Bucking Wedding Traditions

by Brandi on December 31, 2012

in Lifestyle, Sex & Relationships

Homemade wedding bouquetThose of you who read here often probably know by now that I don’t tend to allow tradition—or the expectations of others—to dictate how I live my life. I feel very strongly that our lives are ours to control and no two people have to make the same choices. The thing is, we only have this one life to live, so I don’t see the point in making big decisions I’m not excited about.

So I thought today I could share with you a few (more) of the ways I’ve taken the road less traveled in my life.

I asked my husband to marry me. In a text message. Yes, for real. I know it seems weird and unnatural, and obviously the whole thing defied convention, but I wouldn’t trade our engagement story for the whole entire world. I was at work and a very good friend and I were talking about our boyfriends. Hers was about to be deployed in the military and they were going to get married before he left. She was so happy and in love and my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I had frequently talked about marriage and I just knew we were going to end up together, so I decided there wasn’t any reason not to start forever now. I texted him and asked, “Do you want to get married February 24th?” He sent back a simple “Yes.” That was it. We got married on February 24, 2006.

Speaking of that day, our wedding was an elopement in the purest sense of the word. We had two witnesses, and they were the only two souls on Earth who knew we were getting married that day. We got married at the courthouse. I was a 20-year-old recent college graduate and he had just a month prior turned 23. We were babies and it was completely spontaneous and crazy, and so completely us. People honestly weren’t even that surprised when we finally got around to telling them *cough, 6 months later, cough.*

We did something else on that day that was a little different. You see, we were totally broke at the time. We couldn’t afford wedding rings. But what we could afford were $40 ring tattoos. So on our wedding day we sat in a tattoo parlor inking ourselves up. It was my husband’s first tattoo. Certainly nontraditional, but it was so special and meaningful. We did, eventually, get rings, and my husband surprised me with a beautiful “engagement” ring and re-proposed (in a gazebo, in the rain), but the tattoos are still what mean the most.

While this next one doesn’t have anything to do with our wedding, it definitely impacts our marriage. My husband and I just don’t know if we want children. Most days we really lean towards no. Never in my life have a felt a deep calling to be a mother. When I was younger and would tell people this I always got the same reaction: “Oh, just wait, someday you’ll change your mind.” And while it’s true that some days I will hold a baby and think OMG I NEED A BABY NOW, the reality is I can envision a complete and whole life where I am never a mom.  I don’t feel like my life is devoid of purpose or meaning or any of the other things I hear people say who know from the start that they want kids. At times I’ve felt this lack of a calling sort of made me “less than,” but as I’ve grown I’ve come to see that it’s not more or less, just different. So this one is a total unknown, and I honestly think it could go either way, but having a baby would be a conscious choice on our behalf, not something that is a given in our life.

These are just the major things, I’m sure on a daily basis I do any number of things that would garner a sideways glance from a strict traditionalist. And on the other hand I’m sure I follow convention a million times a day, differentiating me from the life of a true non-conformist. To me, it’s not about what choice you make, just that you know that you have the ability to make any number of decisions in your life. So go out and live the life that feels good to you, be it traditional or off the wall inimitable. It’s your life and you really can have it any way you want.

Do you lean towards the traditional or are you off in your own world? I’m dying to know who follows conventions and who breaks the rules and why.

Brandi is a lawyer in Denver who spends very little time actually lawyering. She can usually be found working for free at a non-profit, hiking up mountains, or bossing her husband around because he made the mistake of asking her for help with his business one time. She’s horribly technologically inept (unless people still use AIM in which case she’s a genius) and takes one bite out of every donut instead of finishing a single donut in its entirety, which is probably a metaphor for something but she hasn’t figured out what it is yet. You can read more from Brandi on her blog, Randi Nickle.

Kelli December 31, 2012 at 7:10 am

Well, I never changed my name when I get married, yet everyone insists on calling me by my husband’s last name. At this point, its an act of defiance on my end.

Also, we’ve been married almost 3 years, are in our mid-30s and don’t have kids…another thing people can’t seem to get past.

I’m with you. I do things my own way.

Brandi December 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Haha, there are a few people in our families who also call me solely by my husband’s last name despite 7 years of address labels complete with our separate last names! A little bit grating, but at this point it’s just mostly amusing.

dee December 31, 2012 at 8:43 am

Im totally a member of told my husband we are getting married, eloped, and tattoo rings. I have rings now but I still love the tat band the most and come rain or high water I will always know that we botb entered the marriage expecting the best.

Brandi December 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Yes! I love that too. Every time I see it I’m reminded of our crazy and amazing youth.

