Two years ago, I won a prize at a Trivia Night in Edinburgh, Scotland after naming my team “All of my friends are getting married, and I’m just getting drunk.” My life plan barely spanned past my college graduation and included lots of travel and copious career choices that all made “saving the world” and “destitute” synonymous. I dismissed the Pinterest board “My Wedding!” to save space for “Insatiable Traveler,” “Future Adventures across the US,” and “Future Bartending Skills.”
At twenty-three, only at the beginning of my twenty-somethings, I have managed to traverse across 30 countries, 5 continents, and 4 wonders of the world. I took culinary courses in Italy, Bollywood dance classes in the north of India, and even escaped possible arrest at immigration in Costa Rica upon returning from the World Cup in Brazil. I managed to find an entry-level nonprofit job that helps me save the world AND live below America’s poverty line. I am the definition of who I always imagined myself to be.
Except for one thing: I’m getting married.
I am willingly participating in this huge party and it’s every detail. Yet, I still hate weddings.
Perhaps you’ve made it this far and you assume that I’m a hypocrite. But here’s my defense for not meeting your initial label.
I’m more focused on the term “marriage.”
Having a big, expensive celebration is fine. But spending your life dreaming of being a bride rather than a wife? Not. Okay.
We live in a society that is consumed with TV shows like Four Weddings and Bridezilla. We see women (even men) who are obsessed with the idea of having the “best” wedding—to the point that TLC actually made a competition about it. We even coined a term to excuse a woman from acting like decent human being just because it’s her wedding day.
- Main Entry: bridezilla
- Part of Speech: n
- Definition: a bride-to-be who focuses so much on the event that she becomes difficult and obnoxious
There are little girls who watch these shows and become infatuated with details of gowns, flowers, and cakes. But as they daydream, they lack to envision the kind of character in the man or woman that they hope to end up with.
A wedding was never a bullet point on my life bucket list. This is simply because I never wanted to make it about a when rather than a who. My parents were married at 39 and 61. They instilled in me that you shouldn’t just marry your current boyfriend because your “clock is ticking.” They waited. And for the ten following years that my father was alive? They celebrated far more than just on their wedding day.
I never thought I’d have a wedding because I never thought I’d meet someone that wanted the same sort of marriage that I did. I didn’t think I’d meet a man that had the same character as my late father. And then, against all previous plans, I did. My twenties are so far only slightly different than what I imagined. I’m still having my adventures—just with someone else. I found someone who stays up late talking about what countries we’ll visit rather than what photographer we should hire. I found someone that doesn’t care about making a “grand exit” after the reception because he wants to be the last one to leave the party. I found someone who, like me, cares most about family: a value that may leave us getting married in both America and Greece to celebrate with both sides of our huge families.
Why fixate so much on the details of one day when you’re committing to a lifetime together? Why make competitions about proposals and diamonds via Facebook? Why drive yourself crazy over finding the “perfect” venue?
As twenty somethings, we need to start believing that we can have it all. We can have our dreams, our goals, and our youth. We can have the open bar and something blue. We can even get married in a color other than white. Having it all falls to one secret formula:
Say yes to the right person, and not just the right dress.