I think it is wonderful how people can say, “Well, I have no regrets.” I can’t say that at all. I have a lot of regrets about choices I’ve made and things I’ve done and other times I am glad for the things I did because I learned from the mistakes I made. I don’t think it is wrong to have regrets. I think it is wrong if we dwell on them so much that they make us bitter and that we can’t stand up and move forward.
One of my biggest regrets is my wedding. Not my marriage; my wedding. The love I have for my husband is a million times more intense today than it was when I fell in love with him. Getting married was one of the best things I have ever done. I had originally planned as a child that I would marry in my parents’ large backyard. I wanted to have a gazebo to stand in and have people do a pot luck dinner. It was simple! I had planned it so long that I had even told these plans to my 7th/8th grade in-school boyfriend when he asked if I ever thought about “our” wedding (which I don’t regret that relationship ending).
We were pre-engaged right at the beginning of my senior year of high school. I was 17, he was 18, and it was September 8, 2001, We were only together a few weeks shy of a year. Rob declared his everlasting love for me while we sat on a rock under a shady tree at a Renaissance faire in NY. He said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and wanted to marry me. Rob thought we should have rings. At the faire, we bought $10 sterling silver bands which we placed on our right ring fingers (he wears it now as a wedding band, though he had an heirloom band that is too large for his finger when we were actually married). I loved this proposal, but am sad that I didn’t say I was engaged after this. We said, “pre-engaged” when in actuality it was just that people would not understand a high school girl being engaged in sincerity. I knew we had to wait until I was out of high school to get “actually” engaged, but looking back, that was dumb. I remember a classmate proclaiming her excitement to others in gym class that I was engaged and how sweet that was. I corrected her with, “Well, pre-engaged, actually,” and she said, “What the h— is that? You’re engaged!”
We “officially” got engaged September 16, 2002 in my bedroom after I got home from work and we were preparing to go out to dinner. Rob couldn’t wait and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him while I was in stinky puppy vomit and diarrhea clothes. Now, I tend to just say I was engaged in high school, because I was. We promised that we would one day marry one another and we did. Rings were involved and all.
When I started to tell my mom my plans for our wedding, she said a potluck dinner didn’t sound good to her because people would have to do work. She said, “I have to do too much if we have it in our yard.” I was really devastated about my dream of an outdoor wedding coming to a crash. I guess I still am – and I am getting through this and processing accepting it finally. I never got my dream to come true, and a wedding is supposed to be “the most important day of a girl’s life,” so I’ve been told.
My bridesmaids were either still in high school or were in college. They argued about the look and color of the dresses I chose (and I gave them several options). When I asked them to pay for their own dresses, they were mad at me (considering marriage was definitely far from their mindsets as it was, so they weren’t enthusiastic with me). I had no one to help me or guide me in the planning at all. It was frustrating and a waste of time and money honestly. The minimalist inside of me was crying out to “simplify” the wedding. I cut out having a wedding party completely (and Rob did the same happily – less work for him).
I had told my mom shortly after I got engaged and while working on my plans that I wanted to elope and that Rob didn’t mind either way what to do as long as we could marry. She was all, “No! You can’t elope! My friends and family members have to be there!” I argued several times with her about this. I regret listening to her. I know that sounds bad. I regret not eloping.
Don’t let people try to control you or steer you from pursuing your goals and hopes. In case you are wondering, my wedding was actually very similar to my parents’ wedding (so it wasn’t as if she was trying to live through me because it was too similar – though hers was nicer, fancier, and she is still friends with her maid of honor and all that).
It is funny looking back 11.5 years after we got married and seeing where we are now. My wedding wasn’t memorable and had a lot of sad and rough moments. I am truly very thankful that I have no regrets about getting married. I am blessed and very thankful to have the man I have. I cry a lot and hurt deeply for people when I find out a couple is getting divorced (I feel as if a major death has occurred when a marriage ends).
I find myself however often telling people, “I wish I got married at 18 instead of at 20. I wish I eloped.” Our engagement was so long because of wedding planning and saving. I can’t go back to change it and that is okay. I am glad the wedding only cost $7,000 for my parents, but I think it was still too much money and that I could have saved so much more with how I was planning things.
One of my high school friends got married last year and while she was engaged she told me that she wanted to elope out of state and I told her, “If that is what you want to do, go for it!” She did and came back telling me how amazing everything was and all they did and saw. I was so thrilled for her!
If I could go back in time, I would definitely have eloped and maybe have a small pot luck dinner reception later on. I wouldn’t want anything elaborate at all. I would live in a van or bus with my husband and travel a bit on a honeymoon and not live in my parents’ basement for the first year and a half of marriage like we did. I wouldn’t waste money as I did in those first few years. I showed these photos included in this post to Rob today and said, “This is how we should have done it.” He said, “We didn’t know about it back then.” He means “van life” working out. It made me realize that the journey, in some of its annoyances, has brought us here now and we’ll take it as we can together. We are now in control of our plans. We don’t let people try to manipulate or sway us. The journey is ours.