When my husband and I were married almost fifteen years ago, finances governed our wedding ceremony. We were both shy of our twenty-third birthdays, and didn’t have much money. My parents were going to help pay for a ceremony, but again, we weren’t given an infinite budget. And I was too practical for that. I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a dress that would be worn for a few hours; I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on flowers that wouldn’t last more than a few days.
I wanted to spend money on our honeymoon in Maui, a trip for my husband and myself; I didn’t want to worry about feeding a bunch of people dinner. We already felt married. We’d been living together for a year. The wedding was just the official ceremony; the requirement necessary to legally change my last name. And because we had been living together, and had established our apartment, we didn’t register for gifts. We weren’t looking at our wedding as a big “money-maker” (no dollar dances) or a “money taker” (no open bar).
I wasn’t one of those girls who had spent hours imagining my wedding. I didn’t grow up fantasizing about the color of my bridesmaids’ dresses or the music that would play. I had no preconceived ideas in my head except that I knew when all was said and done, we would be husband and wife. Once we became engaged, I still didn’t go out in search of bridal magazines or articles online. I was more concerned with logistics -- missing a week of classes and arranging for time off work.
I bought my wedding dress, off the rack in a department store. A few days before my wedding, I went to my local supermarket, stocked up on flowers, and turned my kitchen into a make-shift flower shop, where I created bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages. My mom and I went shopping for wedding-themed paper plates, for the cake we would eat at the reception in my parents’ living room.
Our wedding was sweet and heartfelt, and not pretentious at all. Because when all is said and done, regardless of whether guests are served cake and champagne or steak and potatoes, two people go home married.
Now as we approach our crystal wedding anniversary, I do fantasize about what my dream wedding would look like. When the time comes and my husband and I wish to renew our vows, I won’t be counting every penny, and I will make sure that I get just what I want. Now, I know what I want.
Instead of a ceremony in a small chapel on a busy street, I want to have a renewal ceremony on the beach. Instead of pastel-hued flowers, I want to be surrounded by vibrant, happy sunflowers. Instead of my hair swept up in a combination of hair spray and pins, I want my hair down, with loose waves.
And I want music. I want to walk down the sand to a song that has meaning to us. I want to dance with my husband, my son, my dad, and my mom. And I want our playlist to include “Forever” by the Beach Boys and Sade’s “By Your Side.”
We really didn’t know what the future had in store for us, but we had faith in each other and us. Along the way during these fifteen years, that faith has been shaken and tested. But it’s still kept us together. And neither one of us would be who we are today without each other’s influence throughout the last fifteen years.
We left our wedding blissfully content and full of hope. Whenever we do choose to renew our vows, the ceremony will undoubtedly be different. But, I’m after the same outcome.