Emily December 31, 2012 at 11:45 pm

My partner and I slept together a year and a half before we started dating. When we finally did start dating, it was long distance. We went right from long distance to living together. We are currently planning our wedding, even though neither of us has proposed yet. We also do not want children.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Brandi January 23, 2013 at 12:25 am

My husband and I were long distance for about the first year of our relationship. We got married only 6 months or so after we finally lived in the same town!

Mo January 2, 2013 at 1:25 am

I never fantasized about having children or getting married. But one day I ended up pregnant, so at 31 years old I stood in front of a Judge and said “I do” to my 24 year old baby Daddy. Completely spur of the moment, everyone said we were crazy. After being married for about 4 months, we decided to have a church ceremony and a big party. Pregnant and had a blast. Didn’t have a wedding cake, as tradition dictates because after our court wedding we had a small family dinner and my sister made a darling mini wedding cake. I considered that my “real” wedding cake, and I served cookies and ice cream at the party after our church blessing ceremony. AND still married to the same guy for almost 28 years………I robbed the cradle against everyone’s advice………….he’s still hot.

Laura January 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I’m 27 and my husband-to-be is only 21. Everyone was shocked when we got engaged after only a month of dating, and I know a few figured I must’ve been pregnant (I wasn’t). Almost two years later, we’re happy as ever and getting ready for our wedding in 3 months. Everyone teases about my “cradle-robbing,” and now they tease about my long engagement after a very short courtship. But whatever, we’re happy!

Brandi January 23, 2013 at 12:28 am

And that’s the way it should be…happy!

Brandi January 23, 2013 at 12:27 am

Aw, I love that! I still hope to have a party one day to celebrate our wedding.

Tawny January 2, 2013 at 1:05 pm

I am 32 and my husband is 35. We never thought we would have kids. We never did anything to prevent it for the past seven years and when we decided that we were going to prevent it, we got pregnant. Expecting our 1 and only in April.

It feels so unreal.

Brandi January 23, 2013 at 12:29 am

Congratulations! My birthday is in April, so this post and comment must have been kismet ;)

Ms Dreamer January 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

My husband and I asked the question of each other three different times (third time worked!). We’re currently kidless, and are trying our damnedest to keep it that way — I REALLY don’t want kids, and he, while he doesn’t want them, kinda does. If we do go that route, it would be adoption…but since I don’t see myself changing my mind at 34 (after many years of no thanks), and it irks me to no end to have people tell me “Oh, you’ll change your mind!” The next person to say that to me is getting “Yeah, I can. I used to like you!”

Brandi January 23, 2013 at 12:32 am

I’ve always seriously considered adoption instead of having biological children. Who knows how everything will play out, but I really like the idea of helping fill a need like that.

Cellistec January 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I so needed to read this today! My hubs and I got engaged with dual rings–lab sapphire for me, wood for him–and that raised a couple of eyebrows, but not much. We started planning a big wedding a year out.

Then after losing my father suddenly to cancer a few months later, I asked my man if we could get married on 12/12/12, in the gondola of a giant Ferris wheel. He said yes, and we did it, and some relatives and friends were so upset they stopped talking to us. Still, I’d do it the same way all over again if I had the chance–it was perfect for us and we loved it. And damn if it isn’t a good story.

We’re also having a “wedding celebration” to exchange rings in front of family and friends in a few months, and I’ve had a throbbing headache all morning trying to plan this under the weight of family disapproval (including taking back the wedding money they gave us after we got engaged). What others see as “her father died and now she’s doing all kinds of crazy things” is really “my father died and it made me think hard about the life I truly want.” And I’m lucky to have a partner who wants similarly nontraditional things.

Thanks, ladies, for sharing your nontraditional awesomeness and making me feel better about mine.

Brandi January 23, 2013 at 12:38 am

I’m so sorry that you are going through this. I think what you did is magical. My grandfather just got ill and passed this last month, hence the long response time, and I can totally relate. It can be so hard when some of your family isn’t ok with your decisions, but hopefully one day they will come around.

And your wedding sounds absolutely beautiful and so special and memorable. The story of a lifetime, really.

a_kosmos January 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm

My husband and I have a 22 year age difference, and he asked me to marry him during a drunken late night discussion about applying for a Fulbright scholarship. We got married in Vegas–I did tell my mother before we left, but we were literally loading the car as we talked. We had rings made before we left, but that was mostly because I wanted a wedding ring. Other than that, we didn’t wear traditional wedding clothes. We had four guests (who mostly came along for the Vegas part of it), and we didn’t do flowers or fancy photography or anything like that. I took his name because I liked it better than the one I was born with.

We are also childfree. This has never been an issue for us. One of the fantastic things about eloping to Vegas is that no one ever expects you to follow conventional wisdom ever again, so no one really bugs us about having kids.

Brandi January 23, 2013 at 12:39 am

Haha, so true! Start untraditionally and people realize from the beginning you will be doing things your own way!

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