A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend, which doesn’t happen very often anymore (in a few sentences you’ll know why) and she was not happy about The One Year Wedding.
“All you do in your blog is shit on One Day Weddings. And that’s why I just can’t get behind what you’re doing.”
Whoa. Point taken.
I realized if my friend feels this way, others may feel the same. That we think we’re “better” than couples who get married on a single day – or don’t get married at all – and, so I wanted to set the record straight, because that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Sure, we take issue with extravagant, materialistic wedding culture. When we were planning our One Day Wedding, Roberto winced every time we talked about the mounting costs – often for trifles he considered unnecessary and I justified as “tradition.” We take issue with legal marriage still being out of reach for couples of different sexual orientations. We take issue with marriage as an arm of patriarchy, private property, and the state. But we don’t take issue with individual couples who choose to marry in ways that are meaningful to them, however “traditional.”
In fact, for me, thinking and talking about weddings every single day for a year has made me more sensitive to other peoples’ partnerships – however they choose to celebrate them. (It has also made me more aware of the stigma some of my single friends experience for not joining the parade of unions that seems to begin in the early twenties and continue to march on loudly for decades…but that’s another post.)
If anything, thinking and talking about weddings every single day for a year has made me more critical of myself.
Most days, I feel pretty damn ridiculous when it comes to The One Year Wedding. What seemed like a radical, rebellious idea in January now seems like total bridal overkill. And it’s me who winces when the topic comes up in conversation and I find myself explaining to someone new that, yes, Roberto and I really are getting married 365 times.
But shame doesn’t serve me or Roberto, so when it begins to creep in, I am gentle with myself. I look back on the photos, videos, and momentos we’ve collected over the last year and I focus on how meaningful The One Year Wedding has been for us, despite my embarrassment. It reminds me of something Roberto told me when we were first dating:
“You’re not the woman of my dreams. You’re the woman I never dreamed because I didn’t know someone like you existed.”
And, when it comes down to it, that’s how I feel about The One Year Wedding. It’s not the wedding of my dreams. It’s the wedding I never dreamed. Full of bumps and surprises and embarrassment and joy and a bunch of other sloppy, ridiculous stuff I wouldn’t trade, even if I could. This is the stuff that makes up meaning. And it’s the reason we chose this experience. We saw the meaning slowly seeping out of our One Day Wedding and so we changed course to rescue it.
With that in mind, I need to make it clear that, even though The One Year Wedding is our way, we don’t think it’s the way. I don’t feel I’m in any position to dictate how others find meaning in their lives and partnerships – big weddings, small weddings, quiet weddings, loud weddings, no weddings – that’s up to you. A wedding means what you want it to, whether it’s one day, one year, or not at all.
So, if I push back at “traditional” wedding culture, it’s not because I think One Day Weddings are bullshit, it’s because I think it’s time we carve out spaces for people to find meaning on their own terms.
Live the life you never dreamed. Be ridiculous. Savor the sloppy. Surprise yourself. Find joy. Whatever that means to you.