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Sunday, April 12. There are some things that are weird about being a second-time bride.
Is it ok to have a big, white wedding? Is it ok to get excited about getting married again after you’ve spent the last few years publicly dissecting and discussing your divorce? Are there any rules?
Let’s be honest: Zsa Zsa Gabor had nine husbands. Liz Taylor was similarly maritally prolific. Two weddings before the age of 40 isn’t going to make anyone but the most conservative amongst us blush any more.
So at a certain point, I decided that I didn’t care. I mean I did – do – care. I’m human. I care what people think of me. But someone is always going to have an opinion. Someone is always going to say some intentionally or unintentionally hurtful thing about marriage or divorce that leaves me in tatters. And I am going to have to Live With It. Someone is inevitably going to ask too much, or not ask anything at all, and I will be suspicious of their motives, and my feelings will be hurt.
These are the perils of having to live amongst other humans.
That said, I knew I had to protect myself. I had to set boundaries: What is Desired; What is Acceptable; What is Tolerable; and What I Will Not Stand For. I had to protect myself, so I could enjoy this experience.
My first wedding was not that…fun. And I love weddings. I’ve loved everything about them since I was a little girl. So I hated that the Big Thing I’d looked so forward to turned into a giant shitshow, with my ex-mother-in-law turning up at the Cathedral in an evening gown with a V-neck down to her navel; and my brother shooting up in the parking lot; and my sorority sisters co-opting the DJ and asking him to play the Dixie Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl” early enough in the night for it to be malicious – and forcing me to get up and sing it with them.
So when it came down to shopping for a wedding dress, in the spirit of protecting myself, I decided to go it alone.
I love “Say Yes to the Dress” and all the bridal shows on TLC as much as the next girl, but I didn’t want that to be me. I knew that one boundary I had to draw was limiting even the well-intentioned commentary on my appearance. Accordingly, there would be no weekend outing to Kleinfeld for the requisite Tri-State bridal rite of passage.
Of course, then someone called me a hypocrite for loving those programs, but not giving into the cult of bridal gown critique – but I don’t think that I am. Simply because that experience is not one I want for myself doesn’t make me a hypocrite for enjoying observing other people willingly participate in that kind of stuff. There will be so many great things to share throughout this process. But some of it should just be for me; some just for Paul; some just for us; and some for everyone.
That’s how I wound up at my first wedding dress fitting on Sunday, working with a local designer to have a dress made.
I think about all of the tiny moments that led up to this moment – of me, on the first sunny, mild Sunday; standing in a patch of sunlight in the wedding gown being designed for me – and I have to marvel that this is just an ordinary Sunday in extraordinary time.