Ellie & Mark

I’m beyond overjoyed to finally (finally!) bring you Ellie’s wedding graduate post. Ellie writes at Wedding For Two and has been stressing on Twitter for months about not having quite the right thing to say, and about how she didn’t feel married after her wedding, and about how life has been hard lately, and that’s tough as a newlywed. But we recently we had a conversation about how your wedding graduate post should just be a letter to your pre-wedding self, and suddenly she had it in the bag. She told me, “Until now, I had been getting caught up in trying to express our wedding as a community event and talk about how we hired a family friend’s daughter as our photographer and how his ex-girlfriend made our cake (which a number of people warned me not to eat since it would be poisoned; it was not and people are stupid) and the way my college buddies played our ceremony music and how our friend’s wife did our wedding DVD and how all our family and friends pitched in and made our wedding day happen and it was amazing.  But that’s stuff I thought that APW readers wanted to hear, and it’s nothing I hadn’t heard before, and it’s not at all what made our wedding amazing. So I wrote about how getting married wasn’t the important part, and the details really did matter, and I wanted a fluffy princess dress and a tiara because that is who I am, dammit.  I also wrote about how getting married didn’t make us feel married and I didn’t feel married until our first really ugly fight.” Which is so exactly RIGHT. So without further ado, the lady herself:

I thought I knew what getting married and having a wedding was all about.  I read all those blog posts that reminded me that the most important part of our wedding was that we got married.  You should know something.  Getting married was the least important part.

Why do I say that?  Getting married is something anybody can do, any day of the week, anywhere.  We picked this day and this place because they were important to us.  We picked this day and this place so that our family could come, because at the end of the day, the most important part of the wedding was spending time with my family (because they’re all my family now) and feeling their love and support as I got ready to step out as a fully grown up married lady with my very own baby family.

As a side note: you should also know that it’s really okay if you don’t spend a whole lot of time with your husband on your wedding day – you get the rest of your lives.

The most important things about our wedding, to me, turned out to be things like the last few moments with my parents and my sister right before we walked down the aisle, and the way that I felt as I walked past everyone I loved and they were all smiling at me like crazy. It turned out to be enjoying the company of the people I love most in the world, as much as possible, for as long as possible.

I could tell you all about how the details aren’t really that important, but the funny thing is – they are.  And I don’t regret any of them. I had a lot of fun putting our wedding together – from the evenings that I got to spend with my mom and my cousin, the afternoons I spent with my sister and sister-in-law, the frantic last-minute program folding and OOT bag stuffing done by our groomsman and his sister when they stayed with us before the wedding, the hours I spent with my husband and best man as we built our very own photobooth, and most importantly the quiet moments I spent with my sewing machine in self reflection about what I was preparing for and who I was to begin with.  The details don’t really matter in the end, but like so many things, the important part is the journey, not the destination.

The projects we spent the least amount of time on – our favors, our guestbook, the programs – they simply didn’t matter and I don’t wish now that I had spent more time on them.  Although if I could, I wouldn’t have forgotten our parent’s names in the programs. Oh, and even though I spent hours slaving over the details and my husband and cousins spent hours executing them on the wedding day, the thing that everybody is still talking about four months after our wedding?  How absolutely perfect the weather was.

I should mention that as much as I stressed about projects and details, I fought against the attire requirements – worrying about expensive shoes and perfect jewelry wasn’t for me. Nobody noticed the plaid Tevas I got married in and they were really comfortable.  Nobody noticed that my dress was hemmed just a bit too short for my dancing shoes, or that I had tan lines, or that I wore the same necklace my sister wore, earrings I’d owned for three years, and a veil I made myself.

I stressed a lot about my dress not being right.  I bought it at Running of the Brides because I liked how it felt, but then I worried.  I worried because every outdoorsy woodsy wedding I saw had the bride(s) in a simple dress.  I stressed because a lot of the blogs talked about beautiful simple dresses and implied that we all should wear them to say “f*ck off” to the wedding industry.  I stressed because blogs made fun of princess dresses.  Eventually I realized I was feeling bullied, and at the end of the day, I was an ordinary girl who wanted a princess dress, and my wedding was going to reflect me, darnit.  At the end of the night I didn’t want to take it off. I wore it to the bar afterward, and then they carded me.  My dad vouched for me though, so it was okay.

I feel the need to warn you: the really, really scary part is that you might not feel married at all and you will wander away from the day with your husband thinking, “did we do this wrong?”  You will look at the marriage certificate and it still won’t sink in.  You will hit rough times, because even though you are married, you might realize upon returning home that you are still unemployed, you get bar results very soon, and what’s more, your grandmother is dying.  These events do not make you feel more married. Eventually it happens – during an ugly but normal fight – that fight you have every few months about how messy the kitchen is – you realize that you are married, and you can’t leave, and neither can he, and it’s all good.  It might happen differently for you, but as my sister said in her toast, “being married is like birthdays – you don’t always feel older on your birthday, but one day you just feel old.”

