I recently married my live in boyfriend of five years. We had both been married before, (I had been married more than once) and we each had two children. I had a daughter who is 20 and a son who is 17, my husband had a son who is turning 19 next week, and a daughter who is 16. We had been living under one roof for four years, pretty happily actually. We had even gotten to the point (mostly) of just raising the kids as one family, not his or mine.
I'm not sure why we decided to get married instead of just continuing to raise our family. The kids really wanted us to, and I guess we wanted to seem as legitimate to the rest of the world as we already did to each other. I kind of thought we'd go to Vegas, but my husband really wanted to throw a party. He loves a party. He felt we should have a wedding. A real wedding, with music, and a ceremony, and the people we love.
A "real" wedding made me nervous. I was self conscious about getting married again. What would people say? Would they talk behind my back? Would they say mean things about me? Would they criticize me for having another wedding? Should I wear a gown? Was it appropriate? Yikes! So instead of focusing on having a "wedding," we decided instead to focus on celebrating the family we had built together.
We began by deciding to have the wedding in our back yard. We rented a tent and all of the other stuff you need, but were careful to choose things that looked like we might own them. The florist, a good friend, used vases and framed photos from our house to add to the decorations. We stayed away from anything to "weddingy." We chose things that made us happy. We didn't have a theme.
Our kids were our "wedding party." We let them shop for clothes that made them feel good. No one matched. They were not color coordinated. My oldest daughter actually wore white, it looked beautiful on her. I did wear a wedding dress. I went back and forth about it, but I found a dress I loved that made me feel beautiful so I went for it, but I didn't carry a bouquet, that seemed like something for a young person.
Another one of our best friends is a judge, and we asked her to officiate. We wanted someone we loved up there with us and our kids. My husband walked down the aisle with the girls, and I walked with the boys. We wrote the ceremony together, and included vowing to love one another's children, and to take each other and each other's children as our family. We all held hands and laughed the whole time. There was a group hug at the end of the ceremony, right after the kiss.
The caterer (who is also a friend) made a few of our families favorite recipes, the empanadas my grandmother made, the Cuban sandwiches the boys are crazy about, the salmon our daughters love. We ordered my husbands all time favorite cookies from the bakery in the town he grew up in. The food was not about impressing people, it was about who we are.
We decided to skip most of the wedding traditions, the first dance, the garter thing, the cake cutting. Our kids who all sing and play instruments played two of our favorite songs, my stepson the oldest boy, toasted us. It was the best moment of my life.
It was a wonderful night. It was filled with love and happiness, and everyone seemed to have a really good time. No one seemed to miss any of the usual traditions, no one scoffed at my wedding dress, everyone loved the kids singing.
It was our wedding. The six of ours. We loved it, and now we move forward continuing to love one another.