Archive for the 'Wedding' Category

What I like about being married is all the sleeping.

Apparently, when I got married four weeks ago, I was struck with a strange sleeping sickness.

Since the wedding, as soon as I get in bed, I fall asleep immediately. I start to read a book and three minutes later a luxurious and complete drowsiness takes me. It’s like an invisible fairy throws sleep dust over me. My eyelids sag, despite my efforts to keep them open, and the book falls from my hand. I drool.

As a chronic insomniac, I’m finding it kind of lovely.

At first I chalked it up to jet lag and busy days of sightseeing on the honeymoon. But then, a week after coming home, it was still happening. I was getting plenty of sleep, so I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me. I even took a pregnancy test, just to make sure.

But then I started to wonder…is this just how sleeping is for normal people? Am I just relaxed? So far, it might be the best part of being married. I’ll take it as a good sign, anyway.

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The mystery of wedding photography.

I’m perplexed by wedding photography.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past couple of months reading wedding websites and forums. (I have a solid excuse for this, because I’ve been planning my wedding.) I am struck by how much people seem to care about wedding photography.

We decided not to have a photographer because we just didn’t care about having professional photos. So why spend the time and money? I felt like it would add an extra element of stress to the wedding day, in addition to being pretty pricey.

But I’ve noticed that a lot of people seem to feel that it is one of the most important aspects of their weddings. They dedicate a large portion of the budget to photography, even when that budget is pretty limited, and even when the wedding is just a visit to the courthouse.

I’m perplexed because photography seems to be viewed as much more indispensable for weddings than for other important life events: a bar mitzvah, the birth of a child, a college graduation. I’ve thought about it a lot now, because of course this made me wonder if I was making a mistake by foregoing wedding photography.

The first explanation that comes to mind is that this day is just different. It is so important that it must be fully documented and preserved.

But that doesn’t resonate with me. For one, I’m not that keen on taking pictures most of the time. When I’m someplace interesting or doing something fun I prefer not to worry about documenting it on film (if other people send me their pictures, great, but if not, I’m okay). I kept losing cameras and finally I just decided to not replace mine. It takes me out of the experience to think about taking pictures, and I don’t feel that I’m lacking in photographic documentation of my life. I have more pictures than I can ever enjoy. I think my wedding day will be the same. I’ll remember it just fine through the photos that family and friends will give us, or when we are in the same neighborhood as our venue, or when we hear a song from the day.

I also wondered if I was having a different experience than other people because the wedding doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me. Am I less in love? I don’t think so. I’m really excited about getting married, and about my partnership with my fiance. I have tons of moments with him when I feel full of joy, light, and contentment. Those moments are what matter to me.

And maybe my wedding will be full of those moments. I’m open to the possibility that it will, but I don’t know. Big social occasions are hit or miss for me. Sometimes I love them and sometimes I just want to sneak out early and be home alone. I won’t have that option at my wedding! I’m also a little nervous about being the center of attention and feeling responsible for everyone having fun. So while I think the wedding will probably be great, I know it’s also possible that it will be be stressful and tiring. I’m okay with that. I know myself, and I feel like I’m set with the things that are important to me. I’m having the wedding mostly, and happily, for other people, including my fiance.

I’ve also thought about it in a different way. Most of the wedding photography I’ve seen is really lovely, and people do look beautiful in it. Perhaps people want the chance to be the stat of their own photoshoot or movie for the day, looking glamorous and beautiful and interesting.

Connected with this, I wonder if there is an age gap at play. At almost 34, I’m older than the average bride. In the U.S., that’s 26, though I suspect (or hope?) it would be older if you looked only at college-educated brides or those with a graduate degree.

I feel like there is a definite gap between people my age and those even a few years younger in terms of the technology and media we grew up with.

My parents had Prodigy internet service when I was in high school, but I didn’t encounter the internet as it exists today until I had my first job in 1998, after graduating from college. That’s also when I started using email regularly. I signed up for Myspace around 2005, when I was 28 and in law school, and Facebook when I was 31.

I think that people who are even a few years younger than me—and definitely 26-year-olds—grew up much more influenced by the internet and the individual media and social sharing that come with it. It’s now de rigeur to document and share everything in one’s life via the internet. My teen-aged relatives continually alarm me with the way they live their lives in public, with every teenage emotion and melodramatic impulse displayed for public consumption online. I also notice the effect in myself. When we are doing something interesting or take a good picture I immediately think about putting it on Facebook. And when we come home from a particularly good trip we always post pictures on Facebook. It’s become part of the experience.

So I wonder, is this what is going on with wedding and engagement photography? Is the experience not complete until it is documented, recorded, and shared with the right amount of style?

My wedding registry is two-thirds freeze-dried camping food.

