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Going to the Chapel ... someone else's but still.

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As we head into this new year, I am fully prepared to amp up my Wedding Pinterest Board. Okay, yes, I am already married. And no, my husband and I are not having a vow renewal. Also no, neither of my children is getting married as they are too young and will be too young until at least the age of 35.

2023 will actually be the year my nephew gets married. I can’t be totally sure, but I may be more excited than he and his fiancee. The reason I can’t be totally sure is because they stopped responding to my endless screenshots of reception decor ideas months ago.

Why am I so excited?

Oh, it’s just that I haven’t been to a wedding in years and I need one.

Long story short, I love love. I also love the joy of a whole day dedicated to love. I love the bright open future for which weddings serve as a starting point. I love that weddings also represent an agreed-upon “relinquishing” of the past. I love the hopefulness, and I love the thought put into the details, and I love all of the little touches that make the hearts of attendees feel warm, fuzzy, and just bursting. I love that all around the venue (big or small) there will be conversations that start with, “Remember our wedding?” or “Someday … when I get married …” I love knowing that, this year, my own wedding will be a part of those conversations as that day resurfaces as a part of the time capsule representing my husband's and my life together.

At 50-ish, I am no longer a frequenter of nuptials. It’s not that I’m not well-behaved at weddings. Okay, maybe I was not well-behaved in the past but, really, put a bunch of young twenty-somethings on a dance floor sitting in front of an open bar and, well, what did you think would happen? The point is, I am much better behaved now. No, the reason I am not currently on the invite circuit is that I am sitting right in the middle of two of life’s wedding seasons: all the weddings of those within my age group are complete while my kids (and those children of my friends) have yet to even think about their own weddings.

I know that my next dabble in the happily-ever-after will likely be driven by those facing their big day while being forced to leave a table or two for “friends of parents.” There will be fiancees annoyed at having to ante up entrees for people they hardly know while partners will be stuck on repeat with statements of, “Look, she was like my second mom,” or “My parents are really close with them,” or “Just go with it, they probably give really good presents,” or “Please don’t make me ask my mother again why she needs an entire table of her own girlfriends to attend.

From that final year in college and right through my mid-thirties, it was a wedding bonanza. Sometimes there were multiple options on the same weekend and we traveled in packs from event to event, multiple dresses laid out in car trunks so as not to look repetitive in pictures. Here a wedding, there a wedding, everywhere you look, a wedding.

Entering my thirties, the invites slowed from a flood to a trickle with maybe one wedding per month and then maybe two per year. The receptions transitioned from full-out parties to more adult shindigs. Open bars? Yes. But drinks were themed and there were only three options and, typically, the entire event was less than a few hours and certainly over well before midnight as hosts had respect for the need for guests to return home before guest carriages turned to pumpkins and babysitters started charging overtime.

My forties?

Oh, wait, that was mine. The one and only wedding I attended in my forties was my own.

I finished the courting process in last place (I mean first place, honey because I got you).

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe I do want to have a second wedding someday (Yes honey, to you). I loved everything about our first wedding, but a second could include the many new friends I have made since moving away from North Cackalacky. Maybe we wouldn’t be preoccupied with whether our children understood the significance of the day. Maybe I wouldn’t look as much like a deer in headlights and maybe we’d really celebrate as a tribe that persevered and maybe my MIL wouldn’t whisper, “I didn’t realize this was going to be a real wedding” at the end as if we were all participating in some sort of very expensive game of dress up.


My nephew.

This kid.

He has had my heart from day one.

He has now picked the perfect partner to share (and protect) his own heart with.

Ironically, the two have been together for about as long as my husband and I. That may be why we understand the work that they have put into their relationship. Truthfully, they may have put in more work. Maintaining a lasting relationship from high school on? Good grief. My husband and I were seasoned grown-ups when we met. I have nothing but accolades for couples that successfully navigate all the emotional changes that come with their teenage years and then into their twenties.

Growing up is mentally draining.

Growing up while building and honoring a relationship is worthy of a monument.

When I got married, though it was only a decade ago, the options for putting one’s personal stamp on a wedding were still fairly slim, unless you had an unlimited budget. There wasn’t a multitude of craft stores or “create” devices or, well, most of the internet. There certainly wasn’t the card catalog of ideas that Pinterest provides. It was probably for the best.

I’m sure if I’d tacked up a list of items that I would be making by hand for our wedding, Rich would have begun to prepare for the inevitable moment when I reached Code Red.

I’m already thinking of what advice I will have for my nephew and his fiance. Actually no, not really. The truth is, I will probably offer very little advice. Have we learned a lot in our ten years of marriage? Absolutely. But I know that we wouldn’t have learned any of it quicker by reading it on a cute notecard.

We had to go through the mud of being newlyweds together so that we could pull each other through the most difficult moments. We had to reach the end of the initial hard stuff via our own willpower in order to pick each other up at the end.

So advice? Probably not. A listening ear? Absolutely.

Well, maybe one small piece of advice.

Let your mother have that table of girlfriends on your big day even though you may not know most of them. Your mother? She is not simply attending your wedding - she is witnessing a part of her soul departing her nest for the very last time. She will not be okay. She will need her own tribe at the ready to help her contain her very mixed feelings.

As for your aunt?

Put her wherever you want, but please make sure there are endless tissues.


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