ands-down the hardest piece for me to write for the Santa Clara University Alumni Association’s Illuminate magazine. Still swimming in the bliss, and yet too close to the wedding itself to actually write about it. It took a few tries, but I whittled down my thoughts to one hopefully coherent set of learnings from getting married. Here ‘goes, my refresh on the something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue adage – with photos by Charis Rowland Photography, of course!
I’m in a newlywed haze. After years with my partner, I wanted to believe I’d be too cool for school when it came to getting engaged and married. “The wedding is really just for the parents,” I used to say. But multiple moments leading up to the ceremony showed me a wedding is a community event. The nuptial traditions I shunned before weren’t clichés I had to fight to be a contemporary, independent woman.
Realizing this humbled me. I think my rejection of wedding traditions was a byproduct of being a millennial proselytizing all things so shiny, so chrome. I dismissed “old” rituals. But just like millennials aren’t a threat to the workforce, “something old” doesn’t mean you can’t have a modern wedding with old-school characteristics.
My new take on the “something old” bridal rhyme is equal parts digital savvy and interpersonal connection.
SOMETHING OLD: All rituals are not hokey.
The first big post-wedding learning for me was that all the mini-ceremonies that precede wedding day aren’t just marketing gimmicks.
Much to my mother’s disappointment, I skipped the bridal shower – but I did weekend in Palm Springs for my bachelorette, and I’m grateful for it. I was grateful every time I glanced around the room and saw old friends. I was grateful at the wedding, when these same women bantered to each other from different tables. To this day, one of the greatest wedding gifts is seeing my previously unconnected wedding guests become friends.
I am still convinced that bridal showers aren’t my thing, but now I get the purpose of all these pre-wedding rituals. They are meant to bond, which makes the culminating ceremony richer.
SOMETHING NEW: The tech tools that got us to the altar faster and cheaper.
Make no mistake, getting everyone to the ceremony is as stressful as it is rewarding, especially without a planner. My partner and I used all possible digital DIY methods for each phase: Pinterest inspiration, WordPress wedding site, Google Forms RSVPs, Etsy dress (I got my backup dress on Tradesy, but that’s another saga), Zola registry, Craigslist decorations. We even built a custom Guidebook mobile app so that our guests could pull up the itinerary, maps, and clothing suggestions without having to locate our paper invitations (though we sent those, too).
SOMETHING BORROWED: It takes a village.
When it comes to the analog tasks of the wedding, you end up borrowing your friends’ time and energy. I found myself repeating this African proverb in every signature the-flower-girl-is-missing wedding situation: It takes a village.
The communal feeling began once we got engaged. It felt like the world was rooting for us, from the leaping dolphins the day after he proposed to the grocery clerk telling us we’ll have cute babies (odd). The unsolicited advice rolled in, too, but there’s gold in them hills! We learned from other couples’ experiences and never felt like we were going it alone. Come wedding weekend, we got a pop-up village of our favorite people.
SOMETHING BLUE: The sky the day we said “I do.”
There’s only so much one’s digital tendencies can enhance. Three weeks before the wedding, I started every morning swiping between five different apps paranoid of the fluke rainstorm threatening our outdoor festivities. Yet forecasts are forecasts, whether delivered by app or Farmers’ Almanac. They are not 100% accurate. The precipitation carried out like a screenplay: It rained the night before, cleaning up the redwoods. The day of, the sun shined so bright I got sunburnt. Having all that forecast data at my fingertips was more nerve-racking than helpful.
In the end, the best weekend of my life might have been made possible through digital means, but all the lessons along the way were inimitably analog. The feeling of being surrounded by all of your chosen community can feed your soul for years, and can only be recreated by technology, never fully replaced.