40 years

dec4Today is my parents wedding anniversary – 40 years! My mom was a tiny wee, almost 21. I can’t believe how young she looks here. They’re still this in love and are total inspirations.

It’s funny because we got our wedding photo DVD yesterday, so I want to actually post photos this weekend. Serendipity!

My parents had a small wedding – they’d been planning and felt completely overwhelmed by the expectations of the day, they didn’t have the money to throw the wedding their families wanted, so they told a handful of friends to show up at the church & they got married, going to my grandparents living room to drink champagne afterward. Their honeymoon was skiing in Vermont, and the rest is history!! They fell in love with Vermont & when it was time to start a family, moved there.

Possibly because of this, my parents were the most vocal about “just elope already” while we were planning the wedding. It’s no secret that I sometimes wish we did! Unfortunately, the internet is not the best medium to vent my frustrations, because I’ve hurt peoples feelings and confused others. I want to be super clear – when I say that, it’s ME feeling overwhelmed and worn out and broke and confused. It’s not that I didn’t love my wedding, I did, 100%. But I also bit off more than I could chew DIY wise, and as a result didn’t finish as much as I wanted to (oh you know, the dress, little details like that) & ended up spending the week exhausted, frustrated, and unable to see my favorite people in the entire world, who traveled to my woods for me! It was just not what I’d expected, and if I could do it over, I’d spend more time with those I love. The wedding was over in a few hours – it got too cold to hang out – and we had no ‘after’ plan. That’s my fault! So. I am not saying I hate my wedding, or that anyone involved in it was not 100% amazing. I love my wedding. I love my husband! I love my friends and family! But it’s going to take a bit to get out of the money hole it got us into, and it’ll take awhile for the good to outweigh the stress around money and time I’m still feeling, & the perfectionist in me who wishes I’d gotten the details just so. I hope you can understand and bear with me. And no more people telling me I’m terrible for saying that sometimes I wish I didn’t have a wedding, because it hurts my dang feelings. Ok?

I just wanted to put that out there before I give you the onslaught of wedding photos. They’re gorgeous, the day was gorgeous.


    1. I think it is just hard because some people are super good at seeing the best in everything and not fixating on “what went wrong” – um, I wish I was that bright-sided sometimes but it’s just not the way my brain works. I process and process and process & then I feel better!

      Anyway! Thank you <3

      1. I know exactly how you feel. We didn’t have much money either, and I had all kinds of ideas about how I wanted the wedding to be, and it was difficult to make my ideas meet with the reality of having to diy so much of it. I actually really loved doing the diy, and thought many things came out beautifully, but it was too much, and I didn’t have time to complete everything. And since I did most things myself, I felt like the things that didn’t turn out so well were a reflection on me. AND having so much on my plate left me stressed out and worried and sooo tired.

        People talk about having wedding nightmares before the wedding about the things that will go wrong. I had a few of those, but about six months after the wedding, I had this awful dream about all sorts of things that went wrong at the wedding. When I woke up, I realized it was just a dream about the ACTUAL wedding. My fiance’s father passed away ten days before the wedding and a lot of my husband’s family decided that our decision to still have the wedding was in bad taste and didn’t come. My husband was obviously really upset, AND had to be out of the state until the day before the wedding. The ceremony was supposed to be outside, but there was a huge storm just hours before the wedding (while we were supposed to be setting up) and it had to be moved indoors. We had no plan for that. I was sick. My father and brother were late because my brother got hives and had to go to the hospital, the officiant kept messing up the ceremony, the cake melted, etc., etc., etc. On the other hand, the wedding was smaller than we thought it would be and that meant that everyone there were people who loved us and didn’t give a damn that the cake melted, or that the ceremony was a little off, or that we were inside.

        That was long and self-indulgent. Mostly, I just really know how you feel and know how it can make you feel guilty to say that you kind of wish you had just run away together (something that I wanted to do, but my husband didn’t). It’s still hard for me to think of the wedding and not remember the bad stuff. But the marriage is the thing. Not the stupid wedding. Who cares if the cake isn’t right, or if the weather sucked? :-)

        1. Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry about your husband’s father – I cant even begin to imagine how hard all of that must have been for you. We had a lot of small things (2 of our cakes melted, too, but my brother just ate them out of a bowl and refused to share, ha!) but the day was definitely blessed and magic overall. It’s more than I was so physically exhausted it and out of it that it was like I was in shock or stunned. Which, you probably felt that way too.

