For as long as I can remember, I thought weddings were ridiculous. The history and traditions of marriage are truly archaic and have no use in our current culture, I feel, and I’ve never been shy about sharing that opinion. And yet, here I am, toting an engagement ring as my fiancé and I scout wedding venues. Here are 10 reasons I changed my mind about walking down the aisle:
It’s not Going To Be “The Happiest Day of My Life.” I think this is the worst wedding expectation out there. Stuffing myself into what is essentially lace sausage casing while being surrounded by every person I’ve ever known (and some I haven’t) while secretly wishing I was just sitting and eating doesn’t sound too happy to me. From the very start of the day, it’s hurried, frantic, and you’re always “on.” Yeah, it’s awesome to eat good food and declare your love to everyone and all that junk, but let’s stop acting like this is the pinnacle of life. There will be even better, happier days that require less effort in our future. I’m positive brides are immeasurably happier when their tired, post-reception bodies hit the hotel bed.
I Got A Pretty Ring. As petty and superficial as this sounds, you should realize that I don’t own any jewelry worth over $20. My chubby fingers need custom fit rings and honestly, who has the time or money for that? Not me. But getting a beautiful ring that had so much meaning made a surprising difference in my attitude. The cost or size didn’t have to be extravagant—it was the amount of thought that went into its design that impacted me the most. It’s a freaking gorgeous ring.
My Boyfriend Has Always Dreamed of Getting Married. He didn’t tell me this until we’d been dating for about two years. On one random Sunday afternoon, he told me he’d always wanted to get married. Not only that, he wanted an actual event and reception and to be surrounded by family and friends and NOT a courthouse elopement. Given that he’s generally a go-with-the-flow kinda guy, it was odd to hear him declare a non-negotiable. My cynicism has limits and hearing about his dream wedding shaved off a few layers my calloused heart.
I Realized I Didn’t Have To Have a Traditional Ceremony. Wedding traditions are basically solutions to problems we don’t have anymore. A veil that hid the bride’s ugly mug so the groom didn’t run off. A bouquet to ward off evil spirits. What once had function is now a surefire way for vendors hike up the price. We decided to cut the crap and get to the good stuff: swap rings, eat food, drink booze and dance. That’s what is important to us and that’s where our money is going. By cutting out the traditions, we cut out much of the archaic crap.
I Didn’t Feel I was Compromising. Anyone in a healthy relationship would agree that relationships are a delicate balance of compromise. When we had two differing opinions on marriage, I thought about how much my marriage opinions mattered to me. When I really thought about it, maybe, just maybe, all my beliefs about weddings and marriage weren’t true. He’s the first person I’ve dated where the idea of marriage doesn’t seem like a vortex of misery. Instead of looking at it like a compromise, I’ve viewed it as a shift in perception.
We Get To Eat Delicious Food. Weddings are special because it’s a celebration of love or whatever. It’s also likely that you’ll get to eat amazing food. Few things in this world are better than a delicious buffet filled with the food you love. Add in a tasty cake and booze and I’m sold. I can’t complain about footing the bill when every aspect of this celebration was our decision. Our entire wedding is centered around the food we love catered by the restaurant we dream about. Oh, and you know, family and stuff.
We Get To Go On Vacation. Honeymoons are vacations that are completely expected and even encouraged. People are excited for you and they can’t blame you for going away, which is perfect for me because I need a break from working. Going on a three-week vacation that makes the rest of your co-workers happy for you is rare. It wasn’t a primary driver in wanting to get married, but having a reason to go to Hawaii did pull me in a favorable direction.
We Aren’t Going To Break The Bank. Being the millennials that we are, student loans still plague us. We’ve put other big life decisions like buying a house on hold. That’s why a tasteful yet affordable wedding was a big priority. When we crunched the numbers, the total was, to our surprise, quite reasonable. We didn’t need to create a special fund or do an extreme budget. With a little help from our families and our own contribution, we knew we could easily pay for everything without sweating it too much. Of course, cutting out the ceremony was huge cost saver. So, you might say that my cynicism paid off.
It Makes Legal Conundrums Go Smoother. Along with my fiance’s dream of a wedding, he was also concerned about legal matters and taxes. I guess there are a lot of medical and legal rights that unmarried couples are denied, like the next-of-kin benefits or inheritance. There’s also the issue of property ownership, acquiring debt, and tax breaks that come into play. Kinda takes away from the romance of it all, doesn’t it? At the end of the day, it made sense to have a legal status that smoothed out potential issues—all of which I hope don’t happen, save for the tax breaks.
Getting Engaged Didn’t Change Anything. For a long time, I thought marriage literally changed everything. I thought that planning a wedding was more painful than fun and more expensive than expected. An engagement was the beginning of the end—like once you step into your home after your honeymoon, a balloon pops and suddenly everything is sad. While I have yet to confirm the latter, I can say I don’t feel any different now that I’m engaged. Wedding planning isn’t the headache I assumed. It all just feels natural and uncomplicated.
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