Weddings are not Contests.

I read a lot of wedding planning blogs. I’m a regular reader of OffBeatBride.com, and I’ve subscribed to Martha Stewart’s Weddings and The Knot. I occasionally flip through wedding magazines in drugstores, and I’ve got the planning books.

There are a lot of people out there who have ideas about what weddings should be like. And I’m not sure I agree with most of them.

For instance: today, I read a blog post about engagement rings. I won’t mention the source (though it’s a widely known one), but the author was talking about the recommended budget for the engagement ring (apparently, it should cost the equivalent of two month’s salary). The author was linking to another source, but included on the blog were “charts” of engagement rings. In one box, all the rings a graphic designer could afford, in another, all the rings a lifeguard could afford.

This seems absolutely ridiculous to me. When I knew Dustin was looking at rings, I begged him not to spend too much. He told me how much he spent, but I can’t remember the cost! And I don’t care to. I just know that Dustin picked out the ring he thought I would love, he gave it to me out of love as a symbol of our love, and the cost wasn’t his main concern. When I look at my ring, I’m certainly not thinking about how much he spent on it, or whether or not he was over or under the so-called “two-month” rule. I just know I love my ring, and I love him more.

A couple of weeks ago, another blogger was writing about her problems with nailing down a specific place to honeymoon. At first, I thought I’d be able to relate to this person–Dustin and I are wavering between Germany, Asheville NC, Hawaii, Tahiti, London, and Maine for our honeymoon–and we have new ideas every week it seems. But our indecision is coming from our desire to travel everywhere, and only having 1-2 weeks and a limited budget to do so. This person was debating traveling somewhere because her curly hair might look frizzy in a humid climate.

Now, I’m not judging this blogger–but something has obviously gotten in the way of seeing her honeymoon clearly. Some message about weddings and honeymoon has gotten to her, and it’s getting in the way of thinking about a honeymoon as what it should be–a time of togetherness, a time of rest, a time to be in love.

A few years ago, while a friend of mine was planning her wedding, she kept repeating that she wanted her wedding to be the one that people compared all other weddings to. She wanted hers to be the best, the most fun, the one everyone wanted all other weddings to be like.

So often, all the blogs and magazines, and ridiculous TV shows tell us that weddings have to be fairytales. Honeymoons are supposed to be the most romantic week of your life. I’m not a cynic, but I realize that there will probably be a drunk person at my reception. The hem of my dress will get dirty, and the caterer might be late with cold food. In all likelihood, I am going to spill food all over myself. On my honeymoon, I’m going to be too tired to have a wedding night of fireworks, the drinks we’re served will give me gas, and we’re going to wake up with terrible morning breath. I’m not expecting perfection. I hope I can do as I do every day, and laugh at life’s foibles, enjoying them.

Sure, Dustin and I are planning for a wedding that most people won’t see as immediately different from all other weddings. We’re going to have a first dance, with food and drinks, and probably favors. We’re having to consider issues like finances and practicality. But what I hope Dustin and I can achieve with our wedding is to keep it true to us. I hope we don’t let our wedding planning get in the way of what it really is–a celebration of our comittment to loving each other. I certainly hope that I’m not using my wedding as a marker of our paychecks, or a popularity contest, or anything else that isn’t about celebrating who we are together.

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About AshleyGee

I'm a graduate instructor at a completely Southern (Football, Rush Week, and lots of "Hey Y'alls!") university. I teach freshman comp, study
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2 Responses to Weddings are not Contests.

  1. Anonymous says:

    love this post. so true. i’m married almost 20 years (hard to actually believe) and the thing i remember most is my husband’s face when he said the vows. he was handsome, vulnerable and still the one i love. this is all a journey. contests aren’t for marriages.

  2. Krissie says:

    Asheville is my favorite place in the whole wide world. If you decide to go there, I can give you a zillion recommendations!

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