Anna & Daniel

Ok. So when Anna (who blogs over at Married With Kittens) sent me her one year after graduate post… and I started putting it together… I had this weird feeling that Anna and I were soul sisters separated at birth. I mean, the girl can DAN-ce, and says about her marriage, “Now, in our marriage, laughter is vitally important. I am pretty much happiest when Daniel and I are laughing together. I feel about laughter’s role in our marriage the same way that some people feel about sex.” Which I could have WRITTEN. So, I bring you Anna’s one year later wedding graduate post. And I’m going to mandate that you read it while listening to what Anna says is their marriage theme song, and is my new FAVORITE song (and made David double over with laughter in our kitchen) Laugh, Love, F*ck. And now, I bring you Anna with some of the wisest words I’ve read in a while:

I’m writing this wedding-grad post two weeks shy of Daniel and my one-year wedding anniversary. It has been a rough month for us. The combination of moving across the country, living with my parents, and starting two new jobs has caused our marriage to hit a few walls. We are starting to come out the other side of the rough patch (I hope) so it seems like a good time to reflect upon the day that made us, to remember what that day was about and how it both mirrors and shapes the marriage that we are building. When I think about our wedding day and this first year of our marriage (not to mention the years of our relationship before we started getting tax discounts), a few themes emerge. In the spirit of Meg’s “Wedding Graduate: A Year Later” I’m going to talk about the wedding and the marriage all together. I’m gonna start with the good, but don’t worry I will get to the not-so-good, so try not to let your eye’s glaze over.

We are good at being ourselves. I think our wedding probably falls into Meg’s category of A-typical Traditionalists, but Daniel and I put our own spin on things almost without realizing that we were doing things differently or that what each one of us wanted didn’t really “match.” Two examples: Daniel is a physicist who loves puns and the Back to the Future movies only slightly less than he loves me. He walked out before the wedding ceremony to “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News and in his vows he compared our love to Einstein’s theories (because it crosses space and time, duh).

I am a bookworm with an intense love for Young Adult fiction and a flair for drama: I walked down the aisle to Nina Simone and pieced together a wedding reading from a book by Madeleine L’engle.* No, these things don’t really match, but after the ceremony two of the women I respect most in the world came up to me and said that our ceremony was the best they had ever seen. One of them told me she cried at our wedding and not her own daughter’s (yes, I take that as a point of pride).

Second: Daniel doesn’t dance, but I will shimmy in the supermarket if Mary J. Blige comes on the speakers. The only thing I ever dreamed about my wedding, since I was a kid, was that the wedding party would do a choreographed dance. This is not something Daniel would ever do, but he was happy to pull a fast one on the wedding guests (and get himself out of the first dance) by turning our first dance into a sneak-attack me-plus-bridesmaids dance that involved line dancing and hip shaking.

All of this juxtaposition worked because Daniel and love each other for who we are, and usually enjoy our differences. This ability to be ourselves has helped in married life. We think differently about the world and when we aren’t fighting because of this it helps our relationship grow and keeps both us constantly reminded that there are other options besides a) my way and b) the highway. I also get a lot of comedic mileage by making fun of Daniel for liking Star Trek so much, and I’m pretty sure that that helps our marriage tremendously.

We like to laugh. A lot. I already mentioned the joke about space and time in our wedding ceremony, and overall my strongest memory of our wedding ceremony is of laughter. Before we got married I thought that I would sob my eyes out during the ceremony, but mostly I laughed. Almost all of our photos show my mouth wide open in laughter or the two of us grinning like idiots at each other. Besides the ceremony, we worked other things throughout the day that would make us laugh, like “Rick Rolling” our own wedding halfway through the dancing (“Hey Ya!” Started, only to be replaced by Rick Astley).

Now, in our marriage, laughter is vitally important. I am pretty much happiest when Daniel and I are laughing together. I feel about laughter’s role in our marriage the same way that some people feel about sex (I also feel this way about sex, don’t worry): If we aren’t laughing, something is wrong. If days go by and one of us hasn’t made the other emit a belly laugh then I know that we might need a check-in, just to see what is up.

We make mistakes. Big ones. Our wedding day was a joyous, raucous, love and beer-filled funfest, but we (mostly I) managed to overlook one very important thing. I am not going to go into what exactly I did (or, rather, didn’t do), but I didn’t notice it until weeks later when I was rather bluntly informed that I had deeply hurt the feelings of several of my family members. Family members who had traveled far to come to our wedding and/or who worked their butts off all weekend to make the wedding happen. The weeks following the revelation of this offense spiraled into a serious family fight. I cried a lot, battle lines were drawn, and decades-old family issues got pulled out into the open.

During these weeks Daniel and I got a crash course in family-forming. Without really knowing it we were figuring out how we as a unit were going to handle a family crisis. I, for one, had to figure out how to face the problem with honesty and humility, how to admit mistakes and make amends. Daniel helped me defend myself; his calm support gave me the strength I needed to avoid letting some of the wrongly-placed anger rest on my shoulders and weigh me down.

It took a long time for me to be able to think about the wedding without being saddened by the mistake we made and the people it hurt. I had a hard time reconciling my memories of a really great freaking day with the emotions that the fight brought to the surface. I felt guilty about hurting people’s feelings and this guilt made it hard for me to believe it when friends and (other) family told me what a great wedding it was, or how meaningful our ceremony was to them. Finally, a year later, I am able to cherish the memories of the day while still honoring the lessons I learned about family and respect.

I’m finding that marriage can manifest some of the very same painful contradictions. As everyone on this site is learning, it is possible to love someone dearly in the same moment that you are spitefully wishing they would GET THE EFF AWAY FROM YOU. It is equally possible to realize you that are treating your spouse terribly and to feel bad about doing so while simultaneously not really feeling bad about it at all. Marriage is between humans, after all. Humans make mistakes and as far as I can tell are jerks a good third of the time. Our wedding, and this first year of marriage, has taught me that what is important is not to never screw-up, but to give yourself and your spouse the time and space (heh heh) to learn from the screw-ups.

