Everyone Knows that Lavish Weddings are Just a Compensation

Is it terrible that I’m feeling ambivalent about my wedding?

Calm down, everyone. I’m still madly in love with Anthony, and we’re still planning to make things “official” with a paper document. However, sacrificing such extensive time, energy, and money for a one-day event almost gets in the way of something I value much more: traveling. And traveling with your partner is possibly the most important thing to do in life.

Less than a month ago, Anthony and I came up with the idea to go to Europe. It really started because I was somewhat jealous that my family was traveling abroad once again, this time to South Korea and the Philippines. (My parents’ trips are always epic, and one of the downsides of not living with them anymore is no longer being part of their travels.) Since we couldn’t tag along with them due to timing issues, we decided that it would make more sense to aim for Europe, now that our home base is the East Coast.

So, within three weeks, I booked our flights to Milan, made hotel and Airbnb reservations in nine different cities, asked my aunt in England if we could stay with her during our few days in London, purchased a couple of Rick Steves guide books, and started to order tickets to popular sights. Anthony and I even downloaded Duolingo to learn Italian and French — he’s learning Italian because he’s better at Spanish than I am, and I’m learning French because, somehow, my Russian background helps with the illogical French pronunciations. I thrive on this stuff, and every time I organize itineraries, I wonder if my backup job should be a travel agent… or, even better: an Asian, female Rick Steves. Most of our time will be spent in Italy, which holds a bit of significance to my family since my grandparents lived in Rome for a while. Now that I’m actually old enough to appreciate Italy, I’m eager to finally return.

Of course, preparing for this trip has just gotten me excited for other trips. Because our time in New York is limited, Anthony and I should take advantage of being on this side of the country. In other words, focus on Europe, Africa, and South America; leave Asia and Australia for when we move back to Hawaii in a few years. I’ve been prematurely planning out trips over the next few years: Morocco in April 2017; Brazil, Chile, and Peru in August 2017; Berlin, Amsterdam, Prague, and Iceland sometime in 2018.

Why, you may be wondering, have I not planned anything for 2016? Our wedding is in July 2016. For seven months, I’ll be completely stressed out, coordinating with vendors and handling out-of-town guests in Hawaii. After the chaos, we’ll be able to enjoy our honeymoon, which will be in the Philippines and Thailand. While I’ve been to the Philippines with my family many times, it’ll be pretty monumental for Anthony, who has never been to Asia before.

Every so often, I have phases during which I want to scrap all my plans and just have a tiny wedding with our immediate family and a few friends. Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars and making arrangements months in advance, we could have a beachfront dinner party for, say, twenty people, and then jet off to Southeast Asia. Anthony and I have toyed with this idea dozens of times, but we always return to the conclusion that our extended family and friends are too important to us, and are too excited about witnessing our union.

I’ve always felt that couples who have lavish weddings are compensating for something – a lackluster relationship, usually. Similarly, I’ve also felt that those who are obsessed with their wedding must not have much else to look forward to in their lives. (Yes, I am being judgmental, as usual. Clearly, my organizing skills have led me to travel planning and not wedding planning.)

Anthony and I have been living together for years now, and the only things marriage will do are sort out some legal technicalities and change our last names (we’re both combining our last names because, come on, this is the 21st century). Yet, our daily lives will be mostly unaffected. We will still wake up together, eat every breakfast and dinner together, plan quirky events all over New York City each weekend, ride the subway home together after work, and travel the world side by side. Most of our friends say we already act like an old, albeit very adventurous, married couple.

Despite where you may think I’m going with this, I don’t believe that marriage is outdated. Marriage is crucial in our society, and everyone deserves the right to marry their loved one. However, the ways in which marriage has been coerced and commercialized around the world should not be tolerated. I have better things to do than fawn over sequined gowns, subpar buffet menus, and useless floral centerpieces.

With less than a year and a half until the big day, Anthony and I will soon bring out our wedding binder again and resume our planning. This time around, however, we’ll take a more toned-down approach — at least, as toned-down as possible while still catering to the expenses of having a destination wedding with over 100 guests.

Our relationship has always felt stronger than most of the relationships I come across, and becoming a wife should not have to get in the way of my passions (e.g., photography, learning about other cultures, trying new cuisines) — some of the reasons for which I assume Anthony wants to marry me in the first place.

There's a reason why I'm travel-sized!
There’s a reason I’m travel-sized!
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