Today I had the distinct “pleasure” of attending a bridal shower. This one was small (under 25 people including the bride and bridesmaids), not really well organized and had a minimal menu. The best part was that I knew two people – the bride, whom I’ve met maybe twice and the groom’s mother, my sister-in-law.
Of course, I was introduced to everyone. But it’s a good thing I didn’t have to pass a test to leave, because other than the bride’s grandmother, I wouldn’t have remembered anyone’s name. That could be a sign of age, but more likely it was a matter of inattention. My bad.
The bride got some lovely gifts for their new home. All from the gift registry, of course, so no real surprises. It got me thinking about my two marriages and the hoopla or lack thereof that accompanied them. They were like night and day.
The first marriage had all the traditional trappings. Not my idea. It was 1973 and I’d have been happier in my jeans in the back yard. My mother, on the other hand, wanted everything done “the right way.” I gave in because I was 19 and not paying for the wedding. I learned not to give in.
I ended up with not one, not two but three bridal showers! Certainly not my idea. Shower #1 was huge. My father came from a large family and every aunt, cousin, family friend and their sister were invited. There must have been 100 people! So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there were duplicates and triplicates of some things. Nothing like trying to make exchanges at the same time that you’re going to college out of state. At least this was a home shower – toasters, towels, etc.. Shower #2 was in a neighboring state where my mother’s extended family lived. This was the dreaded (at least by me) “personal shower.” Although small, it was really difficult because no one knew my taste. Yet they were giving me intimate things. They chose what I’m sure they liked. A lot of it had lace and ruffles. I hate lace and ruffles. After this shower, I had a three hour drive back to the college campus. Shower #3 was again a home shower, this time at my in-laws home. Even smaller, with even fewer people that I knew. At least I could drive back to college with my fiance.
The wedding was big, with the dress, cake, reception; I hate big events. I hate getting all dressed up. You can imagine how much I enjoyed that day.
But I did learn lessons that lasted. I learned not to do things just because someone else thinks I should. I learned how to say thank you like you mean it, even if you don’t. I learned that 19 is too young to get married – oh, that’s another story.
The first marriage lasted 14 years – some good, some bad. It ended because I said I wanted 2 children, but discovered I had 3 – 2 under 10 and one adult. Among other reasons. I vowed I would never marry again.
I spent 10 years alone, working full time and single parenting. Difficult but satisfying. Then things changed. I met “the right one.” This one is into year 11 and going strong. I think you make better choices when you’ve got some life experience and your mate does, too. But what really made it clear was the second wedding.
We did it our way. We went to Florida. Just us. No entourage. We spent a week at Disney World. The second day we were in Florida, we went to the city hall in Orlando, to a license, got married by the justice of the peace about 10 minutes later and went on our way. We mailed the wedding announcements in a mailbox outside city hall and went back to Disney World. Except for the fact that fibromyalgia had to make an appearance during that week, everything was perfect. When we got home, we had the marriage blessed and celebrated with just our parents and siblings.
So glad I learned that lesson: do what is the right thing for yourself when all is said and done.