Monday, October 27, 2008

In Explanation of a Decision

Rob and I had a party in Chicago this weekend to celebrate our wedding. We had about 120 people in a very cool space in the city and many of our family members and friends met each other for the first time. It was a fantastic party--a perfect follow-up to the small ceremony we'd had in Central Park 5 weeks before.

At lunch the day of the party, a close friend asked me why Rob and I had gotten married so privately, rather than having the more traditional ceremony and reception all at once. Though I've been asked that question before, I was somewhat thrown off by it on that particular day, because to me--having done it already--it now made a kind of innate sense that I no longer thought required explanation.

That's not to suggest that this friend shouldn't have asked the question; after all, the only reason I have come to entirely comfortable terms with our decision is because I was wholly involved in its planning and execution, and I can now happily say that it proved to be the right choice for us. There is something very different about having a big wedding and having a big party. I seem to be better at the second one, if lack of massive meltdown is any indication.

The best answer I have to the question is that after getting relatively far with the planning of an actual, traditional wedding--having chosen the date and the location--I was so immediately (that very night) plagued by nightmares and stress that I simply knew that something was wrong with the direction we were heading. People say that a wedding should be about the couple who is getting married, and I think they genuinely believe what they are saying, but as I watched--even briefly--the manifestation of that idea playing out in my own life, I realized that there was something false about it. The big traditional wedding wouldn't be for us. That's not something either Rob or I have ever placed much emphasis on. I have never dreamed of the perfect white wedding and, faced with its existence, I broke out in hives (ew, figuratively speaking.)

I realize this might read (if you are still reading) more like a defense of a decision than an explanation of one, but if one of my dear friends is still asking, it's possible others are still wondering. I don't want them to arrive at incorrect conclusions. We did not compromise. If anything, we were selfish, and I am grateful to everyone who let us get away with that.

My perfect wedding was 6 witnesses in Central Park on a beautiful day, a white dress with pockets, a champagne toast, and a big Italian dinner. A 2-week honeymoon in Italy. A weekend in Chicago with family and friends. Seeing everyone together on Friday night and again on Saturday, watching them meet and talk and eat and dance...that was part of our wedding. Yes, the vows were made on a different day, but the celebration continues. (Seriously, it's still going on. Smokey and Emma are such lushes.)

No comments: