, which, yes.

Second Wedding

My husband and I like to do things our own way, pretty much all of the time—other peoples’ opinions need not apply. Then we got engaged. Secretly. We’d met on a dating site a year and two months prior to being engaged. We were inseparable from the first date. He was totally different than anyone I’d met, and I was smitten. We were living together before long—unofficially then officially. Then we had a conversation about engagement rings, and it was decided. We were getting married. Just… no one knew yet. Two months and a ring later, we let the cat out of the bag.

Second Wedding

During the two months that no one knew, we talked weddings. A lot. I’d been married before. Thankfully, the ended marriage didn’t leave me unwilling to give love another shot. But I knew that I did not need a wedding to “feel” married. I just needed him. Well, turns out, he needed a wedding. He felt that his mother, the sweetest little Italian-born-and-raised woman you’d ever have the pleasure of meeting, really deserved to see her first born wed. Plus, he felt that it was part of the set of social norms that he really wanted to adhere to. My husband has a lot of friends. He’s been in a lot of weddings and generally was grateful for being a part of it. So, he wanted to have the experience of being a groom in a wedding as part of his mental filing cabinet.

Second Wedding

We set to planning, and I felt completely out of sorts. Too many shoulds! I felt like I was being too cheap and yet too wasteful all at once, and that we’d never get the wedding done within an amount that we could reasonable afford. I also ran into something I did not expect… a lot of guilt about this being my “second wedding.” Little jabs were inserted into conversation like, “Well, it’s not like it’s the first time you’ve had a wedding, right?!” I guess I thought in this day and age, getting remarried was a bit more common and not so looked down upon.

Yet, there were people, either subconsciously or outright, making me feel wretched because I dared to have a second wedding instead of just eloping or going to a courthouse. Well, you know what?! This was his first (and hopefully only) wedding, and it was my first wedding to him. Our commitment to each other doesn’t mean any less just because I had the misfortune of marrying poorly in my younger years! Somewhere in the planning, I made a decision to stop feeling guilty about being a non-first-time bride. Instead, I started feeling brave. I didn’t let the past and the negative have such a hold over me that it would keep me from the present and future joy of being a wife… his wife.

Then I found blogs (Meg, Sara, Peonies, and Celia to name a few), and I read them from start to finish. I threw the shoulds out the window! It was empowering to go through the process of looking up each tradition and deciding if it represented who we were or not. The things that did, we kept. Everything else got cut! Oh, and I started a blog. It was my husband’s idea to help me manage the stress level, and it worked great!

Things were working beautifully until four months before the wedding. Then things got hard. My grandparents were burgled, a family member attempted to end their life, and my husband’s parents separated and filed for divorce without any warning. My brother had separated from his wife the month we got engaged. One of my closest friends was going through a divorce… I started wondering what the heck we were doing! Was it right to celebrate in the midst of all this? Were we being overly indulgent? Would random fights break out at the wedding because of the fresh, new hurts that were being handed out? I cried a lot. I repeatedly asked my husband why we were going through with this. Between him and APW, I realized that we were going through this process to grow, to publicly declare our intent to be a family, and to share our joy with people who really wanted/needed to have that joy.

Though I’d done a lot of the wedding planning and prep on my own, the weekend of the wedding our friends and family stepped up. Help was dished out by the fistful. People got along. Smiles were everywhere.

The day of the wedding, I woke up in my husband’s arms and declared “It’s Christmas!”… even though it was February. We spent the entire morning together. Alone. We made breakfast. We practiced our first dance in our PJs. We were utterly calm and so at peace. When my MOH arrived to help with last minute details, she was shocked to find there were no details to help with! She called me the calmest bride she’d ever seen. We chatted and ate lunch while our other lifelong friend did my hair (Where I ever-so-gracefully managed to catapult the curling iron into my cheek and slice it open. My response? Belly-shaking laughter. When it started bleeding a few moments before the wedding, I stuck a napkin to it and laughed some more. Luckily it did stop before the ceremony!).

In the end, we learned exactly how to work together to make decisions and compromises. Most of all, we learned that though a wedding should represent who we are, the wedding is really not for us. It was for all those around us that wanted to be happy with us and for us! It was about the community, and I wish I’d realized it sooner. It would have relieved an immense amount of stress.

The Info Photography: Nichole Chavez through A Love Story Photography / Venue: The Atrium at Park West / Invites: Ruff House Arts / Caterer: Creative Cuisine / Cakes: Delicious Cakes / Dress: Gloria by Maggy Sottero, Bought on clearance at Bridal Designs

Featured Sponsored Content

Please read our comment policy before you comment.

The APW Store is Here

APW Wedding e-shop

go find all our favorites from around the internet, and our free planning tools

Shop Now
APW Wedding e-shop

Planning a wedding?

We have all the planning tools you need right now.

Budget spreadsheets, checklists, and more...

Get Your Free Planning Tools