Saturday, July 3, 2010

Seventeen...


Seventeen years ago today, my dear hubby and I got married.  It wasn't the wedding of my dreams because I hadn't really dreamed that much about a wedding.  Weddings were pretty much carbon copies of each other, at least the 42,000 I'd been to (I was a sorority girl...lots of weddings).  It wasn't like it is now with dozens of wedding shows and thousands of wedding websites.  We didn't know you could personalize a wedding the way brides do now.  We just went with the "wedding rules" of the early 1990s:  pick a date, get a church, get a preacher, buy a dress, order bridesmaid's dresses that match, order a formal wedding cake and a chocolate groom's cake, order formal invitations, pick out formal wedding music (which must include Pachelbel's Canon in D).  What about flowers?  Gifts for the groomsmen?  The guest list?  Ugh.  It was stressful.  I knew pretty quickly, without a doubt, that I NEVER wanted to be a wedding planner.   

Did I mention we were absolutely broke?  I mean just about penniless.  I was making $13,500 a year and DH was in school and waiting tables.  Did you know that weddings are expensive?  Even in 1993, weddings were expensive (although not even in the ballpark of some weddings today).  Do you know how much flowers cost?  Insane!!!  We ended up using silk flowers, which wasn't totally taboo at the time but is unheard of today. We couldn't afford real flowers.  Not even close.  We certainly couldn't afford a wedding planner, so we did everything we knew to do ourselves.  Financial worry is not the greatest way to start a marriage.  Ugh.  It was stressful.

Did you know families can be problematic during wedding planning?  Not my family.  My family was awesome and supportive and filled the pews on wedding day.  That's my Dad, Mom, both grandmothers, and little sister (the 6' goddess in the lovely bridesmaid's dress).  But DH's family...that was another story.  A long story.  A story that is still being written.  Let's just say family turnout was low of DH's side of the aisle:  a total of one (Can one be a total since you technically aren't adding together two numbers?  In this case it was zero+one=one family member came to the wedding.).  He did have several friends present, but my sorority sisters graciously sat on his side of the church to help it look more balanced.  His feelings were very hurt...on our wedding day.  Ugh.  It was stressful.


Our wedding also had a smidgeon of Murphy's Law thrown in.  The church had inadvertantly cancelled our wedding and didn't clean the auditorium or turn down the air.  Fortunately we found this out at the rehearsal.  The wedding cake had a structural issue and began to melt in the 100 degree July heat.  But, it held together until the pictures were made.  There was a glitch with the music, but I did walk down the aisle to part of the Wedding March.  My MIL got sick and had to leave as soon as we took the wedding pics (we had no idea you could actually do those before the ceremony like they often do today--great idea, whoever came up with it).  We got stuck in Atlanta traffic for three hours and didn't eat dinner until ten that evening.  The video of the wedding was accidentally taped over before we got home from our honeymoon.  Speaking of the honeymoon, we had won a cruise at a Bridal Fair the year before.  We were thrilled and put the money we'd tried to save for the honeymoon into other wedding expenses.  In April, the cruise company went bankrupt.  We had no honeymoon and little money to spend on one since the wedding was only three months away.  We were able to throw together a few days in Charleston, SC with the help of a travel agent friend.  Charleston is an awesome city and we'd both like to go back someday.  Murphy didn't defeat us, but he sure made his presence known.  At least, my giant hair didn't catch on fire when we lit the traditional unity candle (it was on the wedding checklist I found in Brides magazine).  That would have been the final straw.  I do look a little concerned about it in the pic.  There was a lot of hairspray holding up that hair-do.

Looking back, as I always do on our anniversary, I still wish we'd eloped.  I wish I could have spared DH from the family strife on that day.  I, like many people, am not at my best under a lot of stress.  I didn't handle most of what happened well.  You might even say I was an emotional basket-case.  Well, who isn't on their wedding day?  Right...?  Anyone...?  Bueller...?  I just wish I could have enjoyed it more instead of being stressed out over everything.  DH, oddly enough, has never wished we'd eloped.  Even though he had hurt feelings, he liked our wedding just fine.  Men.  Who gets these creatures?  

On the other hand, this was OUR wedding.  No one else had a carbon copy of our wedding.  It had us written all over it.  It was memorable, that's for sure (good thing since we have no video).  I have one friend who remembers it so well that she wants me to write to Oprah about it.  She's sure Oprah will throw us some kind of elaborate wedding to make up for the one we had.  I'm not planning on writing to O, but if she happens to read my blog....

Here's what I know for sure:  
1.  I know that I loved my dress. I found a picture of it in a bridal magazine, but couldn't afford it at over $900. Believe it or not, I found the exact dress at a resale shop. It was brand new with the tag and only cost $315. The owner of the resale shop had bought out the inventory of a bridal shop that was closing. A friend of my Mom's had stopped by the shop, saw all the wedding dresses, and gave us a call. Perfect timing on that one. I didn't even have to have alterations. It fit perfectly off the rack. It's the only dress I tried on. Perfect, huh?
 
2.  The vows counted the same in our "shoestring" wedding as they did in somone else's "perfect" wedding.  We promised to stick-it-out forever and we're seventeen years into forever.  Some of those "perfect" wedding people didn't make it this far.
 
3.  I know that marriage is really hard and that the wedding has little-to-nothing to do with the marriage.  Sure, a lot of couples have a blast at their weddings and love every minute of their experience.  But, when the tough stuff comes along (like a premature baby, or a job loss, or arguments, or bad choices), it's not the wedding that holds you together.  It's the difficult, continuous, work that goes into a marriage that moves you forward.  The wedding is just the starting block.
 
Neither one of us really knew what we were getting into seventeen years ago.  You can tell that by our giant, oblivous, grins in the photo.  What couple really does?
 
Maybe on our 25th anniversary, we'll have another wedding (to each other, of course). 
 
Maybe on the beach this time...
barefoot...
real flowers in my hair...
a wedding planner taking care of every single detail...
Jimmy Buffet presiding over the ceremony (one of our first dates was a Jimmy Buffet concert) and singing at the reception...
 
a professional videographer capturing every moment...
 
surrounded by family and friends...
and...
 
Oprah paying for it all.
 
See you in 2018!   
    

                        

5 comments:

  1. Boy you guys looked so young. I didn't make any of the pictures but I was there and didn't know all the drama going on. I remember Jess & Mel were in there somewhere. Brides book and serving. I remember the cake melting and we had no ice for drinks. Oh well. I still remember watching you guys go driving away from the school (church) (I did go to elementary school there) in your little red Honda with all the balloons flying out of the windows. Such good memories.

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  2. oh my goodness i loved reading this!! i love your photos!!! you were beautiful(& still are of course)!! i am very thankful for my parents paying for my wedding bc if i didnt have them i would have gotten married in city hall and eating at ihop afterwards!!! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!

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  3. great story! happy anniversary!

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  4. What a wonderful post! Congratulations on a wonderful marriage :) I love that Jimmy Buffet was one of your first dates. He is one of my favorites and I would love to see him in concert! I'm sure he won't mind officiating your vowel renewal in 2018, just make sure I'm on the invite list!

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