Calling all self-proclaimed free spirits... is marriage the end to all things “free” as we know it? Ok, I know how melodramatic that sounds. But, really — it can start before you’re even engaged!
A few months (weeks, if we’re being honest) into your relationship, your well-meaning friends and family members can’t help but follow the same, mind-numbing script:
“So, are things getting SERIOUS…??” (Yes, we’re serious about how much we love shoving popcorn into our faces while binge-watching Stranger Things. We take that very seriously.)
When you’re finally happy with someone, the universe insists that you start to check off the relationship to-do list… introduce your partner to friends and family (√), become Facebook official (√), get engaged over the holidays with “adorable” notes about being each other’s best friend (wait, what??)
Just like that, you’re planning the massive wedding that you never wanted and inviting your mom’s childhood friend’s parents. How did this happen? When did love become so formulaic? I mean… maybe it is a trap. (If you’re curious as to how marriage originated, read this super unromantic article from Big Think.)
When did we start letting society’s soul-crushing relationship checklist take over?
This may sound cheesy, but YOUR LIFE IS YOURS. And, let me tell you something: there’s no post-wedding guidebook. If you do decide to get married, and you get used to being told which boxes to check and at what point, well…. you’re in for a rude awakening, post-honeymoon.
Not giving enough time or acknowledgement to your own wishes for a wedding could not only be detrimental to your own happiness, but also your partner’s.
Here’s my biggest piece of advice, from one elopement photographer, to, well, you: learn to work as a team from the very beginning. Build a list of your individual wants and needs pre-ceremony, for the actual ceremony, and for wedding/elopement weekend. Taking the time to acknowledge your truths may hinder immediate and future regrets.
Then, there’s the aftermath. Even if you aren’t having delusions of grandeur for life after the “big day,” the post-wedding blues are pretty dang common. Most traditional weddings absorb 9-12 months of your life — planning, splurging, and being surrounded by close friends and family... all building up to one day. How could you not feel blue once you’ve returned from sipping Mai Tais in Maui?
Let’s check in - are you investing just as much time and energy into strengthening your relationship as you are planning your wedding day? It’s all about re-shifting your focus from the wedding to your actual marriage. Yes, they’re two different things!
If you’re loving wedding-planning luncheons with your soon-to-be sister-in-laws, then imagine the lifetime of boozy brunches ahead! If your honeymoon was amazing, maybe you and your partner agree to make traveling together a priority. During post-wedding blues, it can be easy to forget about future life events (both big and small) on your horizon. Even lighting a few candles for a date night at home is something to look forward to.
TL;DR? Throw away the checklists and take a timeout from wedding plans — you both deserve it!!