Side notes: I also learned that it is a good idea to always have plenty of Rogue Dead Guy Ale on hand, and that eating two pieces of wedding cake on your wedding day should really be standard practice. And I deeply regret that we didn’t have the guts to play “Laugh, Love, F*#K” by The Coup during the dance party, since that is basically our marriage theme song. But that is neither here nor there.

*”I found the basis for this reading from in the list of possible ceremony readings. Blogs like that, and APW, were definitely a source of comfort and support during the planning process.”

Pictures: RiverRock Studios (official photog), Andre Images (friend), and another friend

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  • Carbon Girl

    Best. Song. Ever!

    And wow, can I relate to “It is equally possible to realize you that are treating your spouse terribly and to feel bad about doing so while simultaneously not really feeling bad about it at all.” That was totally me last week.

  • Aw man. Anna, honey, I’ve already told you how much I love you, right? YOU ROCK, LADY.

    And ohmygosh, HOW had I never heard of that song before? Those are the triumvirate upon which our marriage stands. When you’re doing all 3 at the same time then you know that EVERYTHING is gonna be alright.

  • Caroline

    I am really sad my work computer does not have a sound card.

    Thanks for admitting that you measured ceremony success in the tears of others. I feel like a bad person when I am trying to specifically design a ceremony that makes people cry. Weep, really. In a good way.

    And for the stories of coming out on the other side of (inadvertently) offending family/friends. When I started wedding planning, I think this is something I never thought would happen to me. I now basically offend someone weekly. Seating plans, flowers, menu choices. Who knew weddings were such emotional kryptonite? (well, we all do now, but that is besides the point)

    Also, what was the Madeline L’Engle quote? I try to re-read one of the Wrinkle in Time books annually. I am now also thinking if I can incorporate Hunger Games into a reading or speech, but perhaps that is dorking too far.

      Thanks for the kind words! There is a comment below that answers your question about the reading, but if you can’t find it you can send me an email at and I will be happy to send it to you!

  • “Humans make mistakes and as far as I can tell are jerks a good third of the time.”
    Haha, pretty much.

    Thanks for sharing all your lessons. If you’ve learned this much in one year, imagine all the years that lie ahead!

  • Amy

    I love these 1 year post graduate posts so much…it’s the greatest relationship advice I have ever read! Thanks so much for being honest and sharing!

  • “It is equally possible to realize you that are treating your spouse terribly and to feel bad about doing so while simultaneously not really feeling bad about it at all. Marriage is between humans, after all. Humans make mistakes and as far as I can tell are jerks a good third of the time.”

    Oh god did it feel good to read this is the land of love love and more love. Very cool.

    And Rogue Dead Guy Ale makes everything awesome.

  • Sophia

    I love this! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Erin

    “We are good at being ourselves.”

    I like this :) There are so many admirable couples out there who seem totally in sync: both love good food, have similar design sensibilities, are really passionate about Harley Davidson, (yada yada, fill in the blank), and sometimes — just sometimes — I get a little insecure about our relationship. Joe & I have a lot of very different interests: e.g. I’ll sit in a swamp and get eaten alive by mosquitoes to watch herons fish, while Joe would much rather spend the evening Photoshopping. WHY won’t Joe come play with me? (gee, I wonder…) What’s wrong with us? (whine whine)

    But we (mostly me) are getting better at being ourselves since our wedding. In fact, there’s a lot of freedom within our marriage that is opening up even more possibilities for self-exploration. And self-expression — I too have been known to shimmy at the grocery store :)

  • Maureen

    “It took a long time for me to be able to think about the wedding without being saddened by the mistake we made and the people it hurt. I had a hard time reconciling my memories of a really great freaking day with the emotions that the fight brought to the surface.”

    This was exactly my wedding expereince as well and I’m so glad to hear that these emotions figure themselves out. Thank you so much for sahring!

    • Maureen

      Just listened to the song (and noticed my typo-damn!). Best wedding song ever- no, best love song ever? Yes!

    • I’m terrified of this with my family, because that’s how they are (lots of unspoken expectations). It’s heartening to hear that you can move past it.

  • Jennifer

    I loved this, both the good (because, yay!) and the not-so-good, because with the wedding just over a month away and me fretting about what I/we might accidentally do to hurt somebody, it is oddly reassuring to hear from someone who’s been dealing with fallout over hurting people, and that it doesn’t have to ruin the memories of the day (even if it takes a long time and a lot of work to get to that point).

  • Love this:
    “We think differently about the world and when we aren’t fighting because of this it helps our relationship grow and keeps both us constantly reminded that there are other options besides a) my way and b) the highway.”

    I have found this to be true in our marriage too, and feel like after I calm down enough during a fight, I can actually learn a lot about myself and my husband, and how we can better love each other and allow each other to be who we are, even with all our differences.

  • Eve

    I know you said you didn’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of what you did to offend people– I respect that– but at the same time I know I am just the sort of clueless person who is extremely likely to also overlook something that is de rigeur or otherwise generally f*ck it up. If… really anyone here (I notice there’s already a chorus of “me too”s)… were willing to share a couple of their big faux pas, for the sake of saving others from the same fate… well, I know I’d be grateful. I mean real mistakes where there was evidence that they actually hurt people, not the kinds of “well, that wasn’t perfect” things that happen to everyone, and that no one else really minds…

    Beyond that, I like your song. And I once made a project of reading every work of Madeleine L’Engle’s, even the terrible ones (though I made it only halfway through and got bogged down by interlibrary loans).

