My husband is going to a wedding today without me. I’m still not sure how exactly I feel about it. Part of me says I should be happy for a little more alone time to work on my personal projects and do what I want to do. But I get plenty of alone time with him working more, and my anxiety is still significant enough that, while I can drive again, I don’t go far or very often.
The wedding is one of those where they’re paying a significant amount of money for every single person they invite, so they needed an exact head count over a month ago. We expected Seraphim to be born closer to the end of February (sometime during the week of the 24th, since I was scheduled to be induced on the 24th, and was told that could take up to 4 days), and we didn’t know what the status of his health would be–or mine. So K RSVP’d for himself and said I wouldn’t be coming so that they wouldn’t have to pay way too much money for someone who might not come.
Then Seraphim came early and naturally, and died. No baby in the hospital or at home, no C-section for me to recover from. And, quite honestly, this week I feel pretty good. We “played tennis” two days this week (and by that, I mean we took a hopper of balls and hit them against a backboard at the park… not much exercise, but way more than I’ve had in months), and I felt deservedly tired for the first time in weeks. My body is still weak, I’m still healing, and my emotions are still raw sometimes (and by that I mean I am easily made both happy and sad… not just crying spells), but I’m getting there. But I didn’t really know how well I’d be until about two weeks ago, and it was way too late to change the RSVP.
So I’m not going, and I feel kind of dumb. Like his friends, some of whom haven’t met me, will think I’m stuck up, or maybe just a sobbing mess. I’m not, but they don’t necessarily know that. So I’ve been telling myself we couldn’t afford us both to go–which is partially true. Since it’s on the other side of the state, we could’ve driven for $50 or so (assuming the stupid passes stay open!), or taken the Greyhound for $60. Instead, only he is going, so it only costs $30. I don’t think that doubling that would’ve broken the bank, even with me taking so much LWOP… but it makes me feel better to say that.
This whole situation does make me glad we did things so much differently for our wedding. I appreciated RSVPs, but didn’t depend on them. We made all of the food for the reception (with help of about 10 of our friends), so it was very inexpensive (we spent under $500 for all of the food) and exactly what we wanted. We had many people who RSVP’d the week before the wedding and it didn’t change anything. We didn’t have to get numbers to our caterer; we didn’t have to deny people from bringing their significant others or children because we didn’t want to pay $200/plate for extra people. Everyone could bring their children (and the kids had a great time–the pictures of the kids at the wedding reception are some of my favourites), and we encouraged everyone to bring their significant others. We wanted everyone to feel welcome and comfortable (since sometimes it’s awkward to go to a wedding where you know no one except the bride and groom, and you can’t exactly spend every minute of the wedding with them!).
I guess that’s the thing with Orthodox weddings though: while we aren’t required to invite everyone to the reception, the wedding is open for all. Since it’s a sacrament of the Church, everyone from the church community is automatically invited. Since my husband and I came from two different church communities, both of our churches were invited. It was up to us if we wanted a private reception, but in light of the attitude that this was “for all,” we felt like having a small, private reception that excluded some of the people who came to our wedding would miss the point. These people came to support and celebrate our joining; we wanted to keep them around as a “thank you” for their love. It was perfect and I don’t regret doing what we did–it was a lot of work, and sometimes a little stressful, but it was so much better than dealing with caterers, or spending hours chopping our guest list. I wish more people felt free to do what we did. I think the wedding industry discourages people from it–insisting that it is one day of your life that you can never repeat (unless you get divorced and remarried) so you should spend as much money on it as a house or else people will think you are cheap. I read plenty of wedding websites and magazines that insisted that making your own food was something you should never do. I don’t think it’s right for everyone, but never? I wouldn’t go that far. It worked out perfectly fine for us, and while it was certainly not a gourmet dinner, we didn’t want a gourmet sit-down dinner in the first place.
I don’t have hard feelings towards this couple who are having the fancy, expensive wedding, but I know the situation I have found myself in–not being able to go because I couldn’t RSVP in time–would never have happened with a wedding like ours–the do-it-yourself wedding you are apparently never supposed to attempt.