- 8 years ago
- Wedding: December 2015
Let me pre-emptively say that I am fairly serious about respecting the religious view points of friends and family, and not imposing my own beliefs on other folks. I know weddings often turn into a happy-medium of keeping people pleased, including yourself and what you believe in. But that is easier said than done.
Our family was/is Catholic – we went through all the confirmation material, and both my brother and I had our teenage “falling out” where mom would bring us all to church on Sunday for cohesion, but neither of us felt it anymore. I think we were both starting to figure out our own aspects of spirituality, and the Catholic structure we were raised in did not fit those new concepts. College was a non-religious time, and now that I am on my own I have been working at New York Ave Presbyterian for the last two years as a singer.
Fiance and I knew we would prefer an outdoor ceremony with an inclusive spiritual feel- and we also knew that the Catholic church does not perform weddings outside. I knew my mother was going to stress the need for a Catholic wedding, and neither Fiance or I wanted that at all. It wasn’t us, and I felt like I would be lying to myself if I were “going through the motions”.
The only person I’ve ever had trouble standing up for myself around was my mother – I am not sure if this was because I did not want to disappoint her, or if it was because she is such a dominating personality that I always caved in to preserve the peace. Either way, with a wedding being the start of a “new life” independent of your parents I wanted to do what was going to make me happy – and I knew it was going to involve some discussions.
“Now you know you have to get married in the Catholic Church. Your grandmother would roll over in her grave if you didn’t.”
“Well mom, we were looking at having an outdoor ceremony, and the Catholic Church doesn’t allow their ceremonies to be outside.”
“No way! Let me call your deacon second cousin. We can get him to marry you.”
Never-mind asking me about that decision. After conferring with her cousin, he confirmed what I already knew, and said there were a few options. First, we could try to write the Dioceses of Burlington and seek a dispensation form to go outside of a church. Secondly, he suggested a small ceremony at a church on Friday night, and then an outdoor “wedding” on Saturday. While some brides are fine with this idea, it broke my heart. I did not want people traveling to witness a “fake” wedding on Saturday, and I felt like it discredited what Fiance and I felt was important to us. Again, I do respect the Church’s right to their doctrine, but did not want to be forced through that procedure.
We were sitting in my parent’s kitchen and I had to try to refrain from crying in front of everyone, I was so upset and flustered about being forced into this without recourse. Later that week mother threatened to cut off all funding if we didn’t have a Catholic wedding. As much as I would like to say, “screw you, we’ll pay for it ourselves” that really isn’t a feasible option with student loans, grad school, bills and our timeline with my aunt’s terminal cancer. I know I’d feel cheated out of an experience if we just went to a JOP, and I wanted our ceremony to reflect us. My mom had me cornered.
Some of you may be thinking, “hold up, it isn’t that bad. Just bite the bullet.” And I sort of am now – we’ve gotten her to agree to having our wedding in VT with a liberal Episcopal minister, she’s pretty rad. We’ll have to go down to my parent’s parish after the VT wedding and have a convalidation, which is where you sign the paperwork for your marriage to be recognized in the Catholic church. It’s normally for fallen away Catholics who want to get back into the church. But we don’t. I was hoping to just sign some papers in 5 minutes (As the hippie priest suggested) and wash my hands of this.
But this past month my mother has started to refer to this MD convalidation as our “Real Wedding”. She is inviting family to fly down. She is making it into a big deal. This just makes me want to scream and hide under a pillow and cry that still, after telling her what I wanted and what I believe in, my mother cannot respect my wishes and feels the need to basically say I’m wrong and she is right. What comes after this, a fuss about baptising kids down the road? This isn’t picking out a florist.
So I’m at a loss as to how to get her to back off and chill out. And how to keep the $10k that they are putting towards the wedding. And how to grow a spine without causing discourse that could last for the next 15 years. Anyone else get stuck in a similar situation?