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Monday, June 18, 2012

It's the Marriage, Not the Wedding

I always wanted a white wedding with just the right flowers, the perfect dress, and Wagner’s bridal chorus ringing through the air as I walked down the aisle of a beautiful church filled with loved ones. Just the notion of planning such a wedding filled me with excitement and joy. I finally had a chance to plan that wedding several years ago. The dress was lovely. The flowers were stunning. I even made my own invitations. However, the marriage wasn’t nearly as pleasant as everything that came before. It shattered many expectations and the perfection of my wedding day quickly faded.

The courthouse where we were married.
When my current husband and I were married a year and a few months ago, we’d spent nearly as long going through the fiancĂ© visa process with US immigration. We’d endured separation, a lot of expense, and, for him, complete life upheaval as he moved from Glasgow, Scotland to Portland, Oregon. By the time he finally flew over to settle, visa in hand, neither of us had the energy (or the money!) to plan a big wedding. Quite frankly, we just wanted to be man and wife after jumping through so many hoops. The most expedient option seemed like a courthouse wedding. It was affordable, easy to arrange, and only required the presence of two of my dearest friends as witnesses. It literally took a matter of minutes for us to go from a couple who had spent more than a year working toward being together to lawful spouses. It was thrilling, romantic, and just right for us.

I still understand when friends spend months planning their weddings, buried in magazines and invitation samples. Lavish weddings are wonderful events that bring friends and family together for one of the best purposes on earth: uniting two people in love. I could never argue with a celebration of love.

However, I learned a very important lesson about weddings between my first and my last. It’s not the wedding that matters, it’s the marriage. My current marriage, solemnized in a courthouse without the least bit of satin or music, is happy, healthy, and romantic. Who wouldn’t rather have a great marriage than a perfect wedding day?


deanne said...

YES! Christy.... and lovely to hear your are in such a great partnership. As with everything, it is the context that matters most. If the marraige sucks, memories and feelings about the wedding are probably closely related.

Judith Ashley said...

I totally agree it is the relationship that matters not the ceremony. I'm not a big fan of big fancy weddings although I will confess to watching "Say Yes to the Dress" both the New York and Atlanta versions and some of the dresses are awesome.

But bottom line, I'd get married in a burlap sack and bare feet if that guaranteed me a great marriage.

Christy Carlyle said...

Thanks, Deanne and Judith, for your comments! I'm glad to find some agreement about the fact that the true value of any wedding is measured only by the relationship that comes afterwards. Longevity and devotion is what most of us want out of that one beautiful day.

Diana Mcc. said...

You nailed it, Christy! Great blog.

Paty Jager said...

Christy, I agree. It's the marriage and not the wedding. I'm glad you've found happiness.