on weddings

We're getting married, and I'm super excited.

We've already arranged how it's going to happen - we're running off to Jamaica this summer, just the two of us, and getting married on a beach as close to sunset as we're legally allowed, and combining that with the honeymoon itself. And we'll have some sort of party when we come back to celebrate. I have my dress - from here - and pretty much the only thing we have left to do is buy the plane tickets.

What weirds me out about the whole process is all the strange social constructs people have built up around weddings. We've inadvertently broken the mold - we're getting married entirely, proudly by ourselves, but we're telling everyone about it first. Apparently no one does this. Even on the "alternative wedding" websites, the most subversive thing you can do is elope. (What we're doing doesn't count as an elopement, since it's not at all secret.)

But there's very little about a "traditional" wedding that appeals to me. For one, we've never been ones to stick to tradition - we've been living and raising a child together for years, now - but most wedding traditions seem particularly ludicrous to me, especially as so many of them are fed by centuries-old religion or misogyny (or, often, religious misogyny). No one really requires seeing bloody sheets any more - at least not in mainstream America - but how far off is the garter removal, really?

And then there's the entire economy built around wedding planning - huge, overpriced, overblown, insane trappings that are different only in the minutiae that harried brides spend months obsessing about. Why do we get favors like we're attending a kid's birthday party? Why are there only round tables and two kinds of chairs used at receptions? Why do people pay $75 a plate when you can buy better entrees at Chili's for $15? Why in the world is every wedding dress for the past ten years strapless with a big skirt (and often thousands of dollars despite being made of polyester)? Just to be clear, I'm not judging people who have or enjoy these things - I'm judging our society for demanding that they are necessary.

I'm fully convinced that most people have a very, very hard time enjoying their weddings, and definitely don't enjoy the months leading up to them. I've watched enough of my friends go through the process to know how exhausting and unrewarding it can be.

Instead, I spent a week and a half figuring out my dress, what hotel we'd stay at, and what wedding planner we'd pay to take care of the entire thing (photography included), and now I'm done. When we get back, I get to throw together a party without any pressure at all (since it's not tied to the wedding itself, there's no need for everything to be any more perfect or stressful than our usual fĂȘtes).

And no, we're not having a sit-down reception. The details are sketchy as of yet, but it'll probably be in the vineyard, and there will be good wine and twinkle lights and hopefully a bonfire, and my biggest goal is to get everyone to have a good time, not just a good time for a wedding.

Until then, I get to dream of beaches and happiness.