Five things that would remain the same
1. Simple and homemade
Even though we didn't have a lot of money, we felt strongly about paying for our own wedding. We were adults and had been on our own for several years. Mike had some money saved back from Japan, and I was still paying off college loans. My college roommate's mom did all the food for us at cost, we had friends and family be our musicians and DJ, we were able to get a wedding video at a bargain rate (because he was British and knew we didn't have much money), and we made as much as we could (dresses, favors, programs, etc.). I went for a less traditional (and less expensive) wedding dress and hat, which better fit my personality than the full train and veil. We bought our wedding rings in Cannon Beach--they are simple gold bands, $200 each, and we still have them to this day. (I didn't want a diamond because of apartheid in South Africa, where most diamonds were from at that time.)
All of our siblings were in the wedding party. At the time, I hardly knew Mike's siblings at all, but I'm glad they were part of our wedding. The only person missing was our wonderful sister-in-law Shemara, whom we didn't meet until many years later. Family is forever, and friendships can change. Sadly, Mike's dad died only a couple of years later, and I'm so glad we have his wonderful Scottish brogue captured on the wedding video.
3. Music, poetry, and ritual
|My handsome groom|
4. Personal and heartfelt
We've all been to impersonal weddings where the minister or justice of the peace does not know the couple marrying them. Those weddings are not usually very personal or memorable. We had intended to be married by our Catholic priest and Lutheran pastor (since we attend a Catholic-Lutheran church), but the Lutheran pastor didn't think he would be able to make it. We had pre-marriage counseling with the Catholic priest, a Franciscan, and he did the honors at our wedding. I still remember his inspiring message, even though he had us do some unusual things such as welcome everyone to the wedding and sit down in chairs during his homily. To this day, Father Matt remains a very special person in our lives and marriage.
5. I'd marry the same man!
Of course! I still wonder occasionally how I found myself so blessed to find a life partner who is kind, wise, funny, musical, romantic, handsome, poetic, loves the same things I do, shares my values and beliefs, and most important--loves ME! It's been 22 years, 3 months, and 2 days, and I love him even more than I did at age 25.
Five things that would be different now
|With my family|
Being a young feminist, I chafed against many of the traditional marriage rituals. I couldn't bear the thought of being "given away" by my father, while Mike would walk in and stand independently at the altar with the groomsmen. Instead, we walked in together, representing our shared commitment and independence.
I've always felt a little guilty about this, though, because I was first to get married in my family. If I did it all over again, I would have us each walk in escorted by our parents.
|With Mike's family|
Weddings are just about the most traditional rituals around, and I am an individualist, not bound by tradition. I'd still forego the diamond (but perhaps choose a different stone), go for a less traditional dress, write our own vows, have lots of music, and have a female ring bearer (we had two girls [my cousins] instead of a flower girl and male ring bearer]). Needless to say, I did not address the wedding invitations as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, as the etiquette books tell you to do. When we got married, I kept my name. After we'd been married nearly 13 years, Mike announced that he wanted us to hyphenate. We had to go to court to legally hyphenate our names, and even had to pay to get a hyphen added to Chris' name! (He had both of our names without the hyphen.)
|With the ring bearer and flower girl|
(my cousins Elena and Annie,
who I took care of during college)
We got married after returning from three years in Japan. Mike knew very few people in the U.S., as he'd only been here for five months. Now we have a vastly larger community of friends...both together and separately. Many of our wedding guests were old family friends or my friends from college and high school. Over the years, friendships change as we ourselves change. Many of my closest friends now are people I have met in the past 10 to 15 years. One of my close high school friends, and my freshman roommate at PLU, was at our wedding with her much-older husband and three little boys (she, too, was only 25!). That was the last time I saw her, as she didn't stay in touch. I often wonder what ever happened to her!
Fortunately, we had two people come from Japan from our wedding...Seiji (one of Mike's groomsmen and one of his students) and Kazue, his friend from Oxford days (and his inspiration for going to Japan). Sadly, we have also lost touch with Seiji, who returned to Japan to become a salaryman (Japanese businessman).
In addition, many older family members and friends who attended our wedding have died (including Mike's dad and my grandma and many aunts and uncles). Watching our wedding video recently, we were stunned to notice this.
I'd still want the Gipsy Kings. I'd also still want our first dance to be "It's a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong and the dance with the parents to be "That's Amore," but we'd forego Madonna (the long version of "Get Into the Groove" that went on and on) and especially the song, "If You Don't Know Me By Now," which was my brother's favorite song at the time. He was our DJ, and although we gave him a list of our favorite songs, that song was NOT on it--and got played at least twice! Even though we did like Simply Red, that song is not the most romantic!
See what I mean??
|Bridal Veil Lodge|
Our plan was to go to Spain and Portugal for our honeymoon--we even had the airplane tickets in hand! However, what we didn't realize was that Mike was unable to leave the country for several months because of immigration. We had to forfeit our plane tickets (no refund!) and we never made it to Spain and Portugal! Instead we spent a few days in the Columbia Gorge at the Bridal Veil Lodge and played tourist in the gorge--going on the Sternwheeler, dining at the Multnomah Falls Lodge, taking hikes. We had a lovely time, but I would have loved to have a European honeymoon. Perhaps for a milestone anniversary?
I'd marry him all over again in a hot second