Big Wedding, Small Budget

Changes

Well, the day is almost here. Although right now I hoped I would have found my wedding Zen, it has not happened yet. Instead, I’m worrying about the one thing that’s completely out of my control—the weather. I’m spending hours getting my house ready for everyone to come over, and I’m driving from one end of town to the other running errands. I’ve basically become a mad woman. I haven’t given up yet on wedding Zen, though; by Wednesday, most things will have calmed down and maybe, just maybe, the weather forecast will have changed.

All this stress hasn’t left me much time for reflection on what is actually happening here; namely, the huge life transition of getting married. In moment of stolen calm, though, I find myself a little, I don’t know, nostalgic? Sad? Wistful? I find myself thinking back to my last apartment and how much I loved it, to all the time spent bonding with my dog when it was just the two of us, to the excitement of the beginning of my relationship with Steve. Since we have lived together for so long, it has felt like not that much will change after we get married, and I think that has left me a little in denial as to how big of a life step this really is.

Getting married does mean a change in my identity. It means I will now be a wife. And although that mostly thrills me, it’s a little scary too, a little unknown. Even though Steve and I have been making decision together for a long time, now we’ll have to. Now, I really can’t just decide things on my own without taking anyone else into account. Now, I’ll have my own family.

Frankly, these feelings don’t surprise me at all. Even though I’m super excited to get married, I also feel a little sad at transitions, even happy ones, even ones I have been looking forward to. A new chapter in life always means turning the page on an old one, both the good and the bad. It means saying goodbye to a little bit of who you were before and saying hello to who you will be. And my focus on being emotionally present at this wedding means honoring all of my feelings, the happy and the sad, the excited and the wistful, the optimistic and the nostalgic. After all, life is ever-changing, isn’t it? And so are we.

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For Better or for Worse

It’s interesting how the focus of my thinking has changed as the wedding has gotten closer. Of course, I’ve made an effort throughout this process to think about the marriage, not just the party. And those “marriage” thought came up more naturally while choosing a Ketubah text and writing the ceremony. But the truth is, most of my mental energy has been focused on planning the wedding. I mean, there’s just so much to do, you know? So many decisions to be made.

Except now, there really isn’t. We’ve really reached the end of the planning process. Sure, there are a ton of things left to do, and I’ve been working on wedding stuff every day. But literally, there is one decision (and it’s not a very difficult or consequential one) to be made. The rest is just doing. And with virtually nothing left to figure out, my brain has been free to meditate on this marriage thing we’re getting ourselves into.

Suddenly, stories I read online where a spouse becomes unexpectedly sick or disabled have rocked me to my core. Whereas before, those stories would have felt touching, and I would have been left with admiration for both spouses, now, I’m left with questions, a bit of anxiety, and a profound feeling of jumping off of a cliff. Of course, Steve and I have been committed to each other for some time, and if he had gotten into an accident six months or two years ago, I don’t think I would have left him just because we weren’t married. But still. There is something huge about making a promise to each other to stay together in the case of something tragic happening. There’s something about making an active commitment rather than a passive one that feels much more real, much more binding.

In just three weeks, we’ll be promising to stay together for better or for worse. And we’ve already been through some better, and some worse. From where I’m standing right now, though, it’s the act of making the promise that seems to be all the difference. I know I’ll be spending the next three weeks, and probably the next 30 years, trying to wrap my brain around what this commitment really means. It’s something I don’t think you can understand before you go through it. And now, facing down that cliff, I’m finally starting to grasp that. And I’m holding on to the fact that we’ll be jumping off that cliff together.

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