    • tnason

      Really. Please do. Particularly things that are general rather than a obligation specific to your family. We are having a weekend long type event and negotiating to boundaries of “no I am not going to spend every moment of three days entertaining our guest, I want to be relaxed for our wedding” vs. wanting to be a good hostess and enjoy the company of people I don’t get to see often enough and have them enjoy their time is really tricky. I really don’t want to overlook something that ought to be obvious and terribly offend people.

      • Alyssa

        Can I suggest just speaking to people in your family who’ve had weddings that include some of your guests? Any kind of percieved faux pas is SO specific to a family and their temperment that I think consulting them would definitely help. My worry is that an APW fax pas might not be one for your family and then you’ll worry over nothing. OR that there is a family specific thing that someone won’t mention and it’s something you’d never think of.

        And honestly, if someone expectations for your wedding and they don’t TELL you they have them, or tell someone who will tell you, then it’s kinda their fault.

        • Alyssa – you are also a smart cookie (and I would love to eat some pie with you, anytime). I was trying to figure out a way to say what you just said…but you have summed it up eloquently because you are a smarty-smart lady. Thanks, and I totally agree.

      • Katie Mae

        Towards the beginning of the wedding planning, I was feeling overwhelmed at work and also afraid to commit to wedding plans before I had really thought them through. My parents and I had pretty different ideas of what we wanted, so I kept deferring discussions and decisions until I felt ready to decide what I wanted myself and talk to FH. I also wasn’t considering how emotionally involved in the wedding they were, since I’m their first child to get married. When I went out with my MIL to grab invitation paper one night (that was one thing I wasn’t stressing about) and they found out, it really hurt their feelings – they felt like I was excluding them from the planning and including FMIL. They confronted me and we had a very emotional weekend working it out.

        I guess the more general lesson from that one is: make sure you talk to your parents/other family members/friends who expect to be heavily involved and see what their expectations are, not just for the wedding but also for the planning. Try to remember that even though it’s “your day,” it might mean a lot to other people too, and it’s definitely a process that will change your family relationships.

        Something happened at the wedding that I feel bad about. FH has a friend with Asperger syndrome who has trouble telling what is and isn’t appropriate in a given social situation. We weren’t sure if she was coming and didn’t talk to her much ahead of the wedding. She did show up, and we found out a few days later that she was extremely rude to several of our other friends, to the point that some of them left the reception early. While I’m sort of glad I didn’t know about it during the wedding, I wish we would have thought to talk to her ahead of time and go over what we expected from her, and maybe designated another friend to help keep her in line.

        Generalizing again, this situation would probably apply to friends who might drink too much too. Maybe talk to them ahead of time about how important it is to you that guests feel comfortable/have fun/whatever so you at least have a chance of them being helpful.

    • Ashley

      There were a few minefields to navigate with ours…a major screw-up involving the seating chart and last minute changes to the arrangement of tables at the reception venue led to a lot of confusion for guests about where to sit and my godparents not having a seat at dinner. Rather than bother someone in the immediate family with the problem, they quitely left before the reception. We felt horrible because we didn’t realize they had left until later in the evening when it was too late. They were really cool about it, and we brought them leftover cupcakes the day after, but I still feel bad. Plus the constant re-hashing with family members about what exactly went wrong drove me crazy.

      Another thing to think about- some people expect to be asked to give toasts at the reception (even if you open the floor for toasts, some people won’t unless they’re asked.) My MIL gave us the heads-up to ask my husband’s brother to give a toast, and we found out later that he had told her he’d be really hurt if he wasn’t asked.

      Also…remember to give heartfelt thanks to family and friends who help with the wedding (or help pay for it!) I’m not talking thank-you gifts neccessarily, just sincere gestures of thanks.

      • Eve

        Thanks for this.

        You’re supposed to ASK people to give toasts? Oh dear. What if you absolutely hate hate hate to be the center of attention and you wish nobody would give toasts at all? I bet hating toasts is itself a faux-pas. Who do you think you’re traditionally supposed to ask??

        Times like this I am grateful for my fiance. He does have the habit (until I broke him of it by having fits) of replying to certain wedding-detail-related questions by saying, “well, because that’s just How It’s Done.” I hate the idea that we would do anything just because It’s Done. And I protest massively, and then (because he’s wonderful) he realizes I’m right and we can do whatever we want. But, the truth is, it’s a bit of a relief to know that one of us has some idea of normal social etiquette, even if in some cases we make the decision to ignore it…

        • Ashley

          Of course, if you don’t want toasts, don’t have toasts. But we wanted to open the floor for loved ones to say a few words, so we asked one person from my side and one from his to start things off. We were going to let the dads do it, then when we found out his brother wanted to, we asked both of our brothers. So many people stood up, though- family and friends. It was one of my favorite memories from the day! Then after the toasting was over, there was an awkward pause, so I stood up and thanked everyone for coming and invited them to have dessert and dance…which may or may not be traditional, but it was a joyful moment and I loved it.

        • Liz

          there’s also the “cover your bases (and your butt)” way of doing things. which is what i did.

          i asked my parents what they wanted to do. “hey, did you guys want to give a toast or anything? have some part in the ceremony, maybe?” and it got it all out there. my maid of honor (sister) was PETRIFIED of giving a toast, but it ended up being a big deal and honor to her. (when i tried to relieve the pressure by telling her she didn’t have to)

          also, the father-daughter dance. my dad is WAY shy. and i was going to spare him the humiliation. but he got very defensive about that dance, and i ended up treasuring it. good thing i asked him!

          so, i guess my point is- no matter the standards or etiquette or what you THINK might be best suited for your family/friends- it’s sometimes just easier to ask.

          • Ashley

            Yes! Exactly. There were things people wanted to do that we had no idea about! Like the toasting, or being named an “honorary” groomsman (even though we didn’t have an official wedding party, and it was only a title with no responsibilities,) or being given a corsage (all the old ladies in the family totally expected one, and we were happy to oblige). It’s a really good idea to ASK and cover your bases!!

