Over at Moms & the City, Melissa Gerstein asks the question “Would You Want To Be A Bride Again?” I was speaking with a friend (whom I’ll call Mary) about this very question just last week. After nearly 15 years of marriage, she too was contemplating renewing her wedding vows.
Mary had a perfect wedding in the eyes of everyone present. It was a storybook romance that began in college. After dating for three years, Mary and Steve had the traditional church wedding with a reception at a country club. The weather was 70 degrees and sunny, her dress beautiful. Both sets of parents were present, and each of their siblings and spouses were in the wedding party. You practically couldn’t get much better than that.
Sure, I said to an undecided Mary when she asked if she should renew her vows. I thought she’d want her kids present and 15 years did seem like a good time. But no, she explained, it had nothing to do with the kids. She wanted to have a “nice wedding” this time around. The dumbfounded look on my face as I uttered the words, “but your wedding was perfect” made Mary laugh. Then she told me how her mother-in-law made her wedding prep hell on earth, her sister-in-law was a condescending nag who judged every decision she made, from choice of napkin to first dance selection. Mary said she spent the whole day trying to please everyone but herself. She never even ate her wedding meal and although everyone told her the food was great, she was too busy going from table to table to taste it.
I was surprised, but then again I wasn’t because so many of us become overwhelmed when planning a wedding and we often forget that the day is for us, not anyone else. If I had to go back to my own wedding day, I would make quite a few changes, including not inviting a bunch of people that showed up.
Renewing your vows when you’ve already been through the ups and downs of marriage is, of course, a beautiful thing and a testament to the fact that you both still truly love each other despite all the drama that comes with raising a family and living life. But it can also be a chance to create a perfect wedding if your first one was less than expected.
In the end, Mary decided to renew her vows and to guarantee the perfect day, it will be a very small and intimate affair, with just her and her husband and their two children. No in-laws invited this time around. A quick ceremony and a lunch to celebrate, and Mary swears she will eat the entire meal and enjoy every bite.
What would you change about your first wedding? Are you considering renewing your vows at some point? Have you already done it?
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