- 5 years ago
- Wedding: September 2013
I’m struggling with something in my mind and I’m hoping you can be of some help.. Please note I’m not here looking for snark or “you should have..” because we can’t change the past, rather support and ways to tackle this in my head and heart.
I got legally married 2 months ago to my wonderful husband, who I was previously in a long distance relationship with (me in Toronto, Canada, him in NYC) We currently both live in NYC. When we got engaged we planned to elope at the Manhattan County Clerk in order for us to be together and to facillitate me moving to the US. (We’d looked into every other option, but the simple fact that I was willing to leave my country for our relationship seemed to point us in the marriage direction anyway.) We knew we wanted to be together and we could no longer afford the flights and bus tickets to see each other monthly. We also discussed having a Toronto wedding at a later date so my family could be there as well (no one would realistically be able to travel for the wedding in my family). I originally wanted to just go to city hall in our jeans and not make a big fuss about it, but my sister-in-law insisted that even though this wasn’t the “wedding”, it was still a special time and deserved a celebration. We ended up doing a small dinner at a restaurant with immediate, local family after a city hall ceremony. I got a little shortie dress and we got a photographer (again, at the excitement of my SIL) because she knew we’d want to have memories of the day. It was, in the end, a beautiful and intimate day with lots of emotions and the mark of a great transition.
We planned our Toronto wedding, which would be a traditional-ish interfaithy Jewish ceremony and a cocktail/dancing reception with all of our friends and family, for the following year (on the eve of our 1 year legal anniversary). Venue, caterer, photographer, all booked. Dress bought, before I even came to NYC. We wanted to lock in as much as possible while I was still local. I was, and am, excited, though now these feelings are wavering with self-doubt after some snarky remarks from some friends about how this isn’t a “real” wedding because we’re technically already married. How it’s “just” a renewal of vows.
Many people understand where we are coming from, but these few negative messages are messing with my head and send a sinking pit to my stomach whenever I think about our upocming wedding.
On one hand I feel that simply because our circumstances were different, it doesn’t mean that I don’t “get” to have the wedding I imagined since I was little (well it’s different than that, but I’ve always been a romantic), because we didn’t want to wait another entire year of only seeing each other 4 days a month at an expense we couldn’t manage for the sake of a “real” wedding. In the civil ceremony we didn’t get to introduce my family to my husband’s rich culture and religion which is important to us. We didn’t get to have a veiling, personal vows, an aisle, a chuppah, or lots of booze and dancing. We didn’t get to share MY beautiful hometown with the stateside guests. I know a fancy wedding does not a marriage make (clearly), but we felt that having this was important to us and to our friends and family.
On the other hand the people who aren’t understanding this are making me feel uncomfortable in my decision. The fact that I celebrated the civil ceremony at all is giving me guilt about doing the whole shebang a year later, like it’s sham. I’m not even posting the elopement photos anywhere because I want people to be excited for Toronto. I’m really hurt that some people in my life would be so rigid and non-understanding. My husband says that if they don’t understand they don’t have to come to the wedding, but it’s obviously not that easy.
We’re currently discussing the idea of the ceremony incorporating the Jewish traditions but not involving a consecration, ring exchange or vows. Mostly a charge to the couple, seven blessings, etc. We’d even like the officiant to explain that in Jewish law, a couple is considered a bride and groom for the first year of marriage, and that this celebration may be a way of ending that stage and beginning the lifelong period of being husband and wife. We’re thinking of wording our invitations as “The Official Wedding Celebration of…” . Will this help or hurt?
I’m just not sure what to do anymore. I’m getting paranoid that everyone is perceiving me as a princess who just wants 2 weddings (when, the further into wedding planning I go, the less I want to do with it at all!), and that next year isn’t real, even though if I had my absolute choice I would of course have waited! It just wasn’t realistic, and it doesn’t make sense to be shameful of my legal marriage, and that it’s fine to celebrate it in some way. I feel so self assured about what we’re doing on a logical level but a part of me feels ashamed and paranoid.
How do I resolve this in myself, and what is a useful way to explain our decision to the snarky friends and family?
Thanks so much !