Maybe it’s because Jay and I are planning to get married later in life than most of the people we know, but a lot of the trappings of weddings are completely lost on me. I guess I’ve had plenty of time to think about things in an abstract way: would I want to change my name? Would I care if I had a white dress? Is it possible to not ask your sister to be your maid of honor, or would she be mortally offended? Except now those questions are not so abstract. They’re very real, and decisions need to start being made. Will I change my name? Still undecided. I mean, my name is my name, but it might be weird to have kids and not have the same name as them. Do I want a white dress? I do think white would look nice on me if I had a summer glow-y tan, but terrible if I was my normal pale self, so… maybe. Do I have to ask my sister? No, I don’t, but I probably would if I was planning to have bridesmaids at all, which I’m not.

Here are the (only) things I know for certain we want:

  1. Nothing religious
  2. Don’t care about most wedding traditions (e.g. father-daughter dances, smashing cake in each other’s faces)
  3. Inexpensive
  4. Fun

Because we really just want to have a party and would prefer to have the ceremony privately it feels a little strange to even call it a wedding, but for the life of me I can’t think of a suitable alternative. I’d call it a “wedding”, but that makes me sound like some kind of ironic hipster. A “We’re Filing Joint Taxes!” party is also kind of asshole-ish. Why is there no other format for getting married than a wedding? I guess I’ll just suck it up and use the W word.

I have this one co-worker who has to decided to ask me about the wedding every single time she sees me, which, since we work together, is every single day. Lady, even if I was actively planning something huge I wouldn’t have daily updates for you. No, I don’t want the number to the place where your daughter bought her dress. No, I would not like to see pictures of her winter wedding at a castle. No, I definitely do not care how much she spent on gold ribbon. But, you know, it seems like the kind of topic people really latch on to, and I don’t know how to make it any more clear that I’m not interested in what anyone else did. Or at least, not as it pertains to what Jay and I want to do.

Would things have been different if I had gotten married at 20? Obviously. For one thing, I’d already be divorced. For another, I know myself so much better at 35! I can take a step back to say, “Self? No to getting married while you’re still in college, and an even bigger no to that body glitter.”

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8 Responses to Alternatives

  1. RA says:

    Oh, good lord. That lady’s daughter’s gold-ribboned, castle wedding can SHUT IT.

    Do what you want! Do what you want! I agree that there is probably no other suitable term for a wedding, though. A union party? Which sounds awful and full of labor laws.

  2. Chrissie says:

    Agree with RA – do what you want! My husband and I had a tiny backyard wedding. There were traditional and religious elements, but it was super relaxed. I wore flip flops, and my husband’s late uncle showed up in shorts (which we love). For us, it was simple and perfect, and a big plus: inexpensive. You can most definitely plan something that’s right for you guys and will make you happy!

  3. Corinne says:

    I would do my wedding completely different were I getting married now. Not that I didn’t have a great wedding, but couples have way more options now. And it’s YOUR celebration, not anyone else’s. I think that’s where people lose the plot with their weddings.

  4. Jay says:

    I agree: no to getting married while you’re still in college, and an even bigger no to that body glitter.


    YES to body glitter at OUR mid-30s wedding.

  5. Lacey Bean says:

    Even getting married as a 26 year old I couldn’t deal with all the “wedding” things. My favorite was all the things Dave and I were told we “had” to do. No, I don’t have to wear a tiara, or have the girls wear matching dresses, or have Dave stand at the altar waiting. Do what you want – even if that means having a private, immediately family only ceremony, and then a “joint tax filing party” after :)

  6. My first wedding (I was 21) was huge and expensive and full of the doctor-surgeon friends of my in-laws…I never wanted it and wished I didn’t have to attend, but I wasn’t feisty enough then to put my foot down.

    When I got married the second time I wore an emerald green dress I found on final sale at Anthropologie for less than $100 bucks and we ordered Mexican food from my favorite restaurant. It was small and inexpensive and completely nontraditional, it was perfect. (And I didn’t give my MIL a fighting chance to have an opinion on ANYTHING.)


  7. I cannot for my life understand why people get so excited for other people’s weddings. I can count on one hand the number of weddings I’ve fully, actively enjoyed out of the dozens upon dozens I’ve attended. If I use that as a random sampling of all weddings, then I do not care to hear the details about the majority of weddings. Unless I know the people involved are exceedingly fun people. Then I care, but only slightly.

    We used the rule that if one of us didn’t care about something or thought it was ridiculous (hey, bouquet toss/garter shoot when nearly all your friends are already married!), it got eliminated from the lineup. And if it was something we both felt very passionately about, it was in the lineup. It served us well, though I had an ongoing feud with my mother that not having a cake (we had pie. PIE.) would not keep the festivities from qualifying as a wedding. I ultimately gave in and let her buy a cake, but required it to look like a pie and we dubbed it the “Mother of the Bride” cake.

  8. Marie says:

    Ahhhh weddings. And all the “oh you must do this and that!” which comes with it. People always have opinions don’t they?

    Do whatever you want. I wore a pink dress, got married in 10 minutes by a justice of the peace, had cupcakes instead of cake (I have what one would possibly call an addiction to cupcakes), didn’t have a father-daughter dance or first dance (didn’t even have DJ – hellooo iPod!), had just a maid of honor and best man (oh and my maid of honor carried our rings), and had no more than 50 people.

    I basically broke all the rules and some people had things to say about it, but I told them I didn’t care what they had to say because they already had their day and now it’s ours! So, do what you want. “Rules” be damned. The most important? Have fun. Because like I said, a wedding is just one day. But a marriage is a life time.

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