Did you know that romance authors live in a world of constant meet-cutes and swoon-worthy gestures, just like the stories we write? That we have endless charming date nights, our weddings are a whole new level of love-dovey, and there are always rose petals strewn across the floors of our bedrooms?
Ha! Excuse me while I laugh until my sides ache. None of that is even close to real life — at least my real life. In fact, my wedding — a day that is often thought of as the most romantic milestone in a person’s life — was pretty unromantic by all accounts. And it all kicked off with our proposal — or lack thereof, I should say.
Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of traditional proclamations of love and romance. I’ve always thought the idea of proposals and weddings were kind of antiquated and sexist. That’s not to say I’m against them. I’m always so excited when my friends and loved ones get engaged and plan their weddings. I happily attend engagement parties, showers, weddings, receptions, all that. I just never wanted any of that for myself.
Fortunately, my husband is pretty non-traditional, too. Before getting married, we dated for ten years. Neither of us cared for the idea of a proposal. Instead, we simply picked a day to get married. I didn’t want to wear an engagement ring or a wedding ring. Neither did my husband. I have some pretty strong views on the diamond and gemstone industry, how they are procured, pricing practices, etc. I personally didn’t feel comfortable contributing to that industry. My husband felt the same way so we agreed that rings wouldn’t be something we would ever have.
He wasn’t interested in a wedding either and we didn’t see the point in spending loads of money on something neither of us wanted. So instead, we planned to get married on a Wednesday morning because that was the most convenient time for us. We only invited our parents and siblings to attend, but we also emphasized to them that if they couldn’t make it, that was completely fine and we understood. We didn’t want that day to be a burden on anyone’s schedule. But our families are lovely, and they all made it.
On that day, I wore a simple white cocktail dress I ordered online from Boohoo. I did my own hair and makeup. We asked my brother to officiate. Neither one of us wanted to write our own vows, so my brother wrote up a simple, five-minute ceremony. Everyone met at a park in the city where we lived, and we found a quiet spot for our tiny group of ten. While our family stood around us, my brother performed the ceremony. We said our “I do’s,” kissed, took photos and met our family at a nearby bistro for a quiet lunch. There was no bouquet toss, no bridal party, no ring exchange, no speeches or toasts. When we finished, I handed everyone a wrapped-up slice of white chocolate raspberry cake so they could enjoy some dessert when they returned to their homes. We all hugged, said our goodbyes and got on with the rest of our day. My husband and I even went to Costco later for a grocery run, and I’m pretty sure I went for a jog that evening, too.
I know how this sounds on the surface. Mind-blowingly unromantic, even strange. But for us, it was perfect. And that’s the whole point. We did exactly what we wanted without regard for anyone else’s expectations. And I hope any other person getting married does exactly that. Because nothing else matters except for what you and your significant other want on that day.
And honestly, there were loads of little moments that felt so special to me. I remember when I first saw that white cocktail dress online, I stared at it forever, the biggest smile on my face. I had this feeling in my gut that that dress was what I wanted to wear when I got married. Our wedding day was the ten-year anniversary of our first date. The park where we got married was the setting for our second date. I even hired a photographer because we never had professional pictures taken of us before and I wanted a nice quality memento. The morning of our wedding, my husband woke up early to write a sweet message in a card for me, saying how excited he was to marry me. It was the perfect gesture for someone like me: quiet and intimate, but still full of meaning and emotion.
So actually, it was a pretty romantic day. Just a quieter, lower-key type of romance, which is exactly my style.
To me what matters most is honesty. Whether a gesture is big or small, the fact that it’s sincere and genuine should be what counts. It should come from the heart and shouldn’t concern itself with what others think.
So if romance to you means doves flying in the sky while you exchange vows on a beach in a designer gown, then do it. If it means walking to city hall and getting married in your comfiest jeans, do it. Romance means different things to different people. And as long as you and your partner are happy, go for it. Anyone who has a problem with it can eat rose petals.