Having now been engaged for over a year, I have spent a lot of time reading about weddings and marriage. My go-to source for thoughtful commentary on weddings is the blog, A Practical Wedding. Recently, they had two posts which really resonated with me.
First, Kandise writes about tackling wedding planning as just another project to be planned. She and her husband are both project managers, so arranging logistics, negotiating with vendors, and managing a budget are everyday challenges for them. I love her perspective that, if she messes up on a project at work, “My boss gets dragged before Congress—and nobody likes that”. In comparison, most wedding project challenges are easily fixable. That said, weddings are about family. Specifically, about forming a new family and negotiating how this baby family will define itself both as part of and separate from the two families that created it. And planning anything with family is complicated and sometimes frustrating. Kandise’s observations about how wedding planning is both easier and less romantic than she anticipated really resonated with me.
Second, A Practical Wedding has wedding undergraduate interns who write about the planning process. Zen is one of these interns and her writing is amazing. Recently, she wrote a fabulous piece called “Going Public” in which she articulated how getting engaged moves your relationship into the public realm. She observes that engagement has a parallel with moving out of your parents house as a young adult. Growing up you are sheltered by your parents, they provide a screen between you and the the outside world. Similarly, when you are dating someone you can keep the relationship private and sheltered in a way. Once you announce your engagement you are opening up your relationship to the wider community, inviting others to be part of your commitment. With legal marriage comes public recognition and legal benefits, and with that also comes a publicly recognized and scrutinized relationship.