Something I realize every time the holidays come around is how difficult it is to combine two lives into one. Both Mr. FP and I spent the better part of 19 years as individuals who celebrated unique sets of traditions with our families around Christmas time and after moving in together last year, we're know faced with the difficulty of balancing two families who are used to having us all to themselves on December 25th. Ha, forget just the 25th, we struggled with how to balance the entire last week of December. Every year, it's hard, and every year we struggle with it.
This whole debacle got me thinking about our wedding ceremony and how it's proving to be another one of those pesky balancing acts that attempts to merge two individuals, two families and way more than two opinions. Since we both come from families with religious influences (mine mainly from my grandparents and him from his parents) we've had a variety of input from those family members about how our ceremony should play out. My grandparents (being the devout Pentecostals that they are) thought we should get married in a church but since my faith has been centered on my relationship with God, not with a congregation, that didn't make much sense for us. Plus, although he was raised in with strong religious influence, Mr. FP is not tied to faith like I am so this would have resulted in him feeling awkward and out of place at his own wedding ceremony. Not cool. And since neither of us are tied to a specific church, simply choosing a church in our area -- though simple enough -- would not have resulted in us getting married in a place that held no meaning or significant to us as a couple.
However, when we ruled out the church, we then faced the dilemma of the officiant. Ideally, we would have gotten married by a friend, but the laws in our province don't allow it. We needed either a religious figure or a justice of the peace. And since neither of us personally knew anyone who fit that description, I turned to my grandmother and asked her to choose from one of her many -- and I stress the word many -- friends who were religiously affiliated to officiate. Since my grandmother probably knows me better than anyone in the world (except for Mr. FP, of course) I knew she'd be able to pick someone who was more laid back and had a good sense of humor. Which is exactly what she did and although we haven't formally met them yet, we've been assured that he will be comfortable with a short, casual, personal and non-denominational ceremony.
In order to achieve our desire to have the ceremony entirely personalized for our needs, I've enlisted the help of a book written by Reverend Judith Johnson (an ordained ecumenical minister who has officiated weddings with a variety of religious and spiritual traditions for the past 14 years). The book is called "The Wedding Ceremony Planner: The Essential Guide to the Most Important Part of Your Wedding Day" and I am in love with it.
It's been so helpful, so diverse and reminds me that amidst all these crazy wedding details is a marriage in the making. I would highly recommend it to anyone who's looking to write their own ceremony because it has got tons of examples of ceremonies, worksheets and logistical information (which has been extremely helpful for me since I haven't attended a wedding since I was a flower girl in one). It's also been helpful in balancing my faith with his not-so-much faith in order to make us both as happy as we can be.
I think above all, we're trying to keep it about us. And even though it's been difficult ... no, extremely difficult to ignore the many opinions of others, at the end of the day, it's our marriage. And we have to be happy with what we get.
Now all we have to decide is what type of vows we're going to have. On one hand, we could go for the more traditional version which is written ahead of time by the two of us, recited in the same way by both of us and contains no surprises. On of the other hand, we could write our own vows and keep them secret from one another. Trust me, this decision will be the difference between pretty bride tears and uncontrollable sobbing which results in streams of tears and running makeup. Decisions, decisions.