I am at that age and it is that time of year. Pictures of diamond rings and white gowns are flooding my Facebook timeline.
Everyone is getting engaged or married. And it makes me anxious.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love Say Yes to the Dress and can marathon through a Sunday afternoon listening to Randy tell a woman that wearing a mermaid cut dress is doing nothing for her silhouette. I live for the snickers of the bratty sister/cousin/snubbed bridesmaid that doesn’t want to be there and will put down everything the bride puts on. And I love that moment when the consultant asks the bride about their fiance and she just gushes over how they first met, and the proposal.
Let’s be honest, I also love a good party; weddings are no exception. The love and devotion the couple shares is palpable. An amorous haze surrounds the day with love, laughter, cocktail hours, mashed potato bars, chocolate fountains, and bad dance moves. It is truly an event.
And the buildup… with engagement announcements, save the dates, actual invitations, mixed with a scattering of wedding showers, bridesmaids and groomsmen selection, bachelor(ette) parties, venue selections, cake tastings, flower arrangements, guest lists, picking a photographer, limo rentals, dress/tux fittings, honeymoon bookings, hair and makeup run-throughs, the rehearsal dinner, and then the wedding… it makes sense why some people can be tense on their wedding days.
I was never a girl who put too much weight on my wedding day. I don’t remember playing pretend wedding, or imagining what I wanted on my “special day.” I don’t know, I guess it just never occurred to me. Or if I did, it played such a small part in my childhood that I couldn’t care less about the memories of it (Mom and Dad, you can correct me if I am wrong here). I can say that I married off my Barbie dolls to G.I. Joes or Ken dolls, but it was always Barbie’s day. I couldn’t project my wants and desires onto her. Specifically because I had no wants to project.
Although planning the perfect wedding is some people’s dream, it was never mine. The idea of choosing the font for my invitations or who gets nixed from the guest list makes me nervous. It also doesn’t help that I come from a large, Italian family. Having to tell any of them they are not invited would be a bloodbath. It’s just a ball of anxiety that I would prefer not to deal with. I commend anyone who does have a wedding — large or small — and can organize their perfect day. But honestly, it’s not for me.
I don’t want to have a wedding. For me, the idea of getting married has less to do with the event and more to do with the end result. That commitment you make with another person. Promising to be with them in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, forever. That is the magic.
I think this realization became most apparent when I was watching the 30 Rock: Mazel Tov, Dummies! episode for the first time. Liz Lemon is a character that always spoke to me. She is awkward and opinionated, does her best to be an independent feminist in a big city but sometimes falters. And she has no problem shotgunning a pizza or reminiscing about her childhood weddings to Saul Rosenbear which was always a bit more realistic.
I got her, I saw myself in her, I was her. So when Liz and Criss agreed to have a simple courthouse wedding, I thought to myself, That’s what I want. That’s it. I brought up to my grandma once that I wanted a small wedding and low-key reception and she said to me, “Well, there are twenty-five of the first cousins and plus ones, so that’s the smallest you get from us.”
Thank you, Grandma. You are too sweet. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that by small wedding, I meant a courthouse ceremony, and low-key reception probably meant a bar with arcade games and craft beers. But I guess she (as well as the rest of my family) will be finding that out when that bridge must be crossed.
I’ve shared this thought with a few people and some have told me, “You won’t think that way when you actually do get engaged.” But I don’t think that’s the case. I know how I am. I have watched shows about weddings, looked at wedding pictures of friends and family, and read articles about different themes and venues. I love talking with people about their weddings, what they did, and how they felt. But it doesn’t make me excited to go dress shopping or pick centerpieces for my own special day. Instead, it makes me think about the great Amy Poehler quote in her memoir, Yes Please: “Good for her! Not for me.”
And so what if I get married in a barn made out of burlap, a grand banquet hall, my parent’s backyard or in a tiny courthouse downtown? My wedding day doesn’t make my marriage more or less legitimate. And my decisions are what will make my special day special.