The other day, a gentleman I'd never met before walked into our shop and promptly said to me, "Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials." At first, I was a little puzzled as to how he'd heard--or why he'd care--about my engagement. As it turned out, he'd seen my photo in the neighborhood newspaper and read the accompanying article about the Salvage Bride workshop we held a few weeks ago.
My brief encounter with mini-celebrity has left me feeling a little exposed. In the past month or so, I've spoken with dozens of people, not just about the workshop, but also about our upcoming wedding. Up until then, I'd really thought of the wedding as a private thing, an event that involves my man, a chosen few, and me. Now, though, people I hardly know have asked about everything from our vows to our dessert buffet.
Please don't misunderstand me. It's not that I find these conversations intrusive. (Could I really post on this blog, day after day, about our big party in June, and then complain that people are nosing into my business?) It's more that I'm having to rethink my feelings about the public nature of our wedding. My idea that the wedding represents a commitment that exists only between my man and I--well, it only goes so far. At some point, I have to concede, the wedding really represents a contract between us as a couple and society as a whole. In getting hitched, we're making a promise to the community as a whole that we'll conduct ourselves in a new way.
It's no wonder people are interested in what shoes I'll be wearing.
It's kind of making my head spin. If I have anything in particular to blame for my having gotten into this new mindset, it's probably Elizabeth Gilbert's new book, Committed. It's been a few decades since I've written a book report, and I'm not all that inclined to start now. If you've read Eat, Pray, Love--and if you haven't, you're one of, like, twelve people on the planet--you already know who Elizabeth Gilbert is, and you know that she has some issues. Among other things, she has issues with marriage, and Committed is her way of examining why people marry, why they don't, and what it means when they choose one or the other.
Maybe a book like that sounds like too much work--although I'll point out right here that Gilbert is pretty darn accessible--or maybe it just sounds, um, scary. If you'd rather leave the subject of marriage alone and just worry about the wedding day, then maybe you should try Rebecca Mead's One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding. Mead looks at wedding planners, bridal fashion, gift registries, and everything else that's we've crammed into the modern American wedding while asking what it all means. Or what we wish it meant.
If you're planning a wedding, you might be better off reading something, well, relaxing. But if you're feeling brave, try one of these. They're both good reads and your library probably has them.
When I'm interested in something, I'm prone to becoming absolutely immersed in it. If I get into, say, "organic gardening," then I'm perfectly capable of eating, sleeping, and breathing organic gardening for, oh, maybe a year and a half. It's true that eating, sleeping, and breathing "wedding" probably isn't the best choice for anyone, including me. You can't blame me, though, for wanting to understand just what exactly it is I'm getting myself into.