Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Planning Our Weddings, Reclaiming Our Selves

I have conflicting views about wedding planning. On the one hand, I think we tend to take the whole thing too seriously. I mean, it's a one-day party with our friends and family. Why obsess about the color of the invitation envelopes?

On the other hand, I believe that weddings are important rites of passage in our lives. Even if we already feel committed to our loved one in our hearts, there's something so transformative about formalizing that commitment. It's a public declaration. It's an important community celebration.

It can also force us to clarify who we are as a new family unit. The process of planning a wedding within a complex web of family, friends, and societal pressures can force us to face truly difficult questions about who we are, what we value, and what we're willing to compromise.

And sometimes, it's really difficult to tell whether or not you're on the right path when you're in the throes of the planning process. Sometimes everything feels right and other times it feels oh-so-wrong.

And sometimes, like this letter from a 2000 Dollar Wedding kindred spirit reminds me, you can make decisions that you regret. You can compromise too much, relinquish too much, and lose too much of yourself along the way.

But this letter also reminds me that it's never too late to reclaim who you are and what matters to you. I can't wait to hear all about Latrice's vow renewal next year!

Without further ado, here's Latrice with her story:

When my husband and I first decided to get married, all we wanted was a small wedding, a meaningful ceremony and family and friends to be involved. Unfortunately, I let my mom get involved with the planning and let her help financially (that was not the original plan, we were to do it ourselves).

Then she took over. The bossiness came as sincerity at first. She convinced me that all she wanted was the best for me, since she was unable to pay for my prom a few years before my wedding and because she felt I deserved more than I was giving myself.

By the end of the planning process, I was so disgusted with everyone and everything that I lost focus of what the day was really about. My husband had also lost focus. My mother had turned my wedding into the wedding she had never had and she used my wedding as a showpiece to prove that she had class (she believes she is the blacksheep of the family--it's all in her head though). It was a spectacle that I wasnt even completely a part of. I remember being utterly miserable at the altar.

I did not enjoy getting married, I did not enjoy being in the warmth and love of my family and friends and I did not enjoy the uniting of two families. My oldest son (who was 3 at the time of the wedding) was adorable as our ring bearer and my husband looked so handsome (the first time I had seen him in a suit, even though we had been together for 5 years by this time!) and I was absolutely gorgeous, but I did not enjoy one bit!!

I began looking into a vow renewal to gain what we missed that day and to strengthen our family bonds. We have had an awesome marriage so I do not regret the day that we were married, I just want something that will create a stronger, more loving bond for us and our families. We have family members that have not met each other and we ourselves have not met all of each other's family (sad, I know, because we have been together 14 years this year in March, married for 9 years, and have 3 children (12, 8 and 4)).

That's when I found your blog and the wedding weekend, all for under 2000 dollars! I thought to myself WOW, I can do an anniversary weekend and I can probably keep it down to a couple thousand....

So that is where the inspiration began. We are currently planning an anniversary weekend. We have a little over a year to get all the details together, so I feel more than confident that this time it will be exactly what we want!

I am gaining the strength to think and look outside the box and to take on new adventures. I was always different anyway and I've always personally embraced my differences but I often hid them from other people (the African American community does not like "different" especially if you are in the "lower financial" bracket). I have, however, been more open and not caring that I am crafty...Yes, I love to knit, I love to sew, I like to make things with my own two hands!! Yes, I am a sophomore in college and I'm a 29 year-old mother of three and wife to a wonderful man!! Yes, all three of my children are by my husband (you have no idea how often I get that question) and Yes I'm a natural curly headed (another not-so accepted trend in the African American community), Yes I am curvy, Yes I am wonderfully different and not only do I love it but so do my kids, husband, close friends and family!! That makes me happy.

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Shaiya said...

i too feel this way, my mom has wanted to make decisions for me, and now i am just anxious for the day to come and pass! so i stopped myself cause i want to be happy that day. i have separated myself a little bit from my mom and i have been doing everything BY MYSELF. though i feel overwhelmed sometimes, i am glad that i am the one making the decisions. the thing is, i have been controlled by my mother for so long that sometimes i feel the urge to ask for her opinion which i know is usually, "no." and then suggests what SHE thinks is right- fortunately i have stopped myself from calling her. i have had to order many things online to not tell her and then she would come with me to the store, i just hope that everything gets here =// and that my wedding day will be one that i will be happy with. :)

prpl4va said...

Amen - go ahead Latrice!

Kristen (kristenwalker.com) said...

Yay!!!!!! I am so happy you are planning an anniversary weekend. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thank you for sharing!

Amanda said...

this is awesome. i'm so inspired by your courage to be true to yourself.

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