The arrival of February ushers in a month of all things red and heart-shaped. This February also is the month that I will be getting married. . . again. Being a bride again has been a surreal experience, and planning a wedding during a pandemic has added to that sense of surrealness. As our wedding day approaches, I have been thinking about what this has been like the second time around.
Overcoming embarrassment. The wedding industry definitely caters to younger couples, not empty nesters. So, during our initial stages of wedding planning, I felt somewhat embarrassed by it. I had not planned on buying a gown from a bridal shop, but I could not find anything suitable elsewhere. So, I relented and found myself saying yes to a dress, while ringing a bell nonetheless, at a local bridal store. I was a blushing bride out of sheer embarrassment. I felt almost apologetic for daring to have a second wedding, since my first marriage ended in divorce. While I still do not feel completely comfortable in the role of the bride, my embarrassment has subsided, as I am grateful and happy to be getting married to my amazing fiancé. Just don’t ask me to ring a bell, again!
Choosing a wedding date. I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day, so, the fact that we are getting married this month is somewhat ironic. Choosing a wedding date around our work schedules, our seven children’s work and school commitments, and the pandemic was a daunting task. We chose the day that we began dating three years ago, and even though I had not considered a winter wedding, we chose a date with a very special meaning. I still am not fond of Valentine’s Day, though.
Planning a wedding ceremony and reception. After we got engaged, my fiancé and I looked at each other and said, Oh my gosh-now, we have to plan a wedding! If you thought planning a wedding the second time around would be easier, you are both right and wrong. Because of COVID-19 limitations and our personal preferences, we had to limit the number of guests to invite. Just our immediate families comprised nearly half of the guests, so, it was hard to not be able to extend invitations to all of our extended family members and some of our friends, as we had at our respective first weddings. This time, though, we were able to incorporate more personal touches. We chose a beautiful space that could accommodate both our ceremony and reception and were able to plan the ceremony we wanted. I even was able to include some Pearl Jam in our ceremony! We have kept things simple, yet elegant, and it represents us. I never dreamt that I would remarry, but this wedding is the wedding of my dreams.
Involving our children in the wedding planning. When I got married as a 25-year-old, my parents were instrumental in guiding me throughout the entire wedding planning process. This time around, my fiancé and I have planned the wedding and reception together, and we have had our children’s input along the way. The girls chose the color of their dresses, the boys and their Dad coordinated their suits, my daughters, accompanied me when I chose a wedding dress, and his oldest daughter designed the centerpieces for each table at the reception. It has been a family affair, which has made it all the more special.
Focusing on our marriage more than the wedding and reception. Even though we have been planning our wedding and reception, most of our time and energy has been spent on continuing to nurture our relationship, combining households, and joining our two families together across two states and five cities. We do not take for granted the incredible gift we have been given in each other and with our two families, and we are committed to one another and our children. The wedding is only the beginning of our life together, and that is what matters most.
Changing names and labels and keeping others. Once we are married, we will be spouses, instead of fiancés, and I will add his last name to mine, albeit without a hyphen and without removing my middle name. When it comes to being a step-parent, a bonus parent, or some other label, our children can decide how they prefer to refer to us. To me, we are simply a family, and I do not feel the need to label or explain our relationship to one another to other people.
As our engagement comes to an end and our marriage begins, I feel an overwhelming sense of love, gratitude, and joy that I get to love my fiancé and to be loved by him for the rest of our lives. Our love story is not a fairy tale; it is better, because it is the real deal.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story