My "Big Day" as an annual event: Why my less-than-perfect wedding isn't a big deal

August 19 | Guest post by Christine

Remember Christine & Derek's misadventurous rainbow hodgepodge of freaks & geeks wedding? Here's Christine with with her solution to a wedding day that didn't go so well.

Crying to my groom over how awful it's all going to be, I just knew. But I didn't have to be so stressed after all! (Photo by Angie Gaul, Milestone Images)
Crying to my groom over how awful it's all going to be, I just knew. But I didn't have to be so stressed after all! (Photo by Angie Gaul, Milestone Images)

I didn't get the wedding I wanted and that's perfectly okay, because I'm going to have a wedding every year for the rest of my life.

We chose our original wedding date a year and a half-ish from the proposal. I kept myself from starting the planning process "too soon." I didn't choose my wedding party or my venue or my caterers until a year out. I gave myself what I thought was a reasonable amount of time to make my wedding everything I'd ever dreamed. What could go wrong when we had plenty of time to work on the minutiae?

Hahaha. Ha…

A year was apparently far too far in advance to choose our wedding party, and we were making changes from start to finish.

Four-ish months before our wedding, my husband and I became a part of a poly triad with one of our groomsmen (not a "problem," per se, but things definitely changed!). Three months before the wedding, our dream wedding venue that couldn't have been more perfect dropped our reservation, so we settled on a lovely but much-less-than-ideal locale. Two months out, our caterer bailed on us and we ended up making all of the food for the wedding in-house. Less than a month before the wedding, my hair and make-up girls both let me know that they couldn't make it. Not to mention all the things that last-minute wedding day snafus. With so much going wrong, it just felt like one blow after another after another.

In spite of all that went wrong, my husband and I had a really great wedding. It was a fun party with many completely perfect moments. The event just didn't represent the things I had dreamed of for my wedding, and I've got as many disappointing and stressful memories of the day as I do beautiful and happy ones. Bittersweet isn't the way I wanted to feel about my wedding. It still isn't.

But, wait. What is a wedding? It's just a ceremony you share with your partner(s), plus a party you throw to celebrate the start of your marriage, right? So… why can't I just throw another party? Have another ceremony where we… wait for it… renew our vows? So what if this will only be our first anniversary, and who says you have to be together at least a decade (or whatever) before you and your partner can remind each other of the importance of your marriage?

So, that's what we're going to do: we'll throw a party to celebrate the continued awesomeness of our marriage. At this party, we'll say some new ones to reflect how we've grown in our marriage, in front of four to forty of our closest friends, and we're going to do this every year.

I know that I'm an idealist in many respects, including this one, but I sorta' love that about myself. Besides, if I'm allowed to have this crazy notion that my husband and I are going to spend the rest of our freaking lives together, why not vow to celebrate our marriage at least once a year? We'll turn every anniversary into an opportunity to get hitched again.

I want more than one chance to have a beautiful day with my husband. It's not fair that so much can go wrong without Ctrl-Z at the ready, and in a world where we can't go back, all we can do is look forward to create a life with as few regrets as humanly possible.

I still want my perfect wedding cake. I want a better guestbook, a seating chart, and a venue that I love rather than tolerate. It took me seven months to realize that I can still have these things. It's not too late to "fix" the things that were imperfect about the "Big Day," because I've decided that I get more than one "Big Day" with my love. I get to make that call, and I owe that realization to Marietta, featured on Offbeat Families, who inspired me with the following: "I wish I hadn't X, but I did, and that's OK, and that's that."

I wish I'd done a lot of things differently at my wedding, so I'll do things differently in the future, and that's that. I've got hope that, like any great annual event, these weddings (renewals, parties, whatever) will get better and better as the years go on — just like our marriage!


Need additional doses of reality?

Did your wedding not go as expected? How are you making the best of your wedding day disappointments?

