I don’t know what it is about weddings but they bring out the crazy in us. I have not been to a lot of weddings in my life. Mine was the generation that rejected big weddings and marriage in our rebellion against patriarchal convention.
After living together for 8 years, Dan and I threw our wedding together in a matter of four weeks. We had just gone through a year long custody battle that left us broke and exhausted but excited to have Dan’s daughter, Rebecca, back in our lives. We wanted to get married to demonstrate to her that we intended to stay together; to be a family for a long time. So, I bought a white dress that was on sale for $40, we borrowed the community room in a friend’s housing co-op, we borrowed tables from the union I worked for, we put a few music tapes together, we invited a small number of family and friends with invites that we photocopied ourselves, and we threw our own little wedding for less than $1000. It was all we could afford financially after blowing $100,000 on legal fees, and after the year we had been through, it was all we could manage emotionally. We had a Minister from a Unitarian Church do a ceremony for us with passages that we wrote our selves.
But still, this tiny wedding brought out the crazy in people. Dan had an Aunt who refused to come because she felt that we had not made enough of an effort to visit her over the last year. The fact that we were fighting a custody battle to protect Dan’s daughter from sexual abuse seemed to be lost on her. One relative was upset that I did not invite our cousins. We drew the line at Aunts and Uncles to keep the numbers below 50; extending an invite to cousins would expand the numbers much closer to 100. My Italian grandmother was upset that we were not getting married in a church; that the wedding was so small; and that we were not having a proper wedding with bridesmaids and all of the other trappings. But I remember Dan’s sister saying to me quietly that it was the most beautiful wedding she had ever been to.
This is all coming back to me now as we prepare to head south for Rebecca’s wedding. It has been a stressful week for the entire family. My son and daughter are going crazy; wrapping up papers and assignments for their final and first years in university. The wedding will fall in the last week of their school terms just before their exams start. The timing could not be worse for them.
Dan and I have been scrambling to take care of all the little details; plane tickets and accommodation, wedding gifts and cards, suits and dresses, high heals and pedicures. We have each taken turns having melt-down about suits that look worn and dresses that don’t fit well. It seems that weddings evoke all of our worse fears; strip back the years; melt all of our armour. They force us to face the passage of time; to re-examine the years; to re-evaluate our lives.
As we flipped through our family albums, selecting photos for Rebecca, we saw our youth pass before our eyes; we remembered friends who have drifted out of our lives, family members who have passed on, and wonderful times that we have spent with our children. When we were done, I said to Dan, “We have had a really good life together”. Dan laughed and replied, “You make it sound like it is over.” And it isn’t, but a child’s wedding, which marks a new beginning for them, also marks an ending for us. And maybe that is the source of all the crazy?
Kim I loved your photos, and agree Weddings bring out the best and the worst in people… I am not surprised so many have fall-outs at Weddings as no amount of pleasing can be done to satisfy others.. The most important aspect of a wedding is to please the Bride and Groom… and that you did what you did for reasons well deserved..
When I got married, both our opposing parents didn’t speak, Lol I married the ‘Boy next door’ well to be exact the boy across the street… And so when we planned our Big day there were 4 in total, two friends were witnesses.. and I got married in a navy suit, a practical two piece which I knew would be serviceable and I could wear again and again.. :-)
Next year is our Ruby Wedding anniversary… and I have know those whose weddings have been flamboyant affairs whom I have been invited to as a guest now fallen by the wayside.. Do I regret my registrar marriage .. Never for one moment.. Do I miss not having had a white gown, no.. What I do regret is that our parents couldn’t make an effort for such a small time that day to bury their differences… For then our day may have been planned differently … But there is no pleasing some…
So you just have to try to please yourself..
I hope the Wedding day you are going to is a wonderful day full of celebrations.. xox
Sue…what a great story. Really, the boy across the street? and your parents would not speak to each other? And yet, you have been together all these years!! Thanks for sharing….Love from Kim
Really enjoyed reading this. I find any large event stirs up the family waters. We often deny what is hidden beneath the surface. I think your wedding sounded wonderful and symbolic in regards to the journey you had taken to get there and I think that is the most important thing.
Thanks Kimberly….We have been surprised by all the feelings that have floated to the surface. We are hoping that if we “own them” and acknowledge them, we can keep them under control while we are away, so the focus stays on Rebecca and her hubbby-to-be. Kim
Oh my goodness this brought back fond and not so fond memories of my own wedding. It is funny how the wackiness does come out during these events. My ontological coach says when the well is low the sludge gets stirred up and that is what happens at weddings it is a huge undertaking which can drain energy or stir up past pain bodies.
I wish you and Rebecca all the best, this is a very exciting time, enjoy!
Thanks Marisa…I am sure that once we are all down there, we will all have a great time, but it is surprising how much sludge comes to the surface!!
I can definitely relate to your dislike of all of the trappings and expense that tend to accompany weddings — I have never been married, but if I do it at some point, I am going to ask that people just show up without any special clothes, and that they leave when they want to, either bring gifts or not, don’t try to smile and laugh if they don’t feel like it, etc. If I am one of the people to be celebrated in the context of a wedding, I want the festivities to reflect my desire to live a genuine life.
Hey there Kim. I was just thinking about you before as I was making my way around the blogosphere, and then your little Gravatar blinked at me! I hope you are getting through the crazy okay. I’m glad to say I haven’t been to very many weddings and I hope it will stay that way. Although your impromptu wedding sounds perfect :)
Hi Alarna: We just got back, and while it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster, it was a beautiful wedding and we had a great time. Thanks for thinking about me!! Kim
Hi Kim, Your posts are growing so beautifully reflective and touching. Your ‘voice’ is sharing your wisdom through stories that are touching hearts and minds. You are so courageous to explore the depths of human experience and to share your journey with others.
I remember the years when there were lots of weddings, each one, I suppose, filled with dreams and hopes for a shared future. I congratulate you and your husband on knowing what a real foundation is and for riding the ups-and-downs of life together.
Lots of love,
P.S. Love the picture of you and your hubby. :)
Pam, thank you for your kind words. Sometimes, I wonder why I post things here; I think that people don’t want to hear about my life. But I need to write it and I hope that people will find something in the writing that has meaning for them. You know the whole “there are no unique stories” view of the world.
I wish I could walk down the street and have a cup of tea with you. The temperature finally went above zero here today. It was wonderful!! Lots of Love….Kim
Hi, I wish we could have cups of tea, too. And it’s not about ‘unique stories;’ it’s about the human story, navigating it and sharing stories that inspire others. That’s what you do and likely why you do it. You’re meant to!
Thanks Pam….I needed that today!!!