So, after my opinion of marriage had changed and Sean and I decided to get married, why a secret wedding?
There are a lot of reasons that added up to our extremely intimate ceremony being the right choice for us. I guess I’ll just lay some of them out (I’m sure I’ll be forgetting some too), not in any particular order.
- I didn’t want to take any attention away from other people and their planned celebrations. Last year, I had mentioned to a couple of friends that this year, at some point, Sean and I would get married. At the time my mom had basically just announced her wedding and I didn’t want to steal any attention away from her (even though our circles only overlap a slight bit with family) but I certainly didn’t want it to look like I was trying to “one up” her. And then before I knew it, my sister was announcing a date for her wedding (October of 2014) and talking about that and I just wanted the family to be happy for her and her upcoming celebrations.
- Our vows are between us. I wanted our ceremony to be an intimate affair. I wanted to look Sean in the eye with hesitation or reservation and without the discomfort of being up on display in front of a crowd. Even if it was a crowd of loved ones, it would’ve been uncomfortable for us. We really didn’t need or want a big show of our love.
- The cost of a wedding. I can’t justify it. We love to travel with our children and to think about spending a large amount on one evening’s celebrations just seems so ridiculous to us. There are so many places we want to travel still, and we agreed that our money was better spent on something that we all love. We also knew that family would probably help out if we had asked (maybe even if we hadn’t asked), but rather than gift that money to us for a celebration, I’d rather our family understand why we wouldn’t want to accept that money.
- The drunkenness of a reception. I’m not even going to explain this further except to say that on Sean’s wedding day, as someone in recovery, he shouldn’t have to be worried about the drunken foolishness that seems to come out at weddings.
- It’s our wedding! I have talked to so many people both before, but a lot after we did this our way, who said that they wished they would’ve just done it the way they wanted. There are so many family expectations on a couple getting married and what it boils down to for me, is that it is our day and no one else should get a say in it. I find it arrogant that any family members would consider it their right to be a part of something that I think is extremely personal. Not my or his family members in particular, just family members in general. A couple should feel free to get married the way they want, not the way everyone else wants. As a couple who are trying to teach our own children independent thought and to stand up for their convictions, we are not going to decide something simply to please our parents or others around us.
Of course, we could’ve had some family attend without it being massive, but I have 4 siblings, Sean has 2. The children just keep increasing (nieces and nephews), both of our parents are split up, and we still have our grandmothers around… So already it becomes something bigger than we wanted. Inviting one person and not another seemed to us a recipe for disaster and honestly, my family is torn apart enough. So rather than invite any family, we we decided our course of action would be to invite none. It was the right choice for us and if people were upset about it, they would have to work through those feelings, not us.
A lot of people were surprised, but my dad wasn’t totally. I like to think that he knows me fairly well. He knows that I do things in my own way and I get the feeling he respects me for it. Which is cool, because I have a feeling that not everyone respects me for it. Our grandmothers were both super pleased. It made me happy that they were just so happy for us, that they didn’t question the way we did it, just both expressed such happiness for our family.
At the end of the day, I need to be true to myself and my own path (and that of my immediate family), because when I lay my head down at the end of each day, I have to answer to myself, not to anyone else.
I love the way we got married. I love that it was just us. I love that we still got dressed up and the day was glorious and we still hired a photographer to capture our experience. I love that it was just another day of love between our family, a celebration, an official joining, but nothing that we didn’t already feel. It didn’t really change anything except my last name. We were already considered common-law which has the same rights and obligations of being married. But it was a chance for each of us to say in an official way, in front of our 2 daughters, that we choose each other, and we’ll work damn hard to keep on making us work.