A Wedding Retreat

If money and time, both of ours and of our guests, were of absolutely no limit whatsoever, a wedding retreat like Sara & Stof's South African wedding would be the kind of event that I'd want. Casual, in a gorgeous natural setting, and with sufficient amounts of time to hang out with everyone, both friends and all extended family. It just seems like it would be so much fun, and more in line with an idea of weddings for a time of gathering and celebration.

Stof and I made an intensely private commitment public, but we did so within a group of people who had come to appreciate each other almost as much as us, so we felt *held* by our community.
To be realistic, I probably wouldn't actually enjoy quite that much time with so many people, being as strong an introvert as I am. I just like the idea of it, and of the awesome people in our lives getting to know awesome people in other parts of lives.

Although we're just having just an afternoon event, I'm pretty sure I will need to schedule in downtime so that I don't get overwhelmed, like at the Thanksgiving dinner for the P-scholars senior year. I was so tired from cooking all day and setting it up and as soon as I saw that there were many people there and they seemed to be having a good time, I had to slip away to just sit in silence, by myself, before I could summon up enough energy to be around people again. Even with people that I love dearly and enjoy spending time with, I can only handle so much before I can feel myself shutting down, and the more people there are, the faster that happens.

The other thing I've been thinking about is the whole being the center of attention bit of 'traditional' weddings. I don't really want to make a whole grand entrance with my dress at the ceremony--this thing isn't just about me and how great I'll look, and how this is going to the best moment of my life. If that's the case, serious fail at life, really. I also don't want us to make a grand entrance as the married couple and do a first dance where everyone has to stand around and look at us.

I think my discomfort is mostly due to two things, 1) the feeling that the more people that are looking, the more people to notice when you screw up, and 2) the belief that forgetting your own inconsequence relative to everything and an inflated sense of your own self-importance will just bring you down in the end. I am deeply afraid of becoming someone who can't stop talking about her wedding planning and at whom friends roll their eyes behind her back, but it's hard not to bring up new things I've discovered that I'm excited about. Hence blogging at a stop-gap, right? :)

On the other hand, we shouldn't be so afraid of stepping outside this comfort zone. As Amy wrote to me earlier today, "Don't be afraid to ask your oldest friends to help out on the day of. I'm sure we wouldn't might at all. You're our friends, and it's a celebration. We're all there to have fun and celebrate, not to stress out!"

So, some quotes from A Practical Wedding for me to refer back to:

Wedding Reception Entrances: No, They Don't Have to be Grand
"I am not a "grand entrance" kind of girl. In fact, I think they are downright silly…Am I nuts? I just can't see making all my guests watch my new husband and me sway like 6th graders for 3 minutes before allowing them to eat."

Um. No. You are not nuts. I actually AM a grand entrance kind of girl, and there was no way that I wanted any part of that for my wedding. We just were not having that sort of party.

So what did our entrance look like? So, after our ceremony, we had our yichud(do this, people) and then our photographers pulled us aside for five minutes of photographs. And then we wanted to party. We were so excited to party. So we just walked over to the cocktail party going on.
 Your Wedding is Not a Show
I've heard a lot of talk on APW lately about people's fear of being the center of attention on their wedding day, and I thought we needed to chat. Because here is the thing: the whole wedding industry is built around this idea that the wedding is a SHOW, and you are the STAR(s). Which... of course that's enough to make an introverted girl freak out. But more to the point, we're so stuck in this idea of the wedding as a show, that we put a huge amount of thought, energy, and stress into the idea of entertaining our guests.

But here is the thing: Your wedding is not a show.
Weddings are about two things, and we only ever talk about one. Weddings are about everyone gathering to see two people make vows of lifetime commitment, and to celebrate that. But weddings are also about something else - they are about old friends and family getting together, sharing stories, catching up, hugging, laughing, talking... and making new friends, and creating new memories. The two of you are the reason why everyone is gathered together, but (blessedly) when a wedding goes right, it is about so much more than the two of you.
So don't worry about being the center of attention. Because you're not really. You're just the center. And that will be enough.
 Your Wedding is Not an Imposition

Did you get that? It's not an imposition on *anyone.* And let me tell you why. It's not because your guests will have fun at your wedding (though, duh, they will), it's because your guests are grown-ass people. They are GROWN UPS. If your wedding is too expensive, or too far away, or just too much of a bother? They won't come. If you're lucky, they'll be very kind when they tell you about it. If you're not lucky? Then you didn't want them there anyway (try to remember that mid-sob, it was hard for me.)

But the people that come to your wedding? Well, let me quote the wise Marisa-Andrea, "This is what I have learned: The people who love you and care about you will not feel like your wedding is a burden or an imposition. They will be thrilled that out of all of the people you could have invited, you want THEM. The (editors note: FEW) people who do feel burdened -- eh. You are always going to have someone who isn't satisfied."
 This just in: Dan's been looking over my shoulder as I pontificate and says that actually, he would like to do the 'Too Heavy' entrance below:



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