Monday, November 15, 2010

The Ceremony: Or What Nobody Tells You About Getting Married

Our ceremony was awesome, but truthfully, it was also a surprise and it was totally nerve wracking.  You are told that the ceremony is the most important part, that it is this Big Solemn Thing and a Big F*cking Deal to get married and it is serious and people who don't take their marriages seriously get divorced and you must focus on paying attention and being present and feeling everything that happens to you.  You will expect to feel somber and like the weight of marriage has descended upon you.

I call bullshit.

Okay, for starters, our ceremony was fun.
I wrote our ceremony based on our church pamphlet, Mark gave his thoughts, and then I plagarized a lot from Cupcake Wedding and Weddingbee to make it right.  Our ceremony was very personal and we picked readings that meant a lot to us.  But even with a totally personal ceremony, it's really hard to feel comfortable. I mean, first of all, everyone you know is there and they are all staring at you!  

Secondly, you rehearse, but you don't rehearse specific things.  Like, we talked about whether we would face the Reverend or each other, and then wound up standing all awkward like.  I highly recommend at least having a conversation, so you're in agreement.  Decide how close to each other you will be - I felt like we were uncomfortably far away from each other.  

You might not feel entirely present during the ceremony.  Especially if you are thinking, "why aren't we holding hands and standing closer to each other?" Then you will be super awkward and put out your hand for him to hold.  He will not take the hint that you have suddenly changed your mind about facing each other and would instead like to stand facing the minister and two feet closer than you are right now.  You will worry that he doesn't want to hold your hand at all and YOU ARE DOING IT ALL WRONG.

It's okay to talk to each other.  I really wish I had just said something like, "you're too far away".  Nobody could hear us, since we were outside, and it would have made things easier.

Mark also spent a lot of the ceremony avoiding eye contact.  His totally lame excuse later was that he couldn't look at me without crying (collective awwww).  I was just worried he was having second thoughts.  So don't be surprised if this happens to you.

I was focusing so much on staying present and listening intently that at one point, Mark just looks at me and says, "don't look so scared."  At which point, I cracked up.

So my point is, don't expect to feel a certain way.  You are who you are, both as an individual and as a couple.  Honor that.  Laugh.  As soon as we started laughing during the wine and chocolate ceremony, I felt better.  When we recessed, we joked around as well.  Then we ran off into the woods, literally.

Remember - be who you are and say what you feel, because those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter.


  1. Very true. In my ceremony, I started to put the ring on my husband's wrong hand. Everyone laughed and I did too. It was very true to us (I always forget to switch left and right when I'm facing someone).

  2. I think it sounds extremely normal to feel like this during a ceremony. After all, as Dan Savage says, a wedding is a production put on by a bunch of amateurs. Rehearsing once is only going to get you so far. Thank you for sharing what it felt like!

  3. Gah! Thank you so much for this post! One of the things I am most worried about is being worried the whole time that we look worried (makes no sense, right?!). Looks like I have another convo to have with Mr. Puppy Love before the wedding (second to "to smash or not to smash").

    PS-Your wedding looked beautiful!

  4. excellent post...i have my suspicions about how i'll feel about the ceremony...i've always felt uncomfortable at "serious" i'm viewing something intimate that was only meant for the couple. hm..this made me feel better, for sure.

  5. (I love that photo)

    And now, yes to what you wrote. I can't imagine such a formalized ritual process will ever feel as natural as who we are in real life. Because public speaking is something of a performance. But performative ceremonies are what you get in non-elopement situations. And you never quite know how you'll both respond. And I think laughter and nerves and seriousness and confusion are perfectly normal and right. Especially if you plan for important moments like wine and chocolate and then run off into the woods.

  6. Thanks for the heads up girl.

    I'll let you know how it goes!