- 3 years ago
- Wedding: June 2014 - San Francisco, CA
And honestly? I couldn’t be happier. Greatest day of my life. Because the marriage is very much ON.
After the ring drama with MIL (see prior post), I sent it back. MIL sent me an incredibly hurtful long email the next morning (which I received even as I was reading through all your thoughtful advice in my “She Asked For The Ring Back” thread!) and it just began to feel like poison on my hand. At the end of the day, even if it was technically mine, I didn’t want her to have that hanging over my head for the rest of my life. I printed out a label for registered insured mail, (she specifically asked when I was going to mail it and if she could have the tracking number), resisted the urge to include a hurtful letter back, sealed it up, then collapsed on the couch and sobbed. My FI, who knows me better than anyone, just held me. He would’ve preferred to junk it or give it to one of my SILs, but said that as it was very much MY ring, and I could do with it what I felt best. Yes, I was attached to the ring, but at the end of the day there was SO MUCH MORE to what has been going on that I just couldn’t deal. I don’t come to all this “bride” stuff naturally, and we’ve faced so much drama (some I’ve discussed here on Bee, some we’ve kept to ourselves) that with few exceptions (dress! cake!), most of the planning was just leaving a really bitter taste in my mouth by that point. I turned to FI and said, “I just want to skip all the shit and go straight to being your wife.” If there’s one thing I’ve never doubted this whole time, it’s my love for, and full-souled commitment to, him.
He said, we can make that happen.
It was very near closing time when we walked into a chain jewelry store in a mall (spare me the judgment re: “tackiness” of chain stripmall jewelry stores) and bought simple rings. We got me a new engagement ring (white gold with a white sapphire) and both of us wedding bands (also white gold) based on what we could afford out of pocket, no debt. Then we needed to make it official. Eloping in CA is fairly easy as long as you can plan just a teensy weensy bit: when we checked the website, it said you should make a reservation for getting a license and married by a judge. So I texted my best friend (also MOH) and told her that on Thursday, I wanted to take her to lunch someplace really fancy, but the address I gave her to meet me was for city hall. She got wise which led to me spilling the beans instead of surprising her – and I’m glad I did, because she met us outside with champagne and “wedding cake” (white cake vanilla frosting cupcakes from our favorite local bakery.) FI and I both took the day off work. At our appointed time, we did everything in one fell swoop, him in slim-cut khakis and me in a $29 ivory summer dress from Target. For my bouquet I had a cluster of purple tulips from Whole Foods, and instead of a veil I wore a carved white jade barrette given to me by a close friend while we were living abroad. My MOH held her iPod over her head playing “Sigh No More” by Mumford & Sons, checking off one of my most looked-forward-to elements of the bridal processional – so cheesy, but whatever. We have roughly 20 wedding photos total, and I think FI (now DH) and I are both looking at the camera with our eyes open in three of them. “City Hall marriage” sounds drab, but it’s honestly one of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever seen. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
We then drove up to Napa Valley for a three-night minimoon. It was a miracle we were able to find a B&B with last-second availability this time of year, but everything turned out perfectly. It’s almost as though it was meant to be.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a smidge disappointed – yes, it’s a lot of stress off of our plate, but eloping means no dancing, no tearful speeches, no Maggie Sottero Sahara gown, no celebrating with ALL our nearest and dearest. (Plus, we’re out a couple of deposits.) But much of that will come. We’ve discussed it, and will still be having a big celebration but do exactly what I’m always suggesting everyone else to do: have the reception WE can afford. The plan is that on our first anniversary we’ll have a vow renewal/recommitment reception in our home city. Not accept any of the much-pushed offers of help from our families, just request their presence. (NO registry or gifts, obviously!) So much less pressure. Outdoor venue, unlimited beer and wine, local BBQ and fajita food trucks (<$20 a person for AWESOME food!), neighborhood bakery cupcakes/desserts (way cheaper and more personal to us than traditional cake!), a musician friend DJing for us, all as a no-strings-attached gift from us to them. One event, one afternoon/evening. It’s not a high-pressure must-be-perfect special day, it’s a picnic with friends and family – and we can invite a TON more people this way, so it all works out in the end. (Seriously, we priced it out and our dream reception is a few thousand dollars, even with twice as many guests as our original wedding plan, which is quite cheap for the Bay Area). That’s the part of the wedding hullabaloo both of us were really excited about to begin with! Drinks, food, dancing, and companionship. I guess I do still need a dress, but tea-length party dress in any color will do now.
The somber part: FIL and MIL know we eloped. They found out through the best (wo)man (the youngest of DH’s sisters). DH’s four older sisters all called us over the weekend, and were all ecstatic with the news. They are VERY excited for the BBQ next year, and two of them have already booked flights – bringing husbands, kids, everyone. However, neither of his parents have contacted us with congratulations, and rebuilding this relationship is going to take time, if it happens at all. A period of not speaking is probably the best case for everyone right now (compared to FI’s impulse, which is to write an incredibly raw and scathing email to both of his parents, but why not just be happy and blissful together for a while instead of getting that worked up about it all over again?) Non-contact will allow us to re-evaluate how much we can allow them in our lives, and if they’ll be invited next June. Another friend (who would’ve been a BM, oh well) asked me, “Aren’t you kind of afraid to be marrying into a family that can unleash that kind of Avalanche Of Crazy on someone at the drop of a hat??” It’s a valid question, but with DH by my side, I could stand up to Voldemort himself. He is the most supportive man I’ve ever met, and I am so blessed to have him in my life.
But back to the bliss and joy. DEFINITELY not saying what I did should be the ideal for everyone else; I love looking at everyone’s beautiful ceremonies and gorgeous dresses. Do what feels right for you. But this definitely suits us perfectly. It’s what we should have done from the beginning, instead of letting MY mother wheedle me into agreeing to have a perfect pretty princess day (that my parents insisted on helping pay for) at the outset (long story there, for another day.) DH and I are just ready to be married. Our commitment has always been strong, and this was just the paperwork-and-rubber-stamp way of making it official. For us, all the rest is details 🙂
Love, it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free ..