  1. I love this. <3
    Renewing your vows every year? Super romantic.

    My wedding wasn't ideal either, and while we're not planning to renew every year, we are very much looking forward to renewing our vows on our 5th anniversary… and I hope every 5 years after that. I love that there will be no pressure or expectations over a vow renewal because we've already gotten "THE big day" over with. I think I'll end up enjoying the vow renewal much more than our wedding day, honestly.

    4 agree
    • Right?? I've really been looking forward to getting "another shot" or 50+ at doing things awesome. :)

      1 agrees
  2. I both love and am terrified of this idea. I would LOVE to have a wedding every year! But omg I do not want to THROW a wedding every year! But the lure of a new dress yearly… this is tempting! :)

    6 agree
    • I'm excited for an excuse to go pretty princess dress shopping at least once a year. :D I'll be getting most of my bridal costumes via thrift stores, I'm sure, but in no way does that lessen the awesome.

      3 agree
      • My Grandmother passed away 2 weeks before we got married and she was buried the day we were going to get married. We pushed our day back a month, but from then on, everything went down hill. My veil was broken, I had no flowers, my dress was a prom dress from filene's when they were going out of business and I paid 30 bucks for. We got dressed in the parking lot at the lighthouse and I wasn't able to put on the control undergarments so I was uncomfortable in every pic. We had one disposable camera and every pic my mom took was off centered. I don't even remember the ceremony. There was no honeymoon either because Ryan had to work in the morning.

        The only thing that made it bearable was the gorgeous lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine and the 2 Monarch butterflies that fluttered around us during our vows. Ever since then, when I see 2 Monarchs, I know it's my grandparents with me.

        I love the idea of having a wedding every year. I had Ryan read along w/ me and he's all for it. Since it's just for us anyways, our "weddings" will be small. Just us or just us and the kids. Neither one of us like large crowds. We can go to Vegas, or the beach, or do any of the other crazy ideas we have. It'll be nice not to have to explain ourselves to anyone else.

        4 agree
    • It is pretty daunting, but I'm going to try it with only a month to plan instead of over 18 months. We'll see which I do better with, haha.

      2 agree
    • Ariel, thank you!!! I think you may have just solved my 'how the hell do we decently celebrate our wedding anniversary every year when our daughter gatecrashed it with her birthday' problem. Weekend long party every year. Genius!

      0 agree
  3. Have you considered an anniversary party instead? Everyone has stuff they'd like to do over or do differently. In life, not just weddings! Accepting that the past is in the past, and moving on graciously, is a sign of composure.

    9 agree
    • Totally agree. There's one celebrity who does an annual wedding do-over- I wanna say it's Mariah Carey maybe? But anyways, she gets all dressed up in a new gown with the makeup, photographers, and whole bridal shebang and walks down the aisle every.single.year. as if she's getting married for the first time. To me, that just sounds exhausting, not to mention a bit attention-grabby. I think vow renews are wonderful, even annual ones, but when the renewals are treated like the actual wedding that's when it gets too weird for me. I'm not saying you don't deserve to celebrate! I remember your original wedding write-up with all the obstacles you faced on your special day, and my heart truly went out to you. I found your attitude of "hey, we're married, that's the important thing" truly graceful. You should always take time every year to celebrate the day you became a family! But if you were to do annual vows, I think you should save the all-out parties with your friends and family for milestone occasions- perhaps a ten year, 25 year, or 50 year party- and have a simple, quiet renewal with you and your partner during the interim years. It might be asking a lot of your friends and family to do something wedding-y every year, not to mention take a toll on your budget. The important thing is remembering the love from your wedding day, not the little things that went wrong.

      4 agree
      • I'll take any good excuse for an all-out party, though! Simple and quiet just ain't the way we do things in my family — I'm cool being attention-grabby as long as everyone's still having a great time. :)

        2 agree
  4. I would love to hear how you feel about this in a year or more. Right now, you are still smarting from all that went wrong. After time passes, you might feel differently about re-staging a wedding every year. All of the things that I was so upset about over my wedding in June 2012 have now all faded and I have a much easier time remembering all the good parts. I think that it is a lovely idea to have a party and re-affirm your vows, but you might not feel the need to call it a wedding.