  1. Well, I think everyone knows my thoughts on weddings (bah!) but from an outsider’s perspective, yours did look lovely and full of magical times and special people. I think most everyone has that inner perfection demon, poking away with that picky-picky pitchfork, and if there is a bride out there who doesn’t wish they’d done something differently, I will eat my hat. Those nearest and dearest to you probably understand where you are coming from and were delighted to share in your wonderful wedding day.

    If you are full of regret that you couldn’t properly enjoy your special day, perhaps plan a one year (or five year, if that is more realistic) annivesary fête to celebrate in your love, with all of the people who love you.

    And 40 years for your parents! That is surely something to celebrate as well! Félicitations!

  2. I had a lot of the same feelings about my wedding (also why I haven’t recapped it). It’s mostly faded now, and I can see the good things (there are lots) and am OK with the things that went wrong (mostly)…but it was a process. Like you, I have to process, process, process. We spent way more money than we had planned and pretty much wiped out our savings (and then some) in the process. Then we had a honeymoon where everything was 3x more expensive than we expected and it rained for all but 3 days.

    Anyway, you are not alone. I think there are probably lots of people with remorse over their weddings who just aren’t saying anything. It’s such a taboo. I hope you start feeling better about everything.

    1. Um, yes. Exactly. When we got to the rental car in Dublin and they told us the rental car was not 100 Euro but actually 700 Euro and there was nothing we could do about it? I was ready to get back on the plane and go home.

      It really is a taboo. I just wish I could be so clear that I’m not knocking weddings, or my family & friends – I just want people to see the reality of it!! I was so tired I wanted to drop dead, and I STILL didn’t get everything finished, or spend the time I wanted to with people.

      Your wedding shots, though. Man alive are they stunning.

  3. People hold so many expectations about things, and one of the most popular expectations is that your wedding day is the biggest, bestest day of your whole entire life. When they encounter someone who refutes that expectation, they get confused. They feel invalidated, sometimes even threatened. It’s as if you told them that the sky is black, when everyone know’s that it’s clearly blue. This is an oversimplification, but to an extent it’s true. Applied specifically to weddings, when you say you wish you didn’t have one, people interpet it as a challenge to their own decision to get married and have a wedding. People dislike being challenged.

    However, you’re not alone. There are so many people out there for whom their weddings were not as they’d wanted it to be. We are not all one and the same, you know? We all have different experiences. Different stories. Yours is one among them, and I think that talking about it can help other people who’ve had similar feelings of regret.

    So yeah, keep going. I completely understand and I am looking forward to seeing the photos!

    1. @ Lyn: “We are not all one and the same, you know? We all have different experiences. Different stories.”

      Absolutely. Our wedding was most certainly NOT “the best day of my life” (how could I even begin to pick 1 best day?!). But I had low expectations and it met them, and I tend to be a “shrug it off”/positive/pollyana person–by nature, not by effort. But mine is just one experience… (“everything went kinda wrong, but we still had fun and made it work” was how Angie summed up my recaps LOL). I think it’s important to share ALL the different, conflicting emotions and responses — chances are, someone out there is feeling the same way.

  4. I love your posts because they are real and sincere and sweet all in one. I don’t know why people need up up up all the time. The internets create a facade for some people, expecting everything to be diluted to the prettiest most sugared life when really that is not true. (Although many bloggers don’t mind editing to create that world…which is their own right.) All of our experiences are colored in a myriad of ways (positive/negative/all shades in between), not black in white… IMHO. :)
    And, my wedding (10/30) was certainly not a dream. I had a panic attack that morning, but it ended up being absolutely lovely. Certainly not the best day of my life though. Sometimes I feel guilty about that…and already wish for a do-over. Still, I am completely happy that I tied the knot with the man of my dreams, and that I was able to celebrate with close family and friends.
    Anyway, I love hearing your experiences and I look forward to more posts!

