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Fastforward: Hoping for Happiness in Love if not Marriage for My Daughters

Posted Jul 24 2011 2:09pm

I couldn’t have dreamt up a better example of a wedding celebration than that shared by Simon Doonan and Jonathan Alder. These grooms present the loveliest spin on wedding day plans as any I’ve ever heard, which, in their own words, was “effortlessly delightful and romantic,” as recounted in a New York Times article, A Wedding? Oh, Yes, We Did That, Too.

“A bigger, more considered blow-out would have caused both of us to switch into work mode,” muses Simon, a fashion stylist for Barney’s, rather they kept their celebration in the moment rendering the day “completely and utterly relaxed.” Their understated approach put the focus on their marking the occasion together rather than spending gobs of money too few have these days, especially for frivolity.

Their ease and simplicity on such a momentous occasion is a sentiment I hope to pass along to both my daughters; a wish that was reinforced in the course of planning my daughter’s recent Bat Mitzvah. As the final countdown to the June date approached, my desire to have the event behind me was met with “…until you have to plan her wedding.” My retort was simple and steadfast,” I will not be paying for any big wedding celebration for either of my daughters.” This adamancy wasn’t intended as a slight or sign of doubt, but a very practical and grounded view that so much money could be better spent on a down payment on a house or school loans.  

Yes, some 20-odd years ago, my wise father offered to give me the money set aside for a wedding party towards a downpayment on a house, but I couldn’t fathom such a practical offer. I had waited far too long to find someone willing to ask my hand., and I wanted the ritual party. But the party took on a life of it’s own, or rather a life of my mother’s doing. To reduce my stress, I gave up all rights to planning the wedding event to my mother. It was an over the top Black-tie affair at the Ritz Carleton in Boston with different appetizer for the men and women. I joke not, but that’s not the point of this story. Suffice it to say, this wasn’t me. I tolerated my own wedding, and wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone else ever.

Oddly, I was revisited by some of the same emotional assault in the lead up to my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. This ordinarily undemanding, easy going, girl of 12 turned into Batzilla. For a 12-year old who had rarely asked for or expected very much, she has turned into the worst kind of Bat Mitzvah girl gone off the rails with her fits over party bag colors, selection of party favors. menu rejects and opinions on way too many aspects of the planning. A bridezilla is never pretty to witness, less so a Batzilla who all of 12.

Those who know me well-- or, more likely knew me when—may be quick to chock up my anti-big wedding sentiment to a failed marriage. But that is not the case. This lack of enthusiasm for a big bash arose from a realization that high expectations and excessive waste do not inspire happiness. Mr. Alder and Mr. Doonan's wedding day reflects well placed values, a desire to gain legal and more so the health care privileges, which is cause enough to gain civic recognition. They marked the occasion in the most loving way possible, with each other.

My wish is that each of my daughter’s can find a love of their life to honor in good and bad times, in sickness and in health, and with whom being together is enough. I hope too that I will be able to offer them a generous downpayment for a home, but better that they invite me to spend the day in celebration however they so choose.

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