As I prepare to head to Louisiana for my ten-year reunion with Teach For America, I'm once again reflecting on the similarities and differences between reunions and weddings.
As we planned the reunion, we were thinking first and foremost about the people and how to schedule our time together so that we would prioritize community, connection, and fun. We put in lots of "chill and hang out" time, like the Fiesta at someone's house on Friday night, the crawfish boil on Saturday, and the brunch on Sunday. We also incorporated a few of our favorite activities, like a game of Ultimate and a trip to a music festival.
Once those big rocks were in place, we started pouring in the sand. We decided to make a commemorative CD of everyone's favorite songs, and we started planning the details of what we would eat and drink. We did not even once stress about what the food would be served on or what people would sit on. I did plan to sew a special dress for the occasion, but when I completely botched it, I decided to pull out a regular skirt from my closet (one that I got ten years ago in Louisiana).
Of course there are real differences between reunions and weddings that haven't been illuminated yet. For example, a wedding is an important life event that formalizes the commitment between two people.
However, it's not clear in my mind how that significant difference ends up manifesting itself in so many insignificant ways. Why does wedding planning have to involve large amounts of stress around details as insignificant as stamps (which is one of my personal examples of stress!)?
I wonder if it's because we are eager to put ourselves wholeheartedly into our marriages. Maybe we want to "get off on the right foot." Maybe we want to honor the significance of what we are about the undertake but our consumer culture gives us so many misguided outlets for expressing that significance?
I wonder if the "reunion mentality" could help re-ground us in the big rocks of wedding planning? Yes, there will still be countless details to coordinate, but those details should take a backseat to the more significant details of who will be there and what we'll be doing together.
It would be like planning a "Commitment Reunion." You would be bringing together your nearest and dearest to celebrate your commitment (with the emphasis on the "commitment," which is why it's first in the phrase).
Hmmm....just a thought.