    • Michelle

      I can tell you my faux pas, which no one complained about, but I’m sure my religious relatives noticed.

      We intended to do a meal blessing at the beginning of the reception, but by the time the cocktail hour was over and we were waiting to do the grand entrance thing, people were really hungry and just helped themselves to the buffet line. (The wedding coordinator said she’d never seen that). So we did the entrance and went straight to the front of the buffet line because the guests were lined up and ready to eat. We completely skipped the prayer! It was just one of those things that got dropped unintentionally. (And people also snuck pieces of cheesecake before the official cake-cutting – can you believe that?)

      I also never got photos of my husband and me with my grandparents, for whatever reason. I feel bad about that too.

      • Eve

        Wow! People must have felt really comfortable at your wedding! Maybe you can think of it that way. :) I can’t really imagine just cutting into the cake ahead of time, but you also have to kind of love that people weren’t all looking for YOU to tell them what to do the whole time.

    • Mom mom lives about an hour away. I didn’t include her in any of the wedding prep (and really, there wasn’t a lot of it) because I didn’t want to inconvenience her. I thought it would be selfish of me to expect her to drive an hour each way just to spend two hours tying ribbon on bookmarks when I had plenty of friends in town willing to help me. Tony’s mom ended up doing a lot more to help out, just because she was in town, and had some needed special skills, like altering my dress, to help. I found out after that my mom felt really left out of the whole wedding experience because she wasn’t there for the prep work. I was too busy being my normal, highly practical self to realize that she wasn’t asking to help because she thought I needed it, she was asking because she wanted to be a part of it, not just a guest.

      • Pamela

        With my older sister, her FMIL helped financially with the wedding more than my parents. My parents did help: they paid for the alcohol, photographer, and hotel rooms for the wedding party. But her in-laws paid for like everything else. They have a lot more money than our family. And unfortunately, because the in-laws were paying for everything they were in on almost the entire planning process– and my mom wasn’t. So it made my parents feel like poor relations at their own daughter’s wedding.
        My sister, to be fair, asked my mom to go dress shopping with her, and Mom declined, because she felt like it should be her decision alone. My Mom picked out her dress alone. But my sister took that like she was making all these efforts to involve Mom and Mom wasn’t responding. But aside from that and helping pick out a photographer and the alcohol (since they were paying for it) Mom and Dad weren’t really involved in the planning at all. So far as I saw, that dress trip was the only thing my sister invited Mom in that she wasn’t paying for.
        The thing that really hurt my mom’s feelings was that the wedding gifts were sent to the in-law’s house. Since the invites usually say the parents of bride request your presence or whatever, apparently typically the presents are sent to the bride’s family’s house. And my sister and brother-in-law were both in transition, the gifts weren’t sent to them (they graduated college, got married, moved to another state and started new careers all in a two month period). This really made my mom feel cut off from the whole process and rejected.
        That was four years ago, and I think everyone is moving past it… but there’s still old wounds that can be provoked occassionally. Sigh. For me it’s easier in a way because he’s from overseas and we’re having two weddings, one there and one here, because it’s too much to ask either side to travel since a round trip plane ticket is $1400. He’s Indian, and living costs are are much lower there so our wedding there should only cost $500 (wow!)… but on the same note, that means he earns a LOT less than he would if he worked here, so my proposed budget of $5K is actually more than he makes in a year! So I know he thinks that’s unrealistically expensive (I’m sure he’d faint at the idea of a 100K wedding). But because the Indian wedding will be with his family and the American with mine, I hope to avoid a lot of that his family or mine stuff.

        • Pamela, I’m only half kidding when I say that it was convenient marrying a man from Spain because we were able to plan 2 very different celebrations (1 in each country) and adapt them to our families’ expectations.
          I also simply have not told my American family what his parents are spending on this one day for us. (It kind of freaks me out how much it is!)

          One of the very useful things about have 2 celebrations is that one group can do things a certain way because “that’s just how it’s done” (and they would never dream of doing anything differently–it wouldn’t be a “real wedding” otherwise!) while the other can have an opposite style. Luckily, at least one of our families accepts that “people are different, they’ll plan different parties, & there’s nothing wrong with that”!

    • Rizubunny

      Eve (and the “exactlys”) – I recommend joining the Offbeat Bride Tribe ( if you aren’t already on it, and posting this question. It’s a lovely, non-WICy safe space with lots of wonderful peeps with good advice and listening skills. APW, Offbeat Bride, and Offbeat Bride Tribe are seriously the ONLY wedding-related bloggy thingies I read, ’cause the rest just make me paranoid/concerned/tacky.

    • Nicole

      The only bit of wedding faux-pas advice I have is if you’re going to have any portion of your wedding outdoors, in a potentially chilly month, TELL PEOPLE. I attended a wedding in October (in New England) that took place on a gorgeous, crisp fall morning, but as most of the guests were unaware the ceremony was going to be outdoors they were shivering through the ceremony in little strappy dresses. I thankfully just happened to wear a sweater but many others were (justifiably, I think) a bit upset.

  • Sarah

    As I was reading I kept coming across bits I wanted to send to my fiance. When I got to 5 emails he wrote back and said “I should just read the entire thing, shouldn’t I?”. Which is totally a first for him.

    Thank you so much, Anna. So often we hear about how wonderful the day was, even though things went wrong … but that it “all worked out!” It is SO refreshing to hear about real big issues that a wedding can cause (ours is causing them right now … and there’s nothing we can do to head them off), and how it hurts and helps and everything that goes along with it.

    Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary!

    • Sarah

      And by upcoming, I mean already-has-happened.

      See what happens when I read blogs? ::winks::


  • Marta

    Question: “…and pieced together a wedding reading from a book by Madeleine L’engle.*” Where does the * go to? Or am I just missing something?

