So, the Big Day is fast approaching. The prayers are ongoing, the outfits and meals are being readied, and the banns are being read. The groom has a glowy grin as he gazes at the now-customized rings. A few people have remarked that I look radiant, but the last one was shocked that I didn't seem anxious. Moi?
Um. From time to time as we've been planning our wedding, we have needed--okay, at least one of us has needed--a dose of perspective. This is a time of growth, and our merciful God provides the necessary lessons.
First, all this coordination can be stressful, but then, so too was the singles scene; and at least our current stress is meaningful. As The Sheepcat noted, some of the guys I dated weren't good for me. And hey, same for him! I'm thrilled that The Sheepcat is the only man I need ever date again.
Second, we've had several sick and dying loved ones. The Sheepcat mentioned some of them in a previous post. When significant invitees are either feeling too poorly to attend, or have departed this life during the engagement period, the long view comes pretty fast.
Third, it's helped to poke fun at The Wedding Industrial Complex. Certain vendors seem to sell the idea that each marrying couple is producing its own mandatory gala-of-a-lifetime to top the Oscars. Perhaps in this era of serial monogamy and cohabitation, the wedding night no longer feels special to most couples, so a compulsion emerges to be more and more extravagant with the guests.
The Sheepcat and I do appreciate fine liturgy, food, and music; but we're ultimately preparing to receive a sacrament. The opportunity to dine with guests after the Mass is a bonus. We have truly appreciated the generosity of our family and friends; the wise counsel of those responsible for our formation and those whose advice we have sought; and especially the prayers of hundreds of supporters. And while there is no one day when we would ever be able to assemble everyone we'd prefer to have with us--this being earth, a place of finitude--we are looking forward to the presence of our wedding party and guests as we exchange our consents before God.
When we attended our one and only bridal expo, I was even more disturbed than I expected by the atmosphere of materialism, instant gratification, and lack of attention to the enduring marital relationship; and not least because these tendencies are antithetical to the Courageous life in which I'm trying to support The Sheepcat. I concluded that I was more grateful than ever for all the gifts that we already have, not least the absolute luxury of substantial daily prayer together. I later turned the show lanyard identifying me as a bride into a keychain holder, and its "I SAID YES!" tag into a topper for a anniversary card I made with Japanese paper. Other than these items--which were actually worth our $30 admission price--we haven't used any of the expo vendors' ideas. We chalked the event up to experience and turned it into a running joke.
The Sheepcat was immediately clear that he isn't a chair-cover kind of guy. Not a problem. We aren't too worried about being matchy-matchy (honestly, local readers, even though we continually show up in co-ordinated outfits, we've never actually planned this). Since we're combining two adequate kitchens already (yes, dear readers, we're older than we look), we're not even registered with a store. In our subsequent travels, I noted a few other superfluous offerings, according to the chronology of a wedding day. When I say superfluous, I'm referring to our own wedding; if these things float your boat, please tell us about them in the combox.
So here are Ten More Bridal Expo Things I've Assured The Sheepcat I Don't Need:
- posed photos of the bride dressing from inside-out
- a garter (enough said)
- hookerwear on my bridesmaids
- a dove or butterfly release
- transportation by horse-drawn carriage--or hall entry by motorcycle
- an ice sculpture
- a chocolate/vanilla/strawberry-flavoured fountain
- bobble-head cake toppers and wedding party gifts
- bomboniere engraved with Sopranos, Maple Leafs, or Ferrari themes
- fireworks (well, at least of the visible persuasion!)
Summing up our findings with our dear, brilliant limo driver (the limo is used, and it's the family car, because that's the cheapest option he's found for conveying his growing family), we were given this piece of wisdom: The wedding day is very special indeed, but the notion that it's The Best Day of Your Life is incorrect. "Know why? Because the next day, you wake up together, and you're married. And the day after that, you're married." And so on, till death do us part. Amen to that.