Today’s post is somewhere between a wedding graduate post and a Reclaiming Wife post. Because while Marty (who blogs at Not The Marrying Kind) does talk about their wedding, she also talks about how marriage has been hard, and their love just keeps on growing. Which is a beautiful echo of Drea, the Chicago-ian who’s wedding graduate post helped lead them to their wedding venue, and her story of the love that just keeps growing, even during the hard times. So with that, a wedding full of people grinning their faces off, and truth.
Planning our wedding was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life…and not because we were planning a wedding. A.P. and I were engaged at the end of August 2009 and married at the end of March 2010. During that time, I started a new job (my first year in a new career), my brother was in the hospital, my mother had surgery, A.P.’s mother passed away unexpectedly, my sister announced she was moving to India, A.P.’s father had an unexpected heart surgery, A.P. (quietly) turned 30, and then right before the wedding, A.P. lost his job. That’s seven months of insanity, five of which were spent also planning our wedding. It seemed that anything and everything that could go wrong and cause us a ton of additional stress did go wrong.
Some people might take all of these terrible things happening as a sign that marriage wasn’t the right path. By the time A.P. lost his job, I decided that these things just served as proof that we could handle the hard stuff, and that we could handle it together. I wish I could tell you that I learned to fight the good fight, or that planning a wedding was pure bliss, but we didn’t and it wasn’t. It was five months of hell. But I did learn what I can rely on my now husband for, and what I have to do myself. I learned that while we may not have always gotten what we wanted in our relationship, we usually always got what we needed. And I also learned that we can weather serious storms, like the death of A.P.’s mother, which has changed him in profound ways I can’t really describe.
Being married is still a bit of a learning experience. After we married, we had about three weeks of good, happy, stress-free times, before I lost my job due to layoffs. I was devastated. The worst part was that I had to continue working at the company for an additional month if I wanted severance and then unemployment. I was broke after paying for a wedding with A.P., and now I was about to become unemployed. I went into a deep depression. And while financially, we would survive (A.P. found another job pretty quickly, which was extremely fortunate), my depression drastically affected our marriage. We fought all the time, we weren’t talking to each other, and we were both pretty miserable. I’ve since found a job, but that terrible period we were in hasn’t completely faded yet. The stress of our new jobs has also affected our marriage. We are both working every night after work, and usually one day on the weekend. It’s hard. We have very little time for each other, but we’re, as I like to say, “in it to win it.” I wrote about how our learning curve has been pretty steep in our first year of marriage, but that perhaps that’s a good thing. It gets better every day, but it takes work on both our parts.
Oh and I also learned how to throw a kick*ss wedding.
When I think back on the day as a whole, what stands out to me was how little I cried and how genuinely giddy with excitement and happiness I ended up being. For weeks before the wedding, I would envision all these moments in our wedding that would make me choke up with tears: my father giving me away, the portion of our ceremony that I wrote about A.P.’s late mother, the readings that A.P. and I picked out for our ceremony, my first dance with him, our first kiss as husband and wife, etc. I would picture all these moments and I would get so emotional that I just figured I would react the same way on our wedding. In other words, I’d be a hot mess of emotions and just end up crying a bunch. Instead, I ended up being so excited and blissfully happy that I just smiled and laughed all night. We were lucky enough to have our fabulous photographer, Theresa Scarbrough, capture these fantastic moments. Even now, looking at those photos, I’m amazed at how full of joy the two of us are, particularly since looking back always seems so surreal.
When we first arrived at our venue, the sweet, little vintage bakery, Lovely, located in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood (which I found out about through APW), I was so angry with A.P. I thought I would never forgive him. And then a woman who I’ve known since I was a child came right up to me, and told me I had to get over it because this was an important day and it was going to go by so fast that I had to worry about enjoying every minute of it. Immediately, I stopped being angry, and just tried to focus on being in the present and enjoying every moment of the evening.
