New York, new promises
This morning (possibly right now!) one of my best friends in the whole wide world is getting married and I’m not there to witness it. That’s because I wasn’t invited – but no one else was either so I didn’t take it personally.
They have run off to New York City to wed at city hall with only their photographer as witness. It sounds so perfectly romantic – I can’t wait to hear the details. Luckily I get to see her in just over a week to congratulate her in person, a trip already conveniently planned before news of the nuptials arrived.
An elopement suits her character. She has always forged her own path and made her own rules along the way – why should her wedding be any other way? Long before she was ready to marry, I could already imagine it coming. I told her then that if she eloped, I would want to know before it happened. If I couldn’t be there, I wanted to be able to go about my business with at least thoughts of her getting married floating in my head. I’m really glad she did tell me.
So I feel a bit bad for feeling sad. I am happy for her but I am also mourning the wedding I don’t get to go to to celebrate a friend that I want to be able to celebrate. I am missing the cute bridesmaid dresses we won’t get to pick out and the hilarious talks we’d have about the ridiculousness that weddings bring about. There will still be a party, we will still wear pretty dresses, and we will drink and be merry. But we won’t witness those vows.
The decision on how to wed is highly personal. Before John and I got engaged we had a very short conversation that settled the wedding question for us – it went something like this:
Me: So do we want to have a wedding? Like a real wedding? Can you actually picture us doing that?
John: (quiet – he thinks a lot before he speaks about anything important) Yeah, I think we should. We need to share that with everyone. Have a big party.
Me: Yeah, I think so too.
The unspoken thing we both knew was that it was time to let people into our little exclusive club of two. We are both introverts and our tendency is to withdraw and shut out the world. We are highly private and rarely speak to anyone about our relationship or our future plans. John’s mom said the wedding ceremony was the first time she had seen us kiss.
Frankly, I think in many ways I would have enjoyed a private elopement more, at least on the wedding day itself,* but it wouldn’t have been the best thing for our budding baby family. Our relationship didn’t exist in a vacuum and we couldn’t keep pretending it did. We needed our vows to be a community act, because marriage is.
There is something undeniably special about weddings – the day that two people take a giant leap of faith and bind their lives together in front of their family and friends. You’re basically inviting your nearest and dearest to take a collective breath right along with you as you face that cliff and promise you their support as you leap.
Of course right afterwards they’ll probably gripe about the seating arrangements or your lack of traditional cake or how you didn’t provide party favours.** Unfortunately, there is also something undeniably stressful about weddings. Let’s face it – they’re not for everyone.
Today I’m wishing my friend a joyous and stress-free wedding day.
*I wrote about my wedding experience back at Lyn’s old stomping ground, Another Damn Wedding, if you want to read about it.
**I’m not referring to our wedding guests, who were perfectly polite in keeping any and all griping behind our backs.