The best decision we made was to have a Sunday wedding, stop craft production on Thursday night, and spend the rest of the weekend with our family.  There are people who think a three-day-wedding-extravaganza is silly, or that nonstop events are stressful, but for us, it was perfect.  From Friday night at the Aquarium to the Saturday Morning 5k, the Rehearsal Lunch, the rehearsal itself (which was hellish) bar night with our best friends and cousins, breakfast the morning of the wedding with our aunts, the wedding, the after party, and the brunch on Monday, we actually got to see everyone and spend time with them and I felt so honored and loved the whole time. We owed some of these people our souls and quite possibly our firstborn child for all of the help and love and support they gave us, and I learned that on your wedding day, if something is important to you, even if it’s silly, your people will move heaven and earth to make it happen.

To sum it all up, your wedding day probably isn’t the best day of your life.  But for a million tiny little reasons, it’s gonna be the day you’ll end up wishing you could relive over and over again.

Photos by: Prema Photographic

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  • Moz

    This might be one of my fave grad posts ever. That bit about fighting is genius. As is the last line.

    Congrats on your marriage :)

    • mine too – this is so, so close to how I feel about my wedding but I have really struggled to articulate it! Love it – thank you!

  • Caroline

    I love this post – esp. the part about dress regret>stress>acceptance. I felt dress happiness>ambivalence>stress>hatred so that I eventually took it off at 8 o’clock and changed into a dress that felt like pjs>happiness about the pictures.
    I think its often a journey.

  • Gillian

    I’m so glad you decided to write after all. Honesty is really what makes these posts worth reading.

    (Also I adore your princess dress and your headband, and your wedding weekend with family sounds like it lasted so long – I am jealous. Congrats!)

  • I love this post. Ellie I think you have put your wedding into words unlike any I have read in a long time. You are frank, you are real, you put together a wonderful wedding weekend.

  • Cass

    Well now you’ve gone and made me all teary.

    This actually allays a lot of my fears. Since we’ve been living together for 2+ years, I was worried that coming home from the wedding wouldn’t feel “special.” I was wondering how we could come home with a “carry me over the threshhold moment.” Stay at a hotel? Bar-hopping in my dress? (What a good idea!)
    And now I know it’s OK if it doesn’t “feel” a certain way. Thanks.

    And BTW dark blue + green + wildflowers = soooo pretty!

    • I bar hopped in my dress after. It was actually one of the best parts of the day. Just us, a few friends, and finally getting to sit in on place for more than two minutes. Friends that don’t normally come out where there, and we all had a really great time.

  • Thank you for writing this version of your post. I especially like the part about not feeling married (and that all anyone is talking about it is the weather. That goes for us as well).
    We are eight months married now and I still don’t really feel married. As you said, we got back and life was still going on as it did before we got married, the only difference seemed to be a piece of jewelery.
    And while I didn’t think of it, the tired arguments we have every few weeks about his mom calling too often or who is more tired and can’t be asked to take care of dinner, do make us feel married. Not in that ‘old married couple’ way, but exactly as you said, we can’t leave. We never really argued before, I thought it was because we didn’t have much to argue about, but maybe it was because there was still the slim (very slim) possibility of bailing.

    In other news, I love that you owned your princess dress (even if it took awhile) and I understand the bullying. I got this a lot from my academic crowd. Sometimes I think people jump on the bandwagon they think they are suppose to be on. Since my wedding, members of that academic crowd went and got married in the same way they made fun of me for.
    Own the princess dress and the tiara.

    • Zan

      “I understand the bullying. I got this a lot from my academic crowd. Sometimes I think people jump on the bandwagon they think they are suppose to be on.”

      Yes and yes! I’ve kept my engagement/wedding/marriage plans quiet around my program for this exact reason. Maybe I’ll be brave like you Ariel, and own it.

      Might need another cup of coffee for that though … :)

    • Sarah

      “As you said, we got back and life was still going on as it did before we got married, the only difference seemed to be a piece of jewelery.”

      That’s become my standard response when people ask how married life is … “about the same as dating life, with a little more bling.”

      People always laugh and nod. Which reminds me that our experience ISN’T unique … in fact, it might very well be the norm. It’s comforting.

      • I gave roughly the same experience when people asked me how married life was. The main difference was the immediate savings in gas because we weren’t driving back and forth across town to see each other all the time any more.

        Our dating life just moved so seamlessly into married life that it wasn’t a huge change. To me that just meant we did it at the exact perfect time for us.

  • tupelohoney

    I absolutely love this post. Thank you for sharing it with us! The part that really hit home for me was the part about not feeling married and “because even though you are married, you might realize upon returning home that you are still unemployed, you get bar results very soon, and what’s more, your grandmother is dying” That last part… While I did feel married afterwards I found myself feeling very sad the next morning, remembering that my grandmother who had passed 3 months earlier, wasn’t there. My cousins and aunt brought my flowers to her grave and I wanted to go with them, but we were leaving for our honeymoon. I felt married, but I felt that loss. This was an amazing post.

