Family Drama, Ramblings

Once a Bride, but Always a Wife

At my age “wedding season” seems to be a misnomer. It’s not wedding season, it’s just the Era of Weddings.

People I knew in elementary school are now getting married. Having children, on purpose! You know that kid who cried all the time in school or the one who kept calling the teacher “mom”? Well they’re getting married now.

As someone who got married in a park, I long lost my taste for weddings. Being the youngest of 9 grandchildren on one side, I’ve been to quite a few weddings. At first it was exciting, then soon I began to dread them.

I was always wrangled into something, like baking 300 cookies (never got a thank you) or hosting a relative for a week. I would decorate, then clean up. I would drive relatives around, and basically just become a thankless slave.

For what? For one day? For one day where you can be the center of attention, but claim to those around you how much you hate it, just to view that day as the best day of your life? Like it’s downhill from there?

So now that my best friend is getting married, she is bitterly regretting having a big wedding. She told me that she should have just done what my husband and I did, because this is a nightmare. I tried to warn her, but now that we’ve spent over $2,000 just to be at her wedding (I am the maid of honor), I am determined to see this through.

My advice to her from day one of wedding planning: focus on being a wife, not a bride. Be a partner, not a bride/groom. Focus on the day after, not the day of.

DH (Dear Husband) has a brother, an identical twin brother, so they grew up very close. His brother ended up marrying someone very different. In fact she’s a bit cold, standoffish, and snobbish and overall, we don’t really like her. Don’t worry, the feeling is mutual. She hates us (all of us, the entire family).

Their wedding day was…. terrible. It was over 104 degrees, in the sun, and they didn’t supply water or food until 5 PM. We sat through 45 minutes of her making fun of how hopeless he is, and him talking about what an angel she is. DH almost passed out because the men had to wear a 3 piece tuxedo, including their nephew who was 4 and had an epic breakdown where he wound up gouging the face of my father-in-law.

My MIL looked sad, as she realized she was far too late to tell her son that she doesn’t think this is the right person.

Side Note: if you want advice on how to find the right partner or what makes a marriage last, talk to someone who is divorced. Not someone who is happily married for 50+ years, because a lot of marriages last out of sheer stubbornness. Talk to someone who had to end it, because no matter what it’s not an easy decision.

To this day, they recall their wedding with such fondness. Their place is covered with photos of them on their wedding day. Everywhere. To them, it could have been better (she complained about how the venue was not her dream choice but her dad wouldn’t pay for more) but it was everything they wanted.

To the rest of the family? At least our side? It was one of the worst days we experienced together.

Moral of the story? Do you want to be a wife or a bride who only focuses on one day that is rapidly fading behind you? Do you want to be the bride who the rest of the family just resents?

Because no matter how “special” that day is for you, I will bet $1,000 that at least 3 of your close relatives are having a terrible time. Everyone is excited for you, but why do you need such a big fanfare? Yes getting married a big deal (legally especially!), but why do you need to spend $50,000 AND make everyone else miserable?

Just skip it. Pocket the money you would have spent on a wonderful honeymoon and towards your future. Be the person who looked forward, instead of the person who puts 20 giant photos of you and your husband kissing while he secretly tells his brother how lonely and guilty he feels about his life.

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One thought on “Once a Bride, but Always a Wife

  1. Agree so much on not spending zillions on the wedding. I’ve been married twice and the first time I think the total cost was $400 and this second time around the only thing we spent anything on the second time was the photographer (learned my lesson the first time that relying on disposable cameras for ALL of your photos is not a worthwhile risk) and really good barbecue for friends. No relatives at the second one either – the first one was full of people saying “if you don’t invite so-and-so, I won’t come” and I had said, fine, don’t come then! So our second one was just friends, and that was more fun. I have always refused to put up with people using blood relations as an excuse to be assholes, and the wedding to my husband was WAY more fun (not to mention a total upgrade in partners!!!) and did not leave us in an ounce of debt. (PS – If you’re curious, I actually wrote all about our non-traditional look at weddings in my blog: https://theecofeminist.com/category/green-wedding-chronicles/)

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