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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cause You Gotta Have Faith

As some of you may or may not have noticed, I've been posting less infrequently here over the last few weeks. Try as I might, I just haven't had the time to write (or comment) as much as I'd like to. I do, however, have good reason as to why I've been rather MIA lately. Now that things are dying down a bit, my intention is to turn what has been keeping me from posting lately into posts themselves. Pretty clever, right?

Ever since I got engaged, it's been a whirlwind of activity. My goal from the beginning was to have my wedding May of 2008. Sometimes I make the mistake of just saying "May" and people think I'm talking about the month of May that is less than 90 days away. Most of those people are guys though and probably have no clue what goes into wedding planning, so I digress. Still the clarification is there for any of those who might need it.

Everyone says that you should bask in the glow of being engaged for a few weeks. Only when time is of the essence and you need to have a few things out of the way before you can relax, it's easier said than done. So the first things on my agenda were location and date. Once those things are in place, the rest will fall

But this post isn't about venues. That's another topic for another time. This post is about the aggravation that I never anticipated when planning a wedding. I guess that's because before this one, I never had any vested interest in any one wedding. Sure I've been in weddings and attended many weddings. But all I had to then was show up. I didn't have to worry about the how's, when's and why's. Now that the tables have turned, I know better.

Everyone's picture of the typical wedding is different. Let's do some word association, shall we? Most people hear the word wedding and they think: white, church, bridesmaids, dress or something of that effect. But when envisioning my own wedding, I wanted to be much more lax. One of the first roadblocks we hit was where to have the ceremony.

For awhile now I assumed I would marry at the location instead of in a church. My reasons for this are simple. I was raised Roman Catholic while my "fiance" (man, do I hate that pretentious word) was raised Baptist. Neither one of us have carried strong beliefs into our adult lives though and since I know that the Roman Catholic church can be a bit of a bear to deal with, I just assumed we'd go the route of getting married on site.

There are advantages to this decision, too. If we get married at the place we are having the reception we have the opportunity to have a picturesque waterside or garden type wedding. It's also more convenient for our guests. No one has to go to the church and then have that awkward four hour period in between the church and the reception. It also increases the expected turnout of people who will be at your actual ceremony. Cause let's face it. Most people show up to weddings for the five hour premium bar, not to bear witness to the actual I Do's.

Of course where there's an upside there's a downside, too. Getting married at the place leaves less time to take pictures since your time is limited. It also can be a bit nerve-wrecking weather wise, not knowing if your beautiful outside wedding will even be possible until the day of. But perhaps the biggest headache of all is who will do the actual I now pronounce you...part. You know, the wedding itself.

Now my "fiance" (yes I will probably always sarcastically place the word in quotes) really doesn't care either way. In fact, his idea of a dream wedding is me, him and an Elvis impersonator. Ok, maybe not a wedding fit for a performed by the King, but something short, sweet, simple and private. But I'm a girl and silly me wanted to wear a white dress and have bridesmaids. Now I can't complain about wedding plans because he gets the "I told you so" look on his face. So the fact that the ceremony is an issue is a non-issue to him. He also believed we were going to get married in a church, but he figured we would get married in a church, period. So because he attended a Presbyterian church wedding he thought it might be nice if we went the more laid back, Presbyterian church wedding way. Never mind the fact that neither one of us are actually Presbyterian. Discuss.

Of course as anyone who has ever planned a wedding knows, the day rarely is about you and your significant other alone. Suddenly it becomes how other people are going to feel about this and that. So my parents have become quite vocal in the process of wedding planning. I can't complain however, because I'm an only child and they are footing the bill. But to say every step of the wedding planning thus far has been a challenge would be the understatement of the year.

The first major hurdle ceremony wise occurred when I told them we were thinking about getting married at the reception place. My parents got married in 1968. They're both in their mix sixties now. Neither one of them would have ever dreamed of attempting such a thing back in the day. Only problem is time has marched on. They apparently, have not. Although I know it is my wedding my parents have a way of instilling guilt in me that is impossible to explain if you don't have parents like these. They are well intentioned and understanding to a point, but their approval is important. Dammit it to all hell, but it's true.

At first they were "appalled" that I was considering having a ceremony at the place instead of in a church. But then I went into my reasons for not opting for the church wedding. It included all of the above and then some. Being that I am Roman Catholic I know that the Roman Catholic church makes you jump through the most hoops. So I didn't even know if the Roman Catholic church would let us marry there considering we were from different faiths. I also knew that marrying in the R.C. church meant attending Pre Cana classes which make you promise verbally to raise your children (if you have them) Roman Catholic one day. Some even make you promise to convert if you are not already Roman Catholic. We can say the words, but we won't mean them. And in my mind, committing a "sin" of lying before you even book the church makes me feel dirtier than if I had never went to the church in the first place.

So my parents calmed down a bit when they heard there were a list of officiants that would marry us that were Roman Catholic priests. Only the more we read the fine print the more we realized they probably weren't completely, "Roman Catholic priests". This is because many of them were referred to as "Married Roman Catholic priests". If that's not an oxymoron, I don't know what is. Add to the fact that if you get married outside of the Roman Catholic church it is not "recognized" by them unless you are blessed by them on the side. It's all so silly really. Anything you do with the R.C. church can be undone. All you gotta say is oops, my bad.

When my parents got wind of the fact that someone else, like a minister or deacon would most likely be marrying us, they were back to being disappointed again. This to me was ridiculous. I hadn't said this earlier, but we are not a religious family. Sure I was baptized, made my penance, communion and confirmation. But after I didn't have to go to church anymore I pretty much didn't go. Interestingly enough my mom stopped going, too. My dad never really went so there's nothing that's changed there. So to cling to this highly Catholic ceremony is absurd to someone like me who has never been all that religious.

Meanwhile my "fiance" was raised in a much more religious family. He isn't religious now, but his mom still sings in the choir and his dad reads the bible on a regular basis. If anyone should be mad about the ceremony not being of their faith it should be his parents, not mine. But just to appease the parental units I decided to call my local church just to prove how hard they were going to make it for us.

So I called and gave my information to a secretary. She said she couldn't tell me availability because the priest would give me all of that info when he called me back. Only problem is, he never called me back. I hear it can take weeks at a time for a church to return your phone calls. Meanwhile they expect you wait in the wings about booking the reception hall. Not only is that rude, it's also unrealistic. Sure, I can wait to hear back from the priest, but that also means I'm taking a big risk losing the reception hall I want, too.

Plus the church could very well call me back and then give me bad news anyhow. For instance, my tentative dates might already be taken. For another thing, we may not even be "allowed" to marry there after all. The secretary asked if my "fiance" was baptized and I said yes, not really knowing the answer to that question. I didn't know if Baptists were baptized because I'm not Baptist. When the answer was yes, there was no problem. But when I spoke to him he said he really didn't think he was. So now I don't know what that means, but it probably means more work for us which is exactly what I DON'T want to hear at this point.

This is why my gut tells me to just book the location and let the chips fall where they may, so to speak. If we book a date and then book everything else around it, it's a lot less aggravation. I'm not a highly religious person, but that doesn't mean I'm not a good person. I believe in heaven. I believe in hell. And most of all I believe in God. I also believe God will love me, whether I decide to get married in one of his many houses or just under the sky of his one big house, too. If it works out it's in a church, great. If not, that's fine too.

Just as long as I don't get married by Elvis. That's all I can really ask for at this point.



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