  • Love your headband! You rocked it, and your awesome princess dress.

    I really appreciate your honesty about not feeling married right away. Its just another way the WIC exercises its control, making us feel like our celebration requires all these picture perfect moments – the mom-dress cry, the instant wedded bliss happiest day of your life. And while some people may well experience all those things and they are by no means bad, if they don’t happen for you that doesn’t mean you’re somehow defective, and I love that APW continues to affirm that. Shame blasters activate!

    • Zan

      Yeah! The headband was a beautiful twist on the tiara. It is lovely.

      • Ali

        I agree, that headband is AMAZING!!!

        • Adding my weight to the headband love!

          • The headband is actually from Anthropologie – I found a headband I loved in a bridal shop but it was $150 and so I set out on a search for an elastic sparkly headband and someone suggested Anthropologie. It was outrageously expensive for a headband, but totally reasonable compared to the bridal shop one. A few people were like, “are you sure you want to wear that?” so I had some serious second thoughts, but it was perfect in the end.

  • Zan

    First of all – I am thrilled to pieces that you got your princess dress! You look fabulous in it and furthermore it was what you really wanted, so hooray! I say this wholeheartedly as a non-princess dress girl too. I don’t want to wear a princess dress at my wedding, I don’t even know if I want to wear white, (or maybe I do?) but I know that whatever I choose to put on my fiiiiiine self (sorry, couldn’t resist that one) I’ll take Ellie’s Kick Ass and Take Names attitude: ” Eventually I realized I was feeling bullied, and at the end of the day, I was an ordinary girl who wanted a BLANK BLANK dress, and my wedding was going to reflect me, darnit.”

    And thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this post, about not feeling the seismic shift of MARRIED. I just got married at City Hall on Tuesday (wasn’t exactly what we had planned, Thank-You-So-Much-Immigration-Services. We are still planning on having a wedding this summer) and I don’t feel married at. all. I was starting to stress about this just a tiny bit and then, ta-da, Ellie’s timely post!

    • well congrats on getting married!! :)

      • Zan

        Thanks!! I don’t want to steal Ellie’s thunder here, but it just was a really “wow! thats me!” post for me today :)

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      Oh yes (and congrats!). Two months after a similarly unplanned wedding (and still planning one for our original date next summer), I still don’t really feel married. It bothered the boy at the beginning, and it’s especially confusing since we’re not telling people that we’re married until our next wedding. Like Ellie said, the times when I feel most married are when we have stupid disagreements — usually over the dishes — and I realize that I’m really stuck with him forever.

      • Zan

        Oh how I wish APW had a forum so I could ask questions without hijacking the post. Instead I just put that little disclaimer there and will say Sorry Ellie!! and plow ahead:

        We are struggling with whether or not to tell people, (Hyp-Sara I’d love to hear your thoughts on this) at this moment our families know but our close friends don’t. To tell or not to tell?? We are worried that people will just be disappointed and go, “Oh, you’re already married? No point in coming to the wedding then.” And I know that it’ silly and that the people who love you WILL come but I can’t help but think that if no one comes we won’t have a wedding and I secretly fear that without a wedding I won’t really feel married at all.

        And then I remember that there is Ellie (all the wonderful ladies commenting) who had a wedding a still didn’t feel married and I guess that’s my reminder to take a breath and chill!

        • Hypothetical Sarah

          Hijacking away…

          Right now, our immediate families and two close friends know. They’re under strict instructions not to tell anyone else… but I’ll be surprised if that holds for over a year. The decision not to tell people has been a hard one, and it’s something that we definitely still struggle with. To me, the wedding is all about celebrating with community… not about when you actually sign the paper. Before we eloped, I was adamant that I wasn’t “really” going to be married until the “real” wedding because I couldn’t imagine getting married without my family there.

          My position about not “really” being married became much harder to hold after eloping though, whether I feel married or not. As soon as we eloped, the boy started going “We’re married! We’re married!” He and his parents want to tell the whole world. And it seems counterproductive — even damaging — for me to insist that we’re not married now. But I’m worried that telling all those people I couldn’t imagine getting married without will hurt lots of feelings. So it’s still a work in progress.

          Whatever you decide, the people who love you will still love you and celebrate with you. It’s mostly a semantic issue of whether you’re having a wedding or having a party to celebrate your marriage. Check out the posts by Kimberly and E and Lindsey and L for related discussion.

          • Zan

            “it seems counterproductive – even damaging- for me to insist that we’re not married now.”

            Yeah. This. I think maybe this is one of those things where I shouldn’t second guess myself so much. We ARE married. We didn’t want to do it this way, but whatever, sometimes life likes to stick its tongue out at you and do jazz-hands by its ears while it sings, “Neener-neener I’m gonna screw with your plaaaaans!” I don’t want to feel like we are hiding this, but I’m not exactly thrilled to bits with how it all went down.