    5 agree
    • I'm very excited to see how this idea morphs over time, and I'll let y'all know what's up in a year, for sure! Maybe after 3 or 4 weddings, I'll get it all out of my system. :)

      2 agree
  5. I am so sad that I can't fly in for each and every one. There's at least one I gotta do, though. You know what I'm talkin' 'bout. ;)

    1 agrees
  6. The resort we did our wedding at offers a free 2 night stay for the anniversary! Seems like a cool option for people to ask for or find out about if they do destination weddings. Unfortunately, we didn't make it this year, but I wonder if we can use it next year….

    1 agrees
  7. Reading this makes me wish I had maybe planned harder for our first anniversary to be more special. My husband decided to take me to a restaurant I had been begging to go to for years and I got a coupon from them. We went and enjoyed the food but the service was horrid. We were left without refills for like 45 minutes at a time, never checked on an they didn't accept the coupon. They pretty much ignored us to take care of two small parties of people who were getting much more than us. When I even said to the waiter I was excited about coming because of the anniversary, he literally was like"Okay, whatever. What are you ordering. " The whole experience was crazy because this place was no McDonalds and even tho we didn't spend like regular patrons, we still dropped a pretty penny for the meal. It literally makes me sick to my stomach how we were treated and how we wasted the day there being treated like that. I should have just stuck with the picnic and sex on the beach idea. I really wish I saw this article several months ago before so I could have at least avoided that disaster. I'm happy the reader found a beautiful spot-on way to celebrate every year. I guess what counts is that you're with your spouse and enjoying each others company.

    1 agrees
  8. We got married on the 13th, so we decided to throw a Friday the 13th party whenever our anniversary falls on a Friday. Our 5th anniversary (2014) will be the first one, and it's been fun thinking about superstitious details to incorporate. I'm thinking spilled salt shakers, needing to pass under a ladder to get to the bathroom, some plush black cats hanging out, maybe a broken thrift-store mirror or two!

    1 agrees
  9. This was actually my husbands suggestion! I had SO many things I wanted to do for our wedding that it would have been impossible to do all of them without going insane in our short engagement (3 months from engaged to married). So he suggested that we can just keep having weddings! Looove him! We've decided every 5 years to have a big party to renew our vows, get all dressed up and celebrate being awesome and happy. It totally took some of the pressure off and now I get to play and plan as many times as I want! :)

    2 agree
  10. My wedding as well had it's ups and downs as well…it has been almost three years now. We don't make a big celebration for our anniversary, but I do look forward to one day having a 'do over' reneweal…maybe 10 years? But I also came to realize there are other big parties to plan too… next year is my grandmothers 80th and then the next year my golden birthday (really excited for that!). So I try to make up for the downfalls of my wedding day, but I would much rather move on, learn from my mistakes, and make each future event better than the last!

    1 agrees
  11. I love this idea, I think why not do something every year or every few years! Whatever works for your schedule.

    I have to say the sad feelings over my wedding never quiet went away. It has taken a long time to process what happened, mostly because I was kind of swept along for the ride. And so much painful drama!

    I want to have a vow renewal someday. In the meantime I am going to get dressed up and do a special photography session for our 7th. I like the idea of buying dresses, celebrating and maybe even having an annual party like Ariel does.

    I especially like this idea because it takes away the pressure of one day having to be all encompassing and perfect. It also means that for those of us who had a hard time, we are not left with only one memory. We can create new memories and let those be the things we hang onto.
    And while eventually accepting the things we couldn't control and focusing on the love for our partners; I think there is some serious zen to re-creation and if you had serious family drama perhaps healing as well.

    And plus I was supposed to be cured by a love of wedding dresses with a one time hit? Ha!

    0 agree

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