Monday, March 23, 2009

wedding planning as therapy

At the end of Hardy's 'Far from the Madding Crowd', Bathsheba finally realizes the love between her and Gabriel Oak, and they get married. She asks him only to have "the most private, secret, plainest wedding that it is possible to have." At the time I thought it a bit odd. Not that I've ever longed for a princess-type wedding, but I like the idea of having the event witnessed, and ritual associated with it. Now I understand her words a bit more.

I have learned a lot about myself in these two months of wedding planning. It has highlighted a part of my personality that I didn't realize was such a strong force. In yoga you pay attention to your thoughts throughout the postures and notice patterns. I was noticing that anytime I thought of a potential wedding idea, I immediately thought of who that would put out, who would not approve. Once we decided on a destination wedding, I thought of who would be resentful of traveling, who couldn't travel, or who would have to change their vacation plans, or take off work. In comparing different places, I saw others' opinions before my own perceptions.

I was told repeatedly by others that this is our day, and it should be what we want, period. (A curious note about people, though. People say this and almost inevitably follow it up with their opinion. And then, if said opinion is not directly taken, it comes up again in forms like 'well, what about that idea from before'...'why don't you at least make a call about that'. And if I do actually make some small decision, it's met with 'oh', or 'hmmm', or 'that's interesting', or dismissed as not really a decision yet. In no way am I saying people are not supportive - it's definitely the opposite, and absolutely no one has made any direct requests even, but I think (1) it's interesting and (2) it has inadvertently given me a catalog of subtle requests that I am trying to meet.

Despite encouragement to make a decision that's just for us, it's not like me to not consider others. What selfishness to just outline my needs and make others comply! I decided not to have a bridal party because I could not bear the idea of asking people to buy a dress or stand in a certain place. I did not want a registry because I'd nearly rather die than ask anybody for anything. Don't even get me started about the idea of accepting money from anyone for the planning.

I had NO idea before this process how much of a people pleaser I am. It's not like I walk around as a pushover and have no ideas of my own. I consider myself to be quite an independent spirit. I also didn't realize how much I valued others' opinions about my choices. So this has all been very surprising, and disconcerting. I already knew how stubbornly unwilling I can be to ask people to do anything for me, but I didn't really know it was to this degree. I'm trying to take it all as an opportunity to learn and grow, but it's been a fairly uncomfortable process. (Again, I want to make clear - it's not that anyone has made me uncomfortable, it's just that the process itself has brought up things for me that are uncomfortable to deal with. ) I'm taking ownership there, but see how even then I'm afraid of making people for bad for something I said! Ah, how to break this pattern?!

All this is a prelude to say that Gabe and I decided on a beautiful destination for our wedding. If you hate the place, or think we're horrible for having a destination wedding, or wish we'd made a different choice, please keep it to yourself! Otherwise, it will release all my anxieties and keep me up at night, I promise you. I'm not in a good space to just brush it off.

After much consideration, we're getting married in the Riviera Maya, Mexico - details to follow!

1 comment:

  1. when did you say the wedding was? i'm not a big "mexico" fan so i really hadn't ever heard of the riviera maya. google tells me it's on the yucatan, though, so be careful if you're getting married during hurricane season!



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