I can’t sleep. An earlier conversation between me and my fiance, Patrich, keeps replaying inside my head, and I’m wondering how it got this far without either of us thinking twice. We were swept off by all of it, by the ideal of a dream wedding. I still remember when it all came crashing down on me:
“Patrich, I don’t know what’s happening,” I said in near tears.
“Di ko din alam (I also don’t know what’s happening),” Patrich replied.
“I’m confused,” I murmured.
We just came home from a wedding convention, where all our wedding needs could supposedly be met by all the suppliers we could ever think up under a single roof. We were met by a barrage of flyers, all displaying limited offers or deals for flowers, clothes, make-up, reception venues, photography, videography, and even rentable air-conditioning; sales people, all trained to tell you what you need and why they could provide it best; and flashing lights, grand decor, and loud music, all there to give you an impression of how epic your wedding could be. We were swept of by all of it. We were swept of by how quickly we were supposed to make decisions, because the offer was ‘limited.’ We were swept off by how ‘cheaply’ we could get things because of all the add-ons we could get (but probably didn’t need). We were swept off by a culture that celebrates weddings as ‘the happiest day of your life.’
And it’s true. I agree. Our wedding day potentially is the happiest day of our lives, and for many Filipinos, that is the case. I am not against having grand themed weddings, documented every step of the way, with elaborate preparations and programs. Such weddings can truly embody celebration and togetherness. We were different, though, or rather, we used to be. All the preparation that’s happened so far has confused me, and for a moment I lost track of what I — we — really wanted for our wedding.
As I look back to what I consider to be my dream wedding, ours is potentially becoming one that I didn’t want in the first place. Patrich agrees. We looked back on what we agreed upon before we got engaged — a solemn liturgical celebration and a simple gathering with our family and closest friends. We don’t need the same-day edits. We don’t need so many albums. We don’t need reception halls with high ceilings and rolls and rolls of drapery. We don’t need disco lights and wild party music. We don’t need bubbles or smoke machines. We d0n’t need so many things that we currently have right now. We just needed the ceremony, a simple reception, our family, our friends, and perhaps pictures to remember our wedding day by.
What is more important to us is not the wedding itself, but our marriage. Instead of fussing over which supplier to get, we wanted to prepare ourselves spiritually, to make sure that when we do get married, we would always be of service to God and to each other. Instead of spending too much on our wedding, we wanted to have a proper home to live in and a proper life to give to our (future) children. Through this process of preparation, we hoped to learn to be more responsible with our resources and to dedicate them for the most important things. Perhaps, we should turn back. Before we could get lost in the physical preparations for our wedding, perhaps we should rededicate ourselves to our real goal: our marriage.
Eleven months from now, we will get married, and it’ll be grand. Not because we’ll be looking like royalty, but because God’s going to be in it.