Wedding Undergraduate/Graduate: Verhext & Vermont

When I went to write an introduction to this post, I actually wrote last week’s DIY/DIT manifesto. Turns out I had a lot to say on the subject. So today I’ll just tell you that today’s Wedding Undergraduate/Graduate post comes from the excellent Tamera of Verhext. Verhext is one of those blogs I stumbled onto through my comment section, and after I found it I felt so, so glad that Tamera was getting married, because it gave me the chance to find her blog. I met her in person at the very first APW meetup, and people, this woman is wise. So this is her whirlwind of thoughts, one month before her wedding in October (Wedding! In October! I can hardly wait to hear about it, sqeeeeee!). And now, the girl herself (that’s her fixin’ up the bride in the picture below….)

True Confessions: Sometimes I read wedding blogs and get a happy-nervous-excited feeling in my belly, like it’s Christmas Eve or my birthday and I’m 8 years old. But the majority of the time, the feeling in my stomach is that of “This is terrible, weddings are the worst thing ever, if I just don’t think about the 32947294278 things that have to happen, they will magically get done, right?” and as the date creeps closer and closer (39 days as I write this) turns to something more resembling full blown panic.

When I have those moments, I try to slow down and remember that in a way, I am already a wedding graduate. What? How is that possible?

About a year ago, Meg was sent a link to my blog (by whom!? I’m curious.) featuring a wedding. She looked at it, thought “No way! That bride is 15!*” and moved on. A year passes, we meet in person, she’s reading my blog and sees this child bride, the lovely Myra. Myra is actually 29, not 15, and has a baby now.  Her wedding was truly a huge learning experience for me.

Myra is my sister-in-law’s sister, and feeling overwhelmed, tasked her entire extended family with her wedding. See, there’s no such thing as DIY in Vermont. Before the legions of Vermonters reading A Practical Wedding go running for that comment button, I’ll explain. It’s just what you do. “DIY” should actually be renamed “being a Vermonter.” Not only is self-sufficiency a huge part of the culture, if you can’t do it, you’ll know exactly who can. Need a wedding dress? Ask your grandma/cousin/neighbor/friend. Need something built? Uncle Ted can get that. Need wine? Well, we just made some.

I am not a wedding planner, a wedding dress maker, or anything of the ilk. What I am is bossy, opinionated, and determined. In the week before the wedding, my mother and I made Myra’s wedding dress, and finished the bridesmaids dresses she’d already started. Myra decided to not have professional hair and makeup. We did a hair and makeup test, she loved it, so I handled it. I made the bridal bouquet and her sister and I put together all the flowers. My brother made cupcakes, an aunt made the cake. The food was potluck. The groom built a bower, and all the benches for the ceremony. Her sister was the wedding photographer. Everyone pitched in on so much more and made everything come together seamlessly, this was her family’s gift to the couple. We enjoyed doing things at the wedding, having jobs, rushing and putting everything in its place, setting up the tiny cabin on the land as a wee honeymoon cottage. It was chaotic and wild and amazing day, and truly great to see AND be a part of.

The one amazing thing? Myra stayed calm the whole time. She knew that we’d make everything beautiful, she completely trusted and accepted without being overbearing or controlling. She didn’t really tell us what she wanted in a dress, or flowers, or hair – she just trusted. And afterward, she LOVED it, told us it was exactly what she’d envisioned. It wasn’t a formal, fancy, elaborate affair, and maybe some people would think it was too homespun. But for this couple, who live in a house the groom built with his own hands, it was perfect.

I think, before this wedding, I’d been to 2 others. I am not a wedding person. I am not a marriage person. But I let myself get caught up in it all, and guess what? It did the trick. I went to the wedding in a dead-end relationship, came home, met the person of my dreams, and was suddenly engaged 4 months later.

So here I am, with 39 days to go. I feel like I have no idea how I’m going to finish everything. I haven’t started my dress. I don’t know what food we’ll serve. I have no idea what the ceremony will be like, or where the flowers will come from. I am a total control freak, and there are moments where the not-knowing makes me feel absolutely insane. I’m a little disappointed, like in the post from Miranda, that more of my close friends aren’t more involved or excited. But I call my brother, and he tells me the location site will be gorgeous, and it’s going to be fine,  my friend Kate comes over to help with the invites, or Holly stops by to brainstorm on how to design my dress; and I remember to trust myself, trust my family, and to trust my community. Because we’ve done this before. And we’ll do it again. And it will be beautiful.

*True.

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