I was never the type to dream about a fairytale wedding with guests throwing rice as we left a church, a reception hall donned with flower arrangements, stuffing pieces of a multi-tiered cake into my groom's face, or embarassingly having a piece of lingerie pulled from under my dress and thrown into a sea of single relatives. I have always been the type to want to be married - to find a man that I could spend a lifetime creating memories with. To me, a wedding is a formality that can be celebrated but it's the life after the wedding that should consume all of one's heart and energy.
My parents were married on May 17, 1969. At the end of the reception, as tradition dictated, my Mum switched out of her wedding gown and into her "going away" outfit. It was an ivory shift dress paired with a matching ivory jacket with silver details around the neckline and side darts. (Excuse the lighting and wrinkles...)
This going away outfit was what my Mum wore when she officially began her "life after the wedding". It was what she had on when she started a new life - a life as my Dad's wife. My parents have been creating memories together for the past 42 years, 5 months, and 28 days. They've shared countless plane rides, boat rides, car rides, and mai tais. They've raised four unique and confident children. They've been there for each other through the happiest of times and have turned sad times into happy ones. They've conquered heart surgeries and cancer together. They have had patience with each other and my Dad still answers "but of course, Jo!" with a smile whenever my mom asks him to do the most ridiculous household chore.
I have never wanted a wedding like my parents had. I have always wanted a marriage like my parents have. Joe and I were married this past Saturday in an informal ceremony and later celebrated in the best way we know how - stuffing ourselves with Mexican food and having many celebratory drinks with our families. Despite our non-traditional day, I wanted to have a token of my parent's marriage with me so what would better fit that bill than a piece of the dress that began my Mum's married life. After much insistance from her, I reluctantly took a pair of scissors to the dress that had been stored in her hope chest for the past 15,521 days and carried pieces of my parents' beginning with me on my own wedding day...