expectations

A selection of words and phrases used in a wholly positive discussion of our wedding day plans:
– “messy”
– “noisy”
– “ridiculous”
– “a whole mess of kids squealing all the way around!”
– “[Best Woman] promises to cram me full of coffee first.”
– “boisterous”
– “howling”
– “It might be hot as a crotch in that hall.”
– “barefoot”
– “whore’s bath
We are such romantics.

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I do

I’ve been studying the giant listing of vows at [wedding forum redacted], and as I do, I’m struck by how many people’s vows make untenable promises about “always”: I will always keep this passion alive, I will always adore you, you’ll always be my beloved and most awesomest best friend.

And I’m thinking, “…really? So, you can consciously control your impulses, turning on and off your flow of oxytocin and serotonin like a tap? Coooooool*. But most people don’t work like that.”

The realist** in me suddenly sees why marriage services are so often three-pronged: a celebration of the present with its smoochy-faced love; a reminder that marriage is Serious Business; a sobering pledge of fortitude in the face of challenges. The couple vows to behave a certain way, because, duh, you can’t control your passions, but you can control your behavior.

Because emotions are slippery, fickle things, I can’t sensibly promise how I will feel in the future. The Fella is my bestest beloved most awesomest best friend, and I’m entering this marriage believing that will always be so. I will nurture and bolster my passion, my fondness, my adoration of him, and do my best to give him reason to do the same. I enter this marriage believing that our love, sympathy, and hard work will keep these feelings vital and growing, always shifting and changing with us.

I can hope and believe and, most importantly, I can strive to make it so; I can’t promise that my crazy hindbrain will follow in step every day.

But I can pledge to treat him as someone I love and adore, as someone for whom I am passionate, as my bestest beloved most awesomest best friend. What, then, does that mean? For me, it means a promise of respect, trust, honesty, kindness, sympathy, and a mutual assumption of good intent now and in the future — even if I’m hurt, even in anger, even if my lizard-brain hisses at me.

Surely this is the crucial part of the vows, in any case. Ardent love and bountiful affection don’t test our vows of commitment. Marriage (or any bond of love or friendship) is predicated not on the continuance of fleeting passions, but on the determination to honor our promises, even (especially) when loving kindness flags or falters.

*I would like to cut you up and study you. Please?

**Yes, The Fella is aware that he’s marrying an affectless robot.

barnraising

I recently wrote about a friend’s potluck wedding reception, where family and friends fed each other, sharing their joy and love with the happy couple. The Fella and I aren’t having a potluck wedding, but for the past few months, I’ve been musing that our DIY wedding feels like a barnraising: our loved ones keep enthusiastically pitching in, lending their strength and talents to help us build something of value.

If you browse wedding forums or advice columns, you’ll soon bump into shrill warnings against this approach. Naysayers dismiss the handmade, homemade, shared nature of the event. It’s tacky, it’s rude, it’s cheap. It’s inconsiderate to expect guests to contribute to Your Special Day.

Of course guests don’t want to do your dirty work, but you can accept loving assistance (and even ask for it) without being rude or demanding. Some thoughts guiding our own requests:

– Our friends miiiiight enjoy showcasing their talents. They would not enjoy predictable drudgery; we’ll pay people for that.
– Any guest’s wedding-day contribution should be brief. Everyone wants to have fun!
– Things will go wrong. It doesn’t matter. If the cake falls over, if the photos don’t come out, if the iPod freezes… we’ll still be married at the end of the day.
-If anyone seems hesitant, for any reason or for no reason at all, we’ll withdraw our request.
If we ask you to consider helping out, it’s because we value your talent and we trust your judgment. That includes the judgment that leads you to say, “No, I’d rather not.”
In fact, we’ve made few requests so far; our family and friends keep amazing us with their offers of help, offers far more generous, creative, and serendipitous than we could have imagined.
Behind the click is a loooooong list of the help being offered, and a few requests we plan to make.

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potluck

When I think back on the weddings I’ve attended, though all of them have been joyous affairs, one simple celebration sparkles in my memory, all covered with love and joy and fairy dust. JE & JO spent very little time on the frills that we so often associate with weddings. They decided to get married, and then they got married.

Like, two weeks later.

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countdown

Researching our local marriage license application process, I learned that once issued, the license is good for 90 days. Sensibly enough, I counted back from our wedding date (because apparently I cannot perform the months-to-days conversion in my head?) to see how soon we could safely apply, just to have it out of the way…

… and discovered that we can apply this week. That’s right — it’s less than 100 days away.

Uh. We may have some errands to run and tasks to complete, say, every single day between now and then.

tappa tappa tappa

Oh hell yes! Red glitter Schoolgirl mary janes from Pleaser, USA

I want.

To be more specific, I want to wear them as wedding shoes. I want I want I want, even though:
a) they clash horrifically with everything else I’ll be wearing;
b) they’re a tiiiiiiiiny bit too ridiculous even for our ridiculous wedding;
c) periodically throughout the reception, I’d randomly snap, “I would’ve killed for ‘tappa tappa tappa’!”

edited to add
As a nod to those friends and readers urging us arrange the details of our wedding to please ourselves: thank you, and thank you, and thank you, but have no fears on that front. Though I’m giving up my bouncy castle and my spangly shoes, and The Fella and I gave up our zombie cake, we gave them up for us.

For one reason or another, we decided that these elements don’t fit with our plans. But we have no question that the wedding day will reflect us, our taste, our humor, our silliness.

And! Our happiness and gratitude that our friends and loved ones embrace the silliness in us. Thank you.
As a bonus for those who are heartily sick of my wedding frippery, note that the final link uses “tappa tappa tappa” as a jumping-off point for a discussion of simplistic educational models. For those readers not thoroughly sick of my wedding frippery… oh, you will be.

wedding lessons

A few of the things I’ve learned in the wedding-planning process:
– The Fella’s handwriting looks beautiful on an envelope. Mine, not so much.
– When a friend asks if/where we’re registered, they’re asking for a reason and would like a more gracious response than “SHEESH! Registries, amirite?”
– While dress-shopping*, I must not utter the words wedding, married, or veil, which render the salesperson unable to refrain from showing me long white spangly dresses no matter how often I specify blue, knee-length, and casual.
*No, the dress didn’t work out. The hunt is on again!
– I will have roughly eleventy-jillion more opportunities between now and July to chirp the phrase “We’re not diamond people” in response to a searching look at my bare left hand. (Then I beam and show off my lovely blue quartz engagement pendant. It knocks me out that The Fella found something so perfect!)
– Cake-tastings sure are fun and easy when a) you already know what you want; b) your genius baker sister is making the cake as a gift; c), your genius baker sister comes over for lunch and makes great cake sketches as a preliminary to the tasting.
– Test-freezing the homemade appetizers is not just a good idea, but an absolute necessity, even if you’ve made them a dozen times before.
– I cannot stop pining after a bouncy castle, though the venue cannot accomodate it. We might have to honeymoon at a state fair.
– People get completely bugnuts crazy about weddings, and I don’t just mean the happy couple. Gosh. People certainly… have ideas… about what constitutes a wedding. (Like, say, a bouncy castle!)
– Bugnuts notwithstanding, we have had surprisingly few occasions so far to invite people to cram it with walnuts. I just remind myself that whatever the hell nutball thing they’re saying, they’re saying only because they love us and they want us to have a lovely wedding. And, of course, because they’re completely bugnuts crazy.