My wedding happened a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. I know it did. We have photographic evidence to the tune of $2,000.00. (I’m told that’s cheap.) There’s a dress hanging in the closet, and a piece of paper with a stamp on it.
But I’ll be honest, my wedding doesn’t feel like the most important day of my life. We danced and sliced up a cake. If I could’ve skipped it, I would’ve. Just like I skipped every graduation since high school. Our culture has too many ceremonies. We need to chill.
Even my proposal didn’t need a bunch of fireworks. It wasn’t filmed or photographed. He didn’t get down on one knee. We’re both practical adults. A little jaded and roughed over. We just had an evolving conversation. Then one day he showed me a ring and said, “Do you want to get married?”
I smiled and said, “Yeah.”
And then we had sex to celebrate.
I’m not saying ditch weddings altogether. But they just don’t matter that much to some people. That doesn’t make you a bad spouse. A small wedding doesn’t doom your marriage. In fact, I’ve read that bigger weddings have a higher divorce rate. Go figure.
Here’s the big secret: Maybe I’m wrong, but it looks like the people who dread their weddings are the ones who stay married the longest.
That makes sense. You’re looking forward to the rest of your life with your partner. All that expensive planning is just stress and a bill.
And yet, somewhere in the country there’s a bride-to-be freaking out about her dress — right this second. A groom’s mulling over the prospect of his bachelor party as the last chance he’ll ever get to visit a strip club.
Now, that’s a laugh.
My wedding was essentially uneventful. What do I remember far better? The honeymoon. Specifically, the bed. I remember a hotel clerk walking in on us and apologising profusely. And I remember the hot tub in our bathroom. A very nice touch.
Sure, I remember parts of my wedding. Like the photographer wouldn’t give up on making me smile. “A little wider,” he kept saying. “A little bigger.” Some happy people just don’t show it in their lips.
But that looks bad in pictures. So you have to fake it. Convincingly.
Wedding planning takes on an entirely different feel when you don’t try and live up to reality television. We both had jobs. And not much cash. And even less time. Imagine planning a wedding on the tenure track. Also imagine that you and your spouse live in one state. The rest of your family and friends live in another. And they aren’t going to fly to you, so….
Luckily, wedding planners exist. We were a wedding planner’s dream come true. We had two meetings. Maybe a third one. We always gave our wedding planner the same answer when she called or emailed about details: “What’s cheapest? Okay, do that.” I think we even hired someone to send out our invitations. We just uploaded a spreadsheet to a website and then got back to the incredibly fun life of pre-tenure academics.
Some of you may have followed me online for a few months now. You’re thinking, “She’s married? What?!”
But that’s the thing. Like your wedding, your marriage doesn’t define you. Sometimes I forget I’m married.