Weddings. No don’t get any ideas. I’m not planning one for me anytime soon. Maybe someday, just not yet. No way in hell. 🙂 But that said, a bunch of my friends are in the midst of either planning their weddings, or planning to propose to their significant others and for some reason, despite my terrible track record (first marriage was 3 years, ended horribly, second lasted 10 and at least ended amicably), they come to me for advice or to just share their thoughts. And it’s got me thinking about what I’d want to do differently if I could do it again.
Be proposed to.
Ok so this is a bit odd to say – but both of my marriages, I proposed to the guy. If I should ever go down the wedding path again – I’d like to experience the whole guy on one knee, offering up some bling and pouring his heart and soul out while he asks for my hand.
Speaking of the ring
I’d like to not pay for my own ring. My first marriage, I bought my ring, and because of that – I’ve always loved the ring, but never really associated it with him. Which is a bonus for me now because I can still wear it and not feel weird about it – but at the same time, it never really meant the same. My second, I helped to pay for it, and it wasn’t a real diamond but a really good CZ. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there’s something to be said about being offered an authentic diamond. AND the second piece wrap around piece got lost (not due to me but due to my spouse losing it) and not replacing it with a matching piece so it looked kinda odd and piece mailed.
Hmm…I suppose I should add here tho. I actually don’t want a diamond. I want a moonstone. Why pay an excessive amount of money for a gem? Moonstone, white gold, a few tiny diamonds in a delicate setting…would be perfect for me.
Small and Intimate
If there is one thing I’m finally starting to understand in life, it’s that you should do things for you. Not for your family or friends. I don’t care to have everyone and their mother attend and judge and potentially free load. Why take on that kind of stress? I’d like a small, simple ceremony with me and my guy and my children. That’s it. Throw a party afterwards to include everyone if you need to – but the ceremony itself? That should be just about us and no one else.
Capture those memories – it only happens once.
My first wedding, we put disposable cameras everywhere and asked folks to jump in and help take pics. I think my mom still has some of those cameras we never got developed. My second, well, we relied on the parents to capture pics and a video. Nope never again. Hire someone. Hire someone good. My wedding video consisted of a brief pan over the crowd, focusing on the groom and only included me walking with my dad in the last 30 seconds, not even enough to show my face, just the backside of me as I approached my groom. Gee thanks dad in law. I’ve never been able to sit and watch the short video because it just would piss me off that so much was lost and not captured. Usually the bride and groom are the focus of these things. Not the guests. And skip the whole formal family shots. Candid shots of folks enjoying themselves – that’s where it is at.
If you have a rule – stick to it
I had one rule. No alcohol (or drugs for that matter) was to be consumed prior to the vows. Afterwards – fine have at it if you must. But prior to committing yourself for life, you damn well BETTER be sober, so that you can understand the gravity of what you’re committing yourself to do. And both times I married – the men I chose to marry broke that rule. And it hurt. Hurt a lot.
Maid of Honor/Best men
I love my friends. Don’t think I don’t. But does anyone REALLY enjoy this duty? I seriously question whether or not they do. If I were to do this over again – as stated earlier in my “small ceremony” – I’d skip this whole thing.
Honeymoon – GO!
I’ve never gone on a honeymoon. Not a real one. I’ve always had staycation ones – and again, there is nothing wrong with that. When I got married, we were pretty poor. Couldn’t afford to do any travel. But if I were to redo at some point in my life, I’d like to experience a real honeymoon. A cruise (even a short one) or a tropical beach somewhere, a café in france, something different, foreign and fantastic.
If you decide to write your own vows – which by the way I highly encourage, be sure that both parties are actually on board and will ACTUALLY write them. There’s nothing more heart breaking than to have your significant other surprise you and your officiate at the last minute by saying he hadn’t prepared anything, especially when you’d poured months into writing yours.
My other “regrets” aren’t really involving the wedding or the ceremony itself. My regrets come into play on what happened afterwards or the next day. My grooms both took off on me on the wedding night to go party. And with my second marriage, he also took off the next morning to have breakfast with his family and didn’t invite me. I remember sitting on the couch in the house we’d rented for the ceremony bawling with my maid of honor and best friend asking her what I’d done. Commenting on how I felt more married to her than I did to him. Now this simply shows me (hindsight is 20/20) that I married the wrong guy for me. But perhaps I didn’t communicate my needs on this either. A relationship should be equal. Where both parties put into it what they hope to get out of it, and assuming the other person knows what you want is a big mistake. They aren’t mind readers after all.
This sounds like a bit of a duh. And in some ways, it really is. But this is the one moment when you should be allowed to enjoy yourselves. Enjoy your new spouse, enjoy being the center of attention. Not everything will go as planned, know it, expect it, hell, embrace it. I think I’d have a deal with my significant other, first thing to go wrong means we get a reward of some sort. Stop everything and have a glass of champagne or get an extra slow dance, or add a couples massage to the honeymoon package or something. That way – you’re almost looking forward to it when it happens. I’m a bit like an air traffic controller – I want things to go the way I’ve planned and be perfect, and if I were to do things over, I’d let go a little more.