            I know that my friends will understand, I know that people will still show up and be happy, I guess my ambivalence about telling people came more from my ambivalence about how we ended up being “forced” to marry in a manner we hadn’t wanted. But maybe writing this all out to you guys has been my reality check. As in, “C’mon Zan — you’re yammering away on the internets about how you got hitched, clearly you want to tell people.” It doesn’t hurt that we decided to get Katie Jane (of APW fame) to take pictures and from what I have seen in sneak peek are really good and I want to squee about them with my friends and family.

            For what it is worth my husband (omg. husband. omg.) is completely fine with either option.

          • Ali

            Zan – can I just say that your elopement pictures are gorgeous? Congrats!!!

    • Congratulations. :) Here’s hoping that any and all immigration issues go smoothly for you guys.

      (Also, feel free to ask me any questions . . . immigration wives unite! SeekUp726 {at} gmail dot com.)

    • Sarah


      (And don’t worry about post hijacking … the comments are here for discussion, no?)

    • Jo

      Congratulations!!!! :D

    • Sarabeth

      We did this, and told people (even had our parents at the city hall ceremony). No one complained or felt excluded, but I think some people didn’t make as much of an effort to come to the ‘wedding’ the next summer as they might have otherwise. But what can you do. I was shocked, actually, that I did feel married after our city hall quickie–but it felt like unfinished business until we’d had the big friends-and-family party.

  • A-L

    Thanks for your honesty, for all the great ideas for planned events for a 3-day celebration (we had a similarly long time of celebrating with folks, but not as many planned events), and for wearing that awesome necklace that your sister also wore. Enjoy your married life!

  • Jamie

    Ellie, This was so well written and actually made me feel like I was experiencing that weekend with you. I’m so happy for you and Mark and this journey you guys are taking together. I think you did something a lot of people forget to do, which is enjoy each moment. No matter how small or how big. I am a fan of a 3 day celebration. How often do you have everyone you love in one place. Those are the memories you keep.

    So happy for you! Glad you posted. BIG HUGS!!

    Love you!

  • Heather

    “To sum it all up, your wedding day probably isn’t the best day of your life. But for a million tiny little reasons, it’s gonna be the day you’ll end up wishing you could relive over and over again.”

    Yes. Absolutely, positively yes.

    Also, once we had finished eating, I think I saw my husband twice for the rest of the reception. I was too busy dancing and he was too busy avoiding the dance floor like the plague. We never talked about our mingling strategy, but I’m really glad it worked out that way. It was like we took a divide-and-conquer approach to making sure our guests knew how thrilled we were that they were there.

  • We’ve been on-off wedding planning for over a year, and in the next two weeks should be putting down a deposit on a venue.

    We’ve stopped and started so many times because we were planning something that wasn’t right for us, that now we think we’ve found it we’re double- and triple-guessing ourselves, not only on the venue, but also the decisions we’ve made about how to legalise our partnership (I’m trans, and we’re in the UK, so depending on how much paperwork we want to do and what we envision for the future we can get either a civil partnership or a marriage).

    So this post has come at a perfect time. Because of many of the points you raise. Thank you.

    • ANI

      British law regarding civil partnerships & marriage and same-sex rules and how it impacts trans folks is all about to change really soon. keep an eye on http://www.pinknews.co.uk
      you may want to wait till that all settles down to something solid. good luck!!!

  • I, personally, think you got it spot on. So many fantastic thoughts in there. I especially like the part about not feeling married (because I can totally relate) and about wanting to relive it again and again.

    I’m so glad you decided to write.

  • Nicole

    Clearly you have hit on something big here! Like many of the other commenters, I especially appreciated your thoughts about not feeling married right away. We had the loveliest of all lovely weddings, exactly the day we wanted, and it was a blissfully happy time for us, but we also felt strangely unchanged. I’m a crier, and I didn’t really cry at all that day. And the honeymoon was just like another fun vacation (though one we needed more than usual). We all have our ways that even the beloved indie wedding community makes us feel inadequate, and this was mine. Why didn’t I feel more changed?

    We’ve been married for a year and a half, and living together for 4 years, and I’ll be honest — it’s only now that we’re talking about buying our first house that the gravity of the partnership is sinking in. And maybe you’re right that it’s the fighting itself that triggers that feeling, because the weight of that commitment is a good, heavy thing on those days.

    It’s a beautiful thing to be able to write something that validates other people’s experiences, particularly the experiences and feelings they needlessly question. Thank you!

  • This was perfect. I’ll probably be back later to say more, but I wanted to let you know that I read the entire archive at Wedding for Two the month after we got engaged and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for more about practical wedding planning (and having!).

  • This is one of my favorite grad posts in a while. I love the honesty about how you didn’t immediately feel married (and I seriously loved your sister’s toast — that may stick with me for a long time)

    Congrats to you for realizing you wanted the princess dress and for focusing on what mattered to you and didn’t matter.

  • cheers to a fellow 10-10-10er! =)

  • Laura

    This made me cry a little bit. In a good way. Thank you!

  • Jen M

    Your sister is a genius, as good sister’s are prone to be. Congrats!

    • I really enjoyed that bit as well.

