I am happily married, but my memories of the wedding day are not so sweet. My husband is a practical man. We had been living together for 10 years, but remained unmarried. He made a lot of money in 2013, and I did not, so we decided that it would make sense to get married and file jointly – but we procrastinated. The net result was a New Year’s Eve shotgun wedding at a wedding chapel near Beverly Hills.
The chapel itself, called “Same Day Wedding Chapel” was tidy. We drove together in our Hyundai, dressed in our finest business attire. We signed the paperwork that would make the wedding stick for the year 2013 – Los Angeles is fairly clear on the difference. We had to file the paperwork after the first of the year, but we were able to ensure the date was 12/31/2013. Married for a day is married for a year in the eyes of the IRS.
After saying our hastily scribbled vows and kissing in front of the Home-Depot-esque gazebo covered in plastic flowers, we handed the officiant our cell phones and asked her to take photos. The only attendee at the wedding was our beloved dog Patsy.
What was missing from that day to make it more special? Where do I begin?
Here is a list of the things that I would have wanted, were we actually able to plan:
1. An outdoor wedding in a beautiful setting
2. A limousine to drive us to/from the ceremony
4. Catering and a reception
5. A real wedding photographer
6. A ceremony rather than an official bare minimum statement of marriage
7. A wedding registry –to date, we have never received any gifts
8. A tux and gown level of dress
9. A bridal party/shower
10. A bachelor party
11. Something old
12. Something new
13. Something borrowed
14. Something blue (although the pooch wore a blue collar…)
15. Formal vows written over time
Nonetheless, this somewhat ‘arranged’ marriage has turned out well, proving that love is the key ingredient to any successful marriage.
My advice to young lovers is to plan ahead if you want to have a lot of memories of your special day. It need not be the type of ceremony to break the bank. Although the 15 items above are sort of the key ingredients to the traditional wedding, not all of them are necessary to create happiness that lasts a lifetime.
The jury is still out as to whether this will last a lifetime, but the first ten years were so perfect, and the wedding has not changed much. We did not go into debt to get married. Our parents are deceased, so they don’t feel ripped off that they didn’t get to come. As weddings go, ours was a bit cynical and far more practical than a romantic wedding. If I had to do it over again, I would probably only choose a couple of items from the list, to keep our bank books from shrinking.