How divorce has positively affected my wedding planning

Guest post by S
Divorce cards by Etsy seller FireflyDesignsArt
Divorce cards by Etsy seller FireflyDesignsArt

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.

Comments on How divorce has positively affected my wedding planning

  1. Thanks for this! I’m in the same situation, right down to the kids thing, and I’m really excited to have a great party but my wedding is not the end all/be all of my life.

  2. This will be my fiance’s 3rd marriage and my 2nd and we both believe that past experience has given us a lot of wisdom. We know that this relationship will last and we know how to communicate, how to compromise, and how to work out our problems. Sometimes we both feel the stigma that can come with divorce, but we just power through it and be happy that we have each other.

  3. Absolutely couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said here. My FH and I are both divorced and we both entered out first marriages because that’s just what you do. Both our first weddings were based around the expectations of what others thought it should be (less so in my case but I still brought into a lot of things I wasn’t into because of my now ex-in laws). Low and behold both our first spouses were also something we bought into because it’s just what you do not actually because they were a great match for us. This time round we both have more confidence to say “nope that’s not for us so we’re not doing it, full stop”. A great kept secret about walking down the aisle a second time is that you have a get of jail free card. Play on society’s lingering discomfort with divorce and roll out that you’ve done it before and suddenly no more arguments about what you should do because it’s the biggest day of you life (it’s so not) and because every girl wants the huge white traditional wedding and you’ll regret it if you don’t have one.

  4. It’s true! I’ve been here before, and as someone who has already done a wedding and a marriage (and a divorce), I’ll just repeat what you already suspect: The marriage is what counts, not the wedding. Weddings can be fun, but there’s no magic ritual in a wedding that will make your marriage perfect. I think a lot of people get extra-superstitious during wedding planning, and think that if you just manage to plan a ‘perfect’ event, somehow it will keep you two happy and together forever. Don’t worry, you can totally botch it and it might not matter. Or you can do it ‘perfect’ and it also still won’t matter.

    Tying the knot should be a celebration, however you love to celebrate. But keep it in perspective – it’s a legal agreement. Everything that makes your relationship amazing and beautiful should already be there – before and after.

  5. This would have to be the best information you could give to any one that is engaged or planing the wedding. remember its all about you not how much or how little you spend on the day. it is gone in a day but love is eternal if you make it happen. well said to the author many thanks for sharing it with us all
    regards Paul

  6. Yes!! I am divorced and marrying someone who has never been married. We are both children of divorce (well… THAT sounds dramatic). Twice for me on my dad’s side, and I was a product of the 2nd marriage – he’s on #4 and finally happy!) I did the big wedding we couldn’t afford, rushed because I wanted to be married before I turned 30 (excellent reason for marriage, no?). Now, my main focus is building a LIFE with my future husband, dealing with the good, the bad, the ugly, getting our shit together, having the big conversations that I was too afraid to bring up during my previous engagement/wedding-planning frenzy, learning how to fight and still love each other. The wedding is coming, but it will be on our terms, a true expression of us and our lives (vintage travel, board games and sports? Why not?!), and when we can afford what we want without bankrupting ourselves. I’m so calm some have asked if I don’t care about it! All that said, it still stresses the hell out of me when my mom doesn’t like our ideas and pushes for something more “normal”, but that’s why I come here!

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