Confessions of a second-time bride, part II

Posted on January 13, 2009. Filed under: back to good |

Part I

The problem is that I want it all.  I want it all because I don’t want to have regrets, but if you’re the kind of person who is afraid of regrets, chances are you’ll find them no matter what.  (I know of what I speak.)  I want a traditional wedding, an intimate wedding, and a private wedding all at once, and I believe I can make that happen.

So, I sat myself down and made lists: what appealed to me about eloping, what appealed to me about a traditional wedding, and anything stressing me out.  The rest of this post is taken directly from my private notes, and I made a sincere effort not to edit in case my thought process is helpful to anyone else.  Yes, I’m nutty.  I’m okay with that.

  • Elopement (my version – a private ceremony with a reception to follow): private, personal, low-stress (less stress about other people, anyway)
  • Wedding: public, higher-stress (all around), meaningful
  • Stress Factors: catering/ food, seating, expectations, “guests”, wedding parties, walking down the aisle

I can do this!  Stressful things first (in reverse order, for some reason):

  • Walking down the aisle*: I want us to approach our ceremony site together, with a moment to chat and de-stress first.  This avoids the mess of figuring out who walks me down the aisle and my fear that I won’t feel what I want to feel when we see each other (I tend to disengage when I’m embarassed).  Also, the romantic in me loves the idea of leaning on my guy as we pick our way down the treacherous path.  I’d like us to get ready separately, then meet somewhere to have a quiet moment. Everyone else will head to our ceremony location, and when we’re ready, we’ll head down the hill.  How to cue people that we’re coming?  Bell ringers!  We’ll send people/ kids/ someone down ahead of us ringing bells!
  • Wedding parties: I love these people and I want to honor them.  I do not want to have to deal with too much shopping, have them walk (hike?) down an aisle, or have to deal with any details that don’t matter to me (um, us).  We can instead ask each member of our extended family (that’s immediate family plus attendants) to do or say something, depending on their level of comfort.  We have one guy who plays guitar and sings beautifully and my sister sings and my brother plays guitar as well.  Check.  I’d like our best friends to find and give readings and for our parents to offer us advice.
  • “Guests” = too much pressure.  These are our friends and family, and they are more than willing to lend a hand.  I’m going to think of this as our friends throwing us a party and us throwing our friends a party.  The former helps me deal with the discomfort of throwing a party in our own honor, and the latter helps me deal with the pressure of making sure they have a good time.
  • Expectations: Drop them.  I’m mostly worried that they’ll show up, realize how casual it all is, and be disappointed. We’ll call it a marriage shindig, if we have to, so that people have no illusions that this isn’t a formal affair.
  • Seating: Honestly?  I have no idea.  We have to find a level area on our property, do all of the measuring and calculations, and then place an order… all while knowing how it should look.  Stress.  I’m going to ask Mr. Cheese to handle this one.
  • Catering/ food: I’m gonna have to ask for help on this, and I know the perfect person.  I want a cookout, essentially, with various salads and snacks and steaks on the grill (maybe skewers)?  While I am inclined to “water down” that idea in favor of something easier, my daydreams have been consistent, and the whole idea is very “us.”  The challenge will be in keeping my groom with me as opposed to hanging out with his friends by the grill, but I must stop trying to manipulate an outcome.  Maybe if we spend some time together first, I won’t feel abandoned.
  • Music: I want it, not sure how to go about it, or if people will dance. Screw it.  We’ll have a dance floor and music and someone to “man” the playlist.  My people will dance.

Now, on to combining the best of eloping and weddings:

  • Private: Maybe we can do limited vows in public and more extended vows in private.  There are things that I will pledge to do that I think will seem silly to others but make sense to us, and I can’t shake the need to care about that.  And there are other ways to get some privacy.  One couple (find link) had dinner together, alone.  I think that we can get the same thing going by having other people get started on the party and leaving for a little while.  I’d love to grab a beer at the place where we first met, all dolled up and everything (but I don’t think he’d be comfortable with that).  If we can’t manage to escape, we can take a walk down the street, or hide out in our bedroom with a couple of beers and some snacks.
  • Public: I believe that our ceremony should be public because our marriage will be public.  This is our chance to seek and accept the blessings of our people on our new family.  And for me, personally, it’s a chance to prove to myself that I can be as honest in public as I am in private about how I feel.

This feels like progress!  I look to a stack of magazines next to me and see this quote: “Progress everywhere today does seem to come so very heavily disguised as Chaos.” –Joyce Grenfell

I’m afraid to ask, but I will: does anyone else have to talk themselves off the ledge like this?  Does anyone calm themselves by typing it all out?

*It’s a repeat bride thing.  I feel like if I were being true to the idea of being “given away,” it would be by my first husband, which is plain ridiculous.  The reality is that I am mine now, and I am choosing to hand myself over to our marriage, but because I tend toward the silly, I don’t want to walk by myself.  I’d be apt to stop and hug everyone along the way, which is cute and heartfelt, but not quite right.  Also, there’s a rather treacherous path down a hill under the best of circumstances, much less in a floofy dress and heels.


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One Response to “Confessions of a second-time bride, part II”

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I feel like I’m reading my own diary here…I was divorced 4 years ago and am getting married again in two months. He has never been married and doesn’t care that I have, but his family is very Catholic and we have never talked about my past openly with them…though I’m sure they know at least part of my story.

We have been planning a surprise wedding because I didn’t want to deal with another engagement. We feel like it’s better than eloping, kind of fun, but also an avoidance tactic. I am totally embarrassed…and mad about that. I don’t want people to view this as my “second” wedding. I am more mature and sure of myself, my relationship, and my decisions than I ever was at 21 (the first time I was married). I am hoping for a do-over, though I know I can’t have one, and reading your blog has made me feel more sane.


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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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