The cat is out of the bag! On October 1st I married my best friend.
To be honest, I wanted to elope but my husband insisted we hold space for family to celebrate and bless our union. Our compromise was to have a very SIMPLE and intimate micro-wedding. In lieu of a big ceremony and reception, we agreed to open a savings account for our daughter and designate any and all monetary gifts to be seed money for our business.
Simple was best.
I was adamant about not perpetuating empty traditions to save face for anybody. I was shamelessly selfish, very much entitled, and I did not care. I didn't assert my opinions like a bridezilla, but I was definitely giving "I said what I said" vibes complete with blank stares. This new chapter of my life didn't need to start with trying to please other people because rumor has it, the next several decades will certainly involve endless people-pleasing. Turns out that's a core foundation of motherhood. So I put my foot down and did not want to do anything that didn’t enrich us as a couple.
As things began coming together leading up to the wedding, I was justified in not throwing a lavish party for other people. I certainly did not want a huge bill by wasting so much money on one-time use day-of-the-event things.
There was to be no slow singing and flower bringing. There was no bridal party. There was no garter flinging, and no bouquet hurling. We did not need a first dance, no jumping the broom, and no smashing cake in each other's faces. We wrote our own vowels so our promises were specific and intentional. Instead of a sand ceremony, we had a smudging/cleansing ceremony. Nobody understood what was going on, and that was ok with me.
People might have felt like there was a lot to be desired, but truthfully they were lucky to be invited. I was serious about my original intent of not needing or wanting anybody present. The relatives who pitched in and helped out understood my goals for the occasion as it was made very clear. Simple is best! Between freelancing, and raising a teething mini, I didn't have the desire to get wrapped up in intricate wedding details. One would think that by setting the bar to manageable expectations, nothing could go wrong. But...Oh, wishful thinking.
For as regal as I looked in my dress, I was not a fan of it, and I hated everything about the experience of getting it made. To summarize my experience with the tailor: abominable. Her business acumen was piss poor and she was rude and condescending. I'll make an attempt to simplify a complex situation: she incorrectly took my measurements and spent one month making a garment that did not fit. At my first fitting, I stood in the dressing room, staring at my postpartum new mommy body awaiting to experience the euphoric "this is my dress" feeling. But not being able to pull the dress past my thighs obliterated any chance of that. My self-esteem took a huge hit. Not because I felt fat, but because I didn't feel beautiful. When the tailor saw the dress didn't fit, she said "ohh, you must have gained weight"... 50 pounds in a month...really?! The most ironic part about it was that I had lost weight since my measurements were taken. But okay lady, say whatever you need to cover your fault!
The dress not fitting was frustrating enough, but the disrespectful comments almost got her punched in the face. She--with an attitude-- snatched up the dress to let out the incorrectly sized garment, which took two more weeks. For my second fitting (now 8 days away from the wedding) the dress was still missing the mark. The bridal euphoria never showed up because the garment still didn't fit the way I had envisioned. Other tailors in the area were all booked up, so I didn't have the time to get what I truly would have loved to see on my body. But in true Duchess fashion, I chose to make the most of a screwed-up situation and did what any crafty woman would do. I went and purchased a corset and stitched it to the back of the bodice to help create the desired silhouette. It helped a bit aesthetically, but my wedding dress still felt like it was made for someone else. I spent a few days making another garment that didn't end up being worn because the wedding started an hour behind schedule. The whole thing was a fiasco. I'm still disappointed when looking at my photos because I was robbed of that special "this is my wedding gown" magical feeling.
On top of faking confidence in a botched dress, my daughter was tired, overwhelmed, and overstimulated, but she refused to nap. I couldn't enjoy my wedding guests because I was far more engrossed in protecting and placating my baby. She already didn't want anyone touching her, but as people came to hug and congratulate me, she continued to let out piercing screams. Every. single. time. I can't recall a day in my life I have ever been more anxious, and I gave birth at home on my bedroom floor!!! The anxiety on my wedding day goes unmatched.
Even with sticking to simplicity, and relishing in the happy occasion, I felt intense sadness for about 90 percent of the day. I was overcome with extreme guilt for not being able to focus my all energies on my baby.
I don't want to make it seem like it was all bad, because it wasn't. Some of the best memories from that day came from our family, and we would have missed out on them if we eloped like I initially wanted. Between my mom marrying us, my in-laws cooking and bringing enough Liberian food to feed an entire village, and being showered during our money-spraying dance, I felt encouraged and supported, and that made up for everything.
If I had to impart wisdom to anyone with plans to get married, I'd advise them to set manageable expectations but still plan for the unexpected. It's important that you have a wedding that aligns with your intentions and say no to the things that don't resonate with you. I personally could not rationalize spending thousands of dollars for a cookie-cutter wedding aesthetic, or having done all the random things that make a wedding "a wedding".