After a long season of planning, talking, family-communicating and decision-making, the Photographer and I got married this Labor Day weekend.
Like all such intense, life altering events, it takes awhile to process everything, and we will be doing just that for a long time to come, which says to me that the wedding was everything it should have been. It grew out of our story and solidified the parts of that story we want to build on as our foundation.
Also, like all such intense, life altering events, it was a struggle to stay present to everything that was happening, because there was so very much going on in every moment. Not everything went as planned, but that’s part of the deal also. A few years ago I wrote about how plans and ideas belong to the realm of air and sky, but our path must still be walked on the firm ground of the Earth, which contributes its own messiness to the way things go. That was true of the wedding weekend events also, and I reminded myself of it often. At a certain point, we let go of plans, and what happens is what happens. Our only job then is to experience and make meaning.
Both ceremony and reception were held at a beautiful place where, as a young person, my family did community theater productions. It felt surprisingly like those days of children’s theater outside, in costumes and makeup, attempting to look more put together and less wilted than we felt. We had lots of kids in attendance, so it felt important to make the event kid-friendly and playful, and it was that.
One amazing and unexpected part of having the kids there was seeing how they reacted to everything. Two reactions were particularly telling. As I walked towards the improvised outdoor aisle with my father, before anyone else had turned around, a very young one held over the shoulder of his mother on the last row saw me and lit up with the biggest smile imaginable. At the reception, another little one brought me her doll, her doll’s bottle, and anything else she could think to offer, with a huge flirtatious smile and lots of giggles. They were reacting to the archetype, to the “bride” that I had not even been fully aware of embodying, the celebrity of the moment in the white dress.
I realized that in the months leading up to the wedding, I was subject to a lot of advice and a lot assumptions, mostly about what being a “bride” meant. One of the biggest tasks of this time was to figure out how to “be myself” while also stepping into this archetype. It’s not an either/or sort of thing. It’s about figuring out where the intersection is.
In truth, as wonderful as the weekend was, it’s a bit of a relief to get to step out of that balancing act. In looking through pictures friends have shared with us thus far, my favorites are from the time before and the time after, like the photo above where I’m sitting with my father, out of costume, watching friends and family have a good time in the space we created together.
Another favorite moment is one I don’t have a picture of, the night of the wedding, waiting for our ride, still in my wedding dress and sitting on the ground with my four year old niece in her flower girl outfit. “Aunt Kat,” she said, “Come here – I have to tell you a secret.” I leaned in, and she cupped her hand to whisper in my ear. “Booger!” she said, and erupted into hysterical laughter. It was wonderful.
(Note: All photos in this post are courtesy of the incomparable Jill French of Jilly Lane Studios)