  • Emily Elizabeth

    Beautiful wedding, and way to rock the princess dress! Also, awesome banner-run-through, that is such a fun idea!

    Like a lot of other commenters, we didn’t feel too different for a while, and I still don’t all the time. I do feel it when I play with our friend’s kids, and think about partnering up with my husband and raising some kids of our own someday. I think about it when we are with our families, and when we talk about my grandmother who is forgetting more and more each time we talk to her, and his younger brother who is working to recover from a major illness. Knowing he is there for me, and I’m there for him, that makes me feel married.

  • Sara

    “Eventually it happens – during an ugly but normal fight – that fight you have every few months about how messy the kitchen is – you realize that you are married…”

    Ellie, this happened to me (but you expressed that realization so much more clearly than was in my head, so, thank you!). After said silly fight, the talking it out, and making up, and coming back to the “we really are ok” point, and kind of laughing at how crazy it all was to start in the first place, well… it was…so…different. I don’t know what else to say except that at that point, I think something in my relaxed a bit. The feeling is still subtle, for sure, but Good.

    And it makes me glad to know others come to the weight of what it means to be married in their own ways which may not be the wedding day, and even if it is over time and through the little and big things together, that is just as meaningful because even if the time you spend with your husband/partner over the wedding seems fleeting and not-life-changing, that is ok, because “you get the rest of your lives…” and THAT is when it means something.

  • I’m so glad the projects you worked on were meaningful and gave you time to spend with loved ones and reflect. After all, I very much believe that the journey is what’s important. Seeing them on your wedding day probably brought back a rush of memories about making them.

    And I love that you stuck to your guns and went with the big princess dress. You rock it. You should never feel bad for wearing that dress because it is you through and through. You are a tough and beautiful princess. And now you have the pictures and dress to prove it.

    Cheers to Ellie and Mark!

  • Holy cow: “how your wedding graduate post should just be a letter to your pre-wedding self”

    That is hugely, hugely helpful. I’ve already submitted my wedding graduate post, but that is a great way to put it. That’s worth putting up on the Wedding Graduate Submission Guideline page, even. It helps take off the pressure– it’s not about what APW needs to hear (ahem, I call bullsh*t), but about what we need to say.

    Thoughts on Ellie & Mark once I’ve actually READ the post… :)

    • meg

      That’s all it was ever supposed to be.

      • Oh, totally! I just think that framing it as a letter to yourself is helpful. I didn’t necessarily think of it that way, but I think that might have given me a little boost in the right direction. :)

  • This post should go in the book.

  • So should i just take a deep breath?

    I will probably still worry, but enjoyed your thoughtful sweet post.

    • Take several deep breaths. :)

      And own the worry. I’m a worrier too (you should see the knots in my shoulders). But deep breaths are always good. They’re better than the alternative of not breathing.

    • Yes, take a deep breath. If you’re like me and fight with anxiety in regular life, let ALONE with planning a wedding and a marriage, take a look back over the Reclaiming Wife posts, especially this one about anxiety. It’s a great post that talks about the struggle between anxiety and trust.

      Good luck! Deep, deeeeep breaths. <3

  • Eventually it happens – during an ugly but normal fight – that fight you have every few months about how messy the kitchen is – you realize that you are married, and you can’t leave, and neither can he, and it’s all good. It might happen differently for you, but as my sister said in her toast, “being married is like birthdays – you don’t always feel older on your birthday, but one day you just feel old.”

    I’m sitting at my desk and tearing up at this. This is so, so, so true. My husband and I got married on our ten year anniversary, and we’d dated long distance, lived together, fought together, done the family-holidays-mashup, and had been in love for a decade. Getting married felt RIGHT and amazing and wonderful, but I didn’t feel changed. In so many little ways, in the fights where we’re not going anywhere, when I broke down outside a restaurant on my honeymoon, when we’re angry at one another– there is where we are married. Where we’ve committed to one another. And it’s amazing.

    To sum it all up, your wedding day probably isn’t the best day of your life. But for a million tiny little reasons, it’s gonna be the day you’ll end up wishing you could relive over and over again.

    ….yep. It wasn’t even the best reception I’d been to; that would probably go to one where people were bugging me less and I’d had a few more drinks (I had ONE glass of champagne at my own wedding reception). But that day was amazing and magical and FILLED with love.

    Thanks, Ellie. You’ve said some of the things that is so hard to articulate. Thank you.

    • “being married is like birthdays – you don’t always feel older on your birthday, but one day you just feel old.”

      THANK YOU. I’m not married yet, and despite knowing (at least intellectually) that fighting is normal and doesn’t mean our [married] world is over, I still worry about it. So I guess I’m really hoping this rings true for us (or that the One Big Fight just stops once we’re married–I know I know, fat chance, but a girl can dream). Anyway, this is just such a wise thing to say.

      And you rock on with your princess dress! You’re gorgeous! And just so, so, SO happy in each of these photos. Love.

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  • “being married is like birthdays – you don’t always feel older on your birthday, but one day you just feel old.”

