It felt a lot like a play.
We picked colors, cast our bridal party and selected a venue. Bridesmaids sent photos of their costumes – sorry – dresses. Family members from all over the world booked their plane tickets to see the show. And I, the director-slash-bride, had to make that none of my audience left disappointed.
I was grateful for their enthusiasm, but this wasn’t how I pictured marriage. “Remember, it’s YOUR day,” everyone said. But relatives were spending money to come out and watch us get married, so I didn’t want to ignore their expectations.
My husband and I puzzled over writing our vows, because words that made perfect sense for us might not go over well for grandma in the second row. We wrote our script and memorized it. We decorated the venue and put out refreshments. We put on our costumes and said our lines. We got a standing ovation.
Our wedding felt like a performance, because it kind of was. We all had parts to play. And technically speaking, we were already married.
We said was “just for the paperwork,” but our civil ceremony felt much more real than any big production. It wasn’t exactly “classy…” but neither are we!
Here’s how it really went down: We found ourselves in a tiny courthouse in Compton, CA on Friday the 13th. Nobody knew about it, so there were no guests to attend our ceremony. Instead, we paid a stranger $18 to watch us get married. Our judge spoke mostly Spanish, and her name was Delores. We barely understood what she said… but it took less than ten minutes, so we were stoked. To celebrate, we drank whiskey from a flask in the parking lot. Married.
This felt dangerous, exciting, and totally us.
But the guilt hadn’t kicked in yet. This was our little wedding. Nobody else had influenced our decision. And it all went down before we even announced our engagement, before our families asked where the “wedding” would be.
The following July, we stood in front of a crowd and said our lines while surrounded by flowers. We thought about Compton and grinned.
I loved spending time with family. We had fun dancing and eating cake. The photos were amazing, and we were beyond grateful to our families for making it all happen.