A few months ago I attended a wedding which was probably the most expensive affair I have ever been to.
The venue was picture perfect.
The bride was beautiful in an exquisite dress designed to fit her perfectly. The reception was spectacular. It was truly a day to remember.
As my friend prepared for her big day, I looked through the bridal books with her and listened to stories about dress-fittings and gushed over her pretty invitations.
But, a part of me wanted to sit her down and tell her something very personal. I wanted to explain to her that the wedding is just the start. The wedding isn’t everything.
I didn’t though. I kept my mouth closed and nodded along with agreement at flower selections and colour schemes. As if I knew what all that was about.
The truth is when I got engaged my ideas were squashed and my bridal books became ornaments. It sounds dramatic but the facts are simple.
Family took over our wedding from start to finish and there was very little about the day which was actually about the bride and groom.
In a nutshell we ended up taking the money instead of having a fancy day. It meant a bigger deposit on our home which we bought a few months after saying “I do”.
It meant we would pay it off faster. But a small part of me would have liked to have stood up to my parents and pointed out that I didn’t grow up wanting a very simple wedding day and fantasising about shaving interest off our future home loan.
Everything that my hubby and I wanted for our day was vetoed from the start. I couldn’t get married in the church I’d grown up in. My parents felt it wasn’t “appropriate” as my husband wasn’t a member.
They controlled the guest list completely.
When future in-laws asked questions but didn’t offer to pay half of the reception, my mother was furious and talked me into not having one. I was told we’d never please everyone – basically why bother. It never occurred to my family that it wasn’t about them.
Getting the last word proved too important.
There were happy parts – my father-in-law helped with our invitations and they really looked stunning. Of course I got grief from my side of the family for accepting his help.
My cousin sang at our ceremony – naturally not my first choice of song but at least my mother approved. The best part of the service was exchanging rings and being told we were husband and wife.
Driving out of the church’s parking lot and going home as newlyweds.
Our honeymoon. Starting our lives together. There is so much more to marriage than the wedding. There is compromise and trust. There is laundry and bills.
But waking up each morning next to my best friend – the person who loves me unconditionally is one of my favourite parts.
I married him for him. For the memories we make daily. A wedding marks the start of a new life but it isn’t everything.
I didn’t spend hours scrutinising seating plans and poring over menus in the build up for a massive day. But I got the man of my dreams and that is enough.
We are busy planning our second honeymoon to mark our 10 year anniversary next year. Family may have taken over our wedding but our marriage?
That is 100% ours.
Have you ever felt as if your wedding has been hijacked by your family?
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