Jul 18, 2006

Married in Six Weeks and No Location

I’m getting married in six weeks. We don’t have a location. We have at least 100 people coming, and we don’t have a location. It’s because we have over 100 people that we no longer have a location.

We have six weeks to find one.

I’m not worried. Everything about this relationship has moved quickly (if you don’t count the 21 years as a single adult, the bad relationships, the diseased theology, the therapy that it took to get over the diseased theology and bad relationships, to the point where I’m able to have a relationship at all). Then yes, it moved quickly.

We met online in December. Our first date was January 6th. By the end of March we knew. We got engaged in May. We didn't set the date until just four weeks ago. We sent out the wedding evite … yes EVITE ... only last week. We’ve got six weeks. We’ll find a location.

I think.

We once considered inviting just the immediate family. But I've got a big extended family, and I want them there. And we both have friends whom we consider family, and we want them there as well. These are the people who’ve known us all these years: who knew us single and broken and lonely, in bad relationships and broken and lonely. Or single and at peace with it and ready to face the end of life alone.

These are the people of our soul family who've known our stories, who've participated in them. The people who are part of the reason Larry and I got to this place. So we invited them all ... even the ones who live 3,000 miles away who couldn't take the time or money to come. We invited them because we consider them our family and part of our story and we'd want them here if they could've made it.

The thing is they’re coming. All of them. People as far away as Washington and Virginia and New York. They're coming.

But instead of shouting, "YAY HOORAY" we're screeching, "YIIIIIIIKES!"

Because up until last Friday, we were going to get married in Larry’s friend Doug’s back yard. You can’t fit 120 people into a back yard. Not for a sit-down barbecue, which Larry wanted to have. I didn't want to have a barbecue. The stress of it made me nervous.

Well then, what do you want to have? Larry asked.
And Debbie and Doug and Catheryn asked.
And the wedding planning books asked: what DO you want your wedding to look like?

My friend, actress Mary MacDonald is getting married in October, and she too is going through Wedding Planning hell. She's got a Wedding Planning for Dummies book and vented about it:
"The book asked me: What does your ideal wedding look like?
I answered: I’m thin and someone else is planning it."

I never daydreamed about my ideal wedding. I was too busy trying to imagine the groom. I knew that I wanted the groom to be someone who loved Jesus but wasn’t geeky religious. But the men who wanted to date me never fit that profile. They didn't dig Jesus. So I tried really hard to imagine them at the top of the aisle. But my vision got dark and depressing: I'm walking up the aisle toward The Cad or Captain Bringdown, now I'm screaming, "no no no!" or I'm on the analyst couch crying, 'why did I go through with it,' or I'm having another nightmare, I'm buck naked with my math homework blank and I'm hitting myself thinking, "Why did I marry that jackass?!"'

Until I met Larry. The more I knew him, the more I could see him at the top of the aisle, waiting for me. The less I could see anyone else at the top of the aisle. Then I could NO LONGER NOT SEE him at the top of the aisle. I could NO LONGER NOT SEE me walking up the aisle to meet him. Imagining myself marrying Larry has been the most natural, inevitable, and easy thing to do.

But the WHERE?

Well, OK: I guess I've always seen it happening it a church. I had great experiences growing up in church. So I could see myself getting married in a church. That is, a church with beautiful stained glass and gorgeous grand hymns sung by a choir that sang like they believed it.

But the churches Larry and I looked at were depressing. Run down. Or all modern Pentecostal décor: mauve chairs and big media screens and no stained glass because they blocked out the light so the audience can watch the big media screens. Or they were gorgeous but we weren’t Catholic. Or they were gorgeous but too expensive. Or gorgeous but booked 18 months in advance.

Then along came Doug, opening his home to us. So we went and looked at his back yard. And I thought, we put enough beautiful lights in the trees, and we sing music and hymns like we mean it, it’ll be great.

So the back yard worked. Because we A) didn’t have a lot of time, and B) didn’t have a lot of money. But now we have C) a lot of friends. So having the wedding in the back yard is D) insane and a fire hazard.

You could hire caterers, and tables, and valets to shuttle the 100 people in and out of the location.

Now, having it at Doug's house is no longer a moneysaver.

