Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: In Defense of Premature Planning

It seems you always read reflections from brides who muse, "I was never one of those girls who's had her wedding planned for years."  They admit this as if they sidestepped a gaping maw of temptation; as if, every day on the school playground, their female classmates were being devoured by Disney and yet they - and they alone - were strong enough to withstand the siren song of happily every after.

This drives me crazy.

Let me state one thing unequivocally before I say anything else: it is never appropriate to get married for the sake of having a wedding.  When Jon and I first squabbled over planning our celebration, a good friend gave me a reality check that grounded my frustrations.  Your wedding lasts a day, she said, but your marriage will last a lifetime.  In the grand scheme of things, your choice of cake topper will have little impact on the next half-century of love that your wedding will launch.

But, at the same time, I think that your wedding is a tangible springboard for your marriage.  Whether you elope to the bright elegance of Paris or clasp hands before 300 of your nearest and dearest, your wedding is a public declaration of the commitment you and your partner are making to each other.  Before we find the person who inspires us to those heights of devotion, we cannot even imagine what that kind of love feels like - and so we plan our weddings.

When I was very small, I told my parents that I wanted to get married at my preschool.  At twelve, I asked my mother if she'd make my wedding dress - apparently I requested light blue.  As a high schooler, I dreamed of holding my wedding on the expanse of lawn in the Bishop's Garden next to the Cathedral.  And, yes, when I helped my good friend Hannah plan her wedding the summer after we graduated from college, I took advantage of the excuse to sign up for The Knot.  There's no way that I could have understood what it would feel like to want to pledge my life to someone else at any of those ages, and so I anchored the abstract notion of "marriage" in the concrete idea of "wedding."  This doesn't mean at all that I think that my wedding will be the brightest point in my marriage - in fact, I hope it isn't.  But when you can't conceptualize what it means to get married but you know that, one day, you'd like to share your life with someone, you latch on to the accessible.  You plan your wedding.

And you know what?  I really don't think there's anything wrong with that.

6 comments:

  1. I loved planning my wedding. I loved my wedding. It was everything I wanted it to be - and it didn't define our marriage but it was certainly a fun start :)

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  2. walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =)

    Regards,
    http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

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  3. Bless you, Betsy, you do such a lovely job of making pre-engagement wedding planning sound sensitive and justified! I hope that not-yet-finances reading this take comfort and hope. I myself have a different reason for not wanting to plan a wedding (we eloped to Vegas): I was a marriage celebrant for a short time and attended 60 weddings in one year! More weddings than anyone could ever want! And my groom didn't care about all that wedding-y stuff. Best wishes for your planning process.:)

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  4. I totally agree with you! Even though it's something that I never did, I don't think that it's a problem (to an extent.) You're right, getting married for the sake of having a wedding is no bueno! People are silly for judging others in any sense. People just need to mind their own!

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