Tuesday, April 10, 2012
No Dances With Wolves
I am recently engaged to my person of 6 years. We've been close friends for 10 years. Basically, our lives, everything we want and care about and enjoy in the world, mesh perfectly. Getting engaged feels amazing; figuring out how to get married doesn't. I'll just get right to it cuz the problem is all mine:
His family is big and family-oriented (read as: really religious and conservative). His parents love me and I love them, his sister is really funny and sweet, her husband is really cool, and I'm excited to gain a family in all of them. His parents even want to buy me a wedding dress (no price tag) and they want to buy the flowers and host the rehearsal dinner.
All of this is generous and a little foreign to me but I'm trying to take in all in and so far so good. Enter his extended family -- great aunts, great uncles, uncles, aunts, tons of cousins, nieces, and nephews. And they WILL be at the wedding come hell or high whatever because that's how their family operates. Family is central, family is the foundation. NBD, right? See my fam below.
The MOM: drunk, manipulative, liar, left lots of bruises; i cut ties with her in 2010 and there's a lot more peace in my life now. not invited to the wedz.
The DAD: who? oh him, yeah i don't really know him. they divorced when i was 6 months old. i heard stories. not invited to the wedz.
The GRANDMOTHER: deceased a few years ago, was like a mother to me, miss her like mad.
The GRANDFATHER: he is quite frail, knows what's up on some level, probably not healthy enough to make the wedding.
The AUNT A: stopped talking to me when i cut ties with my mom, she thinks i'm lying about my mom's sickness and abuse. her kids, my cousins, followed suit. not invited to the wedz.
The AUNT B: she knows what's what with my mom; they love me, and they will come to my wedding.
The ME: only child, raised by wolves.
The problem (finally): I've researched and googled and asked my therapist and friends about how you have a cohesive wedding when you're missing all this immediate family and he's brought the genetic cavalry. "Just seat everyone together." That's the answer I get. Sure, okay, now everyone is sitting together at the ceremony and at dinner. I can walk myself down the aisle. But the rest? I'm not gonna lie. I'm scared to death about the rest.
No dance with a parent, no parents to take pictures with, no family to give a speech or whatever happens. I realize I can have a "nontraditional" wedding wherein we skip all that stuff, don't need father or mother to make a beautiful wedding. But as some point, this point, it just feels ridiculous. Like a huge piece of the event is missing and I'm dead center of that empty space. This is unnerving.
I'm giddy about marrying my love. And I'm excited to have our loved ones celebrate with us. I'm totally at peace with where I am today. But, wow, do I feel ill-equipped to throw a wedding. How do we keep this from being a glaring THING in the center of the event? How do I gracefully handle the "where are your parents" questions?
So far, I've come up with champagne, drinking lots and lots of champagne. Copious helpings of Valium?
Wasted bride alert. S.O.S.
Lady, you're already doing the right thing. You're taking care of yourself. You're not inviting the wolves.
DON'T SWEAT IT.
There's nothing to be afraid of.
Your friends (and your fiance's family -- YOUR NEW FAMILY) are coming to your wedding because THEY WANNA SEE YOU GET MARRIED! They don't give a shit about meeting your mom and dad.
If anyone asks, "Where are your parents?" just tell them "I was raised by wolves." That'll shut em up.
If these people are not an important part of your life, why should their absence leave a hole in the middle of your wedding?
Lone(ly) Wolf by Aled Lewis