Someday my husband and I will tie the knot, officially. Someday we’ll throw a big party for all our family and friends and it will be awesome. But I’m not in any hurry anymore for that day to come and I’m not worrying about it like I thought I would when I was younger.
Before I had my son I was all about being married before becoming a mother. I was SO sure that it was super important, that others would think less of me, that I’d think less of myself, and that our child would suffer for it.
But then I got pregnant the first time, for all of 5 weeks (and totally would have thought I was just late had I not been SO sure that I needed to take that blood test) and my mindset changed. Or maybe it changed before that, I don’t know. All I know is that when I turned 26 that year and a friend of ours had just gotten married while planning to have their second child soon after, and another friend had two kids over three and no (immediate) plans to get married, it just didn’t really seem like a big deal. My husband was even starting to suggest that once we got a house that WE started trying to have a baby, because the agreement had always been to have one kid by the time he was 30, and oh would you look at how fast the time flies by because that year was getting closer.
Anyway, by the time we discovered I had been pregnant we had lost that pregnancy and it hadn’t even really BEEN anything at all but the hormones and maybe a small clump of cells that had started dividing a few times and then decided “you know what? This blueprint says we’re missing a ton of chromosomes here and we’re just going to have to scrap the whole project and try again next time”. So I had a more painful, heavier period AND the reality hit me that maybe I didn’t care so much about a wedding before a baby after all. It was the IDEA of commitment that I had felt I was missing.
Well, soon after we lost that baby my oh so wonderful man told me he had just started getting used to the idea, and maybe we could start a family when things got better for us, and by the way, we’re now engaged because here’s a ring I’ve been saving as an anniversary present.
So we got engaged, got a house, and set a date for the next summer.
And then I got pregnant. This time for REAL, with our son, and suddenly the thought of planning a wedding? No longer that exciting. Not really as important as I once thought it was. In fact, the whole idea of a WEDDING became less and less appealing the more I thought about it. Here are the reasons why a wedding can wait…
1. I hate big parties. Being an introvert this is pretty much a big one for me, so what the hell was I thinking when I got the idea in my head about a big wedding with all our family and friends? Well, the answer is kind of obvious; I was brainwashed from the time I was a little girl into thinking that it was important to have everyone at my wedding. And we’re not even really talking EVERYONE in my case. I had limited MY list to just close relatives, then added a few of my best friends, and yet somehow I STILL had more people on that list than I would ever be comfortable inviting all at the same time for a regular party. And these are the people I actually like and want to see, but all at once it’s way too overwhelming. This fact became more apparent to me first in the form of “holy crap, the more people we invite the more expensive this thing is” and then blossomed fully into “there is no way I could handle having this many people around me for a whole day and evening” around the time of my baby shower. See, I had also gotten into my head that a baby shower was a super important thing to have, and then reality hit when two hours into the party I was silently wishing that it was over. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy seeing everyone, but having even 20 people in my house and having to remain sitting in my recliner instead of sleeping in my bed was TORTURE! Not because I couldn’t get up (I totally could have) but because I was expected to socialize and doing so in a big group is more tiring on an introvert than to have one-to-one conversations with only a few people. So yeah, the idea of a big party really lost its luster for me.
2. Weddings are freaking expensive! I know this shouldn’t have come as such a shock to me, but when I started REALLY crunching the numbers it really made me re-examine my priorities. I thought a simple backyard wedding with a small guest list would be cheap. I was SO wrong! Even if I cut back on the food (just appetizers), had everyone bring their own alcohol (doesn’t cover the drinks that my husband would want to have), nixed the decorations down to just the backyard flowers and some white Christmas lights, borrowed the sound system from a friend, enlisted my brother’s help as DJ (using music on an iPod), hired my uncle and cousin as photographers, borrowed my mother’s wedding dress from when she married my stepdad, and nixed bridesmaids dresses (wear whatever dress you want as long as it’s royal blue) and conceded that my husband didn’t actually have to wear a tux (he’d have been too hot in one anyway), it still came with a pricetag I didn’t want to think about. Hell, just the civil servant and the wedding license was almost $300! Seems like an awful lot of money to spend for just ONE day.
