Auntie SparkNotes: I'm Getting Married, But I Hate Weddings
I've got wonderful news: my boyfriend proposed to me! So we'll be getting married in a few months, but I'm dreading it. No, it's not what you think. I love the idea of the *marriage,* but I loathe the idea of the *wedding.*
It just feels very squicky to me how something as deeply personal as a commitment to marriage is so flagrantly put out on display. Having the eyes of everyone we know glued to my fiancée and me will feel like an invasion of my privacy. They will all be mentally recording the event so they can remember it if my fiancé and I ever have a disagreement or have something else come up in the marriage later on.
My husband-to-be says that I'm just having a bit of stage fright, but this goes beyond it. At least if you're performing on a stage or narrating a slideshow at work, you're displaying some something you've accomplished that's worthy of attention. A wedding, on the other hand, would just be me demanding automatic praise from an audience for a personal decision that has no bearing on them whatsoever.
Another thing to add is that I might not have any bridesmaids. I've always been an introvert with few friends, and virtually no female friends at that. My fiancé has pretty much been my greatest and closest friend for the past few years, and my closest companions at my job are all male. This isn't problem for me, but my mom said that I'm crazy when I told her that I might not have bridesmaids. I know she won't be the first to say so.
I wish I could *become* married without having to *get* married. Something I never related to other girls with was having an elaborate fantasy wedding planned in your head. I just want this to be at our church with a few people and a small reception, but I still have to walk down the aisle where everyone will be staring at me. My poor fiancé will be a widower after I die from embarrassment. How do I get through this?
I mean this in the nicest possible way, sweet pea: You can get through this by gently reacquainting yourself with a lovely little concept known as "reality," and then rejoining us all on the lovely little planet known as "Earth."
Because, not to put too fine a point on it, your whole entire notion of what a wedding means—to you, to your guests, and to society writ large—is so wildly out of step with the way things actually are that Auntie SparkNotes can't even decide which of your misconceptions to correct first... although if I had to pick one, it would definitely be the part where you think your friends and family will be "mentally recording the event so they can remember it if my fiancée and I ever have a disagreement or have something else come up in the marriage later on," which is one of the most terrible but also unintentionally hilarious things I've ever heard. Unless your friends are a collective bunch of malicious, obsessive lunatics who have way too much time on their hands, actively loathe you, and want to see you fail, absolutely nobody will be doing that. No, they will not. (And if the reason you think otherwise is that this is what you do at weddings, then I must gently suggest that you put off getting married until you've done some work, with a qualified therapist, to develop a healthier relationship with the world at large.)
And here's the thing, Sparkler: at the end of the day you don't have to have a wedding. If the idea of being a bride is horrifying to you, the quickie courthouse vow exchange is a thing that exists! Maybe you and your fiancé would both be happier with a completely private ceremony—just you, him, and an ordained minister dressed as Elvis—followed by an intimate family dinner. But if you're gonna do that, do it because it's what you want—and not, for Pete's sake, because you imagine that all your guests would be there under duress, and would spend the entire time watching and judging and hating you for…inviting them to a party.
Because that's what a wedding is. It's a party, in celebration of a significant and joyful milestone event, at which you and your fiancé are the guests of honor. And while that is not everyone's cup of tea, it is also not a flagrant and distasteful plea for attention any more than any other formal gathering, be it a birthday party or housewarming party or baby shower or retirement party or even a funeral (which, if you think about it, is basically a celebration of your life after you've stopped living it). Coming together to toast each other's big moments is a thing human beings do, not because they're forced to, but because they like to—especially if there's cake and champagne in the mix.
So with that in mind, please do sit down with your fiancé and figure out how you would both like to celebrate this moment in which you formally commit to each other until death do you part. And definitely do some thinking beforehand about what's most important to you—but at the same time, try to get over yourself enough to recognize that your fiancé is getting married here, too, and that your wedding plans will be the first of many, many, many decisions in which you're going to have to consider his feelings and make some compromises. I know this probably seems like a weird and counterintuitive thing to say to a bride about her wedding, but this isn't all about you. And while "what will people think of me?!" is not a concern I would generally encourage you to enslave yourself to, it's worth noting that if your worst fear is being seen as an attention-whoring bridezilla, a good way not to feel like one is to let your fiancé take the reins on wedding-planning while you happily take the backseat.
And hey: Congratulations!
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