Second Wedding Anniversary: On Getting Married—Your Own Way

Newlyweds at Comic-Con

Reposted from my orchid blog, Brooklyn Orchids, because our second wedding anniversary is today and I wanted to share the story of what we decided to do for our wedding. I originally posted this on August 22, 2013.

I’ve been pretty bad about updating my blog this summer, because I’ve been busy doing a bunch of really fun things:

  • Going to San Diego Comic-Con
  • Celebrating my dad’s 75th birthday here in NYC
  • Enjoying a lovely weekend in the Finger Lakes
  • Traveling to Atlanta for a college friend’s wedding
  • Oh, and getting married!

Yeah, that’s right—I saved the best for last. Obviously this blog is about orchids, but because this corner of the internet is all mine, I’m going to be self-indulgent for a few minutes and talk about my own wedding.

Let me start by saying that I’ve NEVER been the girl who’s planned her dream wedding since she was little. I didn’t imagine a particular dress, a cake, bridesmaid dresses, a color scheme, music, flowers, walking down the aisle, wedding programs, place cards, wedding favors—none of it. Even listing out just some of the typical wedding planning details HERE feels overwhelming!

And in fact, I’ve always been quite averse to being the center of attention, so the thought of standing up in front of however many friends and family members, no matter how close, gave me anxiety. Why on earth would I want to do that to myself…and why would I then want to continue being said center of attention during a traditional reception, with a first dance, a father-daughter dance, and having to chat up all the wedding guests and thank them for being there on my most special day?

Not that I wouldn’t be highly appreciative of loved ones coming together to celebrate me and my husband, but as an introvert, the thought of going through that experience sounded so exhausting. And that’s not even taking into considering the amount of energy and money that would have been spent planning all the details.

When we first got engaged back in April, I must admit that I started getting a little excited about finding a wedding dress. I set up a (secret) Pinterest wedding board where I pinned photos of gorgeous designer wedding dresses that I would never want to spend money on, beautiful jewelry, and shoes that I could not wear without wrecking my feet (I live in sneakers every day because of sesamoiditis). But that’s where the excitement ended. Fantasizing about wearing those fabulous designs was fun, but then I thought about everything else that would go along with having a wedding…and I lost interest.

We never seriously considered holding a traditional ceremony and reception with 100 or so of our family and friends. I’m from St. Louis, my husband is from the Los Angeles area, and we both have friends and family all over the U.S. Having attended many a wedding, I didn’t want to burden anyone by inviting them to ours. Most of my friends have kids, and I didn’t want them to feel like they had to spend money to travel with their families (or to find a babysitter) so that they could attend. Weddings are super fun (I really do love attending them!), but let’s be honest: they’re expensive for everyone involved, guests included. We did briefly entertain the thought of doing a small, family-only ceremony and dinner party in some beautiful destination. But then we got hung up on where that destination would be. No matter where we chose, most folks would have to travel, and again, we didn’t want to be the cause of that burden. What we did keep joking about was getting married in San Diego, where we had already planned to go in July for Comic-Con.

Then the jokes became serious. We realized that this was to be our fifth consecutive year attending Comic-Con together, so it was already sort of an occasion to commemorate, and San Diego does have a special place in our hearts because of all the fun we’ve had and the memories we’ve made there. We came to the conclusion that getting married in San Diego was the only thing that either of us actually WANTED to do—anything else we could have done would have been because it was what you’re “supposed” to do or what other people though we “should” do. So sometime in June, we decided we were gonna do this, and I made an appointment at the San Diego Courthouse to get a marriage license and have a ceremony immediately following. We chose to get married the day before Comic-Con began so that we could just tie the knot and then enjoy the con as newlyweds.

My brother and my husband’s brother both live in the L.A. area, so we invited them down to San Diego to be witnesses at our ceremony. My husband’s brother’s girlfriend came too, so we had three witnesses at our wedding. I bought a totally affordable, adorable dress and earrings, but that’s about all I spent on wedding accoutrements. Without even meaning to, I ended up with three out of the four things brides are “supposed” to have (for good luck? I don’t even know): something old (Melissa Joy Manning necklace), something new (earrings from Etsy), and something blue (Steve Madden shoes). I didn’t have anything borrowed, but three out of four ain’t bad!

All in all, we were at the courthouse for about an hour, and most of that time was spent filling out paperwork and getting licensed. Our ceremony lasted about five minutes and we chose to get married outside the courthouse, underneath a little arbor on a most perfect-weather day.

It’s official!

We didn’t exchange rings, because we had already planned to get wedding ring tattoos on our inner wrists—which we did two weeks later (the first tattoo for both of us!). The inner portion of the ring is my ring size, and the outer portion is my husband’s ring size:

Freshly tattooed wedding rings

Freshly tattooed wedding rings

After our ceremony, we checked into our hotel (Marriott Marquis & Marina), and the front desk lady gave us a corner room with a balcony once we told her we had just gotten married (thanks, Marriott!).

View from our hotel room

Then we walked over to the convention center next door to pick up our Comic-Con badges and official bags (see photo at the top of this post). For dinner, we went to Casa Guadalajara in San Diego’s Old Town and celebrated with margaritas and amazing Mexican food. It really could not have been a better day!

In Old Town before dinner

We chose our wedding date partly because we felt that the timing was right: we knew we’d be seeing my whole family in New York the weekend after Comic-Con for my dad’s birthday, and we knew that we could get my husband’s parents to come to San Diego while we were in town. My new in-laws came down from L.A. on the last day of Comic-Con, and we surprised them with our news, then took them out for a lovely Italian dinner at Bice. The following weekend, we surprised my family (minus my brother, who already knew) during dinner at The Odeon, and they were all very happy to hear the news.

So, we avoided all the drama, stress of planning, B.S., akward-slash-embarrassing speeches, and the expense of a wedding that neither of us really wanted anyway. My husband and I are both very fortunate to have parents who are supportive of whatever makes us happy; I know so many people who’ve had weddings more for their parents than for themselves. In the end, we did things completely our way, and we’re so happy with our decision. I really don’t mean to pooh-pooh anyone who hosts a more traditional wedding…that whole experience just wasn’t for us.

And no, Comic-Con wasn’t our honeymoon. We’ll be doing a real honeymoon at some point, but the where and when is still to be determined.

On July 17, 2013, I married my best friend and my most favorite person in the world, and I’m so happy that we’ve made it official. And we even have the bumper sticker to prove it. I love you, honey.  🙂

 bumpersticker

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