Monday, March 05, 2007

Mawwiage. And weddings.

We did some wedding stuff this weekend, finally. Eric got started doing the invitations (he's designing them in Illustrator, and getting an unholy amount of glee out of doing it) and I arranged a meeting with the cake maker. Today he's going to call the person at the thing (you had to be there) to find out whether we actually get a honeymoon this year, and I'm going to go get paper samples. And maybe some muslin for the kitchen curtains, because this lovely green linen blend I got is too dark. Any suggestions on what to do with approximately one-yard blocks of green linen are welcome.

And I was reading this Whatever post on how marriage is now mostly for the upper classes, or at least the non-poor. The comments veer towards the cost of weddings, with mentions of how marriage changes things. I don't think marriage will change anything fundamental for Eric and me. We've already committed ourselves to each other; we're already dealing with finances and obligations and life in general as a pair. (I still talk about my money as separate from his, but only in the present tense. We haven't technically joined finances yet, just bill payments.) We've had eight years to get to know each other, even though we've only spent the last two as a couple.

Bev told me that she felt the moment of legal marriage was more important than the ceremony. I'm sorry she feels that way, since we're going to be doing the legal stuff the Friday before and having the wedding on Sunday (but hey--at least they're only separated by two days, rather than my parents' two weeks), but I don't agree. (I'll take her along as a witness, though.) Some of those comments were on how doing things the traditional way is what drives up the expense of weddings, but they want those traditions--the cake, the dancing, the being carried around in a chair. I want that too--well, not those things specifically, but the reason that we're having a wedding at all is because I felt the legal recognition is not enough. We're not religious, but I recognize the ceremony of a wedding as deeply meaningful, to this culture and to me personally. I don't need my marriage recognized by God or state (though state is definitely useful, which is why we're doing it), but I do feel the need to stand up in front of everyone I love and say that I am no longer me but we; that on that day I am part of a new family as well as the old. Though in some ways that's false, because the new family is already begun. But I want the rite with which to say it, publicly and all at once, to everyone important to me and everyone who will need to know it in the future.

That aside, though, weddings are a pain. This is an extremely low-stress, relatively low-cost wedding and I'm wishing we'd gone with "a party in each hometown" or "ceremony at the courthouse, post pictures on a website afterward" instead. I've never been good at hosting parties. I hope this one will be fun. A lot of people are coming a long way at high cost to see this, and I want it to be both meaningful and enjoyable for them. Someone in that comments thread on Whatever said something about perhaps big, lavish weddings tend to precede failed marriages because the weddings become about the bride rather than the couple. (Notwithstanding that in the early days of wedding planning people kept telling me "Do what you want; you're the bride." Probably they still would if I were still talking to anyone about wedding planning.) I'm starting to think that the wedding is really about the guests, the way ceremonies are often about the witnesses. Trees falling in the forest, you know. Cats in a box with poison gas. Or maybe I just feel that way because I'm me, and I'm having second thoughts about walking up the aisle (of grass, under preferably non-dripping trees…), not because of who I'm walking towards but because I'm going to have to say things in front of nearly a hundred people and I'm probably going to be crying. Whose idea was this anyway?

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