So, you already know that we consider our wedding to have been non-conformist. My husband and I are Deists, not Christian. But while writing a review of The Pilgrim’s Progress, I realized that there are a lot of Idols and Symbols associated with a modern wedding that aren’t what I consider Christian.
I really feel like my husband and I had nearly the most “Christian” version of a wedding–there were no frills, no Idols, nothing but us in front of the very few people who matter most to us. We actually planned it, rather than a quick elopement, so it was done with purpose in a place that felt special, but wasn’t ornamented to make us seem any more special than anyone else.
The only thing we “splurged” on was our clothes, because I wanted to be pretty on my wedding day and I wanted him to be drop dead gorgeous (because we’re not the type of people who dress up, ever). However, the actual amount of time and money spent on our clothes was relatively little. My dress took about an hour to order online. Three quarters of that was debating if I really wanted the dress that immediately caught my eye in comparison to the rest that were available. It is black and white hounds-tooth patterned and doesn’t conform with any Idolized Ideal of a wedding dress (a tradition started by Queen Victoria and isn’t in the Bible, so far as I know). The rest of that hour was getting my husband to measure me.*
My husband’s clothes took a bit longer because we had to go to multiple stores, but the overall look was relatively cheap: Jeans and a gray button-down. New boots, which he needed anyway (and we did this trick again for his son’s wedding: they looked fine under his tuxedo). The most expensive item was his suit-coat, which we got new, but could have come from a thrift store if we really wanted to search it out, though he’s a big guy, so our choices were limited. But time is money and getting his suit coat new also got us a great relationship with that particular Philip Michael’s store in Chesapeake Square Mall, who helped us out when we needed to measure my husband for that tuxedo.
If being a good Christian means being austere (and really, I don’t think you can be both filthy rich and a good Christian), I think a big, audacious wedding ends up being more a status symbol than a sacrament. A few choice items, picked for their importance to the couple are wonderful, but more for the sake of filling up the space, well, maybe you shouldn’t be getting married in such an empty room!
We didn’t have a registry for gifts. Honestly, I find this entire idea a bit nauseating. I’ve seen the movie My Fake Fiancé where two broke people pretend to get married for the gifts, but really, as a person, I hate any time someone wants me to tell them what to give me as a gift! My least favorite part of Christmas is the gift exchange because I hate the idea of gifts being an expectation instead of a surprise. Ideally, I’d only give gifts when I feel inspired to give gifts and it seems stupid to literally hold onto items that you know someone will love because of the unspoken obligation to have something for them to open at Christmas. Seriously, I’ve started working on my Christmas presents for this year and I will have to store them for the next 8 months. Is there any wonder why people wait until the last minute to buy and wrap their gifts–that’s where all the incentive is.
When we invited everyone to our reception in May, I specifically told everyone not to bring a gift, but to bring a dish to share (it was potluck). Honestly, I loved packing up all the leftovers to fill our fridge! That was the best gift we could have asked for because I won’t be tripping over random stuff for the next 20 years. Okay, I will be, but it’s all stuff my husband had from before we married.
We didn’t have a cake either on our wedding night or at our reception. Wedding cake is yet another unnecessary Idol/Symbol/Tradition. While I’m amazed by the amount of work that can go into a gorgeous wedding cake, at the end of the day it will either be eaten or thrown away. It is food. I think everyone should take a moment when they buy their cake (and their flowers) and decide if they are getting it because it’s something that means a lot to their relationship or because it will make a good statement piece.
I guess there’s a fine line between a bride getting her vision and the audaciousness of a $50,000 wedding. And I guess that if you can afford it, you should get what you want. But, I think it’s important to keep your priorities in check with everything you do. I actually do have a really big problem with the divorce rate being 50% and while I’m libertarian enough to say that folks are more than allowed to do whatever the hell they want, I think society would be better off with better marriages, not more of them!
Oh. One final note is necessary. It’s actually really easy to identify when you’ve crossed the line from getting the wedding of your dreams and the wedding meant to please everyone–you’ve felt even the smallest twinge of regret over at least one choice. If you feel overwhelmed, you’ve definitely crossed this line! Yes, things can (and do) go wrong, but if you feel unable to run with whatever life throws at you, STOP. You need to reevaluate the situation. There is no need to rush into anything and I can tell you from personal experience working in a print shop, RUSH means that someone, somewhere screwed up (and because of that, more things will go wrong). There is no such thing as a job marked RUSH where everything was done right from the beginning.
*By the way, while my husband is a good sport about measuring me, keep in mind that husbands will shrink you an inch around the waist, where it’s easy for you to inadvertently suck in your stomach when he pulls the tape too tight.