|The not-very-Merli wedding bouquet I was gifted pre-Ubering.|
At this point, I apparently turned wide-eyed to Sean who, ever the voice of reason, calmly reminded me that “everyone we know would kill us.” Recognizing defeat, I thanked our fellow passenger, and continued to smile in the dark at the thought of a spontaneous, cost-free wedding.
Over the years, I’ve seen friends post their thoughts on weddings, be it their own or in response to society’s view of them in general. Some view it as a chance to realize their childhood fantasies of the “perfect, magical day;” some deem it a religious necessity; and others argue that getting married isn’t an “accomplishment” and should not be exalted as such. Whatever your own views may be, here are my own: I agree that marriage is not an accomplishment, but I do view it as one of the most important commitments one can make (or not make, if that’s your choice!). It is the formal recognition that not only have you found someone you value to the point of sharing your life with them, but also that you agree to be their partner emotionally and physically from this day onward.
Personally, I never dreamed of my wedding. I never crooned over wedding dress magazines or thought about how I’d style my hair. In fact, I downright laughed when one popular wedding website (who bought my email from who knows who) sent me an Urgent Reminder! that my wedding was only 365 days away and in order to stand any chance of looking beautiful for my ceremony, it was imperative that I start my wedding beauty regimen now! Can you imagine? 365 days of torture! But I digress… No, for me the perfect marriage—I thought at the time—was a quiet, simple, meaningful elopement, sharing my vows with Sean and Sean alone, outdoors surrounded by the sounds of nature and the eyes and ears of only the one marrying us. My fiancé on the other hand, was the one who had selected his groomsmen back in middle school; had visions of me walking down the aisle in a white dress; and represented our friends and families' pleas for a traditional wedding.
|My view from the barn, early Saturday morning. Those gorgeous deep blue-gray clouds soon drifted away before returning at the end of the ceremony.|
They say marriage is often about compromise, so compromise we did. I got my outdoor ceremony (on an alpaca farm, no less!), and everyone else got the rest. Yet the kicker is this: I loved every minute of it. Maybe it was the quiet Vermont setting, or the last-minute drop in numbers on our guest list, but our ceremony actually did feel quite intimate. I found myself turning to my friends standing by me and my family and framily in the rows along the lawn, laughing as Sean and I displayed our clear differences as people—him: earnest, meticulous, and at times, cautious; me: gregarious, spontaneous, and at times, impatient—and choking up as Sean revealed his secret ability to kick my ass at writing vows.
|The totally-Merli wedding bouquet I was thrilled to carry. Shout out to Fast Pony Flowers for creating the most insanely stunning bouquet I've ever held, and for answering my initial outreach email with "Haphazard is my specialty." Thank you, Melissa!|
So although I didn’t have my Uber-ride elopement, I did have the perfect wedding. Sean and I made a good team, from site visits to tastings to décor planning, and those who attended or sent their love from afar made the weekend that much more powerful. Even Mother Nature gave us each what we desired: for Sean, a rich blue sky with a few puffy white clouds (his exact request), and for me, a sudden deluge of rain as our guests raced inside the reception barn, while Sean and I laughed our way through fields and covered bridges. Compromise at its finest.
|Another shout out to our incredible weather-defying photographer Somerby Jones!|
In the end, I am grateful. Grateful to Sean for committing to a lifetime of shenanigans with me, and for pushing me to include our incredible network of friends and family in this important life event; grateful to my family for making it financially possible for us to spend an entire weekend visiting with our guests (nothing felt rushed, and no one felt missed); grateful to our amusingly renegade officiant Wayne for balancing humor with solemnity; and grateful to all those closest to us who took the time out of their busy lives to travel to middle-of-nowhere Vermont and celebrate this commitment. Truly, I could not have asked for a better partner, nor a better way to legally kick off our partnership.
To everyone in my life: Thank you. To Sean: Let’s do this!