Monday, May 9, 2011

Our Wedding

Our wedding was not traditional, by any means, and that was how DH and I wanted it. Together, we had told my parents we would be getting married, and they rejoiced with us. DH never had to ask anyone's permission to marry me, no one ever expected him to. I didn't wear a garter or throw a bouquet. DH didn't have a bachelor party and my parents didn't host a lavish rehearsal dinner: instead, we had a barbeque in their backyard, in the presence of my parents, my grandmother, and our best friends. My maid of honor was my best friend (my oldest brother's wife). DH's best man was a friend of his (who later revealed himself to be a Dick-with-a-capital-D and one HUGE flying monkey, but that's a story for another day.) The wedding ceremony was performed by a Justice of the Peace and contained no religious references, as per our request. My mother, best friend and I made most of the decorations and table settings, and my aunt paid for the venue: a small clubhouse belonging to her condo association. The guest list was small, less than one hundred people, which was about as small as we could make it without excluding anyone from my very large and extremely close-knit family. My mother and aunt were responsible for most of the cooking, my oldest brother was our DJ, and DH and I were part of the "clean-up crew" when the festivities were over. You'd better believe, Dear Reader, that I was helping clean up, in my wedding dress, after all of our guests went home. And I wouldn't have had it any other way.

One perfect day in April of 2010, I walked with my best friend and dad, to the venue, with my dad holding the bouquet and my best friend holding the bottom of my dress. Our photographer snapped photos of the three of us smiling and laughing the whole way there. It ended up being a warm, sunny afternoon, the perfect day to have a wedding. After we kissed, signifying the end of the ceremony but the true beginning of our lives together, DH and I skipped the typical receiving line. No one had to wait for us to take dorky group photos or announce us as the new Mister & Missus. Our wedding was exactly what we had wanted it to be: A really fun party. My family truly enjoyed celebrating our choice to tie the knot.

A bit of background story:

DH and I were in the right place at the right time when we met in February of 2009. After a very short time, we decided we should arrange a rendezvous face-to-face at a local bookstore, where we would be surrounded by the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee and the lure of a thousand books. DH walked in with three roses, each a different color, and the hopes of finding love. He found it - we spent hours getting to know each other over coffee. Those hours turned into days, those days turned into months. We fell into a love that can only be called the forever kind, and our journey together began. We may have done things out of order, and some events may not have been planned, but always, we were happy.

DH didn't get down on one knee and ask me to marry him. Just as he didn't need to buy my love with showmanship or exaggerated gifts, we didn't need to prove our love with some over-the-top engagement story. Our decision to marry was the culmination of millions of moments falling in love, and countless hours spent discussing our plans to have a future together. Around the time that we announced our pregnancy, the only surprise expressed by my family was that we were having a baby rather than a wedding. My best friend shared her thoughts that she had known "some sort of good news was coming" all along.

Memories of our union can not be marred by the ugliness that is NMIL, nor could she and her pathetic followers do anything to ruin or halt our decision to get hitched. This is not to say, Dear Reader, that they didn't try. Here's the thing: Eventually, I will forget about the shit that NMIL pulled because it means that little to me. She did not accomplish what she wanted to accomplish: the dissolution of DH's relationship with me, the termination of our wedding plans, our eminent failure as a married couple. She failed because DH's love for me, and mine for him, is greater than anything she could have ever imagined, dreamed up, or lived. The moment she decided that his life was just another part of her game, she dealt herself a losing hand. She bet on DH choosing her over himself. She bet that she had trained him enough to destroy his own relationships in order to keep up the one he had with her. She didn't think he would See her, she didn't think he'd catch on. NMIL pegged DH to be weak, cowardly, and unintelligent.

She was wrong. She took a gamble and lost her own game. It was a lose/lose situation right from the start and her behaviors at our wedding were merely a consummation of all her previous choices. Nothing she did took me by surprise. She is her own basis for comparison, and believe me, neither side is pretty.

Does it surprise anyone that she wore white? It wasn't until after the wedding that I thought long enough about it to get a laugh out of her wardrobe choice that day. I mean, really, how pathetic that the only way she could exert any power was by showing up the bride in an extravagant show of attention-grabbing "rule" breaking. According to the knot, "Female wedding guests should not wear white -- it's really, really not polite to take away from the bride on her special day by wearing her color. Try to avoid off-white and ivory, too, if at all possible. It's not as if you don't own or can't buy something another color, right?"

Wearing white was her version of a temper tantrum.

