This is probably going to sound really odd, coming from someone planning her first, and hopefully only wedding. But I wanted to share some thoughts I had on how divorce has, in fact, positively affected my wedding planning process.
First, my parents are divorced. They got married in 1980 at a big church wedding, just after my mom finished college, with all the things that were considered in-style and traditional at the time. They followed the rules of etiquette, they had a big white cake and a big white dress and they lived a long and unhappy marriage for about 25 years, until my mother finally gave in and ended the marriage. Three years ago, she got remarried in a small ceremony in a curling lodge with me as her Maid of Honour and root beer floats for dessert. On her anniversary, she emailed me to tell me how wonderful her marriage is, and how excited she is for me to have the same thing she finally has.
Second, my future husband is divorced. At just 21 years old, his girlfriend of only a year got pregnant by another man, and he stayed around to help her raise her child. Two years later, she was pregnant again. They got married because it was what she wanted, and he believed "that's just what you do." She planned a big fancy wedding, when they both were barely making ends-meet. He wasn't happy when the marriage began, and wasn't truly surprised when it ended just two years later, while they were still in debt from the wedding costs. He has gained two wonderful daughters from the experience, and learned to listen to himself and think much harder about his life decisions.
So what does this have to do with planning our wedding?
Well, not only did both my mother and future husband gain more confidence after ending a bad marriage, but everyone involved (my parents, my grandparents, my partner and his parents) all realize that a wedding doesn't make a marriage. It doesn't matter if you have the right dress or the proper wording on your invites. None of it matters.
And so, thanks to divorce, I've enjoyed planning our wedding without any family members harping about how my wedding "should be." The only advice our families have on how it should be done? In whatever way makes us both happy, and keeps us sane while we do it.
We should find a way to embrace and express our love to our families and friends. We should spend more time talking to each other than planning the wedding, and we should always keep in mind why we are getting married — not because of a sense of duty to illegitimate children, not because we're fresh out of college and "that's just what you do," and not because of pressure from our religion or families — but because we love each other.