I went to a beautiful wedding last night. The ceremony was held in a gorgeous little church, the bridesmaids looked fabulous, the groomsmen were handsome (especially my fiance of course), the flower girl was adorable. The wedding colors were well chosen, the bride was absolutely stunning. She didn't just look beautiful, she looked perfect. Her hair, makeup, and dress were so beautifully done, it was amazing. The ceremony was fairly small and very sweet. Everything was perfect. It was kind of beautiful, and wonderful, and it brought tears to my eyes. . . But not because I am close to the two getting married. Because it made me realize how much I don't want a wedding like that.
Sure I want to wear a pretty dress, I want my handsome groom there, my daughter to be there. It would be great to have my closest friends there to stand with us. But I don't want a church, no unity candles, no sand ceremonies, no minister/pastor/reverend that doesn't know me as a person presiding over the ceremony and commenting as though they know the inner workings of my mind. No vows repeated in the flat monotone of someone trying really hard not to screw up what they have been told to say. After the guests were dismissed from the pews, I found Ben in the line of groomsmen and as I neared, with tears in my eyes I whispered, "Vegas?" And he gave me a huge hug and said "Baby, you are the perfect woman for me!" So relieved.
His close friend came up behind us and asked, quite diplomatically, if the wedding was getting me all excited for my own, and I smiled so big my cheeks hurt and said we were both thinking that eloping sounded wonderful. His face quickly changed from the polite smile to the conspiratorial whisper, and confided that it was the best idea.
While the ceremony was beautiful, it is simply not indicative of our relationship. There is no pomp, no ceremony between us. We've been friends for 14 years, and in all that time it has been relaxed, informal, mellow, so far from an organized event that I almost feel a wedding like that would taint things. We've known each other for so long, the traditional posturing of a relationship has been somewhat lost. There is no image to project, nothing surprising to discover. He is who he has always been, but grown up now. I'm not marrying him because of the crazy butterflies and whirlwind romance of meeting someone new. I am marrying him because after 14 years, he has never once treated me unkindly. Because in the time we have been dating, he has been so gentle and kind to me and my daughter. Because I like his family, his friends. Because we communicate well, and compromise. Because I still want to impress him, and get things right, but not because he tells me I have to. Because we do things together (most of which seem to involve getting really dirty or wet.) Because he knows me so well, learns from his mistakes, and wants me and only me. Because I trust him enough that I have let him into not only my life but my daughter's life as well.
Weddings are political. Planned. Postured. A bunch of adults playing dress up. And sure weddings are beautiful, magical, and really a ceremony designed to please the family. But we've just been us, all along. I don't think I want to change that. We are not getting married because we are going to be magically in love forever. We both know that we are signing up to work on things, communicate, compromise, fight, make up, let go of resentment, be there for each other. We aren't looking for the impossible Disney dream. We are looking for a partnership.