    <3 <3 <3

  • Another 10-10-10-er here! I WISH we’d stopped all crafting Thursday, but as of Saturday at 10pm my dress STILL wasn’t finished. Most stressful wedding ever. If I could do it again, I’d buy a dang dress. DIY is not all it’s cracked up to be. Definitely good advice, the “stop a few days before” tactic.

    We’re just NOW really feeling married, and I can say “husband” without feeling like I’m lying!!! (Weird reaction!!)

  • Such a wonderful post, Ellie! Smart and honest and insightful, just like you :-)

  • I love that you went with the dress you wanted. It’s funny how you had the experience of feeling “bullied” about your outdoor wedding needing to have a simpler dress, and over here I was feeling bullied about having to wear a princess dress when I didn’t want to! Two very different brides in regards to our dresses, but we both did the same thing in the end. Said the hell with it, and wore the dress that made us happy. For you it was a princess-type dress and tiara, for me it was a shorter more casual dress. Both different brides, but both felt beautiful. :) And that… I think is really awesome.

    Also I just wanted to make a comment on writing a Wedding Graduate post. As I wrote mine, and sent it in, I started to worry. I read over it a thousand times and something just felt like it was missing. I e-mailed back and forth with Lauren, and with some help from both her and Meg, I was able to finally let go of my fears and write about something that I never talked about to anyone outside of my husbamd. When you finally let go of what you feel like you’re SUPPOSED to say, and write about what really matters and what really affected you emotionally in the process of planning your wedding/after the wedding, that is when you get some of the best writing out of yourself.

    I think what you wrote is totally accurate in regards to that and is something for future Wedding Graduates to consider as they’re writing their posts. Meg replied to me on Twitter when I told her I was crying as I wrote about my journey to feeling beautiful, “Oh, if you’re crying over the emotions of it, then you know you’re writing something powerful and helpful” and it’s so so true.

  • Ellie, you could not have put into better words what it felt like for us “to be married.” Our wedding day and the days after were full of excitement, glee, and happiness, but nothing felt different. Sure, finally moving in and setting up a home together felt like something “married people” do, but what being married meant didn’t hit me until months later when we were fully submerged in the nitty-gritty – both having a bad few weeks, grumpy, and at wits end. I realized that wow, this sucks. And the enormous weight of marriage (holy crap I’m stuck with you for.EV.er.) and the amazingness (but we’re in this together, and no one’s going anywhere) hit me at the same time. It’s a powerful, scary, and incredible feeling. :)

  • Jo

    Ellie, high five.

    This was gorgeous! And I love that you identified how you felt and decided to own your desires. I have to regularly remind myself that all of these opinionated people I adore are just sharing the way they feel and I have to do what I feel. I’m allowed my opinions. :)

    I also appreciate knowing that the details were important to you. I’m in the middle of trying to decide how important each thing is to me and this helps. As does knowing you pulled off a full-weekend wedding, which is what we’re planning!

    Love, love, love your sister’s toast.

  • As a side note: you should also know that it’s really okay if you don’t spend a whole lot of time with your husband on your wedding day – you get the rest of your lives.

    You know what? I think this might be best line I’ve read in a while. Both of us have most of our friends coming into the wedding from far away (most of my friends live on the opposite coast from where we live right now, and his are really scattered). I keep stressing because he’s been talking about how great it’s going to be to see his friends all weekend, and stressing because I’ve been wondering why my friends are flying all the way out when I don’t know when I’ll have time to hang out with them at the wedding, and so forth. I’m silly, right? I’m totally laid back about wedding decor, about my dress, about the very real possiblity that our flower girl will have a tantrum and not make it dow the aisle, but I had this idea that we had to plan to spend the day wrapped around each other.

    So your sentence really smacked me upside the head. Yes. I think I’ll be OK with making time for friends & not going overboard insisting that we spend most of the time with each other. thank you. ;)

    • I had to track down my husband to cut the cake. He spent most of the night hanging out on the porch with his buddies, and probably smoked a cigar or two. I spent the entire night on the dance floor with my friends and most of my family. I LOVE to dance, he tolerates it, so we often spend time apart during wedding receptions, including our own. It was still amazing, still romantic, we both still had a wonderful time, and in the end? We were still married.

      The honeymoon, on the other hand? We spent the entire time together, minus a couple hours one morning when he slept in. We cuddled, canoodled, ate, drank, sunbathed, and hung out for days on end. It was ALSO amazing, but just the two of us, which is exactly what we wanted. :)

      • Jo

        Wow, totally the exact same experience!

  • kc

    I had the big white dress struggle with myself too. You rocked yours. Yay on staying true to yourself!

  • So well said. I’ve been feeling bullied alot lately. I didn’t know it was bullied, but that’s the feeling. Especially last night when we went to a men’s store to buy 2 ties. Seriously? Two guys who are young enough to be my sons telling me what I can and can’t do with the men’s ties at MY wedding?!? And, If one more person asks me what my colors are and then looks at me awkwardly when I say I don’t really have colors…

    Anyhoo, Ellie put it perfectly and I loved the statement about no more how silly it seems your people will move heaven and earth to make it happen.

