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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

On Perfect Weddings

Bride wearing a stormtrooper helmet. Image source.
Did I mention I got married?!!! It was awesome. The whole day was so incredibly amazing and happy, and I felt like it was perfect.

It wasn't perfect though, not in a literal sense. I felt like it was perfect- and what I mean by that is, I was so completely happy about everything that I barely even noticed the things that didn't go "perfectly." I didn't have a feeling like "this is pretty good, but it could have been better if this and that had gone differently."

There was only one issue which was serious enough to be a potential crisis: My dress was SO TIGHT. I put it on before the ceremony and it looked AMAZING and I'm thinking, I can't really breathe normally in this dress. After a few minutes I felt light-headed and I'm wondering if I'm going to keel over during the ceremony. My sisters, my mom, and I did some problem-solving and figured out that if we don't zip up the back all the way, it's a lot more comfortable and I would be able to breathe. So that's what we did: I got married in a dress that had the back zipper gaping open. During the ceremony I had a white slip on under it so the hole wasn't noticeable, but then for the reception I took off the slip and my skin was showing. Several days later I'm looking at photos of me dancing and I'm like "oh it was noticeable" and my family is like "lolololol YES of course, it was a giant hole in the back of your dress, yes it was 'noticeable.'"

But the point is, we solved that problem and everything went fine and I didn't feel bad about it at all. Several of the guests reassured me that "it just looks like a keyhole back, some wedding dresses have an open back, people probably just thought it was a keyhole back," which, first of all I had never heard of a "keyhole back" so, okay whatever, and second, it kind of felt like they were trying too hard to reassure me that it wasn't a bad thing. As if they were worried I would be really distressed about it and they needed to help me feel better. (Note: I just googled what a "keyhole back" is. Uh no it didn't look like that. It looked like I forgot to zip the back of my dress.)

So we only had one thing that was a potential crisis. But for the purposes of this blog post about "perfect weddings," I'll list a bunch of other things that happened that weren't "perfect": My veil fell off several times during the ceremony, and one of the bridesmaids kept trying to stick it back on until she just gave up after the third or fourth time (and I thought it was HILARIOUS). There was an edit I made to one of the lines in the vows, a few days before the wedding, that didn't make it into the final version that was read at the ceremony. After the part in the ceremony where the parents stand up, the officiant didn't tell them to sit down, so they just stood there awkwardly for the first bit of the ceremony. Hendrix tried to put his ring on my finger at first, and I had to whisper "that's yours" at him in Chinese. We made some changes to the design of the cake, a few weeks before the wedding, but the cake that showed up was our original design instead. The DJ said our groomsman's name wrong when introducing the toasts. The song "Toxic" was not played at the reception- like how can you have a wedding where you don't dance to "Toxic"? (I gave the DJ a giant list of songs and he wasn't able to get through all of them. Not his fault.)

It feels weird to list all these "imperfect" things though, because they didn't really matter. It wasn't "perfect," but that doesn't mean it was in any way inferior or less enjoyable than a hypothetical wedding where these details had gone "right." Your mileage may vary- everybody's wedding is different, and everybody has different feelings about the importance of each part. And it's totally fine to be unhappy about something that didn't go according to plan. My point is that a wedding isn't going to be "perfect" in a literal sense, and that shouldn't be the goal anyway.

And another thing: Your wedding guests aren't the set of people you love the most in the world. Of course you want to invite all the people you love the most, but then practical things come into play, like deciding which relatives to invite, and if you invite one cousin then you have to invite all of them, and this person lives too far away so they won't realistically be able to come and we don't want them to feel like they're obligated to send a gift, etc etc etc. And then after you send out the invitations, the people who say yes aren't the people who love you the most; they're the people who are able to get themselves to that particular location on that particular date. People who live close to your wedding location, or have the time and money to travel. People who weren't busy with something else that day. Poor Hendrix, he invited a lot of people from China who weren't able to come. We didn't have a "bride's side" and "groom's side" because the groom's side would have been pathetically sparse. As for me, there were some people I wanted to see there who weren't able to come, and some friends that I haven't seen in 5 years who were able to come and I was so happy about that.

There's this ideal that a wedding is a big party with all the people you love the most, but it's really not. Some of them won't be able to come, just for their own personal reasons, and that's okay. And then there could be other people you weren't expecting, but end up making your wedding so fun with their presence. Like my cousin's boyfriend, whom we will call Kyle. He was so much fun on the dance floor, and he took a ton of great photos and gave them to me afterward. Back when we made the guest list, we weren't thinking about him at all; he was just there as a +1 for my cousin. But now I have these fun memories with him and that's great.

We're never going to get that exact group of people all together again. And that's okay. Just enjoy the moment while we can.

So was it "the happiest day of my life"? I don't know, I was too busy getting married to think about "so what about the day we got a puppy, back when I was 13, is this happier than that or not?" Why would you need to compare one happy day to another? Why does it matter which day is "the happiest day of your life"? Your wedding doesn't need to be perfect. It doesn't need to be the best in every aspect. There will be other happy days in the future. There will be other fun parties. There will be more memories to be made, and more opportunities to see those loved ones who weren't able to come to the wedding. There will be more chances to dance to "Toxic." (Full disclosure: I do this alone in my apartment on a weekly basis.) It's not like it's your only chance to throw a big fun party. There's not really anything that's exactly the same as a wedding, but that's okay.

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