    I too am very very fond of Madeleine L’Engle. The Small Rain was a beloved high school favorite. I’d love to read what you picked.

    • Liz

      my guess is meg was going to throw in a sidenote, but never got around to it. the lady was planning 2 weeks of posts AND a vacation while being sick. so. just a guess. haha.

    • Nope, it was MY bad! The * was supposed to say that I found the idea for the Madeleine L’engle quote over in their vast list of ideas for readings. However I thought the reading I found was a little weird so I checked out the book and read it and altered the reading a little. It is from The Irrational Season

      • Liz

        email me what you wanna say, girl, and i’ll add it to the post.

        quirkyliz at gmail dot com

  • Kristi

    I love this post! Anna, you know how important it is to know that weddings and marriage bring out the good and bad–and that’s ok. It’s where you go from there that matters.

    And by the way, you are fantastic! Love that song. Congratulations to you both on your anniversary.

  • Liz


    and i love your ladies in multi-shades of green.

  • ddayporter

    as one of my friends affectionately pointed out to me, I am pretty familiar with the taste of foot in mouth. so I don’t know what you didn’t do, but I can definitely relate to that ick feeling of messing up without realizing it, and then having to try to fix it. I never had anyone point out an obvious gaff to me after our wedding, but I still worry about things that people never complained about. We never made a statement (verbally or otherwise) on behalf of my maid of honor’s right to marriage, we didn’t make much of a stink over my parents-in-law’s anniversary which we had usurped for our wedding day (they told us not to but still, I barely even remembered to toast to them till the very end of the night), I forgot to carry the handkerchief that Porter brides had carried down the aisle for generations, I called my cake-baking sister up for applause after we cut the cake, but not my mom or other sister who helped in a zillion other ways (not to mention this or that guest I didn’t get to talk to as much because I was dancing the whole time)… I mean it’s So Hard to think of every important thing, and thank everyone profusely enough, when you’re so consumed by the raucous joy.. I think the gaffs I made were forgiven because hello I had just gotten Married, but the worry still fills a tiny little corner of my brain where my wedding memories live.

    Anyway! Thanks so much for sharing the learning process you’ve gone through over the past year, I’m glad you’re now at a point where you can enjoy the wedding memories. And if I may, you and your husband looked superhawt on your wedding day and I love how you laughed through the ceremony and made people cry.

  • “I feel about laughter’s role in our marriage the same way that some people feel about sex (I also feel this way about sex, don’t worry)”

    Haha, Love this! Sex and laughter are pretty much my favorite parts about being in a relationship (all that other stuff like companionship and support is wonderful too, but these top my list). Him making me laugh so hard I spray my drink everywhere = some of the best times we’ve had together.

    • Laura

      Yes, exactly! My husband can make me laugh harder than pretty much anyone else I know; it’s one of the reasons I knew I wanted to marry him. And, just like sex, laughter can help get you through some really rough times. There’s a great by Rose Franken that we almost used in our wedding programs: “Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly.” Amen to that!

      • Laura

        Err…”great quote.” Oops!

  • “I feel about laughter’s role in our marriage the same way that some people feel about sex (I also feel this way about sex, don’t worry): If we aren’t laughing, something is wrong. If days go by and one of us hasn’t made the other emit a belly laugh then I know that we might need a check-in, just to see what is up.”

    I love this quote! I feel the same way! One of my favorite things about my fiancee is the way we can both make each other laugh–constantly, and sometimes about absolutely nothing. Things that no one else would think are funny can be hilarious to both of us. She gets me.

    And I’d also like to echo Eve’s request for any of you who are willing and able to share the mistakes you made on your day to share them here. I’m still in the midst of planning and am trying to avoid doing this. I have one very sensitive close family member who I think I’ve probably already offended at various points in planning but I’m trying so, so hard to avoid anything like the situation Anna mentioned. And I totally get and respect that some people don’t want to talk about these things because they’re incredibly painful, but if anyone is willing to share their mistakes out here on the interwebs, I, for one, would be very appreciative.

    • Eve

      I’ve been lurking here for quite a while but for some reason have only just gotten inspired to participate in the comments… I’m not really sure whether it’s even appropriate to request such a discussion on somebody’s happy wedding-graduate post, even if they brought it up… so, sorry if my saying that might be a killjoy sort of thing. However, I would love a chance to have that conversation eventually. (I’m sure some of you ladies have had it lots of times– I’m new).

      • ddayporter

        I’m not sure but I don’t really see it as inappropriate to ask, I think a post like this is intended to be a learning experience. as I mentioned in my comment above, nobody came right out and told me they were offended but there are little details that occurred to me later that maybe I didn’t attend to as well as I should have. But I think honestly, there’s no way to prepare completely and be assured that you will not offend a single person, or group of people, in some way, or that you won’t forget to do something that you knew was really important – I’m not sure how much examples from other readers would really help you since we all have very different friend/family dynamics and the things that hurt really deeply are the most personal and not applicable to any other family. You just have to do your best to balance your needs with the needs of your guests, keep your perspective, and hope that your family and friends are understanding when/if you mess up a little bit. or a big bit.

        • Liz

          dday is so right.

          there are two extremes we can go to- “it’s MY DAY,” and therefore the feelings of others don’t matter. or exhausting ourselves by becoming consumed with what will or won’t inconvenience and offend people. (the latter, i’m sure, is where things like favors, out of town bags and farewell breakfasts have their roots- not that there’s anything wrong with these things, but holy crap, we’re talking about grown ass people here!)

          my mom and i didn’t see eye-to-eye with much of wedding planning. but i found that she had her finger on the pulse of what would be offensive, and what people should just suck up. (she really pressured me to find a place that had convenient parking- i didn’t think it was a big deal, but people MENTIONED it to me. like, “thanks for thinking of parking for us old folks who can’t walk!” crazy.) talk to the older and wiser in your family- they’ll know what’s important to whom.

          conversely, my grandmom is diabetic. and we were having a dessert reception. i was stressed out about making sure there were sugar-free options for her, and whaddya know. she left at the end of the ceremony anyway, because she disapproved of my crazy indie ways. can’t win em all.

