I'm addressing every one of you Everythingians out there that may tie the knot sometime in the future.

Just elope. It's easier than setting up a wedding. Why do I say this? I'm getting married in a bit under two months from now. The lady I am marrying is the love of my life and means very much to me.

But the wedding isn't about us. It's about us and our families. That's how weddings are. Once you realize this, and allow others some say, you will lose all control over it. When I went to propose, I stopped by my grandparents, as they were being wonderful and lending me a car so I didn't have to do the car rental thing. They suggested eloping was easier. I thought they were kidding. It turns out that after my mother got married, my uncle saw the problems they had and just eloped. My grandparents were enraged at first, then realized that there was far less bother when all was said and done.

Since I proposed, the following things have happened (this isn't everything):

  • Our families are no longer talking to each other except through the two of us. Admittedly, this is unrelated to the wedding directly, but it's made things worse.
  • Her family traditions are completely different from ours, and without the families talking, this leads to some problems. An example: apparently, in her family the happy newlyweds open the gifts at the reception. The reaction I recieved upon conveying this to my family was nothing short of horror.
  • As I am originally writing this in May, the wedding is in the late June/early July timeframe. This time of year is quite warm where the wedding will be. Neither the chapel nor the reception hall is air conditioned.
  • Her mother has insisted upon silk flowers, against my bride's wishes and the apparent fact that I am the one responsible for a good deal of the flowers based on standard US marriage etiquette.
  • I'm not entirely certain how the entertainment at the reception will occur. Apparently eating and opening the presents is a big part of it. No DJ, which is apparently a big thing in the Northeast (which is not where her family hails from).
  • Of course, I wonder how much our extended families care; apparently quite a few of them consider it too much trouble to ensure they have the needed vacation time off from work. I thought our extended families would be crowding our friends out. I think I was wrong.

Last night, as the two of us rode in the car together, she said: "This is seeming less and less like our wedding and more like my mother's wedding." I just sighed ever-so-slightly. I know the wedding is for the family in many people's eyes, but isn't it really supposed to be our special day?

Update on July 25, 2000: The wedding has passed. I am now happily married. But it's time for the real lessons first.

clampe was decidedly right in some ways. It was wonderful to have most of our friends and family there (it was the largest gathering of my friends I ever expect to see). It was really cool.

clampe, of course, also did not know that at the late stage of the game, if we had told my wife's mother to kiss our married ass she would have taken all the toys with her. Take that as a warning, intrepid Everythingians -- once someone else is paying, you are loath to fight with them.

The wedding was wonderful; admittedly, I had wonderful rose-colored glasses on because I was so wound up that the world ceased to exist.

The reception wasn't super-duper by my standards -- I wanted a DJ. But, all things considered, it went well -- the food was about a thousand times better than I expected, for instance, even if most of the others didn't appreciate the Brie and grape leaves.

Oh well. Off my soapbox for now.

One other, later update: I just want to make sure all of you realize that my in-laws really are nice people. I guess it was all a form of acute wedding-induced insanity, though not quite the same as what's detailed there.

Your wedding is not for you

I can sympathize with the sentiments above, but this is not a problem of weddings in particular, but of this wedding due to the bride's mom.

Do not elope. It is bad.

I know it is not popular to say in the current day and time, but the wedding is not for the bride and groom. Presumably, you already know that you love each other. Is a wedding really going to change that? The important thing is making a committment, in front of the community of your friends and family to be a source of stability in your relationship.

The community, for their part, is consecrating your marriage through their presence at the wedding. This does not make them any less a pain in the ass, but it does make it so that you are not speaking words of committment into a vacuum. Does it mean you don't love her if you don't get married? No, but as harsh as it may seem it does mean that maybe your love isn't worth anything in a larger societal context. It's up to you to decide if that's important or not.

Your marriage is a contract and covenant not between two people, but between two people and those that will give them support in the future. Take back your wedding, make it your own. They should be witnesses, not participants. Part of being a married couple is being able to stand somewhat independently as a unit, and your first test may well be to tell these family members to kiss your married ass.

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