The following is a guest post, submitted by Lenore from Sioux Falls. Here she is, writing from room 209 of the Castle Hotel.
I will not add any preamble or post script, except to say that I am not, nor have I ever been married. If others with more knowledge or experience would like to speak to this issue, your comments are most welcome.
Here is Lenore:
Years ago on an old blog, Ryan posted an entry titled “The top 10 lies people tell themselves.” Inspired by that entry, and my own marriage, I am now writing “The top 5 lies told to the bride and groom about their wedding day.”
Before I begin, I feel the need to make two disclaimers. The first is, I acknowledge that I am speaking in generalizations. The statements I’m about to make do not apply to all people or all weddings. The second is that I realize the tone of what I’m about to write may sound as if I don’t favor marriage. Given that I am married, nothing could be further from the truth. I do indeed favor the institution of marriage. I would be remiss, on the blog of the conservative blind guy, if I didn’t also state for the record that I’m talking about traditional marriage, between one man and one woman. I stand in awed wonder that I’ve found someone I love enough to make those vows to, and that loves me enough to make them to me. Even as I type with my wedding ring on my left hand, I have trouble rapping my mind around this. In short, this is not an anti-marriage entry. It is, however, a commentary on the darker side of wedding planning, and weddings in general. So, with all that said, here are the top five lies told to the bride and groom about their wedding day.
5. “I’ll help you with anything you need.”
While many people do want to help, most want to help with the things that are considered fun, convenient for them, or that land them in the middle of the glitz and glamour of the wedding day itself. For example, people are quite eager to go dress shopping, stand up with a couple, or take pictures. However, when the couple starts asking people to help with running needed errands before the wedding, or to assist in the bureaucratic process of changing one’s name after the wedding, most family and friends will suddenly find reasons why they are too busy and don’t have time to help after all. The reality is that these things are not fun, not convenient, and there’s no glory for the person helping. They are the inconvenient and unglamorous necessities that come with a wedding and a marriage, but which the bride and groom may need assistance with all the same.
4. “I don’t’ want anything in return for my help.”
Again, most people are well-meaning. However, most also do, consciously or not, want something in return for the support they give a couple. This is not usually related to money. Perhaps it would be easier to deal with if it were, and if thanks could be shown in the form of some cash or a gift card. Unfortunately, in return for their assistance, people usually want one of two things: public recognition, or a say in the decisions that are made surrounding the wedding. When the couple doesn’t give these things, or doesn’t give them to a person’s satisfaction, drama is likely to occur.
3. “It’s your wedding, you shouldn’t have to do all the work.”
No matter how much work a couple is able to delegate to other trusted individuals, weddings are exhausting. The exhaustion seems to start about a month before the ceremony actually happens, and is at its worst during the days before and after. Even when other people are supposed to be the ones playing host/hostess, in the end it’s the bride and groom who are still responsible for ensuring that everyone else around them remains happy, appeased, and has what they need and want.
2. “It’s your day, do things how you want them done.”
I can’t tell you how many times my now-husband and I heard this line, told someone what we wanted, and then were immediately told why that was wrong and we shouldn’t do it that way. Even when the bride and groom give their reasons why they may want something done in a specific way, there is always some well-intended person who find something to criticize about what the couple wants, and thinks they have a better suggestion. This leaves the couple with one of two choices. They can stand firm and have their day as they wish, but risk the anger or hurt feelings of family and friends when their advice is not taken. Alternatively, a couple may cave in to pressure in an effort to keep the peace and avoid the drama, but give up having “their day” as they wanted it. In the end, it’s an exercise in strategy and tactics, and picking battles on a near daily basis.
1. “It’s your day, it’s all about you.”
The wedding day is, in fact, not about the couple getting married at all. Even the bride and groom initially try to convince themselves of this one, because if recognized for the lie that it is, not nearly as many people would put themselves through the stress of planning and carrying off a wedding. Certainly society tries to convince themselves of this, in part because it’s the lie that drives America’s multi-billion dollar wedding industry. The truth is that the wedding day is about the family, friends, and acquaintances of the couple. It is done to give those people something to attend, to remember, and to talk about. (Particularly remember, as the bride and groom will likely not remember 95 percent of that day, even when they look at their pictures later.) For the couple, it is about the end result, that they are married in the eyes of God and society. A big, (or even medium-sized) ceremony/reception is not needed to achieve this result. It is, however, seemingly needed for the rest of society to view a couple as having legitimately gotten married.
As stated earlier, I am not anti-marriage. Bottom line though: Eloping is a wonderful thing that I now dearly wish I had done, and would advise any couple who wishes to avoid stress and drama to do as well!