Disclaimer: Weddings are a celebration of love. They are important. They are awesome. This is not me bashing weddings. And I love my family and friends. The situation that came from this event was hard on all of us, but we are recovering.
I planned my wedding for a year. Well, let's be honest. I had been planning it since Pinterest was invented, but, I had been putting in action for a year.
I found my dress. I had my bachelorette party. Our family and friends were so generous to celebrate us with wedding showers.
But my parents are divorced. And I mean, the nasty, heart-wrenching, can't be in the same room divorce. The thing about your parents divorcing when you are an adult that most people don't talk about is that YOU'RE STILL THEIR KID. Despite everything, you still want the best for both people.
That's what I wanted and still want. I over-planned, over thought, overdid EVERYTHING so they would have to interact as little as possible. I was promised over and over that the day would be fine because I was their only daughter and this was my only wedding and things could be put aside for that fact.
Things were going decent. My parents were there helping me set up the night before with no ill words. Though there was obvious tension, I did everything I could to keep the peace.
The next day, I woke up and had breakfast with my girls. We got ready in the hotel. Everything was the way it should be on my wedding day. We took some pictures and made our way to the venue. Everyone was helping out, fixing the final touches, and I was greeting my sweet family as they came in. I put on my dress. I put on my garter. My heart was so ready to be my husband's wife.
It was time for my dad to see me in my dress. He walked in and cried. We hugged. I made fun of him. My best friend since third grade, my matron of honor, signed our marriage certificate. My parents wound up having a very tense interaction. I broke down. I knew things were going to go south. My bridesmaids surrounded me and promised the day would be perfect.
I walked down the aisle. We said our vows. I was OVERJOYED to have so many people there to witness that this man was mine forever. We took pictures. We ate our food, toasted, cut the cake, danced. All of it. It was great. It was special. It was about to go to hell.
Apparently, things were being whispered all evening. Apparently, there were dirty looks and mean words. Apparently, my worst fears were coming true. My family exploded.
I cannot begin to explain everything that happened, nor do I want to. That is between my family and me. There is no reason to hash out all of the details, but I will say this... NEVER did I think something so important could be ruined so quickly. My family went after each other. Two sides of the room went head-to-head. I honestly don't know who started it. Half went outside. Half stayed inside. I heard details from both that absolutely broke my heart. I was hurt. My husband was hurt. I am baffled at the events that transpired.
After I had time to calm down, I went inside to try to enjoy the last little bit of happiness that the night could have given me. I wound up hearing more details. I ended my wedding three hours early. Before the line dances. Before the party traditions. Before the part that was the actual celebration. I ended it by screaming. I did not know that I was capable of such behavior. Warranted behavior. But, still.
In the moment that I stood in front of my family who decided to take this special day for themselves, I thought about the time I had put into these plans for them. I thought of the people I left out of things. I thought about the hours I put into the seating arrangements. I thought about how I even had the tables dismissed to eat in a certain order so they would not even interact in that line. I thought of the months of anguish and anxiety I had spent trying to create this day. I thought of the sacrifices, the compromises, and the sheer disregard of my own wants that I went through to create a day that should have been about me and my husband. Instead, the day became centered around fear.
What hurt the most was I DID put in that effort to keep the peace. I did everything I could to create an environment that could be suitable for the two sides of my heart that could not get along. Despite all of that work, it did not matter. A day that was supposed to be for the celebration of love between me and my husband was committed to the wrangling of ADULTS who could not help themselves.
After that day, my family was ripped apart. There were people I couldn't talk to for months. There were people who would not talk to me. There are people, including myself, who are still healing from the experience.
Yes, apologies have been said. Yes, people have worked to make amends. NO, I do not hold this event over ANYONE. We are humans and we are entitled to emotions. We are humans who make selfish decisions every day. I am not here to condemn my family or open old wounds.
It has taken a year and a half for me to be able to revisit this tragedy. Even now, there is little evidence of my actual wedding day in my house. There are a few mementos that I have kept from that day. I still can't "reminisce" on my wedding day without feeling sick.
My husband and I are very much OK. We are in love and I truly believe that what happened made us stronger. Yes, it hurt. Yes, it sucked. But thank God I have such an amazing husband.
A few months into our marriage, I was still very much depressed. I would have nightmares about that night. I could not face what had happened. Thankfully, I went to our church one Sunday and one of our pastors gave a message that I will never forget.
He was preaching about marriage and love and all of that good couple-y stuff. He was talking about his own marriage and wedding day. I don't quite remember the full context, but I do remember when he started talking about the ideal wedding day. He talked about how people say it is supposed to be "the best day of your life."
He went on to talk about his love for his wife and how he hoped their wedding day was not the best day of her life.
That if that was the case, then they peaked far too early. He talked about how there was so much more ahead for them. How, ultimately, he knows that the best day of her life will be when she gets to meet her Savior.
Man, did that hit me right in the heart. Little did I know, after that service, we would hit a "best day of our life" situation a few months later. We closed on our first house. A few weeks later, we moved into our first house. A few months later, I got accepted into grad school. Who knows what is coming next for us?
I will graduate from college.
We will become parents.
We will get promotions, have celebrations, and hit milestones for the rest of our lives. Each one taking the place of the previous "best day of our lives."
And in the end, we will hit that ultimate best day. We will get to meet the God in Heaven who got us through and to each and every day of our lives. We will get to worship and thank Him for all of the moments, the good and the bad.
I just... I am so thankful that I was present for that message. While I am still healing, I could have never been able to move forward if I thought my wedding day should have been the best day of my life.
Your wedding day is just the first of many adventures that God will lead you through. I am so fortunate to have been blessed with a spouse to share these moments with. I pray that you and your future spouse will be able to take on times of hardship as a team.
There are so many things in life that are amazing and good and worth looking forward to. Please, do not build your marriage on the idea that your wedding day is as good as it will get.
My heart hurts for you as you face decisions in the next few months. However, I hope my words will bring you hope. Hope for your marriage, hope for your family, and hope for your future. Our God has given us so much more than we deserve, and I hope you feel His love as you navigate to the true best day of your life.
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