          • Hi, this is Anna of the original post. I’m totally NOT offended that you would ask but I’m not sure the comments space of APW is maybe the best spot for this, just because it might get hard for Liz and Alyssa to manage (and Meg when she gets back). Then again I am not the webmaster and barely even have the guts to comment on this site, so what do I know? Like DDAYPORTER said I don’t know if I can explain it in a way that will make sense, and I’m not entirely sure I want to on the bald-face internet where everyone can see. I’m sorry to disappoint!

          • Liz

            alyssa and i can handle whatever you throw at us. ;) if this is an area that’s bugging a few ladies, let’s talk about it.

            but it’s definitely a good idea to maintain boundaries and privacy where necessary- only gals willing to throw it out there for us all to see really should.

          • Alyssa

            Can I be bossy and throw out a blanket, “No m’am” on Anna giving details?
            Cause I’m gonna.

            I know nobody’s asked for them from you specifically, Anna, but if you wanted to give them you would have put them in the post.

            So please don’t email her or anything, y’all.

            Besides, it’ll just make you freak out on the off chance that it happens to you also.

            But totally copy her on the Rick-rolling. HILARIOUS.

  • Anna, thank you for sharing the good and bad and nitty gritty of your wedding/marriage. Honestly it’s posts like this one that make me the most excited about getting married. :)

    (Also, I hope I can rock as hard you did while dancing in my dress [also a mermaid-y shape] at my reception.)

    (Also, can we totally be YA fiction reading buddies? :D)

  • Marisa

    The Power of Love was our final song. I think we might actually be you guys. :-)

  • Great post! Awesome song! And can I “exactly!” the Rouge Dead Guy Ale and two pieces of wedding cake…does it get better than that?!?!?!

  • KristieB

    People holding grudges over things that did or did not happen at someone else’s wedding always seemed a bit ridiculous to me. My in-laws are still upset about something that happened at my father-in-law’s brother’s wedding over 30 years ago. Seriously. Wedding days are busy, stressful and it is often really hard to remember all the little details. There needs to be more forgiving at weddings. Sometimes the people getting married have plans to honor family in ways that the family might not have done themselves. People need to chill out and remember why they are there – to support the couple and leave their agendas at the door.

    Thanks for sharing your wedding. Your dance looks amazing and is inspiring me to choreograph something cute for my reception in 2 weeks.

  • You have no idea how much this post made me smile, and feel relieved. I can totally relate to a lot of what was said, and actually, appreciate the gentle reminder that I’m going to have to be diligent about properly thanking family and friends who are putting in the effort to be there. So thank you for that. And for introducing me to that AMAZING song. :)

  • Kashia

    I love that you also dance in the grocery store! It is little things like that that make me happy and keep me entertained.

    I hear ya as far as unintentionally hurting family memebers and thus causing lots of drama. I managed this a week after we got engaged and, similarly to what you said it brought up a lot of past family issues and people aren’t talking and it SUCKS. And the really awful part is that I love all of the people who are hurt and angry (at me and each other) and yet I currently have no idea how to fix the problems I caused so unknowingly. So, hearing that you are perhaps finding ways to heal the hurt in your family is giving me some hope.

    I also adore the photos of you dancing with your ladies! Congrats on your anniversary.

  • Tracey

    Wow, I absolutely love and respect the honesty of this post. And I am in sheer awe of rick-rolling your own wedding. So awesome!!

  • april

    Brilliant post – just brilliant! I am loving the 1-year graduate posts thus-far. At our wedding, we had several people tell that “the first year is a DOOZY.” And I was super irritated that they’d even mention something like that on such a momentous occasion and happy day, one: because it was our frikkin wedding day – and two: we’ve been together for 9 years. It’s not like we just met and walked downthe aisle.

    I’m eating humble pie now, however, because guess what? First year has been challenging in a way I never thought it would be.

    Anyhoo… I digress – I love Anna’s honest words here. Not to mention the pictures of them crazy-dancing are rockstar awesome. Oh! And I want to listen to the song, but I’m at work. Can’t wait to hear it later today when I’m home.

  • @everyone. You are making me blush ova heah! Seriously, though, I’m glad you liked the post cause I was scared to write it (i mean it took me a year). Best wishes to those of you struggling with the same things, I wish I had advice but all I can say is be honest and be kind (and try to know when it is more important to be kind than 100% honest, and vice versa).

    • your honesty is really inspiring, and this post made me look forward to my own wedding and marriage. it’s awesome going in to something knowing that bad things are going to happen and knowing it’s going to be okay.

    • Anna! Thank you for this post! So brave of you … all of it. I also just hit a very rough patch with my husband this last month or so due to my focusing my time and efforts more on my two jobs than on spending QT with him. It was a tough pill to swallow – but I saw how unhappy he was and realized I had to get my sh*t together or this could get worse very fast. Thankfully – we are now in San Fran for a wedding and vacationing together for 11 days – so it’s a very good time to reboot our relationship. :) And your comment about kindness vs. honesty is a very good thing to keep in mind for all of us in all relationships in our lives! :) Thanks Anna!

  • Though the mistakes made by couples at weddings should be trivial in the huge scheme of things, it still is important to consider the feelings of guests when possible. I really do wish you would write another entry discussing what the family members took offense toward and how the two of you stood united to rectify those hurt feelings. I realize that may be personal and still have some negativity for you in doing so, but I also think that it could be cathartic in letting it down on your keyboard, and extremely helpful to other couples, as well, so that they can avoid that.

    Not only do I agree that laughter is a most important element in marriage, but say so at every wedding and use humor in the ceremonies I officiate.