Breaking this particular taboo was the best she could do at exacting her revenge, and it was pathetic. She was pissed that, when we wouldn't let her insert herself between us, she couldn't be a part of our wedding. She was not included because if she'd had a say in the matter, she'd have put in her vote that we not go through with it. And around and around it goes. The truly funny part is that I find all that typical wedding hype to be completely ridiculous. The veil, the superstitions, the traditions, all feel so juvenile and pathetic to me. Hell, had she been paying attention when I told her she couldn't see my wedding dress, she'd have known that it would have taken much more than wearing white to my wedding to ruin it for me. In fact, the only thing that might have ruined it would have been DH's absence. If you are familiar with Narco-dynamics, Dear Reader, I know that you know all about how important appearance is to a Narc. NMIL wore white to our wedding because she thought it would bother me. She wore white because she wanted to put on a show for the small crowd she came with. She wore white because it was important to her to keep up appearances that she was the boss.

Oh, her siblings and daughter might have gotten a kick out of the fact that she was "gutsy" enough to wear white to her son's wedding. Yeah, I'm sure she totally impressed her little clan of contemptible sycophants. But the majority of the people in that room could See her for exactly what she was: a diminutive, superficial, insecure being who lacked proper social graces or respect for boundaries. If she thought she'd gain the reverence of the people who really mattered, than she is even less clever than I had imagined.

DH and I broke some taboos ourselves, and I'm sure that, unlike me, NMIL was upset by them. If she ever finds this blog, I have some wicked truths for her:

1. Everyone knows that she didn't do anything for our wedding. She may be walking around claiming she had something to do with the photographer, but asking us two days before the wedding if she could pay for something, and sending us a check, does not equal "taking care of the photography," no matter how she likes to play it. I'm well aware that NMIL told L that the photographer was "her responsibility" so that she could take credit and keep up her precious appearances. But, here's the thing, there is a huge difference between offering genuine help, and putting on a show of help. And waiting until two days before a major event to put in her offer, without EVER having made legitimate mention of the event prior to that, says a whole lot about her intentions. She tried to get us to use her photographer, but we said no. The photographer is actually an acquaintance of mine - we took photos together at a friend's wedding. NMIL didn't even know the photographer's name. Ooh, look out NMIL, the cavity where your heart should be is showing.
2. We didn't invite NMIL to our rehearsal dinner because we simply didn't want her there. She offered to pay for that too, in her ploy to attach some strings to our special day (see above) but we saw it coming and had our scissors ready. Our rehearsal dinner wasn't really a rehearsal dinner at all, it was just a chance to get together and have a good time with people who love and respect us, before the big day. Since NMIL's love for us is puny, and basically non-existant, so was her invitation to the rehearsal dinner. She was left out of our plans, because we were left out of her love.
3. DH danced with my mother, my great aunt, and my grandmother before he danced with NMIL because

he wanted to.

And, had she not asked, he would not have danced with her at all. All of the obnoxious girlfriends in that room did not convince him he should dance with his mother. Obnoxious girlfriend #1 belonged to his old college friend, who actually had the gall to extract DH from the goings-on, while she was holding our video-camera (hello, evidence!) to tell DH that he "should ask his mother to dance with him. But, like, you know. It's your wedding, you can do whatever you want." As though her opinion mattered. As though I wouldn't hear about it and return the favor. Obnoxious girlfriend #2 belonged to his Uncle (NM's brother) who cornered him after he danced with my grandmother and hissed, "You go ask your mother to dance!" Not even that wicked witch could scare him into doing it. My mom had told DH well before the wedding that he could do whatever he wanted. She said, "DH, if you want to dance with me, dance with me. If you want to dance with your mother, dance with your mother. If you want to dance with my husband, dance with my husband! There are no rules. You can do anything that you want." And he did.

NMIL and her groupies never once took photos of the wedding ceremony, or of DH and I as a happily wedded couple. In fact, I would bet my bottom dollar that not one inch of my flesh "marred" any of the photographs they have of that day. In hindsight, I'm actually quite happy they didn't get photos of me, as they only would have only exploited them later. You want to hear something really funny? DH's entire FOO spent the moments BEFORE our wedding snapping away pictures of DH with their cameras and cell phones as though their lives depended on it. I've actually gotten myself into a fit of hysterics thinking of the absurdity of it. Picture this, Dear Reader: NMIL, Naunt, EFIL, and L (along with the rest of their cronies) all standing around outside taking group photos and posing with DH before our wedding. Oh the desperation they must have felt, knowing that I was taking him away forever and that things would never be the same because he was about to get married! Their remedy for that unbearable sorrow, of course, was to cut me out of the picture!

