The Wedding I Never Dreamed Of

By

The Wedding I Never Dreamed Of

After a day of dragging me around Charleston looking for bridesmaids dresses only to watch me shrug, tell her to wear whatever she was comfortable in, and ask if we could go by Sticky Fingers on the way home, my exasperated sister announced to everyone within earshot that I was “The Worst Bride EVER.”

The truth is, I’ve always been bothered by the idea of expensive, lavish weddings. When other little girls were doodling their bridal gowns or daydreaming about slow dancing at their receptions, I was swinging from trees in my family’s backyard and telling my classmates that I was He-Man. Even as I got older, I cringed at the idea that women spent so much of their lives obsessing over one party, on one day, usually holding an empty place for the role of “Groom” to be plugged into the equation later. Despite the raised eyebrows and incredulous stares my reaction garnered, I could never understand why people needed to make such an overblown spectacle out of a ceremony that should be special enough all on its own.

I especially felt nauseated when people declared that my wedding day would be “The Best Day of Your Whole Entire Life!” Um…I certainly hope not. Why on earth would people advocate an event in someone’s younger years if there’s nothing equal or better to look forward to for the rest of their existence? Wouldn’t we save that sort of thing until we’re all 80? What was wrong with these people?

Now approaching my late twenties, I’ve attended many weddings that ran the gamut from small and intimate to exorbitant and pretentious. I’ve found it heartbreaking that so many brides focus on “my big day” (rarely “our big day”) and forget to consider that there are many many years of aftermath to think about. They freak out so much about one garment they will wear for twelve hours, the color of the napkin rings that nobody will remember and whether or not their bridesmaids will get along that they never really stop to consider the purpose of the whole event. I suppose this is the reason that many of the weddings I’ve attended lasted about as long as the marriage.

When I began planning for my own nuptials I was overwhelmed with all the completely inane expectations our society has for weddings – even the ones that are supposed to be simple. I was supposed to pick out bridesmaids dresses, outfits for the groomsmen, flowers, a location, a photographer, a minister, a location for a reception, invitation styles, save-the-date announcements and at least three dozen other overpriced “necessities” in addition to coordinating a handful of “traditional” parties that accompany the modern wedding. The fact that I didn’t care about any of this only added to my stress and my resulting uselessness finally led to my sister’s public proclamation, a title I didn’t revoke.

One day as my fiancé and I were looking over our “To Do” list, I found myself whining about how I was too buuusy to do it, and how I just didn’t caaare about any of it and the money people spend on weddings is so waaaasteful but, because we wanted something memorable and nice, we’d just have to grit our teeth and bear it. To ease our oncoming stress headaches, we began joking and fantasizing about running off, just the two of us, to a secluded beach in the tropics and getting married without any of the traditional sideshows to distract from our private, life-altering moment of dedication.

Suddenly, he tilted his head to the side, looked me right in the eye and asked, “Why can’t we just do that?”

It took us six days to plan the ceremony and a weeklong vacation that cost us only one-fourth of the average price of a typical wedding. A few months later, we arrived on the quiet Hawaiian island of Kauai where we spent seven blissful days taking in the sights, kayaking and doing absolutely nothing productive.

Throughout the week we kept looking at each other and giggling about the absence of stress in the days surrounding our wedding, asking each other silly questions like, “You know what I’m gonna do tonight?”

“What’s that?”

“Not worry about whether the caterers or florists are going to be on time.”

These giddy conversations were easily among the highlights of our vacation.

A local minister, who spoke like Tommy Chong and insisted on showing us his collection of wild boar jaws before we left the parsonage, married us on a deserted beach that Wednesday evening. My husband wore a pair of khakis and a traditional white Hawaiian wedding shirt with buttons made from coconut shells. I held a homemade bouquet of lilies and ginger I’d bought from a small grocery store that morning, and I felt more beautiful than I ever have in an off-the-rack dress from David’s Bridal. We stood barefoot for the ceremony and exchanged vows with only our photographer as our witness. Afterward, we toasted our union with prepackaged ice cream cones and frolicked in the ocean in our formal wear, our photographer snapping pictures wildly. Later, exhausted from jetlag and the excitement of the day, we blew off our reservations at a nice restaurant and scarfed down pizza and nachos at a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combination restaurant. Before we collapsed into bed, we rinsed our wedding garments with a garden hose and hung them from a tree in the backyard of our bungalow.

And yes. This was The Very Best Day of My Whole Entire Life.

So far.

About this writer

  • After a day of dragging me around Charleston looking for bridesmaids dresses only to watch me shrug, tell her to wear whatever she was comfortable in, and ask if we could go by Sticky Fingers on the way home, my exasperated sister announced to everyone within earshot that I was “The Worst Bride EVER.”

