Choosing to do certain things always means choosing not to do others. It means letting go of other ideas, ideas that would probably be great. This is certainly evident in wedding planning.
Having a casual, outdoor weddings means letting go of the black-tie ballroom wedding that I envisioned when I was 19. Marrying someone not Jewish means giving up using the beautiful chuppah that our synagogue has, and it means not getting married by the rabbi who was there at my bat-mitzvah. Wearing a modern, comfortable dress means giving up the huge tulle skirt.
Lest it sound like my wedding is nothing but sacrifices, I would like to point out that having a casual outdoor wedding means a beautiful setting and lots of relaxed fun. Wearing a dress that is me is wonderful. And of course, I get to marry Steve!
These choices were all the right ones, both for me and for us as a couple. I don’t regret any of them, not even a little bit. I’m so excited and happy about what our wedding is turning out to be, and I’m pretty sure it will be awesome. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t had any moments of sadness for what I had to let go of.
Every time we choose to go one way, we have to let go of the other way. And that can sometimes entail a bit of mourning. This becomes especially clear when I let go of what my past self envisioned in favor of who my current self is. Having the wedding I wanted when I was a teenager would not be authentic now that I’m 33. I mean, anyone who knows Steve and me should have a hard time picturing me in a princess dress and Steve in a tuxedo, in a ballroom. Come on.
I’ve learned with this wedding that it’s not enough to only focus on the positive aspects of the choices I’m making. That doesn’t tell the whole story, and it doesn’t honor my true feelings. It’s been really important to let myself mourn (just a little) the path not taken. That has helped me recognize the right path, the right choice and to go forward joyfully.
And this is a good lesson for life, isn’t it? When we choose one career path, we give up the others (at least, for now). When we buy a house and settle in one place, we give up on living somewhere else (again, for now). When we choose one partner, we give up dating and all the other potential partners out there. And, in my opinion at least, it is important to recognize the loss. It’s important to understand the emotional value we’ve attached to other options. That’s the only way to move forward with our whole hearts into the life we choose.