Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On Weddings

I feel the need to write this post for a lot of reasons.

Somewhat because I know a lot of people are disappointed in our decision to no longer have a "wedding."

Somewhat because I, pretty frequently, battle internally with our decision to no longer have a "wedding."

But mostly because I just need to put it in words, vent for a few paragraphs, and have it be out there.

Denny and I aren't having a wedding anymore. Bummer, I know. But a lot of things are beyond our control, especially when Mother Nature comes barrelling through the state, destroying a lot of things we love, including our beaches, familiar hangouts, friends' homes and our wedding venue.

We never had a HUGE wedding budget to begin with. We were planning a wedding on a tight budget, but at a place we both loved and both of our families had history. A small private yacht club where Denny's parents were members and they were going to let us have our wedding there. For a great price. So great your head would spin if I told you.

This, my friends, is a crappy cell phone picture of my Great Uncle Eddie Mo,
who was Commodore of the Yacht Club years ago.
A few pictures down is Denny's grandfather, who also served as Commodore.
They were good friends.

I bought a dress.

Picked my colors.

Booked a photographer and a DJ.

Hired my friend to do the catering (Hi, Mike!).

I ordered save the dates and invitations.

I bought table linens for an awesome price from another bride. 12 navy blue satin tablecloths.

Asked my closest friends to be in my wedding party. We started shopping for dresses.

I poured over blogs the likes of Style Me Pretty and Emmaline Bride, created a slew of Pinterest boards (here's one of those boards if you're so inclined to check out all of the wedding-y goodness) and was well on my way to pulling off a little DIY vintage nautical wedding with our nearest and dearest celebrating with us.

I started sewing tons of pretty little yellow satin fabric flowers for bridesmaids bouquets. This is where I originally got my idea to start my business. Fabric is amazing and the things you can do with it are amazing. I thought I could do this as a business, making things for brides planning their big days, because, hey, I could say I had been there. Done that. Planned a DIY wedding and lived to tell the tale. I had about 250 flowers sewn and ready to go.

So many plans. So many spreadsheets with timelines on when to finish each project so I wouldn't burn out (yes, holy Type A). Added project deadlines to my Google Calendar. I was so on it.

And then Hurricane Sandy landed on the Jersey Shore. And I got this photo of the yacht club in a text message from my father two days later:

That lifeboat? The one that says "Ventnor"?
That belongs on a beach in a different town six miles away.

We went down a week later to see it for ourselves. As our feet squished across the soggy, salty carpets, and looked at the sheet rock cut out of the walls, three and a half feet up the wall where the water line was, my heart was sinking. I had spent so much time worrying about my friends and their safety. I counted my blessings that we only had some siding and a few roof shingles blow away at our house, but now this place where my fiance's father grew up and my great uncle spent so much of his time was destroyed. In a mere 24 hours.

I also came to realize that the chances of my charming shoestring budget wedding were fading pretty fast.

I don't want to sound ungrateful or selfish here. Many people lost much more than we did. Many people are still displaced and coping with the loss of their homes and their belongings. My heart breaks for these people.

But I was so excited about the idea that our money could get us a wedding somewhere where we wouldn't go broke in the process. We could have our wedding where Denny's grandfather and my great uncle would have a presence even though they weren't necessarily there in person. It was doable.

Denny and I had an tough decision to make--do we wait and see if the repairs will be fixed in time, do we try to find another venue, or do we call the whole thing off?

We were nine months away from our July wedding date.

I didn't want to stomp into the yacht club right away like some crazy Bridezilla, demanding to know when it would be ready, because this was a place so many people spent their evenings, weekends, and summers first. People grew up here, learning to swim in the bay, spending late nights with friends. These people lost a part of their lives when Sandy took that place down. Who was I to demand to know if my silly weekend in July would be available after so much more was lost?

I believed that if we waited until January to hear about the progress of repairs, that would give me seven months to finish planning and creating. It would be stressful, but I could make it work.

Trying to find another venue on our budget was out of the question. For the amount of people we were inviting and the time of year we were planning our wedding there was no other venue like it in our budget. Plus I had grown way too attached to the yacht club. It was just too perfect.

Rescheduling wasn't a great option to me. I'm jonesing for another baby in the WORST way and both Denny and I want the age gap between Peyton and our next child to be at 3 years, max. Waiting until the Fall or Winter to have our wedding and try for another baby after would mess with our plan.

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm all about plans.

Calling it off was our next best option. We knew we were selling our house and we knew that we could have plausibly used that money we were saving for the wedding as a downpayment on our next house.

January arrived and it didn't look so promising. It could be done, MAYBE, just in the nick of time, but the thought of playing it so close made me anxious.

So, we sold our house and called off the wedding. Decided to get married at the courthouse instead.

Was it an easy decision? No. But it made the most sense for us.

My sister entered me in the SOJO 104.9 "Dream Wedding" contest. I qualified as a finalist. My last shot.

My mother and I went to the big Bridal Show on Sunday where they'd be announcing a winner. We walked around to all of the vendors, looking around, filling out those forms for wedding spam and door prizes (why not? I don't like wedding spam but I do like free stuff).

Every vendor asked me, "When's your date?" "Do you have a venue yet?" And bashfully I said no, but my date was supposed to be in July. After a few puzzled looks on the "supposed" part (what bride plans a wedding for THIS July and doesn't have a venue yet?!), I'd elaborate a little more. "My venue, a place I really loved, was taken down in the hurricane and I can't really afford to get married anywhere else." Pity party of one, right here.

I got a lot of sad faces and a lot of "Oh you poor thing." And as I walked around that Bridal Show, surrounded by hundreds of happy brides planning their big days, I couldn't help but feel sad. Why am I here? I did all of this already. I set my date, ordered my invitations, bought the damn dress, booked a few vendors, and now I can't have any of it.

I was only there because I had a 1-in-100 chance of winning a wedding.

Call it a brief moment of selfishness, jealousy, and maybe embarrassment, but I had to fight back tears a few times. It just wasn't fair.

Needless to say, I didn't win the wedding.

My mom tried to make me feel better. Bless her heart, she really tried. "Oh well, the couple who won were from Mays Landing. That's not too far, so it's not like some random person from far away won. You were close."

Close? I did appreciate the effort.

Sorry, Mom, but it was a random drawing and "close" only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.

(Thanks, Dad, for that saying. It feels way too appropriate here.)

So, we're still not having a wedding. We're buying a house instead. And while I sometimes have internal battles over the fact that every girl needs a "wedding," I try to remind myself that it's more about the "marriage" and not the party.

I know a lot of people don't agree with our decision. A lot of people are disappointed. Sometimes I'm a little disappointed, too.

I keep hearing a lot about how I'll "regret" not having a wedding, but what is there to regret about marrying the person you love the most in the whole world, regardless of where it is, what you're wearing, and how much you spend?

Plus we'll get the house we'll raise our family in once we find it, so I really don't think that's a shabby deal after all.

***And now that this is off my chest and turned out WAY longer than I thought it would, we can continue on with regularly scheduled blog posts about pretty things and the fact that Spring is SO SOON.***

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