Have you ever played the coulda, woulda, shoulda game? In my opinion it’s the best way to get nowhere fast. But as with all things, there’s a time and place for everything. Re-imagining your wedding is one such instance and it’s surprisingly fun. If I planned the day today, knowing what I know now, it would be completely different. Well of course it would, because 6 years later I’m different.
I’m not sure how many wives say this but I wish I had been a bit more crazy. I approached the whole thing like it was a research project, to check things off of a list and enter into excel. I was careful to be composed, flexible and willing to accommodate people’s wishes. But amongst all of that pretend zen, I was actually a control-freak desperately trying to hide my anxiety at giving things up left, right and centre. By not speaking up and saying “no” more, I lost my voice and as a result parts of my wedding started to chip away. With those fractures I felt like I was also suppressing a part of who I was, who we were as a couple. For example, after a recent visit to Paris we vowed that we would return to live there for an extended period in the near future. We say this with such confidence because rarely do Andrew I not make things happen. We are stubborn as individuals and even more strong-willed together so we know that it’s going to be a reality and we will strategize our next steps to get there.
With regards to the wedding I’m not really talking about having regrets because looking back, I had a beautiful, lovely wedding day and I wouldn’t change a thing. I just wish that I had fought harder for what I wanted. So, I’m doing a remix, a Smith wedding version 2.0. Here’s the do-over with all of the trimmings. They all begin with the word “go,” ha, because it rhymes with “no”:
Go away. That’s right my wedding would have been far, far away from the streets of Toronto. Really, why didn’t I think of this back then? The strength of our partnership is our common love of travel. It should have involved suitcases, passports, jet lag and somewhere beautiful to reflect on the beginning of this next phase in our lives. We should have begun anew.
Go intimate. With the distance comes the ease of having a guest list that reflects close-knit bonds. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m sure that our party of over 160 people all wished us well, I just didn’t know many of them and neither did Andrew. The individuals who will commit to attending your destination wedding probably know you well enough to put in the time, effort and financial resources. Many will ask, what about those who really care for you but can’t attend? Aren’t you leaving them out? Yes, that’s always unfortunate but to be completely honest, even as a graduate student living off of funding (thankfully not for much longer), if my best friend decided to get married in Iceland, I would sell the clothes off my back to buy the ticket. With the smaller attendance you are able to actually interact and converse with all of your guests and in the end, all of you are bonded by this shared experience abroad.
Go outside. On my wedding day it rained all day long. All day. I’m exaggerating because we did get some outdoor shots but the lighting was dark and flat. Rather than put up with this fate again I would research a time and place when there would be sunshine. I’m not saying that I would suddenly have the ability to control weather conditions, just that if you are smart enough, there is literally a time and a place where it’s warm and rarely rains. I would rent a villa in the south of France. There would be enough room for family members and close friends to stay with us in the house during the wedding and guests could stay in town. The ceremony would be outside. Then we would eat, drink, dance and be merry. Simple.
Go custom-made. You know the emerald green dress that Keira Knightley wore in Atonement? I would get that dress tailored-made for me in white silk. I would also be as skinny as I am now.
Go all out. There are suddenly more possibilities when you are not serving dinner to over 160 people. With that extra breathing room financially you can make your vision a reality aesthetically, through your choice of cuisine and music. You are better able to get lost in the details and create a certain “feel” that reflects your excitement to celebrate the profound love that you have for each other.
These coulda, woulda, shoulda ramblings can become a reality you know. On our 20th wedding anniversary we are going to rent a house in Provence for a month. We are going to cook, read, get fat and be content. Hopefully our family and friends will join us for those long, lazy, happy days.