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Archive for September, 2009

Paramount Theater in Newark, NJ

I’ve been thinking a lot about why we are getting married. I do not doubt my desire to be with my fiancé for the rest of our lives or our love for each other. I know that I want to marry him. I know that he wants to marry me.

But why, exactly? What is propelling us in this direction? I know it isn’t simply because we are “supposed to.” It is bigger than that. 

Marrying for love is a modern concept. There is no doubt that love is the primary reason behind our union. The public and legal reasons are also important.  

I am happy to be able to share our vows in a circle of our friends and family. In the beginning of a relationship, we want to “shout the person’s names from the rooftops.” As the relationship progresses, it deepens and we still want to share it.

I talked to some married friends to ask them what helped to shape their own decisions to marry.

Shasta, one of the Wonderful Women and author of the new sewing blog The Lovely Nest, notes the importance of commitment and accountability. She writes, “I think it comes down to commitment and sometimes just knowing between the two of you that you’ll spend your lives together isn’t enough.  You want to get up in front of all your family and friends and publicly declare your love and say “this is the person I will love until I die.”  There’s some accountability in that.” Yes, Shasta, that feels exactly right.

I am touched by how Wonderful Woman Alethea uses the word “hope” as she explores this topic. Perhaps there is nothing more hopeful or optimistic than making a decision like this one. Alethea writes, “Whether people decide to get married or not, love is a big chance that we all take, whether you go in with big doubts or big dreams of a perfect union. I think getting married is an expression of hope that the way you make each other feel is so unique and valuable, that it must mean you should couple for life.  And there is an urge to say it out loud in front of everyone you know!” 

Wonderful Woman Amy writes about the “pledge” she and her husband made: “To me, marriage is telling the world that you’re in it for the long haul. If Peter and I had just continued to live together without getting married, I guess it would have felt more open-ended. I would have wondered how long we would be together. Now, whatever may happen in the future, I know that we at least went in with the expectation of forever. I am a very shy and private person, but I really wanted to make that public declaration. We wrote our own vows and they included the words “Before God and these witnesses, I vow…” as an acknowledgment that we weren’t just saying nice words; we were truly committed to what we were pledging.”

A certain proof and commitment to a relationship can’t be denied in a true marriage. Shasta adds, “I think security probably plays some role.  Sometimes I joke and ask Chris if he promises to love me forever and he always answers “I already did.”  I think there really is something powerful about publicly promising to love someone forever.” 

My fiancé and I are already a committed, nuclear family in so many ways. We are committed to each other and will make this pledge public in 10 days.

I really can’t wait.

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The tradition of watching a 3D movie (my first!)

I will be getting married in a dress that is not white and I am not changing my name.

Are we completely shunning tradition? As a family friend pointed out, I was wore a very shiny tiara at my wedding shower. Indeed, we are picking and choosing what makes sense for us while still laughing along the way. 

The tiara was fun – great fun, actually – and we feminists can all enjoy ourselves.

At the shower, I wore black – a fashion choice above all – and didn’t flinch when I was given a pizza cutter and high quality kitchen scissors. There are some traditions that don’t allow the bride to be to use scissors, cut anything with a sharp object or receive anything sharp. Frankly, the gifts are often related to the kitchen and it is hard to avoid all sharp objects. What good luck comes from missing the opportunity for a friend to share her favorite sharp kitchen tool?

Luck, as we know, is what we decide it is. We make things happen. My fiancé and I are making this wedding happen because we love each other and we want to be one, emotionally and legally. 

Do I look down on a more traditional wedding celebration, shower to honeymoon? Of course not. The true beauty of our diverse, contemporary nation is that we can all make our own choices, and those choices can all be celebrated.

What is a “traditional” marriage to me? It is one in which the gender roles are clearly defined. There is a religious aspect to the purpose of the union and the participants follow prescribed rules – clothing choice, names, roles, etc. 

Of course, there are some useful purposes to tradition. My fiancé wrote in the first part of his guest blog  on traditions that they , “help to build connections across time and place.” In the second part, he notes, “A lot of traditions help solve coordination and cooperation problems.” There are reasons to do things in a familiar way that accomplish a certain goal. We’ve thought a lot about this and I encourage you to read his musings.