    Love that.

    • Jillian

      I never understood why people insist on asking me my colors either. Are you planning to coordinate your outift with my colors? Next time someone asks, tell them your color scheme is all leopard print.

      But Ellie thank you for this post and all your honesty about not feeling married and how that’s all right. Your dress is amazing and I’m glad you stuck with your gut on that- no one should make a bride feel bad about her dress choice.

      • Alyssa

        As a guest, sometimes I ask just because 1.) I like to hear about pretty things like colors and such, 2.) I don’t want to look like a member of the wedding party if I come in a dress that matches your colors. (Happened when hot pink was the “It” color.)

        So, questions are okay. Mean looks are not.

        • Kayakgirl73

          Good reason to ask about colors. I didn’t really have colors, well I picked a color for the BM’s dresses because I liked that color. We ended up with fall colored flowers because that was what was in season. The reception was decorated in a fall theme, but I kinda fell into that with the wedding date and what I could find for low cost. It turned out great, even though it was totally opposite of all the fantasy wedding I had ever had in my head.

      • Sarah

        I’d say a good half of my guests who’d asked what our colors were showed up in coordinating shades.

        I found it to be pretty funny. Especially since our “colors” changed the day before when we went to the flower market and had to go on what they had for sale that day. =)

    • sophia

      The first time someone asked what my colors were I stared at them blankly for 5-8 seconds cause I had no idea what the eff they were talking about.

      • Ali

        I did the same thing when someone asked me the “theme” of our wedding. I was like…um…marriage?

  • Thank you Ellie. I’ve been wondering about all these things for you. This is the recap that really got at the heart of your wedding, and thank you so much for sharing your wisdom here. I wonder about that “feeling married” part. I worry about my attire – for some different and some similar reasons – and your post-wedding words are a good reminder that no one’s going to notice. I appreciate the process but I’m over it and aiming for a Thursday night end date, to spend time with family. Reading your story helps reinforce what I’m looking forward to about the day.

  • This is a great post, but I have to be honest, this line really hit a nerve for me:

    “Getting married is something anybody can do, any day of the week, anywhere.”

    Because obviously that is only true if you’re straight. I’m sure it will be said that I’m reading too much into that sentence, or that I’m overly sensitive, but what can I say, I was taken aback by such a straight privilege line on APW, which is generally supportive of marriage equality.

    I did really like this post, and I thought some great points were made, which is why I’m sad that I immediately felt excluded when I read that line, like “oh, this post is not for me.”

    • meg

      True. Good point. I suspect she meant this in another way, we do, after all, celebrate LGBTQ marriage everyday of the week anywhere on APW, it’s just not legal marriage. But all be godd*mned if we let the government determine who is married and who isn’t. They just control the paperwork.

      But still, I should have caught that and edited it.

      • I did actually think about that when I wrote it, but what I meant to say was that the ceremony, the act of pledging ourselves to each other, which I often hear is “the most important part” well, wasn’t. I’m genuinely sorry and did not mean to offend, but I simply couldn’t think of another way to put it and thought others would understand that, like Meg said, I did not mean state sanctioned marriage. I’m sure there was a better way to say it and I really do apologize.

  • Jenn

    Getting married is something anybody can do, any day of the week, anywhere.

    This is a lovely sentiment, but it’s not at all true. In much of the US and plenty of other countries around the world, gays can’t marry. If you want to marry someone who is a citizen of another country no matter where you live, there are invariably bureaucratic hoops that are difficult (sometimes sadly impossible) to sort out. And even just a piece of paper from City Hall that costs $100 can be prohibitively expensive if you’re living paycheck to paycheck or don’t have the luxury of taking time off during business hours to do it.

    • meg

      See my comment above. I should have edited that, but I think we also need take into account the fact that we DON’T equate marriage with legal marriage on APW.

    • I work in legal services with a lot of people who couldn’t afford to get married or aren’t able to get married because they don’t have social security numbers, etc. I definitely understand that legal marriage isn’t available to everyone. All I wanted to say was that when we tell ourselves, “the most important thing is that you get married” which I head a *lot*, that sentiment discourages us from recognizing the other things about having a wedding that are really important and really valuable.

  • Jo

    “Getting married is something anybody can do, any day of the week, anywhere.”
    True that this only applies to straight people in the U.S. But I know what she is trying to address. This also struck me after our wedding. The meaning of getting married is what you bring to it – your desire to be married to this person for the rest of your life. But yeah, you really can do it easily, but it should probably not be taken lightly. But it also means, it doesn’t BY ITSELF change anything. The changes happen when you bring yourselves and your communities into something intentional that you are creating that has meaning. The wedding just provides a place for that to happen (or not as the case may be!).

    Also, people will do anything for you on your wedding day. My beloved, pregnant matron of honor rushed to probably half a dozen stores several hours before the wedding, looking for white chalk because when we pulled off the extra decals from my dress, it turned out it looked a little dirty underneath. And I maybe freaked. And she maybe did what I asked her to do. Because she cared so much. And it was silly. It didn’t work and nobody could notice the faint stains anyway.