My fiance and I are planning our wedding relatively quickly (less than four months from engagement to wedding), so some aspects of it have received less attention than others. Our strategy is to make decisions quickly and move on instead of agonizing over them. (That is not totally honest. In reality, our decision-making process looks like this: I go back and forth between options for a couple of days, have the same conversation with my fiance eight times, read online wedding forums, and call my sister. We make a decision, and then we have the same conversation three more times before he convinces me to move on.)

And that is how we ended up with a wedding registry consisting mostly of freeze-dried camping food.

We created a wedding website about a month ago, when we sent out electronic “save-the-date” messages. Soon after, with about two months to go until the wedding, we tackled the task of posting registry information to the website.

We definitely didn’t want china or towels or anything like that–we already spend a fair amount of time trying to get rid of the things we accumulate so that we ourselves will fit into our apartment. We decided to register at a wine shop and at REI (we may not need household stuff, but we can always use more wine and gear). It turned out to be hard to find things we wanted from REI that were in an appropriate wedding gift price range, so I registered for tons of freeze-dried camping food.

I will be really excited if people buy it for us. We do a lot of backpacking, and I’m too cheap to buy a lot of freeze-dried food. It doesn’t make sense, because if we stayed in town for the weekend we’d easily spend more on food than we do for a weekend of camping. Nonetheless, I usually stand in front of the freeze-dried food display for 10 minutes collecting things and then putting them back because I decide they are too expensive. We’ll just eat Clif bars for breakfast. And who needs dessert? (Camping-me does, but preparing-for-camping-me is ascetic). I’m also  averse to carrying extra weight and cleaning dishes, so we end up eating a lot of cold food.

It may seem unusual, but I’m looking forward to a summer of feasting on fancy camping breakfasts, dinners, and desserts that I would never buy for myself. Not only that, if we are ever trapped inside the apartment or there is a serious food shortage in Seattle, we’ll be in a good position.

How I ended up with a $400 dress that feels like a bargain.

I’m getting married in about seven weeks.

I’m also having a wedding. That wasn’t obvious to me at first.

I pushed for the courthouse, but my fiancé wanted “more ceremony,” and I have to admit that it felt more right to me to involve our families in some way.

He pushed for a destination wedding. But a lot of people in our families already had vacations planned for the coming year and I felt uneasy about asking them to fit in another. Once we accounted for paying for the members of our family who couldn’t afford it, it looked more expensive than having a regular wedding. Plus, who wants to spend a week in a resort in Mexico or Hawaii? Okay, probably many people. But not me.

So we decided to get married where we live,  in Seattle. And then, why not invite friends and extended family too?

We are trying to keep it really simple. There will be no wedding parties, no bridesmaid dresses, no photographer, no wedding cake, no walking down the aisle, and no florists. Our engagement will have been less than four months long.

But it’s still expensive. Feeding 100 people just is, unless, I guess, you have some kind of backyard barbecue. But we don’t have a backyard; we live in Seattle, where an outdoor event won’t work for most of the year; and anyway, it really isn’t us. We love the outdoors and camping but we also love living in the city and eating at nice restaurants. We weren’t going to make everyone hike up a mountain or camp or anything–most of our friends and family, especially our parents, would not enjoy that. So the wedding is indoors, in an urban loft-type space, with a nice caterer, and a still-to-be-hired DJ.

And I’m excited about it. It will be great to have so many friends and family in one place, and I’m incredibly touched that people are flying all the way across the country to attend my wedding.

But it’s still a crazy amount of money and time. We’re lucky, because it isn’t a financial hardship for us. But that’s not true for everyone. What if we had to choose between having a wedding and paying off high-interest loans or moving out of a parent’s house?

It’s also confusing. I’m doing things that don’t totally make sense to me despite my best efforts.  For instance, I bought a long white dress. It’s the most expensive item of clothing I’ve ever owned and I know I could have found a non-wedding dress I’d like more, feel better in, and get more use out of. But it didn’t seem worth the hassle of bucking expectations and explaining to people why I’m not wearing a long white dress. Especially since I didn’t have a particularly compelling explanation: “I, uh, just liked this better.”

I also made an appointment to get my hair and makeup done. I’m inept at doing it myself and I’ll look better this way. But does it matter if people think I look extra pretty or just regular? Not really.

And I spent $100 on printed invitations last night, even though everyone we are inviting uses a computer daily. I was worried that if I didn’t mail printed invitations people would feel like I didn’t really want them to come. I’m going to address those suckers by hand, even though we are ignoring the vast majority of wedding “etiquette.”

Is there really not a simpler way? How did escaping to another country on a vacation that no one really wants to go on become the simpler alternative to a traditional wedding? Grrr. I’m off to the (digital) library to look for a good book on the wedding industry.


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