In light of recent events, i.e. one of my Calvin friends getting married and yet another Calvin friend inviting me to stand up in her wedding within the span of twenty-four hours, I’ve caught a bit of wedding fever. I talk a good game about not getting caught up in that sort of thing, but truthfully, that is a hot load of shit. I frickin’ love weddings. I’ve cried at every wedding I’ve attended, and I especially enjoy when couples personalize the wedding proceedings to suit their personalities.
All that said, as an attendee of mostly “Christian” weddings, I’ve found that churchy wedding proceedings sometimes leave a bad taste in my mouth. But instead of moaning about how traditional weddings often perpetuate rituals that devalue women and exclude unchurched people, I’ve decided to outline the ideal wedding for a Grumpy Midwestern Feminist, a.k.a. me. You’re welcome.
Here’s how it’ll go down:
The wedding will happen in a religiously neutral space. Perhaps a park pavilion on the lake, or a rustic barn, or something else I haven’t thought of yet. The guest list will be curated to include everyone who should be there, and not one person more. All of my faraway friends will be there, and no one’s exes will be invited. Only Significant Plus Ones and Others will be allowed: spouses, long-term partners, children, well-behaved pets.
I will convince my sister to wear a dress, but, per our agreement, it will not be strapless. Much to my mother’s chagrin, I will not shave my legs for the occasion. I will wear a long, white dress that makes me feel like a model, and my husband-to-be will wear one of those super sexy dark gray suits. I will not wear high heels, and the entire bridal party will wear either Converse or Birkenstocks.
My soon-to-be spouse and I will walk down parallel aisles at the same time and meet in the middle, both escorted by our parents. Or, we’ll walk down the center aisle together, escorted by each other. I’ll hire a string quartet and/or a pianist for that shit, and Pachelbel’s Canon will be on the Absolutely Do Not Play Under Any Circumstances list.
Cue collective weeping in three, two, one, lift off.
There will be readings from texts that are meaningful to both of us. There will be no cheesy sermon telling me that someday in the future, when I’m still (somehow) as beautiful as the springtime, my husband will have sprouted a beer gut and lost all motivation to help with chores—and that’s when I’ll know the meaning of sacrificial love.
My husband and I will write our vows together and discuss their meaning and desired administration with our officiant. As an aside, I’ve already chosen whom I want to officiate, and, news flash, this person is neither a man nor a pastor and she’d be fucking perfect for the job. She doesn’t yet have one of those twenty-minute-online marriage ordination thingies, but it’ll happen. Trust me.
When all the reading and vow-making have concluded, my husband and I will kiss each other a little more politely than is our custom. We’ll be presented to our family and friends as Mr. and Mrs. My Name – His Name, His Name – My Name, or something completely different. “Gent” will not go gently into that good night.
The food will be snack-themed: chips, dips, pretzels, cheese, crackers, pasta salads, veggie salads, fruit salads. There will be at least one keg involved. We will do dessert potluck-style. (Yes, in fact, one of my friends did have potluck-style desserts at her reception this past weekend, but I maintain that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and anyway, buying a gluten-free wedding cake would cost approximately fifteen bajillion dollars.)
My sister will inevitably roast me with her maid of honor speech, but it’ll still make me cry in a good way.
And then there will be dancing: lots of it. I will have provided the DJ with a long list of songs not to play. No one who comes to my wedding will feel obligated to fall in line for the Cupid Shuffle, the Wobble, the Cha-Cha Slide, or the Whip. What they will be obligated to do is scream along at the top of their lungs to “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” At least, that’s what I’ll be doing.
At the end of the night, everyone will depart pleasantly exhausted and will promise to visit often. My husband and I will leave, too, and sleep at home for the night before leaving for a fabulously romantic honeymoon in Spain, France, and Germany (this is a dream wedding, after all).
All of the above will amount to less than $5,000, and I will manage to not accidentally consume gluten, and they all lived happily ever after.
Caitlin Gent (’15) graduated with a writing major. She lives in Milwaukee and works in fundraising & development. When she’s not working, Caitlin is usually walking with a friend or singing in the kitchen. She likes to wax poetic about Wisconsin to anyone who will listen.