1. Today is my husband Chris’ and my 18th wedding anniversary.
2. I was 18 years old when we got married. If you’re even passably decent at math, I just gave away my age.
3. If you’re 18 and considering getting married this year–don’t do it. Really. It’s a bad idea. A horribly bad idea. Seriously. Don’t do it.
4. That said, we’re still married 18 years later. So if you’re 18 and just got married, don’t let anyone tell you it can’t work. It’s just hard.
5. It’s hard anyway. You’ll both grow as a person over the years no matter what age you are when you get married. Success or failure is in your ability to grow together instead of apart.
6. I wore a hand-me-down dress that I hated. Hate. Ed. My mom spent several hours and probably enough cash to buy a decent dress sewing lace, rhinestones, and sequins onto it to produce… a still-hideous dress that had a lot of lace, rhinestones and sequins on it that didn’t really match each other or the dress. I wore it anyway and didn’t tell her I hated it. What can I say? I was a highly conflict-avoidant young woman.
7. It’s so, so not about the dress. That said, if you have the option, don’t back down if you hate the dress. I’m still kind of ticked about it. If you can’t afford a dress that, at a minimum, you don’t hate with every fiber of your being, then you might want to consider your general financial solvency and preparedness for marriage. Not to mention your conflict management and negotiation skills. Hindsight being 20/20 and all that.
8. Aside from the dress, don’t skimp on the photographer. We went with the “friend of a friend of a friend who someone says is really cheap” option. Hence, we have no wedding pictures. She used ancient film and every photo came out completely violet. Violet wasn’t even one of our colors. That is why the pic at right is sepia. Because sepia looks better than purple.
9. It’s also not about the ring. The wedding ring I currently wear is a sterling silver band I paid $12 for at my local Wal-Mart. Chris wears the $14 mens version.
10. No, it’s not my original ring. Originally, I had a white-gold wedding set with six TINY diamonds. Not going to tell you why we don’t have our original wedding rings. Too long a story for a bullet item, even for me. Maybe another post.
11. Everyone tells you to plan for about half the number of people you invite to show up. We invited 200 people. Three hundred showed up. We ran out of cake, and my mom had to make an emergency sheet-cake run to the local grocery. Don’t put “All family and friends are welcome to attend” in the wedding announcement unless you REALLY mean it. Or don’t have many family or friends who are up for free sheet cake. Geez.
12. Since it was the summer of 1991, our first dance was to “Everything I Do, I Do For You” by Bryan Adams. It was in the movie Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. We thought it was terribly romantic, but then again, we were young and kind of dumb. I suspect everyone that got married in summer of ’91 danced to that song. The video is embedded below.
13. We got to pick the music we wanted for our reception. The ceremony itself–not so much. Chris had originally proposed at the age of 16 in front of 30 other people at the cast party for our high school production of M.A.S.H. I was Hot Lips, he was unfortunately typecast as Ho-Jon, being the only marginally Asian-looking guy available at our rural midwestern school. Being musical theater geeks, we wanted “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera (and yes, I am looking forward to Glee this fall–thanks for asking). The Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) apparently frowns upon Andrew Lloyd Webber being played in their churches. Yes, I now recognize that was a blessing in disguise.
14. I’m less convinced the 15 minute “sermonette” we also couldn’t opt-out of was a stellar idea, even in hindsight. People were nodding off at an alarming rate. You can see it in the wedding video, since it was shot from behind the Pastor’s head.
15. In the aforementioned wedding video, you can also see my mom jitterbugging with my uncle (her brother) at the reception. I wish I had it in digital format to embed here, because everyone should see my mom with an 80’s spiral perm jitterbugging barefoot to Hank Williams, Jr.’s “Born to Boogie” on our wet lawn.
16. I started college the first time the week after the wedding.
17. I’m starting college for the second time next week. It’s scarier this time because I’m no longer stupid enough to think being married, working full time, and going to school all at the same time isn’t going to be crazy, ridiculously hard.
18. Chris: if you’re reading this, I LOVE YOU. Have a great day, honey. Big times tonight. Everyone else: MYOB. 😉