    The truth is, I’ve always been bothered by the idea of expensive, lavish weddings. When other little girls were doodling their bridal gowns or daydreaming about slow dancing at their receptions, I was swinging from trees in my family’s backyard and telling my classmates that I was He-Man. Even as I got older, I cringed at the idea that women spent so much of their lives obsessing over one party, on one day, usually holding an empty place for the role of “Groom” to be plugged into the equation later. Despite the raised eyebrows and incredulous stares my reaction garnered, I could never understand why people needed to make such an overblown spectacle out of a ceremony that should be special enough all on its own.

    I especially felt nauseated when people declared that my wedding day would be “The Best Day of Your Whole Entire Life!” Um…I certainly hope not. Why on earth would people advocate an event in someone’s younger years if there’s nothing equal or better to look forward to for the rest of their existence? Wouldn’t we save that sort of thing until we’re all 80? What was wrong with these people?

    Now approaching my late twenties, I’ve attended many weddings that ran the gamut from small and intimate to exorbitant and pretentious. I’ve found it heartbreaking that so many brides focus on “my big day” (rarely “our big day”) and forget to consider that there are many many years of aftermath to think about. They freak out so much about one garment they will wear for twelve hours, the color of the napkin rings that nobody will remember and whether or not their bridesmaids will get along that they never really stop to consider the purpose of the whole event. I suppose this is the reason that many of the weddings I’ve attended lasted about as long as the marriage.

    When I began planning for my own nuptials I was overwhelmed with all the completely inane expectations our society has for weddings – even the ones that are supposed to be simple. I was supposed to pick out bridesmaids dresses, outfits for the groomsmen, flowers, a location, a photographer, a minister, a location for a reception, invitation styles, save-the-date announcements and at least three dozen other overpriced “necessities” in addition to coordinating a handful of “traditional” parties that accompany the modern wedding. The fact that I didn’t care about any of this only added to my stress and my resulting uselessness finally led to my sister’s public proclamation, a title I didn’t revoke.

    One day as my fiancé and I were looking over our “To Do” list, I found myself whining about how I was too buuusy to do it, and how I just didn’t caaare about any of it and the money people spend on weddings is so waaaasteful but, because we wanted something memorable and nice, we’d just have to grit our teeth and bear it. To ease our oncoming stress headaches, we began joking and fantasizing about running off, just the two of us, to a secluded beach in the tropics and getting married without any of the traditional sideshows to distract from our private, life-altering moment of dedication.

    Suddenly, he tilted his head to the side, looked me right in the eye and asked, “Why can’t we just do that?”

    It took us six days to plan the ceremony and a weeklong vacation that cost us only one-fourth of the average price of a typical wedding. A few months later, we arrived on the quiet Hawaiian island of Kauai where we spent seven blissful days taking in the sights, kayaking and doing absolutely nothing productive.

    Throughout the week we kept looking at each other and giggling about the absence of stress in the days surrounding our wedding, asking each other silly questions like, “You know what I’m gonna do tonight?”

    “What’s that?”

    “Not worry about whether the caterers or florists are going to be on time.”

    These giddy conversations were easily among the highlights of our vacation.

    A local minister, who spoke like Tommy Chong and insisted on showing us his collection of wild boar jaws before we left the parsonage, married us on a deserted beach that Wednesday evening. My husband wore a pair of khakis and a traditional white Hawaiian wedding shirt with buttons made from coconut shells. I held a homemade bouquet of lilies and ginger I’d bought from a small grocery store that morning, and I felt more beautiful than I ever have in an off-the-rack dress from David’s Bridal. We stood barefoot for the ceremony and exchanged vows with only our photographer as our witness. Afterward, we toasted our union with prepackaged ice cream cones and frolicked in the ocean in our formal wear, our photographer snapping pictures wildly. Later, exhausted from jetlag and the excitement of the day, we blew off our reservations at a nice restaurant and scarfed down pizza and nachos at a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combination restaurant. Before we collapsed into bed, we rinsed our wedding garments with a garden hose and hung them from a tree in the backyard of our bungalow.

    And yes. This was The Very Best Day of My Whole Entire Life.

    So far.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “The Wedding I Never Dreamed Of”

  1. Haylee says:

    I adore reading all about your adventures, Liz. The only upsetting part for me was the absence of an Australian honeymoon!

    xoxo

    H

Leave your mark with style

Comment in style

Stand out from the crowd and add some flare beside your comment.
Get your free Gravatar today!

Make it personal

avatar versus gravatar Close