Right after the ceremony, I was standing hand-in-hand with my awesome husband and — dead serious — the only thought in my head was "this wedding would never be good enough to be on Offbeat Bride." I thought I was well prepared. I had spent months looking at all the featured weddings and how lovely they all turned out, found the perfect dress, the killer shoes, a great venue. Best of all, the perfect partner! But somewhere along the way, it just wasn't what I thought it would be. I felt that I had not only let myself down, but also my husband and all the people invited.
And honestly, nothing so horrible went wrong. But I wish it would have been possible to have a practice wedding, so I could figure out what didn't work before the real thing. Because all I know is that I felt awkward the entire time.
My fiancé and I heavily favored elopement. But the thought of my family and friends not being there made me so sad. So we arranged a small wedding: a short ceremony followed by lunch and cake.
During the vows, I was acutely aware of everyone staring. At me. I couldn't shake the image of my mother in law sobbing hysterically right before the guests arrived. Not from happiness, but from family drama. Then lunch went fine. The people working the venue were impeccable. But all I wanted was to get it over with.
Once we were alone in the car, I sat there holding my bouquet trying so hard not to cry. I don't know what went wrong along the way, but there was no giddy "this is the happiest day of my life."
I pinned my hopes on our wedding photos — maybe they at least would reflect the idyllic happiness that I was supposed to have felt. With happy smiling pictures, no one would guess my secret.
…Nope. Unbeknownst to me the photographer captured the entire ceremony from her knees — not many people look flattering from that angle — and all other pictures are blurry.
I spent a while looking back and trying to think about what I should have done differently. I realize now it wasn't my fault. I made the choices that I felt were best at the time. People focusing their attention on me has never been my thing… why would the wedding have been different for me? I put so much pressure on myself without even realizing it. I just expected that this one day would be blissfully happy.
I realize now that what really matters is that I got to marry the love of my life. Sure, it would have been nice to have had a killer wedding full of love and happiness. It would have been awesome to have beautiful pictures of us on our wedding day. But one day does not define our marriage. It will be the years to come. The laughter and tears. The good days and bad.
I may not have had an amazing wedding, but I can have an amazing marriage.