Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Best. Wedding. Ever!

So, its been well over a month since my last post and a lot has happened since then. Most of it was gearing up for our wedding which happened on the 18th. Yes, after 9+ years of co-habitation, or if you prefer "living in sin", Donna and I finally made it official. And I have to say, it wouldn't have been nearly as fun or successful if it weren't for the fabulous and wonderful group of people I call my friends and family.
We had been planning this since about January, but up until a month ago, I never got the sense that it was actually happening. There was a lot of talking about things being taken care of, but since no one ever asked me for money to bankroll things, I wasn't sure what was going to happen. As the date started creeping up on us, it started to make me nervous, honestly. Donna was chugging along making decisions and arrangements, soliciting my help and advice here and there, and giving me financial estimates, and I was saving up cash, but not once did anyone say, "I need money now to make this happen."
Donna and I had been to quite a few weddings together, mostly her relatives, and separately, and there were certain things we had seen that we definitely wanted no part of ours to have. First off, neither of us are Catholic or particularly religious--though Donna is Baptist and I'm a confirmed Methodist, though I was baptized as Catholic--in general, so the whole, kneeling, standing, sitting, droning on in Latin, etc was right out. And that meant no priest or minister presiding over our wedding and our initial plans including paying for a justice of the peace.
In a strangely appropriate twist though, my friend Matt asked me if he could preside over the wedding, Matt has been an ordained minister for over 10 years, I think, with the Universal Life Church, though we would be his first wedding. I had no problem with this, since I knew as one of my best friends, he knew Donna and I on a level that no priest or judge we hired possibly could. And this ended up being the right move, as it allowed my brother Gus, to become the best man, the job he wanted, and everybody was happy.
And the reaction to his words were overwhelmingly positive, it was a beautiful address, and educational to boot. ;) (Read it here. What more could you ask for? I had been anticipating some resistance to the idea of Matt as minister, but the only flak I got was Donna's Mom asking to see Matt's credentials while we were waiting for the maid of honor, my sister, to finallly arrive.
Of course, I didn't say that I thought that Matt's ordination was as legitimate as any other priest's, certainly, I don't think most mainstream religions, in their earthly guises, can lay claim to the moral high ground. People tend to think of the ULC as a fringe group of wackos and freaks, and while that may be true, I'm sure the Egyptians said the same thing about the Jews, and the Romans about the Christians. Religions always start out as fringe movements, and the ones that become mainstream do so because their message inspires and comforts people, but as it becomes mainstream and entrenched, it becomes like any other organization, susceptible to corruption and eventually more concerned about self-preservation. George Carlin says religion is bad for people, and I agree to a point. I think people need faith, something to believe in, but I don't necessarily think they need religion, an overarching organization to dictate how they worship. Being a liberterian politically, I usually advocate for less government, more individual freedom and I think a lot of religious organizations would benefit from that lesson.
But, I digress. . .
We really didn't want to spend a lot of money on this wedding, as we've seen a lot of expensive weddings that didn't deliver a proportional value to the amount spent, and we really wanted to have lots of money to spend in Tokyo. So, my original idea was a party that we'd get married at. As things progressed, it became less party and more wedding. I think because we didn't want to create new ways of doing things.
Tom and Matt, I heard, were discussing that our wedding was a harbinger of what future weddings will be, Evites, instead of printed invitations and RSVPs, Amazon wedding registry, instead of traditional brick and mortar wedding registry, iPod connected to a PA instead of a boorish and insipid DJ with his staple of tried and tested wedding music.
But, I'll be honest, a lot of these "innovations" were born of our desire to keep the costs down and ultimately our laziness. We were thinking about printed invitations to complement the Evites, mainly for our relatives that didn't have email, but we never got around to coming up with something to say, and we already knew which relatives were coming without printed invite, so why spend the money, if we didn't have to.
So, I think in the final tally, we managed to spend less money on our wedding than on our trip to Tokyo. My brother, Gus, kept saying "TLC" for the The Learning Channel's A Wedding Story, a reference to a show that gives people $5K to pull off a wedding. Having never seen the show, I don't know how apt the comparison is, but I'll just presume we rocked.
So, I'm pretty sure, based on other feedback we've been getting that our wedding will be remembered as beautiful and fun, and that's what we were aiming for. We had many people say to us that they were looking forward to our wedding, and afterwards that is was the most fun wedding they've ever been too. And that made me feel good. Our friends are very important to us, and I was adamant that we had more friends at our wedding than family. Which upset people on both sides of the family, you know the relatives that you only see at weddings and funerals. We'd rather have people we know well, share our humor and many of our tastes and who we'd know would have a good time.
Because, really, our wedding was as much a celebration for and of our friends as it was a celebration of our love and committment to each other. My Dad observed that our friends are really like an extended family, and I think that's really how friends should be. It's the reason why when people showed up they asked us if they could help, even the people who didn't know us personally, but knew someone who knew us. And without those people helping, I don't think we could have pulled it off, so in a sense our wedding was a group effort, and again, that's what I think communities should be.
And if we consider our friends and family our community, then I think our wedding reaffirmed an ancient aspect of marriage, the strengthening of the community, as well as modern ones, the romantic love and committment between Donna and me. And this community that we've created, I wouldn't trade for anything. I just wish everyone lived much closer to us.
Anyway, we're anxiously awaiting pictures, especially the group shot that the photographer took. Hopefully, the shot of us in all our finery with our friends and family is as wonderful as I think it is. And as soon as I have photos, I'll be posting them, so stay tuned.


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