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14 Newlywed Women On How Their Wedding Was Different From Their Parents’ And What They Hope That Says About Their Marriage

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Flickr Parekh Cards
Flickr Parekh Cards

1. UNLIKE MY MOM, I MARRIED A WOMAN

“Unlike my mom, I married a woman. My parents got hitched back in the 1980s, and the very definition of marriage has changed since then—not only culturally, but legally. I guess one advantage my mom had is that no one had to argue over which one of us wore the wedding dress! But yeah, we’re now living in a rainbow-colored world, whereas my mom lived in a black-and-white world. Actually, a grey world was more like it. That doesn’t necessarily mean me and my partner are going to get along any better than my parents did, but it helps knowing that we live in a more tolerant world. ”

—Liz, 27

beetlejuice

2. GOD WAS NOT INVITED TO OUR WEDDING

“God was not mentioned once during our entire wedding ceremony. Contrast that with my parents’ lavish, overwrought Catholic wedding with all the trimmings, all the priests and nuns, and all the sexual repression in the world crammed into one crazy room. Plain and simple, I don’t want God in my bedroom, so I didn’t want him at my wedding, either. I’m sure God has plenty of other things with which to occupy his time. But no, my wedding was God-free. We didn’t even send him an invitation. So I hope my marriage is based on love and open communication rather than hate and superstition.”

—Kyra, 29

beetlejuice

3. I ELOPED

“Haha, the difference is that I eloped. That’s right, I fell in love quick and hard and just ran off in the middle of the night to another state where it’s easier to get a marriage license. We slept in a Motel 6 and ate breakfast at Waffle House, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I always wanted to elope. Ever since I was a little girl it seemed like the most romantic thing in the world to me—like, Romeo and Juliet’s love is so strong they just say ‘fuck it’ to their families and run away together. I never got the sense that there was any sense of danger or romance in my parents’ marriage, so I hope mine won’t be as dry and empty and bleak and barren as theirs was.”

—Alli, 28

beetlejuice

4. I WASN’T PREGNANT LIKE MY MOM WAS

“The main difference between my wedding and my parents’ wedding is that mine wasn’t a shotgun wedding. I wasn’t pregnant and the busybodies in our small town weren’t forcing us to get married. My parents lived in a time when it was a tremendous shame and stigma to be a single mom. So I like to think I got married for love rather than necessity. And when we choose to have a kid, I know it will never have to struggle with the pain and rage of knowing you weren’t planned.”

—Jessa, 29

beetlejuice

5. ALONE IN A COURTROOM

“My mom got married to my dad in Vegas, which is actually kind of cool. I like the novelty of that…but her second wedding was on the beach, super lame and cliche. I had what to me is an ideal wedding—alone in a courtroom. I didn’t like the idea of a wedding where I’m put on display. My mom is still on Facebook all blunged-out with salon tans and fake nails acting like a teenager. And her second marriage is already in shambles. So I like to think that the way I did it suggests that married life for me will have a little less drama and be a lot more stable.”

—Riley, 26

beetlejuice

7. THE WORLD IS LESS INNOCENT NOW

“I just realized that when my mom got married, everyone thought Bill Cosby and OJ Simpson were the nicest guys in the world. Now with social media and the fact that the entire world has its nose up the rest of the entire world’s ass, it’s not nearly so easy to skid through life pretending everything is hunky-dory. So either the world is less innocent now, or maybe it’s less ignorant. But it’s harder to hide from your faults. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, but it’s the way it is. You make any sort of move these days, and it’s like the whole world is watching. So if everyone’s watching, I guess that’s an incentive not to mess it up. With all the people who attended and gave us money and wished us well, I’d feel like a total failure if I ever had to change my Facebook status to ‘Separated.’”

