What is the purpose of a wedding anyway?
As a girl, I envisioned the fanciness, the awe-inspiring grandeur as the movies make it out to be. More so… when I thought of my wedding, it was really about the PEOPLE you love and the HAPPINESS that came along with it. I saw the wedding as a ridiculously overpriced party with tons of food, smiling, laughing, dancing, a gorgeous dress, a fabulous husband, and a large crowd of supportive friends and family. At 26 years old, engaged, and about to be married, I still want those things. Yet, I didn’t see myself struggling so hard to get there.
Now that this “Big Day” is approaching for me, I’m left with several conflicting feelings of dread, stress, disappointment, nostalgia, and during rare moments, excitement. It feels like a lonely place to be because I don’t seem to find my issues reflected in the glossy wedding magazines, colorful Knot website, or dream wedding shows. When people ask me “How’s wedding planning?”, I feel like a freak for not being more giddy in my response. Sometimes I completely fake it. The only place of solace are through conversations with other real-life brides. It’s like meeting another wounded soldier who survived the same battle that I’m about to face. An instant connection is formed – one based on encouragement & empathy.
The biggest shock for me in getting engaged and beginning the wedding planning was how it drastically changed (or perhaps unveiled?) the relationships in my life. It forced me to evaluate who were the most important people in my life. Who to include in this whole planning process. Who will truly be by my side for such a significant occasion in my life? Who will truly support me in my decisions? Who will be consistent? For better or for worse isn’t just for your life partner; it applies just as much to your other loved ones. It was a test of some sorts for many of my relationships – both friendships and family.
For the sake of some confidentiality, I won’t list names, but I will say with great disappointment that some of those relationships failed me. There was a great deal of emotional conflict that arose in the first month of my engagement – family loyalty, selfishness, old history, lost friendships, etc. In hindsight, I believe that a majority of those issues arose because other people had selfishly harbored issues of their own and decided to use the engagement as a catalyst to bring those issues to the surface. Funny enough, life was just fine prior to when J asked the question. So, was it REALLY about me? Or was it about them? Sadly enough, no one ever warns you that a wedding could potentially be destructive to your relationships… or to your mental health for that matter.
In the past few months, J & I had some major talks and decisions to make. How much of our own happiness are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of others’ happiness? And how much of it is ours to claim? We’ve realized, with much disappointment and sadness, that it will not be given to us easily. As much as these people say they care and love us, they love themselves – be it their pride, ego, or traditions – more.
Honestly, I’m pretty tired of walking on eggshells around others’ feelings, especially for an event that’s intended to be mine & J’s. Compromising is one thing, but losing perspective is another. I know the difference between support and selfishness, and as much as I hate to say this about people whom I love – it’s downright selfish.
If happiness is our goal, then I’m determined to make sure that’s what J & I deserve and demand. For better or for worse.