This is the story of how I planned my wedding in high school. I’ll give you all a moment to recover from the shock: Families.com’s laid-back marriage blogger, she of the gender stereotyping rants and “what’s the big fuss” attitude toward schmoopy romance and wedding culture planned a wedding in her high school days.
Never fear: I did it because I had to for class. My crazy gym/health teacher, the same woman who’d also make us write papers for our self-defense gym classes, made all of her students plan weddings as part of our sexual health education unit. It had to do with the consequences of sex, or something, I’m not really sure. For the same class I had to sit in on an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and write a psychological case study of a character in a book, so our assignments were often rather intense and out there.
Anyway: the wedding. My fake high school wedding actually turned out to be somewhat influential on my actual wedding. I only had six days in which to plan it so it was rather simplistic by necessity. Some of the Spartan plans I made as part of the project ended up sticking with me and influencing my later decisions.
Now having planned an actual wedding I can say that I didn’t really do the same in high school. I listed the things that I would do as part of the wedding but I only contacted a few people and obviously didn’t make any bookings. I don’t even think I set a date or checked to see if my pretend bookings would be free on those days.
My dad is a pastor so I was able to get a good price on our then-church as the location for the ceremony and reception. A woman I used to babysit for was a caterer, so she quoted some prices for me. I asked friends to be photographers and have their bands play at the reception.
The one true thing I really took away from my high school wedding was a decision my father and I jointly made: when the time came for me to get married for real, he wouldn’t officiate. He knew that it’s many a pastor’s dream to officiate at his or her daughter’s wedding, but that’s not what he wanted. He does so many weddings he wanted mine to be special, and to be able to focus solely on being the father of the bride.
I know that my high school wedding might seem poorly planned out to those of us who have actually planned them, but I got an “A” on the project. I’m sure my teacher didn’t expect us to properly plan a wedding. I know I impressed her a bit in the conclusion we had to write about what we learned from the project. Here comes the atypical marriage blogger all of you know: I complained that it was my job alone to plan a wedding in six days.
As part of the project we were partnered up with boys in the class that we’d “marry,” and all the boys had to do was get the flowers and plan the honeymoon. I argued that it was unfair gender stereotyping for a woman to be expected to do all of the work by herself. Even if that is typical, I claimed, in real life if a couple organized a wedding in six days the man would definitely be pulling more of his own weight.
Sometimes I wonder what the exact point of that project was, but I know that in one way or another it helped shaped my thoughts and attitudes toward weddings.
*(The above image by Graeme Weatherston is from freedigitalphotos.net).