Then someone mentioned that she thought that the old school wedding with homemade food and high school cafe-gym-ria "venues" and simple dresses had a simplicity and glory of their own. It made the event less about the day and more about the community coming together to help this couple start their lives. There is something to that. I had a wedding like that.
When Ben and I were married, we were young and in school and our parents were footing the bill. We went cheapo for everything. We set out scores of disposable cameras and asked Ben's sister to take the pre-ceremony shots. We told our wedding party to wear what they wanted to and told my grandmother's sister that she could make whatever silk (read: Walmart artificial) flower arrangements that she wanted. Only the wedding party had flowers and we bought nothing for the church. Ben wore a suit from his closet and I wore a plain white dress with no lace and I made my own veil. Ben's sister's best friend from high school was recently married and her husband dreamed of starting his own DJ business. Sure, we need a DJ, so come do ours. We did have an exquisite professional cake. I am and have always been a food snob and this was important to me. This was before my best friend went to culinary school, and my sister was in high school still, so we needed to find someone else.
Matching bride's maid dresses? Meh.
French baking technique? Now you have my attention!
I took my grandmother's advice, advice I give young brides all the time, I did not get a single bridal magazine. People gave me a few but other than that, I spent less time thinking about what was "in" and what other people were doing or what the dress should look like. The priest who married us told us repeatedly that he though all weddings should be like this. I thought that was strange. Like what? Now I see what he was thinking about.
Weddings become "events" taking place at "venues" and become all about this strange business of pretending we are celebrities, living like movie stars and popularizing "lifestyle" choices. When did weddings become productions? I thought that they were supposed to be about the marriage? It is a moment and it is gone so quickly. I can't taste the food that I had at my wedding. I can't wear the dress anymore. I did wear the shoes again, repeatedly, but they have long since worn out.There is nothing left from that party other than the goofy disposable camera photos and they are terrible. Nobody looks good and half of everyone is plagued by red-eye but I am okay with that. I am more than okay with that, honestly. We are happy. I wish we had done it sooner. We wanted to get married about five months sooner and every talked us out of it.
Some very sweet friends back in Colorado are getting married in April and we are not able to go. I really wish we could but there is a lot of miles that divides us and until I learn how to fold space and time, I am limited in my ability to be where I want. I told the bride that I am sorry that we will miss it, that the kids really wish that they could be there, but we will send a gift. (It is an awesome gift but I can't tell you because might be listening!) I told her that her wedding day will be only one day, an amazing day, but only one. The marriage will be forever and we will certainly be there for at least some of it and able to share that with them.
I am not knocking weddings, really. Mine was amazing. I remember standing there with Ben and holding his hands and looking at him. I could see and feel him watching me and it felt like we were the only people in the world, that if there was anything in the world that I have done right, it was this moment when all time and space stopped for us. I will never forget that day and not because of the dancing, or the food, or my dress, or even the cake (which I loved, loved, loved) but because of that moment. The truly incredible thing about that moment is that I still have it because I still have Ben, my sweet, shy, brilliant husband. No dress or venue could have made him any better or that moment any better. I have everything I need.