So, the thing I know now that I wished I’d known while planning was that, it will go by so, so fast. Since I got married, I’ve had a couple of friends get engaged/married, and I tell them what that friend told me on my wedding day: enjoy every minute because it flies by. When you’re planning the wedding, and you’re thinking about everything, all those hours seem like they will last forever. You think back on every wedding you’ve ever been to, and how time seemed to putter along and you think that the six hours you’ve booked your venue for will be this awesome, long night. That is only true in that it’s awesome. Long? Not so much. It’s hard to describe the surreal quality that time takes on for those hours. I’m pretty sure that even if I tried, it wouldn’t truly convey how fast it goes by, and how every moment seems amplified by emotion (and in some cases, alcohol).
The point is to savor as much of it as you can. I can honestly say that by the end of the night, my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing so hard, and it shows in my photos, which is all that is really important. That also means that all the weight loss, and looking perfect, and having everything just so is also unimportant. The best advice is to ignore everything else as much as possible. Didn’t get to thank Aunt Kathy in person for coming? Oh well. Someone broke glasses and now you’ll have to pay for them? That’s the cost of having a wedding (a guest at our wedding tipped a whole table of glasses onto the floor). You were late to your own wedding because your now husband forgot his pants? Guess what? It’s YOUR wedding, and people will just have to wait. The only thing that’s important is each other.
What mattered in the end was that we were happy and having an awesome time surrounded by friends and family who wished us well.What didn’t was everything else. We remember the funny stuff that happened (who made out with who??!!??), the great things people said (We’re so happy to have you join the family!), and all the dancing we did! But I’ve forgotten all the drama. Hopefully, you will too.
What surprised me is how much I ended up being a “bride.” My blog is called Not The Marrying Kind for a reason. I never pictured myself married before 30 (even if it was just a year before). I never pictured myself wearing a white dress. I never pictured us sending out formal invitations. I always envisioned getting married later in life, in a black or brightly colored dress, in a surprise wedding. Turns out, it was perfect the way it was.
I never pictured myself having a wedding, until I realized I’d met someone who I wanted to marry. Then, it was impossible NOT to picture what my wedding would look like. I always pictured a rustic, charming venue with lots of antiques, vintage pieces, etc. The one thing that was strange and that I could not get out of my head was a venue with different sized tables and different types of chairs. I didn’t think a place like that existed…until I saw this post on A Practical Wedding. At the time, Lovely did not offer to do weddings, and I thought I would have to dust off my sales skills and go in for the kill. Turns out, by the time we required their services, Lovely offered to host weddings on their website. It was the perfect wedding, and all I did was collect the details.
I thrifted our china, vintage postcards from Florida, A.P.’s birthplace (this served as our guest book), and every object that adorned our tables, with the exception of the candle holders, which Lovely provided. As much as possible, I tried to buy objects that I could later incorporate into our decor. I also tried to incorporate meaning into as many details as possible. For instance, I had guests put their signed postcards into a mailbox A.P. made using an antique mailbox door I found on eBay. The reason for this little mailbox was that my grandmother was the Post Master of this little town she lived in, and she actually had the post office in her house for a while. So growing up, I got to play in the old post office. Even our favors, which consisted of homemade cake mix in mason jars with boxes of sparklers, were given because on our first date we made a cake and lit sparklers. Hopefully those details and that level of love that we put into the celebration of this momentous day in our lives really reflects in Theresa’s photos, which still amaze me.
Oh and because we’re sneaky, we ditched our wedding entirely for a little while and headed over to the el station to take some stunning photos on the train platform.
In the end, it was a beautiful wedding, and while it wasn’t perfect, it was definitely everything I imagined. All those details that A.P. said I was going overboard with ended up being the source of his oohs and aahs, and all our love felt like it permeated the whole room and everyone and everything in it. Lately, though, the thing that stands out is the poem, Eternal Song by Rosemonde Gerard, that we had read by a close friend, specifically the lines, “But each day I’ll press your hand more dearly/So you will know how my love grows, sincerely–/Today even more than yesterday and much less than tomorrow.” Talk about wise words! If only we knew that when we got married, that the love we felt that day, the impossibly big love that hits you like a ton of bricks, is nothing compared to the love you feel with each passing day.
Photos: Theresa Scarbrough Photography in Chicago