It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I really, really love weddings.
I have a five binders worth of tear-outs from Martha Stewart Weddings and Chicago Bride. I watch Say Yes to the Dress, I Found the Gown, and Curvy Brides religiously.
I’ve had my own hypothetical wedding planned out for years. There are nineteen Pinterest boards and an entire separate Pinterest account dedicated to wedding things that prove my love for weddings is real. (Totally reasonable and not crazy at all.)
What some people don’t know about me is that I actually am a certified wedding planner. That’s right — I took my mild wedding obsession to the next level, and now I can legitimately (not hypothetically) plan weddings. And of course my good friends, per my own directive, have taken full advantage of my professional services.
It’s great! I love it! Making the best day of someone’s life a more memorable/stress-free experience is a wonderful way to help people.
But summer is wedding season. This means that right now I’m not only in the process of planning weddings, but I’m in the process of going to weddings. There are wedding photos all over Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Seeing weddings play out, whether in real life or online, has become a very bittersweet experience for me.
The wedding thing has actually been the most obvious “side effect” of my dad’s death for most people.
Even before he passed away, my girl friends were saying “Oh man, I can’t even imagine the thought of my dad not being around to walk me down the aisle.”
To this day, I can’t really imagine it either.
Since a significant piece of my life will not be present on my wedding day, it’s changed how I view other people’s weddings. I’ve had to re-learn how to go to a wedding; just one of the many experiences that grief has changed for me.
It’s already a “thing” for guests to look at the groom upon the bride’s entrance during the ceremony, but I do it because it hurts to see fathers walk their daughters down the aisle. At the reception, I spend the father/daughter dance either stuffing my face with awesome wedding food or excusing myself to the restroom.
It can be emotional, but really, those things aren’t the biggest deal in the world. I can’t expect people to make accommodations in their wedding just because I’m sad or uncomfortable. That’d be ridiculous.
But when brides take their dads for granted, it can be discouraging and frustrating.
When I meet with a bride and she says things like, “Well OBVIOUSLY my dad will be doing (insert wedding thing a dad would do here)” it takes everything in me not to pipe up and say, “No, not obviously. Some people don’t have dads.”
When a friend of mine eloped in a field without her dad present, I couldn’t help being upset with her. To deliberately exclude your dad from that experience isn’t one I can fathom or dignify.
But there is a line in that scenario, too, because everyone’s relationships with their dads are different. I definitely respect a girl who has a crappy dad and doesn’t want him to be a part of her big day.
There isn’t really anywhere to go with any of these thoughts. If I’m attending a wedding, it’s going to be what it’s going to be, and my emotions probably aren’t that relevant. If I’m planning a wedding, I will always be on the side of the bride and I’ll do my best to fulfill her dreams. A wedding is a very personal day, and it should be the day you want it to be, with or without your dad involved.
I guess all this just gets me thinking about is how insanely understanding whoever I end up marrying will have to be.
I will likely end up bawling my eyes out at some point during my future wedding, and not because I’m so overwhelmingly in love. Finding a guy who is accepting of that isn’t going to be an easy task.
I have to remember the advice I give my mom all the time: that isn’t today’s problem.
In the meantime, I’ll be on Pinterest.