  5. actually, hearing all your thoughts throughout your wedding planning process were really helpful to me–as with parenthood (which i’ve learned a lot about from close friends in the past couple years!) i think a lot of people are afraid to be truly honest about their experiences for fear of being judged. but i love that i could identify with a lot of what you were saying, from a hypothetical standpoint. it helped me to feel a lot better about planning things when, and if, i get married. we are so similar in the way that we process things, ideas of creative control, diy, sharing, and time with chosen family, and ‘recovery’ (if i may make a lot of assumptions!) that i, for one, can’t thank you enough! i could go on about how i wish you didn’t have regrets, etc, etc, but honestly, (i’m going out on a bit of a limb, here), i try to think of it all as *not that big a deal*. it’s hard not to ruminate about events that felt anticlimactic or less than perfect, especially with so much social baggage attached, but you accomplished the important things you ultimately set out to do. and from my perspective way out in the distance, it was really beautiful and a reflection of the amazing person you are. phew.

  6. The few pictures of your wedding you’ve shown so far looked like they belong on “Style Me Pretty”.

    But, I appreciate your honesty. Who knows? It may help a future bride to take on less!

    1. !! Well, I’m flattered, but those weddings always look like they cost serious money to me, plus one million fancy matching details, plus fancy dresses. Maybe I have wedding dysmorphia.

      I love the way our wedding looks, for sure. I don’t think it’s wedding-bloggy (so handmade looking!) but I think it’s gorgeous. It’s more about just how dang exhausted I was trying to do everything.

      1. Wedding dysmorphia — so apt. And yes, i think you have it… but it’s HARD to get outside of your own experience to see things as others do. But yes, your wedding looked like it could absolutely be featured on any of those blogs (have you seen SMP’s whimsical category?

        Now whether being “blog pretty” means anything or lessens the exhaustion or makes the money worth it, is of course up for debate. 😉

        1. Oh, yes. It wasn’t about being blog-pretty or whatever, but that I had images in my head of what I wanted and I didn’t have time to finish – especially the dress!!

  7. I love the pictures of your mom in the mini with the traditional veil. So awesome.

    I am sorry people have been giving you a hard time about your feelings regarding your wedding. You are processing a lot of emotions right now, and have every right to talk about the honestly online. My wedding hasn’t happened yet, so I don’t exactly know how you feel, but I can imagine how natural it is to go through what you are.

  8. I know you’ve been hinting at all these issues for a while, but I think I understand it now. And not that I didn’t think your feelings or perspective on your disappointment weren’t valid (because of course everyone’s experience is incredibly personal and valid) but I think I see now what you’ve been grappling with. And I think a lot more people grapple with those contradictions than not, but most don’t talk about them publicly. I’ve always been conflicted about my wedding, especially the money pit-ness and knowing it can’t possibly be exactly what I want (due to lack of time or money, and the fact that I’m doing this more for my partner than for me). I guess I’ve managed to make it mine, and I’ve accepted that it will be highly imperfect and that photos won’t tell the real story.

    But when I hear my mother recall her very real regrets about her wedding to my dad, I also hear the joy in her voice about that day. But it’s still mixed, and she still has issues with what happened (homemade food ran out, her parents couldn’t afford to come from abroad, they spent all their money buying a house the month before/fixing up the backyard for the wedding that they didn’t have money for the wedding, her cake top/cake topper disappeared, my grandparents didn’t approve b/c she wasn’t Jewish, their CA roadtrip honeymoon was marked by post-wedding stress fights and reservation snafus.) It was very mixed. And very real issues happened that day. But I know she doesn’t regret the wedding as a whole. I think with distance she’s started to focus on the parts she loved (neighbor making her woven crown, friends wheeling a piano half a mile along the streets to use it as music, the chuppah made that morning by friends, my father’s callused hands because he’d been getting the house guest-ready for the month before.)

    I think real life weddings are a lot more complicated than people talk about. Before the wedding, we need cheerleadering since we’ve committed to this madness. And after the wedding, for many people, it hurts too much to look at the disappointments. But those are real and possibly very universal, despite the also-there joy. And so I hop you can make peace with it to the point that the good parts become more resonant than the bad. And if not, just keep focusing on the good anyhow.

  9. You don’t have to answer this, but were your parents by any chance married in Holland, MI? That church looks SO familiar!

  10. Thanks for saying it out loud is all I’m sayin’. As a obsessive hand-maker myself just starting my wedding planning, your words are just for me. so what i’m getting is- “start now so I will have everything done b4 hand :o) of corse I wouldnt hear “let someone help you” or “dont be such a perfectionist”, just “do the dress and veil now and put it away for 9 months till the wedding”. your wedding looked beautiful, as with most of my big projects, I know as time goes on you will get over the missed marks and start to regain focus on the parts that were just right. i pray that for you.

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