It's funny...since summertime is "wedding season", I was working on this blog post well before John proposed to me! Now that I'm engaged, this topic is very much on my mind. Since attending my brother and Erica's family wedding last year, I've been enamored with the idea of a small celebration; an intimate venue where we could enjoy each of our guests to the fullest. But there are so many people who we love and who have supported our relationship over the years. As John and I tried to picture our special day without them, we really struggled. Each of these people have helped us become the couple that we are and, in our eyes, a wedding is way to celebrate and honor their place in our lives. A "thank you", if you will. Furthermore, it would be a gathering point for our two families, who live over 6 hours apart.
An ongoing theme on this blog is enjoying life to the fullest and savoring small joys (take this May post entitled Always Remember To Celebrate). Each of our families have had enough hard stuff to cope with over the years, and I'm sure there will be plenty of struggles in our future. So why not embrace this reason to celebrate? Why not gather our family and friends together for a purely joyous occasion? The decision to have a wedding seemed clear and extremely exciting when we looked at it this way. And, thus, the wedding planning has begun!
No matter how pleasantly distracted I've been, my health needs to remain my top priority. While it's tempting to put medication schedules, doctor appointments and IV infusions on hold right now, I need to remember that a sure-fire way to ruin our big day is making myself sick. If I ever forget that, Spondylitis and Fibromyaliga are right there to remind me (as they have these past few days). I don't have the option of cutting them from our guest list. Thus, I'm faced with a choice: let that fact impact this happy time and become bitter, or accept it and be creative about planning our wedding. I choose the latter option because we deserve this happiness.
I've been exploring several bridal websites, including one called "A Practical Wedding." The site is run by Meg Keene and it's all about "balancing feminism with weddings and married life; about wrestling with the cultural dialogue surrounding weddings and marriages; and about figuring out how to be a bride and a wife on your own terms. Meg's first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, will be released by Da Capo Press in January 2012."
The site has so many amazing articles on all sorts of topics - from picking the "right" kind of wedding for you and your fiance to blending two families. If something is on your mind, there's a good chance it's there! Meg also has some pretty great philosophies when it comes to planning a wedding (scroll down for a comprehensive list).
As I searched the site, I took particular interest in this article for obvious reasons: Planning A Wedding With Chronic Illness. The author Hannah (pictured with her husband to the left) wanted to help other brides know"how to plan a wedding when your health is unplannable." That line alone says it all. By officially setting a date for our wedding, John and I will be committing to this one unchangeable day; this one date when our dream venue will belong to us; when everyone we know and love will travel just to see us. While all of that is very exciting, I can't pretend it's not a little scary. More than anything, I want to feel my best on our wedding day, and I'm well aware that I may not. This article has some basic, but very important reminders for brides like me.
Here is yet another great article I found on "A Practical Wedding" entitled "What Diabetes Taught Me About My Marriage." The author speaks about life after the wedding and after developing a chronic, life-changing health condition. She writes about the struggle, but focuses on the strength it brought to her and her marriage. I'd be willing to bet that this piece will inspire you.
Here are a few excerpts representing Meg's philosophy on weddings (all of the links lead to more great articles):
Weddings can be laid back, and fun. No really.
Your wedding should be about celebration and joy, not about a bunch of made up "shoulds."
- A wedding is serious vows, followed by a party to kick off your marriage... and it's your marriage that's important.
- Your wedding day is not just your day, it's the day of everyone who loves you. That said, it is your wedding, so plan accordingly.
- Your wedding guests are grownups. So stop worrying if they need to be driven to the venue, and start worrying about feeding them on time.
- Your wedding is not an imposition (here's a little article written by Meg about this exact point)
- What people are going to remember about your wedding is how happy you were and how much you loved each other, not the centerpieces or the d*mned favors. Also, you don't need favors.
- You feel how you feel during wedding planning and on your wedding day, and you should do your best to honor that (even if it's not what you expected).
- How you spend your money is more important than how much you spend. So put your wedding dollars into businesses that reflect your values, and stop judging yourself.
- You can get married at home, you can elope, you can have a picnic wedding, you can have a wedding in a social hall, you can have a church wedding, you can have a hotel wedding, you can have a huge wedding, you can have a tiny wedding, you can have whatever kind of wedding feels right to you and your partner... and do it with integrity and honesty and respect.
- If you end up married, to each other, by the end of the day? Then it was was a success (even if you hated your wedding).
- And the best part? Married Life is what you make it. Being a wife doesn't mean being a martyr or being a mom. You can be self-full, and sassy, and brave. Adventure on, ladies, and reclaim the word wife!