  • valery

    I completely understand why people wouldn’t want to share their specific personal things that happened on their wedding day that may have offended someone….but reading all this just made me super paranoid. I think of my fiance and I as pretty considerate people, but I would really love to just have SOMETHING to grasp to put this in my head. I don’t think we are offending anyone, but I am also pretty sure I can be in my own bubble sometimes, or as Sarah called it, Wedding Brain. So even if we talk in hypotheticals, maybe there could be a brief sharing of “I know a friend who….”? I hate to add the obligatory ‘this is why I read APW’ ….but it IS why I read it. I’d rather be self-aware of this kind of stuff then knowing if my mason jars are passe. Thanks.

    • Amy

      I think it really varies by family. Some of the things my mother insisted on didn’t even occur to me, but were really important to her family – like being asked to participate in parts of our ceremony (like my godparents bringing up the gifts during mass) and for godparents/future sisters in law having corsages. I think a previous point about asking your family what they expect can be helpful. And then having a good sense of what is going to result in true hurt feelings (like not being asked to participate in some way during a ceremony) vs. what they may want but doesn’t feel right to you (like grandma really wants a full mass but you’re agnostic).

  • Great post, Anna! I agree that laughter is KEY :-)

  • Liz

    i’m sort of sad that i’m hearing a lot of, “AAAH. you OFFENDED someone?!” because i feel like we’re all caving to a sort of WIC-ish hype here.

    i don’t think anna was trying to scare anyone into becoming paranoid about their wedding day. it’s important to be sensitive to people- but in the end, they’re grown-ups. and grown-ups a) can take care of themselves, and b) can be sort of finicky. so even if you were to sit up at night, pondering all the ways in which you could offend someone- you may not think of them all. (gasp!) grandma’s chair may be drafty! your second cousin may have wanted to be an usher, and you didn’t know it!

    life goes on.

    the best we can all do is plan a wedding that we’d all like to attend. when planning the details, consider what it would be like to be a guest. but DON’T GET HUNG UP ON IT. and then surround yourself with a few honest people who will smack you in the mouth when you suggest something ludicrously offensive. “how about we have everyone just stand outside for the 2 hour ceremony in philly in february?” (smack in the mouth)

    i think the message we can garner from anna’s post isn’t, “beeeewaaare, you may end up hurting someone!” but instead that they effed up. and things were still okay, because they learned how to take care of their baby family AND be considerate of others in the process.

    • Liz, that is exactly what I meant! For the love of pete, I didn’t want to stress anyone out or make them fearful about hurting people’s feelings. I just wanted to be show how I made peace with something I screwed up. I think my message was: hopefully nothing will go wrong in your wedding, but something WILL go wrong over the course of your married life, and figuring out how to handle that as a unit is really important.

    • Oh, and the bit about being considerate of others. Liz is a smart cookie.

  • Meagan

    I posted this on FB but now here: help.

    Just wondering how you balanced the should-dos for the guests and the being true to yourself-ness. After the post today, I’m more worried about a friend’s comment – She said I wasn’t thinking about the guests enough. I don’t know what to do about that. i don’t really care about favors or getting them a ride or worrying about paying for them. I mean, I’m serving dinner, an open bar, finding hotels for under $100 a night and giving them favors (albeit slightly sad ones) and we have 225 guests but we just can’t afford any more. But now i feel like poo and I don’t know what to do…but rhyme :D Thoughts brides?

    • Liz

      what’s your friend’s argument?

      sounds like your bases are covered.

    • Michelle

      Um, it sounds like you’re doing A LOT. Don’t let the WIC pressure you to do favors if you can’t afford them/don’t want to spend time the week before the wedding tying little ribbons around chocolate in monogrammed wrapping paper that matches your color scheme. Don’t let the WIC pressure you into out of town gift bags or renting SUV limos for the entire guest list or hand-drawing maps of all the places that are special to you and your spouse or organizing a scavenger hunt all over the city to keep them occupied. That’s just going too far.

      Think about guest comfort in terms of having what they need to get to the wedding on their own, meeting their basic needs of food, drink and conversation with hopefully a bit of time to chat with the couple.

      • Amy

        It sounds like you’re doing a great job thinking of your guests! You mentioned not being able to pay for limos (totally understandable!) but if your location is a bit remote, or inconvenient in some way is it possible to make guests aware of public transit options or if the hotel will offer a shuttle? Or even just to provide numbers for local cab companies? I find transportation to be a huge source of hassle for many folks when they’re in cities/locations with which they’re not familiar.

    • KristieB

      It sounds like you are doing a lot for your guests and being really considerate. I think you need to be considerate of you guests, while still being true to yourselves. Yes, it is really hard to do. You also need to compromise – like if you are getting married somewhere that isn’t accessible by public transit, has no parking and would cost a fortune for a taxi – provide transportation.

    • Kat

      Did your friend have any examples?
      It sounds like you’re doing plenty for your guests, but maybe she meant something like “you’re planning on leaving your guests at your combined ceremony/reception venue for five hours with nothing to do, no food or drink and nowhere to go while you take photos?” (as a somewhat extreme example)

      If you ask her exactly what she meant you’ll be able to either take it on board or decide to ignore it.

      And you don’t need to spend more to be thinking of your guests, just think about what they day will be like for them and be considerate – which I’m sure you are!

  • peanut

    ooooh boy, I don’t even want to know the types of offenses we will commit on our wedding day, because apparently people have already been offended during various stages of the wedding planning. At first it was so traumatic, as in “how could negative drama blemish our special day? How horrible, everything is ruined!”, but now we barely even notice. I mean, it’s not like we are doing things on purpose just to be a$$holes. I 2-million-percent agree that these offended family members have forced us to successfully define ourselves as our own independent family, which I think is more than worth the (petty and unwarranted, in my opinion) mildly hurt feelings of others. (Wow, that’s kinda bitchy, but it’s honestly how I feel.) There will always be things that we do, intentionally or unintentionally, that will piss off others, but as long as you and your partner are happy and there to support each other it’ll be alright.

