Most little girls dream of their “big day,” that day where they will get to be a princess and marry the man of their dreams. The day they will wear a big poofy white dress and look more beautiful than they ever did before. The day that everything is all about them. It is a good thing I was never one of those girls, or else all of my dreams would be getting crushed planning for this wedding.
I have always believed that a wedding is about the couple. It is a celebration of two people who mean the world to each other, coming together to spend the rest of their lives together. A wedding celebrates what the couple has been through and what they will continue to go through together. It is a celebration of how they got to that point in their lives and where they will go from there. It is about celebrating a commitment.
All that sounds good, right? Well, who knew that celebrations done the way the couple that is being celebrated wants is wrong? If you are ever planning on getting married, learn this fact now so it is easier to stomach later: everything you want will be considered wrong by somebody, and worse, they will let you know. It will start with what time of the year you are thinking about having the wedding, and keep going until the actual day. People will be hurt that you don’t include them. People will be irritated that you did and expect them to perform the tasks they agreed to do from the beginning. People will be frustrated that you didn’t pick the beers they wanted to drink as the ones you decided to front the bill on and now they have to pay for them. And, they will tell you that even though both you and your future husband have never believed in Catholicism, that having a catholic mass is the only way to be married (and you may go to hell if you aren’t married that way).
Um, excuse me? Yes, I consider myself nondenominational christian, but I was raised by Jewish parents. My family is itself a melting pot of religions: Lutheran, Catholicism, the whole spectrum of Judiasm and some friends who are Buddhist. There are also numerous people in my life who don’t believe in God, and that is ok. I left Judiasm because I felt like it was too stuck in tradition and the past for me and, to me, Catholicism is the same way. Somewhere along the lines in college, I found that I really connected with the root of Christianity and the way it can be expressed in everyday life, matching my personality. I appreciated how it connected to the parts I believed in with Judiasm. I appreciated what else it brought to the table. It did help that one of the pastors at the church I went to with a friend in college loved to study hebrew and old greek to analyze the multiple meanings of words in the bible in their original forms (and common scholarly language of the time). I loved that the phrases weren’t translated in one set way, but by how the individual reader felt them.
At my wedding, in this time of celebration, I can hold my beliefs with myself and privately thank God for my good fortune to have so many friends and family members and an amazing man who care. I cannot, in good conscience, alienate my friends or family members or that amazing man who care. I do not need to say my thanks out loud for God to hear and I don’t need to force those around me to say words that they don’t mean. My thoughts will be loud enough; they are everyday for better or for worse. My marriage is not about my religion, it is about my values matching LD’s, my love for him, his love for me, and our partnership through all the times we have had up to this point, both the good and the bad, and our partnership taking us through the rest of our lives. We may be celebrating our commitment in May, but we made this commitment to each other a while ago. We want you at our wedding. We want you to celebrate with us. But, keep in mind, it is a celebration of what we promise to each other in the way we decide. Feel free to pray for our happiness and our future in whatever way you feel is right for you, but allow the person next to you to do the same for them in peace. If you can’t do that, you don’t love us anywhere near the amount you claim to.