3. Not everyone likes each other. This is where the REAL headache started! You see, due to the fact that my husband and I were both born in the 1980s and were one of the generations with the highest rate of divorced parents, we happen to have a lot of drama in our lives; and it’s not even our doing! My parents are divorced and tolerate each other, but my dad’s side of the family is less forgiving and while they have many valid reasons to not be forgiving, it doesn’t make planning a family centered event like a wedding or a kid’s birthday party any easier. And okay, so my dad’s side of the family is at least able to be civil and would suck it up for one day, but I can’t guarantee the same from some people on my mother’s side. And then there’s the woman my dad has married. I like my new step siblings okay enough (they haven’t done anything to piss me off, anyway) but my dad’s wife just isn’t someone I could ever see myself able to like well enough to warrant an invite to one of the most special days of my life. Why? Because she doesn’t know how to behave herself. She will take any innocent comment and automatically take offense because she THINKS it was made to insult her. Like for instance me saying “I don’t need to wear makeup” turns into “I think I’m prettier/better than you and you’re an old woman and I’m a hot young thing that you only WISH you still were”. I mean, HOW can anyone say ANYTHING without setting her off? And that’s just MY side of the family. My in-laws are also divorced and can’t stand each other in a worse way than my own parents. While my own parents would (I hope) be able to interact in a calm and polite manner, my in-laws spend the whole time they’re forced to be in the same room AVOIDING each other like they each have the plague. And that’s only IF we’ve somehow managed to convince them both that they need to be there, because one will go and the other one is expected to be uninvited (or pretend they’re too busy that day). And while they each have perfectly good reasons to despise each other (again, I’m not saying they aren’t justified) it certainly makes planning ANYTHING a freaking nightmare! So in looking at the guest list, I then have to try to navigate very complicated family relationships and avoid potential minefields, and I start wondering whether I’m going to need to just take a page out of the “Friends” playbook and write my own sitcom episode titled “The One With Two Weddings”, since I can’t cut anyone off the guest list because…
4. Family is Family and Everyone Needs an Invite. That’s my husband talking, verbatim, on the subject. Whenever I brought up the idea of cutting names off the list (do we really NEED to invite his cousins who he doesn’t even talk to and don’t live in town?) he kept insisting that we couldn’t uninvited people because they’d be offended. And while at first my reaction was “who cares?” the more I talked to certain people on certain sides of my family (whom had originally NOT been on the guest list) the more it became harder to stick to that ideal. Because seriously, whenever the topic of my wedding came up every freaking family friend and/or relative was all “I’m invited, right?” and how do you say “well, actually, no…” without getting them all butt-hurt about it? It’s even more of a nightmare than trying to plan my son’s birthday parties, because I’m thinking “one or two people over for cake” and suddenly every one of our friends with kids is disappointed (and a little annoyed) that we didn’t give them an invite. See my birthday post on all the reasons why I don’t like planning them.
5. I already HAVE a ring and so does he. This was one of the main things I wanted, not because I’m materialistic, but because everyone knows an engagement ring or wedding ring repels unwanted attention. My husband is a pretty attractive man, and I’m not so bad either. It’s both a blessing and a curse though, because the same attractive features that allow us to be a photogenic couple and have a seriously adorable child are also the ones that cause OTHER people to notice our attractiveness. So when I didn’t have a ring I would mistakenly be considered as someone that could be hit on. I have had men old enough to be my father try to talk me up on the bus or even when I was still working retail. I once had a customer come back later in the day to ask me if I wanted to go for coffee, and another straight up asked me for my number. I couldn’t even fake him out because he whipped out his phone and said he was going to call it right then and there to make sure it was real! Ugh. And okay, so there were a few nice instances of guys hitting on me and making me feel damn sexy, but it just isn’t worth the hassle. So this lovely ring is basically man repellant and I’m so happy to have a symbol that says “sorry, I’m taken” in such a blatantly obvious way. I also got my husband to wear a ring, which is really just one of his cool Celtic rings but because it’s on his wedding finger it does the job I intended. See, I can’t even count on our kid as woman repellant because there are women out there who might mistake him for a very datable single father and he’s just so damn charming that he would lap up the attention and not realize that he’s leading these women to believe he IS available. Hence why the rings are important. But again, this simple act of slipping on a ring is just as good as being married as far as the outside world is concerned. I don’t really have to advertise that the ring is just for show, after all.
6. I’m not religious. One of the big arguments for marriage is the fact that in the Eyes of God we are Living in Sin. But see, this is where you lose me. I fail to see how this affects me when I don’t even believe there IS a God, or at least not one as judgmental as the one people refer to. I also fail to see how it’s anyone’s business who I choose to sleep with or whether or not there was a party before we did it, and I certainly don’t need permission (which is essentially what getting married in the eyes of God or the government IS) to choose to spend my life with my man and raise a family. So if someone else wants to wring their hands and fret about me not living my life in accordance with what their Sky God says is right, then that’s their prerogative. But I don’t think that telling me that I need to do something because of something written in some book that I don’t even believe is as all powerful as you say is REALLY going to sway me in my decision. And if you disagree with me, well then clearly you aren’t following the teachings of The Stay At Home Feminist and Her holy words of Wisdom ;p
7. At the end of the day, I’m already married. Here’s the thing about a wedding: it’s just a day! It’s an expensive day, but a day all the same. And yes, we’ll have a lot of great memories of that day (hopefully) and lots of gorgeous photographs courtesy of my cousin and my uncle, but what rule states that we have to do it all at once? Wedding photos can be staged, people can come over to visit throughout a summer or even a full year, and a civil servant can come over to our house for an hour or less so we can sign the paperwork. I don’t need a ring because my engagement one will do, and until then I already call Ty my husband. Sometimes he slips up and calls me his fiancé instead of his wife, which annoys the hell out of me, but either way we’re still 100% committed to each other. We’re still an unstoppable team, still have each other’s back, and we’re still raising our son together as if we were truly married, so I fail to see what the difference is. And okay, so the religious people might have something to say about it, but that’s THEIR God, not mine. If I felt that I was damning my soul then I would probably feel that I needed to be married, but I don’t. And hey, if I’m wrong, Queen of Hell sounds like a pretty attractive title for my afterlife. 😉