—Joyelle, 25

beetlejuice

8. MY IRONIC WEDDING

“At my mom’s wedding reception, the music was all bad 80s hair bands—Poison, Bon Jovi, Cinderella, etc. That was also the music I chose for my wedding reception, only this time around I played the music ironically. So my mom sincerely enjoyed bad music whereas I ironically enjoy bad music, and I’m not sure if that makes me better or worse than her. Maybe it’s all a defense mechanism on my part, you know? If the marriage doesn’t work out, I can just say I was kidding the whole time. Sometimes postmodernism has its advantages! Basically, though, it just shows that me and my hubby have a good sense of humor, and that’s crucial for making a marriage last.”

—Cassie, 28

beetlejuice

9. MY PARENTS GOT MARRIED IN THE STONE AGE

“Um, the main difference is that when my mom got married, there was no Internet. There were no smartphones. She had to pay some shlub close to a thousand dollars just to walk around filming people on some old-ass VHS recorder. People were Facebooking and Instagramming and tweeting at my wedding. They were so buried in their digital devices, no one noticed one another. Still, it makes me feel better that I’m in a world where everyone’s more connected to one another.”

—Rhonda, 28

beetlejuice

10. A MEAT-FREE WEDDING

“There was no meat or alcohol at our wedding. Nor smoking. And all the old people bitched to high heaven about it because they couldn’t poison themselves at our expense. Sorry, but my wedding was designed to reflect my values, and I value all lives, animal as well as human. I hope this means that we’ll live longer than either of my parents, both of whom died of cancer.”

—Andrea, 29

beetlejuice

11. A CONSTELLATION OF BROKEN FAMILIES

“I think the main difference between my wedding and my parents’ wedding was that they lived in a time when no matter how dysfunctional your life was, you kept it quiet and painted on a happy face. So even though in private everyone at my mom’s wedding may have been fighting and arguing and cheating, you never would have known it from the wedding pictures—everyone had a smile plastered on their faces. Mine was this whole constellation of broken families, divorcees, miserable single males, and people who officially aren’t speaking to one another but are forced to sit at the same table. But in some small way, I took it as a challenge not to mess up this marriage. You look at all that misery, and the last thing you want to do is repeat it.”

—Heather, 28

beetlejuice

12. MARRIAGE MEANS MORE THESE DAYS

“Back when my parents got married, that’s simply what heterosexual couples in their 20s were expected to do. You were a freak if you didn’t. Now the tables have turned and marriage is far more rare, but I think that’s a good thing, because if you get married it means you really love that person and want to be with them for the rest of your life, rather than the fact that you’re going through the motions just because it’s what’s expected of you.”

—Thami, 25

beetlejuice

13. I’M NOT A VIRGIN

“I’m not a virgin. Not by a looonnnng shot! When my parents got married, they both were virgins, which is insane! So basically they signed onto a deal where they’d have to eat the same Jack in the Box Jumbo Jack burger every night for the rest of their lives, completely fucking oblivious as to what Thai food and corn dogs and jambalaya and quesadillas taste like. Isn’t that one of Dante’s seven levels of hell? So both me and my husband sampled every restaurant in the city before deciding to spend our lives with one another. There will always be a little bit of curiosity, and I’m sure both of us will each have a bit of a wandering eye, but that’s still worlds better than going into it blind like my parents did.”

—Robin, 29

beetlejuice

13. MY MOM WAS IN JAIL DURING MY WEDDING

“I guess the main difference between my wedding and my parents’ wedding is that my grandmother wasn’t in jail for trafficking meth when my mom got married. For the first two decades of my life I watched my parents eat each other alive and crush their three kids’ hearts with their substance abuse and shouting and screaming and slamming doors. My mom taught me everything not to do in a marriage. Any other questions?”

—Erica, 26

beetlejuice

14. I CHOSE MY HUSBAND

“I come from a traditional Indian family where marriages are arranged with all the clinical dispassion of a real-estate deal. My parents were chosen for each other by their respective families and were married before they even kissed. Even though it makes me a little bit of a traitor to my culture, I refused to have someone choose a husband for me like a health insurance plan assigning me a dentist. I married the man that I fell in love with, not the man chosen for me through some ancient cultural lottery system.”

—Rana, 26 TC mark

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