I stood in the bathroom, staring into the mirror as my eyes welled up with tears. “That was it. That was my wedding day.” I thought to myself. My wedding was small and *probably* very lovely, but to this day I can’t remember a single detail other than how I felt in the moment after it was all over. And no, it had nothing to do with my champagne intake. It was the expectation, the stress, the pressure, the attention, the disappointment, and that feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me that I was making the wrong decision. Where was my magical wedding? Where was that beautiful wedding day full of love and flowers, amazing food and dancing? Oh, yeah, in my dreams. I was 23-years-old with a toddler, living at my in-law’s house. I was in no position to have my “dream wedding.”

Fast forward 7 years… I am with the man that I undoubtedly want to spend the rest of my life with. There is no pressure. There is no timeline. Money is flowing in. I have much better taste, and years of Pinterest inspiration to help me hone in on exactly what I want my wedding to look like. So what’s wrong with me? Why don’t I want a wedding?

For starters; the stress, pressure, and attention that I mentioned in regards to my first wedding, will absolutely still exist for my second wedding. Planning is a strong suit of mine, so although I have heard about how stressful wedding planning can be, that is not the type of stress that I am afraid of. The stress that shakes me, is the stress that comes on the “big day.” Even with the most perfect planning, not everything can be perfect. The amount of money and anticipation that is placed into the expectation of what one day will hold, is just too much for me.

And then there is the pressure. Pressure for everything to go as planned. Pressure for guests to be happy. Pressure to smile, say “Hi” to everyone, be accessible, be beautiful, look good in every picture, etc. How does one truly enjoy themselves on their wedding day? I see people do it, and I envy them. When at any event that I am technically hosting, I go into extreme hostess mode and run around like a small-talking robot. With the pressure of a wedding, all of that planning, and months of waiting, I will likely shift into auto-pilot and end up with patchy memories and a few great pictures.

The last piece of this is something that Eli and I have different opinions on. He wants to say his vows to me in front of everyone he knows. He wants everyone to hear him while he professes his love and all that he promises to be and do. Those vows mean something to him, and the more people that witness us exchange them, the better. I know what you’re thinking… that is the sweetest thing ever. My man wants to shout from the rooftops how much he loves me, and I dare to stifle his love song? Well, yeah. I wouldn’t say I’m a private person by any means, but I do not like mass attention. I am horrible at public speaking and I’m that person who dreads to have birthday dinners at chain restaurants because I know that Happy Birthday song is coming for me.

The attention that comes with being a bride at a wedding is literally paralyzing for me. If I’m talking in front of more than 6 or 7 people, chances are I have no idea what I am saying. I’ll look like I am there in the room with you, but I’m actually nowhere. My mouth is moving and words are coming out, but due to my level of terror, I am blacked-out – in a horribly sober way. Standing in front of our loved ones is one thing, but speaking from the heart in front of around 100 people, HA! The best I could do is read from a piece of paper that was shaking violently in my clammy hands. I would be looking at Eli but not really seeing anything.

Then it would be over in the blink of an eye. The months of planning, the tens of thousands of dollars, and the pressure of it all, would be gone just like that. I don’t want that. I don’t want our wedding to be a show. I don’t want our wedding to be about other people. I don’t want a wedding to have a wedding. What I want is to be married. I want to buy a home. I want our children to feel like siblings. I want to be P and Z’s step-mom.

I envision our wedding day more like a “marriage day.” It will be a ceremony of joining families. Our kids should be just as important as we are on our marriage day. On that day, they will be gaining a new parent, and a new brother and sister. I picture us on a rolling hillside. Me and my kids, Eli and his kids, an officiant and a photographer. We will lay a blanket down on the green grass where the kids can sit together. Flower crowns for the girls and bow-ties for the boys.

Eli and I will exchange vows, and due to the intimate setting, I will recite my vows and I will connect with my words as I say them. We will give each other’s kids a special gift along with a different set of vows. This set of vows will be the promise of unconditional love, support, understanding, and the vow to never try to take the place of their biological parent. Our kids will then exchange a sibling promise. I am hoping that they will think this promise up themselves so that they can really mean what they say. Finally, we will take pictures frolicking in the hills. Laughing, playing, being super sweet; just our normal family stuff 😉

You didn’t think I forgot about throwing a party, right? Shortly after our two families become one, we will have a massive party where we can celebrate our loved ones and their support and involvement in our lives. Although I don’t need friends and family to physically witness our exchanging of vows, that does not mean that I don’t want to include all of our favorite people in the first chapter of the rest of our lives! And yes, there will be dancing…

M

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