    And I’ve even felt guilty about it, but now I realize what a gift it is to realize how much the people in your life want to support you, and how the wedding gives them this great opportunity to show you that. And we can laugh about it now, but also know that it’s amazing to have that kind of people in your life.

  • Ellie, thanks so much for writing this. Even if I didn’t “know” you this would be one of my favorite wedding grad posts ever. I particularly enjoyed what you had to say about not letting haters keep you off your princess dress grind. You are wise and beautiful and I can only hope my wedding will come close to being as awesome as yours!

  • love it. agree in so many ways.

    especially that your wedding day is a day you want to relive over and over and that feeling and seeing all the smiles and love of your loved ones on that day is an immensely wonderful feeling.

    you had a beautiful wedding and thank you for being so honest about it.

  • “As a side note: you should also know that it’s really okay if you don’t spend a whole lot of time with your husband on your wedding day – you get the rest of your lives.”
    This is so true. With the exception of cutting the cake, I don’t think I spent a full minute at a time with my husband until the reception was over. We kept coming together for a few moments, long enough to rebalance and touch. Then we’d go off separately again. And it was good. I felt like I was more able to focus on other people, without the distraction of having him next to me.

  • april

    …”your wedding day probably isn’t the best day of your life. But for a million tiny little reasons, it’s gonna be the day you’ll end up wishing you could relive over and over again.” ~Ellie.

    THIS. Abso-frickin-lutely! I’m 16 months into this married thing and – on a near weekly basis – (usually when I’m sitting at home on an average Saturday night reading), I think, “There was that one Saturday night when we got married and then danced our asses off! Damn, that was fun.”


  • pixie_moxie

    Thank you Ellie for a wonderful post. I have been reading APW for several months now and the water works had slowed down to just apreciating peoples graduate posts but yours made me cry. Just snuck up and made me cry. Thank you for sharing your experince.

  • The wedding grad posts are my favorite part of APW, just to read each unique take on a wedding. The honesty & wisdom is priceless. I’m still struggling to find the right words for my wedding so I applaud all the grads! & Ellie’s last line is so, so true!

  • Sarah M

    Just wanted to say, as a fellow survivor of Running of the Brides– GREAT job on finding a fabulous dress! I know exactly how hard you worked to find a dress at ROTB and am so glad you overcame the idea that outdoor weddings must only be attended by brides in simple dresses. Way to make your own rules and look smokin’ while you’re at it!

  • Anonymous just this once, ok?

    I really, really REALLY didn’t feel married after my wedding day. The day turned into a HUGE family show-down fight at the reception. It was devestating. I tried to feel married afterwards, but something about that big distraction made it really impossible for me to be in the moment. It was a ritual that I didn’t feel present for. I tried to be ok with it the weeks after, but finally I just told my husband that we needed a do-over. We took a hike up a mountain and re-mairried ourselves, just us two. It was so healing. I just wanted to comment this because, while if you didn’t feel married after your wedding day can be OK, and it will just come with time…. it can sometimes need more than that. Just throwing in my two cents.

    • I just wanted to say that I thought this was pretty awesome that you guys did that for yourselves and it made me smile. :)

    • I’m so glad you owned your feelings like that – it’s very important to know that you needed something more than time, and you got it. I’m so sorry about your family as well, that must be heartwrenching.

  • Ellie, I love this post so much! Late and not feeling terribly coherent but I am so glad you found your place and wrote this. <3

  • This post rocks. SO much truth in here. And also– a 5k? and a headband on the bride? wow. love.

  • Shelby

    I’ve been following this blog for a couple of months now, and while I have loved every post I have read, yours I’ve loved the most. While not engaged myself, the things you mentioned in your post are things I’ve worried about my future wedding day. Your day sounded beautiful, and I will keep your advice about not feeling married until your first big fight close to heart. Thank you.

  • Helen of Troy

    Ellie, thank you for writing such an honest post. I’m getting married in just a few weeks, and it’s so good to hear (er…read) a different perspective. My situation is really different from yours, but I think it will probably take me a while to feel married. I’m glad to know that that’s okay! Also, you completely rock for getting married in plaid Tevas. Hell yes.

  • Beautifull wedding, amazing post.

  • Dana

    Ellie, this is a fabulous post! Thank you for sharing!

  • Emily

    I love this grad post so much! Especially the note about how it’s okay to not spend much of your wedding day with your husband — you’ve got the rest of your lives. As someone who is yet-to-be-married, this is extremely helpful advice.
    And I’m glad she got the right dress for her.

  • This is a really great post! I really love the honest post on APW. I feel like I am actually learning something beyond DIY.

  • Alexandra

    Hooray, so much beauty and awesome advice!

    I got a blingy headband, and am thinking I need to wear my hair up in case of wind [& likely dancefloor neck-sweat!]–so, thanks for the inspiration on that, too. :D