Monday, July 27, 2009

Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?

When he finally popped the question I was thrilled. Finally, I would be a woman with a Partner. I would be forever saved from the disappointing, draining dating trenches and the treacherous eHarmonies and Match.coms of my past. I would be creating a life and family with someone who loved me.

After a few days of engagement euphoria, it hit me: we have a lot of planning to do. The first question after “can I see the ring?” is “have you set a date?” followed by “where are you going to do it?” I could see a wave of stress beginning to crest on the horizon. I set to work getting foundations of a plan in place. I copied my best friend’s wedding binder, recreated Martha Stewart’s planning spreadsheets and started researching details.

Thank goodness we are no longer in the age of a wedding being the place for a father to pay back his business partners and clients and for a mother to show off to her bridge group and country club set. Thank goodness we won’t be bound by traditions that don’t speak to us and are free to create an event that resonates with our tastes and interests. For the most part, the fiancée and I are flexible. There are not a lot of details we care about. Flowers? Whatever. Food? As long as it’s yummy. Attendants? Wear whatever you want. We both agree spending obscene amounts of money on one day is silly when that money could better be used in setting up a life together.

There is one detail, however, that we both agree we’re not willing to budge on. Italy. We were fixed up in the first place because of our mutual love of Italy and fluency in Italian. Italy got us through a rough patch, joined in our romance and was the backdrop of the proposal itself. Italy is important to our relationship. We feel it represents us and we want it to be part of our big day. Plus with who we know over there we are confident we can pull off a wedding far more economically that would could here. It’s a win-win and everyone will be thrilled with a fun destination wedding, right? Besides, our mantra all along has been “this is our wedding, it doesn’t have to make everyone happy, just us.”

As we start to share our ideas with family it turns out everyone is less than thrilled. With the recession it seems no one can afford to go and now if we chose to go anyway it will look like we did so deliberately to exclude them. Some parentals aren’t thrilled by being fish out of water in a place where they don’t speak the language. Other parentals whom we thought would favor the plan also think it’s silly and would put too many people out. “A wedding isn’t about you” they inform us, “it’s about the people who love you.”

It is? I thought that was the one day in my (our) life that was unequivocally about me (us) and what I (we) want. Am I so mistaken? Maybe. I remember another family member’s wedding we’d all been looking forward to for years and our promised various roles in it. When the day came, our relative and his bride made different, far-away plans that excluded us and broke my sister’s heart. I don’t want broken hearts. I don’t want to exclude. But I want Italy.

My fiancée and I agree we’d rather have no wedding than something generic, expensive and tasteless here like so many weddings we’ve been to. So then. We’re either in for a battle of wills, family drama and politics gone wild or major compromises that will make us unhappy. Because I care so little about so many other parts, I am confident I won’t be a bridezilla. I’ll go with the flow of the day. However, I may just turn into a fianzilla before all is said and done. So whose wedding is it anyway? I thought I knew.

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