And money is an issue. Not just for money, but because Larry and I are both disgusted by the wedding industry. That’s what it is now: an industry. Churning out 10,000 dollar dresses you only wear once, and online bridal registries selling much stuff you convince yourself you really need, like a cake dome and a pizza wheel and a $100 trash can and inflatable beds and $300 mixers. And YIKES. Not to mention bride magazines and package weddings and hotels and ...

My parents got married at a Lutheran Church in Long beach. They had cake and punch and peanuts in the fellowship hall. Everyone had a great time.

Aha. That’s my ideal wedding. A wedding at a Lutheran church, with cake and punch and peanuts in the fellowship hall. If people want to join us and go dancing later, fine.

SO that’s what we’re looking at now: finding a church and doing the ceremony there. Maybe we still have the reception at Doug’s. Larry’s given up on the idea of a barbecue. Praise the Lord. I didn’t want to buy three gas grills and hire four barbecue chefs to assemble and cook kebabs or pork loins for 100 people. The heat from the BBQ radiating onto our packed-in guests, pushing them toward heat strokes.

Anyway. Now we are looking at having the wedding at a local church. And the reception at Doug’s, with only finger foods and dessert. Or, we have a meet and greet reception at the church: Cake and punch and peanuts. Then the die-hards can go over to doug’s for a die-hard party.

What if everyone wants to come over to Doug’s for the party? Then you end up doing two parties and defeat the point of having the first party.

What if this church near Doug's isn't available?
What about that church in West LA? You could have the reception in the church cafeteria.
What about a park? people could bring umbrellas for the shade.
What if you called a church in Culver City?
What if you can't get any of them?

I understand why people elope. I also understand why people don' elope, why instead they endure the stress and have a real wedding. Because this isn’t just about Larry and me. This is a celebration that everyone who’s invited is a part of.

This weekend Larry was over. We read a couple chapters of this really great book, Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. Later he was dozing on my couch. His face was quiet and serene. He looked like he was 18 years old, just so adorable. I leaned over and sang him some Al Green,
“I’m so in love with you, whatever you want to do is alright with me.”

I've never felt so at home and at peace and delighted and full of joy. I sure do love that guy.

Earlier today I met my friend Alicia for a yoga class. Alicia’s an actress, secular but spiritual, grad-school educated, so well-traveled, has her dating profile on Salon.com. Super smart and gorgeous, knows how to enjoy life. And she’s still single. Go figure. Back in December I’d been emailing Larry only a couple weeks and about to meet for the first time. Alicia and I were walking out of yoga and I said to her, "I think this guy could be the one. He may very well NOT be, but if he Is, I’ll remember this moment, telling you he could be the one.” She’s is just one of the people who’s watched all of this, who’s seen her own story in ours. And she’s excited to be there.

So despite the stress, I wouldn't want to elope. I want to stand up in front of all these people who love us and are invested in our story. I want to do something wonderful for them, too.

I emailed Larry tonight: “So many people want to come because we're a miracle, and a story of hope. Let's not forget that. All these people who are coming, they’re coming because they’ve known and loved us all these years: all the years we stopped hoping for love to come our way. All those years we recited Habakkuk: “though the fig tree does not bud..." the years we cried and complained and asked, "what the Eff, God?" And now we've found each other. This is a fairy tale in a way. But it isn't a Cinderella story. This is a fairy tale in that it’s about happy endings. But it’s grounded in real life, the stuff of real life, and the new beginnings of real life. Total strangers found our blog and are tuning in. Let’s give them a great story to be happy about.

Today is just the beginning. SO I didn't find Larry at 21. But we've got a lot of living to do for the next 30 years or so. I love that guy more than I knew my heart could hold.

So we’re going to get married in six weeks. We’re not sure of the details, except that about a hundred people we love are gonna be there with us. And we’re going to sing hymns like we mean it. And love songs too.

I’m so in love with you
Whatever you want to do is alright with me
Let me be the one you come running to
I want to spend my life with you
Let’s stay together
Loving you whenever
times are good or bad, happy or sad ...

1 comment:

anna said...

You're definitely a miracle. Lovely words. I hope I'll hear them again at your wedding.

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