AP: Many people confuse weddings with marriage, or they don't think past the wedding to the marriage. What are your feelings about weddings and how do they figure into the bigger picture of marriage?
EG: I think this is a particular trap for women—especially young women of the romantic variety, which is to say: young women. I myself have never been enchanted by the dream of the white wedding, and, heaven help us, the expectation that this exquisitely catered event should be "the happiest moment" of one's life. But I did ask a number of my heartsick single female friends about this very question, and one of them gave me a truthful and illuminating answer: The fantasy of the wedding day is that it represents undeniable public and private truth that you have been chosen. For that one day, you are the most valuable creature in the world—a treasure, a princess, a prize. For many women, who have never felt chosen or desirable or precious, this is an unshakable yearning. And I'm afraid many women do choose the wedding over the marriage. It seems a steep price to pay, but it comes from a place of deep, sad longing to be loved and to have it proven that you are of value.
After reading that, it got me thinking about my own wedding and how I didn’t get the wedding that I really wanted. You see, I never had dreams of having a grand wedding with hundreds of people in attendance. I wanted a quiet, simple wedding in a small chapel with just my husband, myself, our parents, our two siblings and a handful of very close family members. Mine would be counted with just two hands. Hubby, probably even less. Instead, we got married in one of the biggest churches in Metro Manila, it took me over five minutes to walk that long aisle, and we had over 250 guests, 70% of which, I have never met nor have been a part of our lives until that moment. Yes, we did the whole dog and pony show, to appease the in laws. And yes, I do cringe at the memory of it all.
To quote Elizabeth Gilbert, “ For that one day, you are the most valuable creature in the world—a treasure, a princess, a prize. For many women, who have never felt chosen or desirable or precious, this is an unshakable yearning.”
I grew up with a loving and caring mother, so my yearnings for feeling precious were next to nil. Okay, to be truthful, I didn’t always feel that way (hello, teen-age years) BUT, with a mature(er) eye looking back at my life, wow, I got lucky. By some cosmic draw, I was placed in my mother’s womb and brought up in this world by her.
Which brings me back to why I’ve written this piece. I have met brides who gushed and stressed about the wedding details, the worst of them all are called bridezillas. Apparently it’s a new breed of high strung women, driving their fiance, family members and wedding coordinators crazy with their incessant quest for what they deemed will be the happiest day of their life. Girlfriend, if your wedding day is the happiest day of your life, you’re doomed.
I planned my wedding in less than a month. It went something like this: reserve the church, plan a dinner shindig in the same facility, buy a simple wedding dress that doesn't look like a meringue, finish the paper work (which took the longest!), choose a menu from a caterer, get whatever free bridal cake and flowers that come with it. Done. Finito.
Brides get so caught up in the details and try to make everything look perfect. That’s right, look perfect. Real perfection doesn’t exist, but, happiness, kindness, laughter, patience, loyalty, forgiveness and love do. Shouldn’t you strive for those instead?
I didn’t look forward to our wedding. Instead, I looked forward to our marriage, which is the most exciting, exhilarating, frustrating, frightening, heart breaking, funny and hair raising roller coaster ride of my life! I love being married to Hubby. It’s the best decision I ever made in my whole life.
I didn’t have the quiet wedding of my fantasies, but I do have the marriage of my dreams, nightmares and all.