Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A wedding by any other name…

Ever since J and I got in engaged, people have been asking us, “When is the wedding?” Last summer (summer 2013), I decided that it would be in summer 2015, which seems like a long time off but basically, if you want to get married in San Diego anywhere near the water, you pretty much have to book a year in advance. We weren’t prepared to make the financial commitment last summer (to book for summer 2014), so that meant we’d have to wait until 2015. I was fine with that because a) we’re not in any particular rush (since it’s not like our day-to-day lives are going to change), and b) I figured it would give me lots of time to plan and figure out exactly what I want.

Well, ironically, as a consequence of having lots of time to plan and think hard about what I really want, I realized that there are a bunch of other things that I would really rather spend thousands (literally!) of dollars on than a fancy venue, or food and flowers that no one will remember a week later. So we decided to forget doing anything fancy and instead, we’re having a super-casual party at my parents’ house, which also means that we can do it THIS summer.

But once that was all decided, I started stressing out about what to call this thing. In particular, I was feeling oddly uncomfortable with calling it a “wedding”. Part of my discomfort was because the image I have of what this event will look like is totally different from the image usually associated with the word “wedding”. That is, when someone says “wedding”, people tend to think big fluffy white dress, walking down the aisle, someone saying, “do you take this man…” and “you may kiss the bride”. But that’s not what I want at all. We’ll certainly have some sort of ceremony where we will say vows and exchange rings but there won’t be anyone officiating and I’m definitely not walking down any aisle (the white dress is still a possibility but I’m sure it won’t be big and fluffy).

And of course, the other very unorthodox thing about our "wedding" is that we aren’t getting legally married. And I think that was posing an even bigger mental block for me. This is something I’ve been struggling with for a while. If we aren’t going to sign a marriage license, a lot of people would say we aren’t really “getting married”; so then, can we call it a “wedding”? Or to put it another way, if we do call it a wedding, and then people find out we aren’t making it legal, are we going to have to deal with anyone saying, “Oh, so you aren’t really married”? That would just bug the crap out of me…

I sort of agonized about this for a couple of days but I finally came up with a solution that I’m comfortable with, and actually kind of proud of. Instead of a “regular wedding" (whatever that is), J and I will be having “A WALLOP* of a wedding” – *With All the Love, Less the Official Paperwork (yes, it took a whole lot of scribbling to come up with some sort of acronym that captured the idea I wanted AND made something resembling sense – WALLOP came to me at 3 in the morning). So I’m still basically calling it a wedding, but also letting people know it isn’t quite your traditional wedding. I also created a wedding website where I wrote up an explanation of what we’re doing and why. I wasn’t originally going to do a website – it’s not like our event is very complicated and it will just be family – but it makes me feel better that everyone who is invited knows exactly what’s going on.