We are putting a twist on the traditions that we find meaningful. We aren’t the first to do so and we certainly won’t be the last.

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A family friend asked me about the wording on our invitation. We invited guests to our celebrate our “union,” not our “wedding.” Why?

There are two reasons. First, we would want to wait to get married until all couples have the option to get married legally. However, becoming a legal unit is important to us and we’ve found it impossible to wait. By using the word union, as in, a “civil union,” we give a nod towards that fight.

Also, we like the idea of a “union,” over the more traditional “marriage.” The difference does not  only contain the legal rights (without religious implications), but also the meaning of the word. A union brings together two entities as equal parts who become one by choice. 

As writers, academic and creative, words are important to us. We have chosen them carefully for what they mean to us and others.

There is no denying that a marriage offers us, a heterosexual couple, certain legal rights (hospital visitation, shared health insurance, etc.) How is it possible that marriage, or at the very least the rights inherent in a legal marriage, is not available to all couples in our country? 

Do I believe that all couples who have the legal option to get married do so? Of course not. It is a choice.

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Less than two weeks before the wedding! I am returning to Michigan today to be with my fiance’, catch up on work and maybe even take a nap. This has been a busy, productive and fun trip. I can’t believe the shower and bachelorette party (and Tiziano Ferro concert) are over already.

Today is the last day I’ll be alone visiting my parents as an unmarried woman. I’m packing up my luggage in my childhood bedroom.

I’ll return for a few days before the wedding, but my fiance’ will be with me, which is somehow different.  This feels like an important day. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll feel differently later, but I think I will.

If you are married, did you feel differently afterwards?

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Warning: This has nothing to do with wedding planning.

Tiziano FerroIt is time to take a little break. The Mother of the Bride and I are driving to Atlantic City to hear Tiziano Ferro, an Italian pop singer.

I heard him a few years ago in Florence, Italy with Wonderful Woman Lisa. We stood on the balcony level and while we were towards the back, we could see him quite clearly. We were the tallest people there aside from the mothers by the wall. The teeny-boppers in front of us didn’t block our view at all. We had a great time laughing, singing and dancing.  

My friend Mario kindly sent me his recent CD, Alla Mia Eta’, from Italy. They seem to only sell it in the USA  in Spanish.  

I’m looking forward to seeing the Atlantic Ocean, singing the wrong words loudly (he’ll probably be singing the Spanish version) and enjoying a night away from wedding planning with the Mother of the Bride.

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I didn’t believe people when they told me how much there was to do before the wedding. I thought that it would mostly be done a few weeks (months?) before. What was I doing before if there is still so much to do? 

Music details, seating, centerpieces, table markers, transportation, alcohol… there are many final details to work out. It is hard to focus on much else right now.

I’m starting to wonder if it was a bad idea to try writing daily blogs. I am “wedding” (and working with folks “wedding” with us, thanking people who are “wedding” with us). Noting the number of days left everyday seems a little more stressful than I’d expected. Fifteen? Wowsers.  

Am I ridiculous to try to write during this period? Every writing teacher has said that writers have to write as often as possible. It is like playing the piano; you have to practice. If not, how can you keep up your skills, let alone improve?

 And so, I continue. Writing teachers also say that if you have nothing to write, you should write about having nothing to write. So here it is folks. Perhaps a little of nothing.

I’d prefer to watch a show about nothing. Seinfeld, are you on demand? I need a break between the items on the To Do list.

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Father of the Bride and Bride dancingParents of the Bride dancing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the final days of planning our wedding, I’m amazed by the various things we’ve learned and are learning. 

Like dancing. My fiancé and I had great fun taking dance classes in Ann Arbor.  I encouraged my parents to take dance classes of their own and they kindly invited me to join their class last night at the Union County Dance Centre.

We brought the CD with the Father of the Bride/Bride song on it to the dance class, put on our wedding shoes and started moving… slow, slow, quick, quick… 

It was a great relief after a big day of meeting with the DJ, picking up the marriage license and working on more wedding details.

What will I do after the wedding? Seems like there won’t be a single thing left that needs doing. (Remind me of that while I’m running errands and grading papers…)

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