    Thanks Anna!


    Anna, I really love your graduate post! Awesome job. It’s one of my favorites, especially since I can look back and see pieces of what you’re talking about in my own wedding memories. “Being yourself” can be tough to pull off on a day that’s already full of expectations and traditions, when lots of people are gathering with pre-formed ideas about what A Wedding means and looks like to them. Congrats on knowing yourselves well enough to enjoy being yourselves on that day!

  • This is my favorite wedding grad post. Ever.

    I especially love this bit –
    “All of this juxtaposition worked because Daniel and love each other for who we are, and usually enjoy our differences. This ability to be ourselves has helped in married life. We think differently about the world and when we aren’t fighting because of this it helps our relationship grow and keeps both us constantly reminded that there are other options besides a) my way and b) the highway.”

    It’s so true for my husband and I as well. Where our views diverge keep our relationship going strong just as much as the areas where they merge.

  • OhMyGod.

    I am so in love with your dress!!!! You look fabulous in it!!!!!

  • Alyssa

    Anna, the wedding conflict part makes my heart hurt for you Anna, (I know you’re better but I still want to feed you cookies and possibly pie.)
    But what makes my heart do a happy dance is the entire rest of your post. ESPECIALLY your dancing. (Rick Rolling! HA! That will ALWAYS be funny, I don’t care who you are….) Your points on laughter pretty much mirror mine and are so important that I feel like printing them out and putting them on our fridge.

    And ladies, I think those of you who are asking for specfics on wedding “offenses” are going to be disappointed. People can post a thousand stories and none of them are going to make a lick of difference in knowing because you STILL might offend someone.
    Listen to the other ladies, stay true to yourself and don’t worry about it sweetie(s).
    It will be your wedding and it will be wonderful because you got married.

  • Charlotte

    I’m trying to turn it around and think of what somebody would have to do to offend me at a wedding….and I’m thinking hard. Maybe say an overly embarrassing joke, or say my gift wasn’t good enough… or maybe critic my choice of outfit? But for something like, the bride forgot to thank me, honestly, she’s getting married. I should be thanking her for letting me help.

  • MegsDad

    May I try a male perspective from a different generation, please?

    First, long term Family Disagreements usually become so complicated that causing somebody pain is inevitable. You do your best, you take your lumps, and you get on with your lives. People are to attend a wedding to celebrate the creation of a new family, the joining together of a new couple — at least one of whom they know and love — in bonds that are unique and timeless. They are to attend a wedding to share in the love and joy of the new couple, and they are to bring love and joy of their own to contribute this sharing. They are missing the point if they contribute pain. But some of them will, and we put up with this because we love them, and we apologize as best we can. Then we go on with our lives.

    As for not thinking about the guests enough, I think that Meg would tell you to read at least one of Miss Manners’ books on weddings. Miss Manners outlines what you owe your guests, what is actually traditional for a wedding, and it is not very much. You do not owe your guests little gifts, “favors.” You do not need to entertain them. Guidance in finding affordable lodging, or arranging special rates in a hotel, is nice. But not necessary. A sit down dinner with white table cloths is nice — Meg and David did this — but a reception with punch and wedding cake is also nice — MegsMom and I did this. But neither of these is actually necessary. Nobody has a right to expect more than you provide; everybody should be grateful for what they get. In particular, if they feel that what you provide is not enough to justify a long trip, they have missed the point. Don’t apologize to them. Pity them.

    We found that when rearing our daughters we spent much of our time teaching the difference between what is required and what is desired, between need and want. [“But, Daddy, I need those expensive running shoes or I’ll die of embarrassment!” Few lives are lost for lack of running shoes; dying of embarrassment is extraordinarily difficult.] Adults can entertain themselves (and their children) in a new city. A lack of
    chocolates in monogrammed wrapping paper will not invalidate a wedding. Keep your categories straight. (Miss Manners can help a lot.) And watch out for “friends” who tell you to spend more money. They are secretly agents of the Wedding Industrial Complex.

    And Anna’s dance with her bridesmaids was out of sight, just wonderful.

    • Liz

      ALL OF THIS.

      sigh. i really love having your perspective around lately, megsdad. (my parents also did cake and punch- and so many of their friends did, also…. i wonder if the steak-dinner-“requirement” is a more modern thing?)

    • megsdad, you are the bees knees. I’m glad you liked our dance.

    • Oh, Meg’s Dad, I love every single one of your comments.
      Thank you for your wisdom and your perspective. I have the feeling you’re a sort of Dad to a lot of us who read regularly! :)

  • Richelle

    Anna, girlfriend, you can DANCE!! I loved the photos of you and your girls boogying. Just awesome.

  • april

    Megsdad *ROCKS*. Great comment. That is all.

  • Heather

    I also think that guests can get offended because every one has opinions about weddings and marriage. Their collective experience has led them to believe that there are right and wrong ways of doing things. And they want to prevent you from doing the wrong things. Then, if they are close to you in any way shape or form, they care about you and whether your wedding falls in the “right” category. So ultimately, while it may suck *a lot* to explain for the 80th time why you’re making the decision to have the ceremony outdoors to religious relatives who think the ceremony is only valid if it’s in a church, or why kids aren’t invited to all of those families with new babies, these people tell you their concerns out of love. And likewise, it might be worth it to acknowledge the value of the offended guest (and their opinion) and thank them for letting you know about their concerns, because their feelings and opinions wouldn’t matter so much if you didn’t care about them and want them there.

  • Theresa

    I love this, you said it perfectly…I just read some of it out loud to my husband so we could both get a chuckle! Thanks!

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