So, we all know what a headache it can be to plan a wedding, right? Even your small, intimate DIY backyard event is no longer small or intimate, and really, by the time you hit the big day, it may not be DIY anymore because you’ve just driven yourself mad over those tiny little place cards to the point where you have to give it all up to someone who’s been there, done that.
There’s a reason the photo of me and Mr. Susan cutting our cake shows us in shorts and t-shirts. (It’s because after less than 12 hours of “wedding planning” I completely gave up and went with takeaway from Wild Oats and paper plates for the backyard “reception.”)
If you’re one of those brides who’ve successfully planned (and executed) a wedding that included any kind of DIY or catering or candy bar or anything remotely like that, then you have mad skills that need to be put to good use: You should be running our schools, our banks and corporations. Hell, you should be running the White House because you clearly know How To Get Shit Done.
On the other hand, if just the thought of invites and caterers and place cards makes you sorta long for your days of dating, there’s something you need to do.
Grab a friend and a Starbucks and go down to your local courthouse, the one where they perform civil ceremonies. Go and just sit there for 30 minutes or so and watch. Watch the steady stream of wildly diverse couples who come in to get hitched. The paperwork is minimal. Then there’s a short wait; sitting there beside people who really are waiting for make a court appearance, and then their name is called and they run to the lady with the clipboard. (You know, in life, there are few things less comforting, when you’re in a nervous, agitated sort of mood) than a Lady With a Clipboard.
Then about 15 minutes later this couple bursts out of the chapel, practically running for the double wide glass doors, as if they just can’t wait to get started on their Future right now! People yell “congratulations!” at them, and they yell “thank you!” in return. It’s like a manners fest. They go outside and people honk their horns and wave, and they giggle and hold hands and they look at each other like, “Wow! We’re married now!”
And to think, not one person had (or even needed!) a little card to tell them where to sit.
I’ve written of my fondness for civil ceremonies before, but my advice is serious. Wedding planning can be a huge headache, and it’s just not for everyone. Neither is wearing a big white dress, or sitting at a tiny table while people make public the crazy things you did in college before you met “the one.” Civil ceremonies can be so achingly sweet. So surprisingly innocent. I’ll bet you anything they’re nothing like what you expected.
But you should go and see for yourself. Maybe you’ll get inspired to give up the seating charts and complementary colors and decide to go it alone–well, just the two of you, that is–in front of a volunteer Justice of the Peace. If not, that’s ok. Maybe it’ll help take of the edge off your own plans and help you remember what’s really important on your wedding day (hint: it’s not how the napkins are folded).
Either way, you get to be happy for happy people, and you get to see what kind of awesome it’s going to be when you married–however you do it up. Come to think of it, it’s kind of a nice way to spend your lunch hour even if you’re not planning a wedding.
Basking in someone else’s newly-sworn wedded bliss: there are worse ways to spend an afternoon.