For our tenth anniversary, we’ve decided to renew our wedding vows. It wasn’t something I’d planned to do so early in our marriage (when you take the long view of marriage — like our parents, who’ve been married 40+ years — we’re still newbies), but last year was incredibly hard for us. Specifically last spring, when our marriage was hanging by a thread, thanks to my manic episode making me, ya know – crazy. But we came through it. I got on meds. I rededicated myself to my family. I promised him I would do everything I could to prevent that from happening again. And because we are best friends, because we know each other so well, because we have worked to rebuild trust, we made it through.
So we’re planning this renewal. And folks, it’s just like planning a wedding.
When I planned my wedding, I was 23. I was finishing my senior year, and doing my student teaching. I was working. I was applying to graduate school and interviewing for a fellowship. I was beyond overcommitted. I barely survived this, and practically collapsed during our honeymoon in New Orleans (don’t worry, I made it to the aquarium, and we had great time).
Our wedding was very traditional. It’s funny to think how different things were “back then:” Etsy wasn’t around for adorable, customized invitations. It seemed radically cool to order inexpensive (but super traditional) invites via a website. It was brand-new to have wedding websites. My bridesmaids wore short dresses — wow! — which is now much more common. We hired professional photographers but requested “journalistic” photos, and my best friend, an amateur photographer, did pictures as well — again, something fairly common now, but relatively novel at the time. My Mom ordered hydrangeas and lilies from Sam’s and did our arrangements. My sister drove all over Oklahoma City to find vases for centerpieces. And, it turned out perfectly.
It was a beautiful, seamless, perfect wedding. We couldn’t have asked for a better wedding. All of my intense planning paid off. I don’t remember how much we spent — I think it ended up being $2k including the honeymoon, but our parents chipped in here and there.
Our vow renewal will not be fancy, simply because we can’t afford fancy — but also because that doesn’t really match who we are anymore. We’re hosting at home. We’re DIYing pretty much everything. But it’s much the same.
The planning months in advance.
The dress — oh, the dress. Can I find a vintage-style dress for my much curvier body?
The girls! They are so thrilled. They want to be our flower girls. They need dresses, wreaths for their hair.
The food. My God, the food. Can we make enough? What should we make? Do we need to buy serviceware? Can we afford that? Note to self, plan to hit Goodwill soon.
Invitations. Shit. I need to do these NOW, but I need to confirm a time with the reverend performing the (brief!!) ceremony.
Flowers. Do our hydrangeas bloom in May? I can’t remember. We can’t buy a lot of flowers. We may not be able to buy any flowers. Can I make a zillion paper flowers?
Do we need to do favors?
Would plastic cutlery be tacky?
What will Brian wear?
Can we afford a “real” photographer?
And on and on. It’s fun to plan a more contemporary, vintage-style wedding. It’s more “rustic,” more “country.” This is neat. I feel like a bonafide hipster (sigh), but it also feels honest to who we are, now, after 10 years. More tired. More worn in and softer. Quieter, less bright, more homey. All about texture.
With my wedding, I was able to avoid bridezilla. I let go of small details that didn’t work out just how I envisioned. I eschewed a lot of the extras that would have required more time, effort, or money. I delegated tasks and enjoyed it thoroughly. I hope I can do the same this May, even while playing hostess and mother. Wish me luck!