If it sounds like I'm making a mockery out of their misery, it's because I am. It doesn't get any more pathetic than a group of supposed adults using the same ineffective tactics they'd used in the past to try and tear us apart. What they actually succeeded in doing was proving the point that they were afraid of me, and resentful of the love and respect DH and I have for each other. I mean seriously, if I can just break it down for you NMIL: Making sure that I'm not in a photograph does not mean that I'm not actually here. If you shut your eyes really tight and wish really hard, I'll still be in the room when you open them again. No amount of cards, written "for just DH" will ever place his allegiance back in your court. And, for shit's sake, it wasn't our wedding that caused your relation-shit with DH to wither and die completely: it was you.


  1. Wow. The wearing white thing was hilarious. I love that you had a non-traditional wedding!

    Soon after my wedding, my NMIL posted a picture on FB. In it was her in the middle and her two adult children on either side of her, my husband and his sister. The caption said: "[NMIL's name] with her son and daughter at her son's wedding."

    I loved that she was the only person mentioned by name, and that I was nowhere in the picture even though it was also my wedding.

    You are a better person than I - I've always been kinda meek around my MIL and luckily she never paid much attention to me.

  2. wow, wearing white. hottdamn, she is supremely self-absorbed! like anyone cares and that matters.

  3. How sad that they feel the need to shadow such a blessed day. I keep thinking that they should be the most miserable people on earth, and yet my own NM keeps declaring she's the happiest person she knows. But then, she's so self-absorbed, maybe she is. Many people think I'm such a horrible daughter for not cutting her any slack, and they don't realize that if I let down my guard, for even a moment, she's in there quick as a flash cutting me to ribbons. I'm learning a lot about not being a doormat. Thank you!

  4. Anon - Ahh, Farcebook! Your story about your MIL's antics could have been written word for word by yours truly! NMIL put a photo of herself and her daughter on her Farcebook page, with the caption, "Me and Daughter at my son's wedding." Not her son and daughter-in-law's wedding, just her son's. Ha! Nice to see your NMIL is just as childish and ridiculous. Sheesh. In fact...are we quite sure we aren't talking about the same woman?

    Lisa - Right on. :o)

    Judy - You certainly would think they are miserable. Don't be too fooled, I personally think they really are, and they have just learned how to hide it really well behind a falsely superficial front. No one can really be as "happy" as they are.

  5. Thanks for sharing your wedding day story. I love how you met and he brought three flowers and how you talked for hours.
    My DH and I had many non-traditional things at our wedding, and my NM's behavior pre-wedding set the tone for the dynamics with us and with her/my DH for evermore.
    having said that, I want to share that we recently celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. And although I am dealing with my NM in my anguish and emotions these days, the memories of our wedding are not overshadowed by her--only the good thoughts of DH. Time and true relationships is what is in the forefront of wedding day memories. Or maybe it is just that there are so many other good memories together that outshines anything else.

  6. Back in my doormat days, the "wedding" dress NM bought for me was pale violet (because I was used goods) but she wore white!

    Another good story. After dating for over eight years, when I phoned to announce that my late DH and I had become engaged my NF said, "Who the hell would marry that arsehole?"

    So glad you and DH had the balls (at a young age) to do things your way. Sounds wonderful!

  7. WRB - The idea of HER behaviors setting the tone is key. It's too bad they don't see it that way. They're all about the shaming and blaming, rather than figuring out how to accept responsibility and make things right. They don't want to have to do the hard work, they've just got a case of the gimme-gimmes. Having said that, all the more congratulations are in order to you for celebrating your 24th wedding anniversary. What an accomplishment, especially when you look at the negativity your NM spews in your direction. Good for you.

    Mulderfan - Your mother and father are really, really fucked up. There's just no getting around it. There's no use flowering it up with pretty words. Fucked Up. Your father's comment said more about him than about you and your DH. And now, you're growing those metaphorical balls. You kick ass, Mulderfan.

  8. What a sight the frantic photo flashing faux pas scene with DH must have been. It would make a great comic scene in a movie! I was laughing when I read your description!

    And imagine what you, or I, or most people, or probably even NMIL for that matter (!) would think if, at a completely unrelated wedding, any of us witnessed the mother of the groom having such a flashfest, and we noted she was dressed in white.

    You're not mocking their misery, you're mocking their idiocy!

    Also..."relationshit". My new favorite useful word.-- quartz

  9. Wow. I can relate to much to your experience! As you probably know, my NM wore a cream frock to our wedding. The scene you describe of DH's family fanatically snapping photos of JUST HIM is stomach turning.

    Thanks for sharing this story, I feel soul-connection to you guys, we've been through the same gauntlet. And lived to tell the tale - still loving one another.


  10. Quartz - "Relationshit" is a great way to describe certain relationships in our lives.

    Upsi - I, too, feel a deep bond with you. It's amazing that anyone can grow to be such a kind, loving person as you are after having been treated the way you were as a child and young adult. Lived, yes. You are defining what it means to be Alive.

    Hugs to all,