An unusual wedding (mine)

So, Donald and I got married on May 8th. He’s already blogged about it, with pictures. I don’t have any pictures yet, so if you want to see some, you’ll have to go to his blog. (Neither of us had the chance to take a lot of photos during our wedding, unsurprisingly, but Donald copied his mom’s memory card onto his computer before she flew back to Louisiana.)

It was kind of an untraditional wedding. We did get married in a church (we both attend church regularly, so that was important to us). The words we said in exchanging our vows were pretty typical. Our minister married us. But we pretty much dispensed with all the other traditions.

To begin with, we got married during a normal Sunday church service, instead of having a separate wedding service. I’d felt for a long time that a traditional formal wedding wasn’t for me, but my faith in God and connection to my church are important enough to me that I didn’t want to disconnect my wedding ceremony from those, and go the courthouse route. And it always seemed to me that the essential parts of a church wedding really only take about 10-15 minutes (“do you take this man, do you take this woman, etc, etc, I now pronounce you husband and wife”). A lot of the other parts–the Bible readings, the songs, the homily–seem to be there to pad the service out to a half hour or so, so people from out of town feel that it was worth it for them to travel for hours just to get there. Or, less flippantly, they’re there to make the wedding into more of a church service. So I thought, why not just stick the wedding into the middle of an actual church service?

I also felt that there can be so much pressure to make the wedding into a picture-perfect spectacle that a lot of other important things can get lost or forgotten. It’s a lot of work, planning a wedding, even such a simple wedding as ours. I didn’t want our attention (or anyone else’s) to be on my dress, or the flowers, or the decorations, or the bridesmaids’ gowns, or any of that other stuff. I wanted it to be about the commitment that the two of us were making to each other, and the trust we were putting in God to help us keep it.

Fortunately, Donald was totally on board with having a simple wedding, and maybe even a little bit relieved that I wasn’t going to try to pressure him into wearing a tux or tailcoat, and he wasn’t going to get dragged around to look at flowers and tablecloths.

So, the wedding was during an actual service, which meant there were people at the ceremony who weren’t wedding guests. I wore a knee-length sleeveless blue and white dress, and didn’t carry flowers. We didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen. I didn’t walk down the aisle, nor was I “given away” (both sets of parents were asked to stand and give their blessing during the ceremony, though). The songs, sermon and Bible readings were all there as part of the normal church service.* And no one read 1 Corinthians 13! Yay!**

We did exchange rings, and we did kiss once the minister announced we were married! No sense throwing out the baby with the bath water!

We also skipped the professional photographer and posed photographs, and headed straight to the reception from the wedding. The reception was just at our old apartments (before getting married, we lived in upstairs and downstairs apartments of a two-family house), no sit-down dinner, or dancing (Donald was relieved about that, too), or embarrassing speeches from friends and family. We had a buffet of cold finger food catered by Whole Foods (sushi, veggie and fruit platters, plus various dip and cracker/chip assortments), plus cheese and wine selected by my friend Bob. Bob also baked the cake, a delicious lemon genoise with lemon frosting. It was all very relaxed, and people seemed to have a good time. We had a good time too, which I hear is not necessarily the case at one’s own wedding. Of course, we had a lot of friends and family helping to keep things running smoothly during the reception, and cleaning up afterwards! Without them, we wouldn’t have had nearly such a good time.

We also had a Saturday afternoon party (the day before the wedding) for out-of-town friends, and friends with children (the Sunday night reception was pretty late, so we thought it would be nice to have something at an earlier hour for people with kids). And the day before that (Friday), Donald and I took our families out to Legal Seafood for dinner. I was glad to spend all that time with family and friends, instead of spending it getting my hair and nails done, or making table centerpieces!

Donald’s parents and sisters were all able to attend, and his sisters’ daughters. My parents, grandfather, brother and sister were also there, and my sister brought her daughter, but unfortunately my brother’s wife and two sons couldn’t make it (they live in Europe, and airfare is pretty expensive).

I’m glad we did our wedding this way! It was much less expensive than most weddings (under $4000), and less stressful. And we got to focus on the things that were important to us, not the things that the Wedding Industrial Complex thinks ought to be important. Thankfully we both have tolerant and understanding families who were supportive of us in our desire to celebrate our wedding our way, and we’re very grateful for that.

We then went and spent all the money that we’d saved*** on the honeymoon, which I’ll hopefully find time to write about before too much longer.

* This sort of wedding is not for everyone. For instance, because the wedding was part of a regular church service, we didn’t get to pick the Bible readings and songs. We were okay with this (one less task to do!), but some couples might not be.
** I have nothing against 1 Corinthians 13, but reading it at weddings is kind of overdone, especially considering that it isn’t even about marriage or romantic love!
*** This is an exageration. We didn’t spend that much money on the honeymoon. I mean, it was Italy. In May. For 2 weeks. And we didn’t live exclusively off of pizza and sandwiches. (One of my goals was to spend more on the honeymoon than on the wedding, but I haven’t added up all our receipts to see whether we managed it. My other goal was to plan the wedding without reading a single bridal magazine, and I did accomplish that goal.)

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