Tuesday, December 1, 2009

From Weddings to Marriage

As of late, I've found my daydreams wandering off into holiday party planning, new kitty preparations, and Thanksgiving family-time negotiations. With sixteen months to go, wedding planning doesn't feel all that pressing.  We have a venue, our attire, a day-of-coordinator, a sense of how we want the day to look and (more importantly) feel, and I have an inking we've even found our caterer.

Instead of wedding planning, I find myself appreciating the quiet rhythms of our new joint-everyday lives and caring less about the ceremony and party to come.  It's hard to stay wrapped up in the minutae of wedding planning when it's so far off and you don't care much about minutae anyhow. Over Thanksgiving, J's family asked about the ring and our developing plans, but it was only a passing topic of conversation.  I think we all realized that next year's Thanksgiving will still find us engaged and planning for our still upcoming wedding, so talking about centerpieces for a party that's over a year away all seems a bit silly (even if I'm pretty darn excited about those succulents). And I felt a huge sense of relief and right-ness that wedding conversations were a non-topic, since I was more interested in getting to know his family better anyhow. 

We decided to have a long engagement in large part because we wanted our wedding to only be a passing topic of conversation.  We didn't want to jump into living together and planning a wedding all at once.  We wanted to enjoy the process of learning about each other at our (previously) most private moments, about how to navigate shared chores and finances, about how to sit quietly together after a long day, and about all the ways that hugs can fit into our shared time and space. We want our wedding to be a part of the conversation, but not a big part and certainly not the main part.

And so, I now find myself without much to say about the wedding.  Instead, I find I have a lot more to say about the process of partnership and the process of marriage.  I'm finding myself more interested in thinking about readings, ethics, ceremony and tradition than I am about the celebration.  I know these things will likely shift because I still like art, design, and the pretty trappings that come with weddings.  And I know the planning process will continue to drive me batty at various turns and this blog will surely reflect that. But, in these last few weeks and as we navigate our first holiday season as fiance and fiancee, I'm feeling particularly introspective and not very wedding party-focused.  And so, I'd like to end this post with a reading by Robert Fulghum that captures so much of what I've been feeling about weddings lately and how I hope to arrive at my own.
"You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks - all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “ You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife."

8 comments:

  1. You should post more about the ceremony, etc- I know I'd love to hear about it, as I'm in the process of writing our ceremony. That's the important part anyway, the rest is just a party that you throw!

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  2. Long Engagements are wonderful! Ours will have been 15 months when we get married and I love the fact that nothing is rushed and we actually have time to think out what we really want. I can't wait to hear about your ideas for ceremony and would love to chat about marriage! :) And as time passes and the actual wedding gets closer it'll feel more sane to talk about all the fun silly details too! (at least that's how I feel with our wedding only 9 months away now!)

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  3. I am feeling the same way. With the holidays wedding planning is kind of an after thought. I love that passage!

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  4. I love this post. We just recently moved up our date by a lot, and while I am so excited to jump into wedding planning for real, I do miss having time to just get used to living together and enjoy each other and our relationship. There's definitely a lot less non-wedding related stuff going on in our lives right now than I would like.

    For the holidays, I think we're going to take a bit of a break...just need to get a few more major pieces into place.

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  5. I love this reading. It really does capture what this is all about. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I'm feeling the engagement ennui as well - we'll pick a caterer and photographer eventually, but those are sorta the last big things until the invites, and yes, we are overdue for a caterer, but we are taking our time because food is simply too important to rush into choosing.

    I love that passage. I had read it somewhere before, and it is lovely, and perfect, and also speaks to what Meg from APW says about "transcendence" - that when you say your vows, you cross over that threshold and nothing is ever the same - and that is part of what is so cool about marriage :).

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  7. I'm also in the middle of a long engagement, and I've been thinking a lot about marriage lately too. That passage is really beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

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