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loud, not particularly to anyone.
One of her bridesmaids leaned over
and whispered in my ear, " It should. It's
cost her $12,000."
After I finished choking on my
champagne, I found myself saying a
small prayer, hoping that all "this" would
make it "perfect" for her. Far from
being a Bridezilla, this girl I knew with
the big heart just wanted what many of us
want, a dream wedding day.
Her wedding day came and went. It
all seemed to go wonderfully well. There
was however, a look of sweet vigilance on
our bride's face much of the time. Like
a little meercat awaiting the shadow of a
bird of prey.
Her flowered hands clenching just
that little bit when her brother repeated
the same scripture line by mistake. A
curled lip when her father accidentally spilt
some of the toast champagne upon her
dress. An audible sigh of relief when she
finally said her farewells and slipped, feet
aching, into her "getaway car ".
And now, years later, we sit at another
wedding, that of a mutual friend. We are
sharing a coffee, reminiscing about her
"It's funny, I don't remember all that
much of it. It went like a blur. You know,
we spent almost $40,000 and now, well
now...." She trailed off.
She had separated from her husband.
"Seems like a perfect wedding doesn't
guarantee a great marriage."
While this statement seems pretty
indisputable in this situation, you can see
how a person could believe otherwise.
For many women, the idea of a
perfect wedding, often white with all
the trimmings, is a dream held since
childhood. It is also seen as the pinnacle,
the achievement of relationship bliss, the
sign of eternal commitment. However, it
is a rare bride, I think, who dreams
lengthily about her actual ceremony -- the
moment she commits -- rather than the
Afew of years ago, an acquaintance of
mine announced her engagement.
Naturally, she was very excited.
Her husband-to-be had asked her to
marry him, suitable sparkler in hand (soon
on finger), during a sumptuous meal at a
"I knew something was up," she said,
smiling like the Cheshire cat. "We don't go
to those places often."
They set a date, some eight months
forward and booked the function room
at a city hotel. As is tradition, her parents
were expected and agreed to pay. Her
father let slip at the bridal shower after a
few well earned coldies that, "I've had to
take out a loan to do this properly" but still
beamed with pride.
Time rapidly rolled on towards P day.
P for perfect.
"I want a perfect wedding," she told
me over lunch one day, "I want this day
to be exactly what I want. I have waited so
long for someone to marry me and now I
want my dream to be complete with this
As I was speaking at the wedding, I
was delighted to be invited to come along
to one of the rehearsals and later to see
"the dress". Unlike some of the other
wedding rehearsals I had been a part
of, which were very light hearted and
celebratory, the pressure of "getting
everything right" seemed to weigh the
I could see the best man was annoyed
at being asked to say it "this way, not
that way" and the gentle priest trying to
calm the situation by saying, "Don't worry,
it is always wonderful on the day!"
And then, the girls were taken to see
the last fitting of "the dress", or actually
more accurately, "the gown".
"I just hope this designer has got it
right this time. I'm nervous and keep
losing weight and the waist was out last
time," said our bride-to-be.
"This gown is so beautiful and I want it
to be perfect."
The gown indeed was beautiful.
Crystals, embroidery, a sea of silk and,
better still, the way it made our bride
unfurrow her brow when she put it on!
"She looks so beautiful in it," I said out
dress, the flowers and that "all-eyes-on-
her" walk down the aisle. And an even
rarer bride-to-be who dreams and plans
about how she is going to build a "perfect
relationship" when the gown is long put
away and the reception lives on only as
photos in an album.
As I regularly consult and write about
attracting a partner and relationships, I
see people set as an intention to have
a successful, long-term, committed
relationship leading to marriage. That's it.
The marriage seems like the big win, the
line in the sand, the happy ending.
Clearly, it's not a happy ending for
everyone though. We all know the divorce
"I just want him to marry me. I
just want to be married and then
everything will be stable/acceptable/
great/perfect/etc." I hear versions of this
repeated over and over. It really is a strange
idea, is it not? The idea that if we marry --
that is, have a ceremony that makes us so
-- that we will indeed stay committed and
Australia, right now, is seeing the
highest rate of marriage in 20 years, yet
most weddings now take place outside
churches or temples. Civil ceremonies of
all kinds now make up where religious
marriages leave off.
Stacey Demarco suggests looking beyond 'the perfect day' for
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VIC CLASSIFIEDS from page 43
A civil ceremony, though, doesn't
mean a lack of connection to something
bigger. Pagan ceremonies, often called
handfastings, are registered as civil, not
religious, ceremonies. One of the most
recent weddings I attended was a Native
American one and although a holy man
of that culture married them under their
God, a civil celebrant was needed to "make
things legal". Couples now have creative
license to really tailor their promises
and their ceremonies to more deeply
resonate for them and them alone.
I also think this change challenges
people to think mightily about their
vows and this is a good thing. No longer
are couples using vows dictated to them
by religious authorities. Long gone are
the "I promise to obey" vows, for
example, replaced by the "I promise to
love your children and our new family"
and the "I promise to walk beside you
and not behind or in front."
One of the best vows I have heard
came from the groom: "I promise to do
my share of keeping our house." Wow.
Now this is thinking of the relationship,
not just the ceremony. In my opinion,
this guy has it going on! Every woman in
the room fell in love with this man! This
marriage has a great chance!
And this is the point, is it not? That we
put time and effort not just into arranging,
plotting and planning our gorgeous
wedding ceremony, but just as much
into keeping, growing and enjoying our
delicious relationship afterwards?
Now isn't that really happy ever
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'Couples now have creative license to really tailor their
promises and their ceremonies to more deeply resonate for
them and them alone.'
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