My Living Room Marriage
My husband, Trey, and I haven't had what you would call the conventional love story. It started out pretty normal. Practically a story book. We met in college, fell in love overnight, spent six months happy, then he proposed the weekend after our graduation. From the second week with Trey I knew I would marry him. It's hard to explain, but if you've felt it, you understand it. There was just something that clicked inside of me. It was as if an invisible button was pressed and I went from zero to forever in under sixty seconds. He is my soulmate.
But, because we made a baby before we said "I do" all of the above is forgotten. Instead of being considered a young, loving couple about to start their lives together we've been called irresponsible, immature, not ready. All of this because three months after out engagement I found out I was pregnant with our little girl. Suddenly, no one could focus on the fact that we were and are madly in love. Instead, we were whispered about behind closed doors. We were chastised for having the audacity to not have waited until marriage in the year 2014. Suddenly, our love wasn't considered real because we didn't do things "in the right order."
If a poll was taken to see how many couples were virgins when they got married, I'm certain that Trey and I would not be the only ones who would answer "no". Since we have proof that we weren't, somehow that makes our love less real, our marriage less stable. It's surprising, really, that with the social climate of today I found myself the object of scorn throughout my pregnancy. That's exactly what happened, though. We weren't given grief by older, religious relatives, the people one would almost expect to have a negative opinion about premarital sex. My super Catholic, Italian, grandmother was immediately happy for me when I shared the news with her. She congratulated me. Hugged me. No, the main source of negativity came from people our own age. Our friends.
I had a friend who I've known for years suggest I get an abortion. As if aborting my child was worth it just to avoid social criticism. Another friend suggested I hide the fact that I was pregnant and get married quickly, so no one would ever think to do the math. These are people who were within months of my own age. People who lost their virginity long before I lost mine. People who I entrusted with my doubts and fears about becoming a mother sooner than I'd intended. People I believed would support me. People who, instead, chose to shame me for doing the same thing they themselves were guilty of - having sex outside of marriage.
It only got worse when Trey and I made the decision to get married on New Year's Eve. 2014 was coming to a close. I was almost halfway through my pregnancy. And suddenly it just seemed silly to wait any longer. We had a big wedding planned. The Bell Tower on 34th was our venue of choice. I knew exactly what cake we were going to get. Dresses for my five bridesmaids were chosen. My father and stepmother had even put down a deposit. It was scheduled for November of 2015. Six months after our daughter, Aria, was due to be born. Everything was perfectly planned. But it didn't feel perfect.
I hated the idea of bringing Aria into the world without being married to Trey. In the grand scheme of our life together, I knew it wouldn't matter, but it still didn't sit right with me. I wanted Aria to be "Baby Girl Taylor" according the hospital not, "Baby Girl Haranda (my maiden name"). So, in the span of three weeks my mother, Trey, and I threw together a beautiful wedding.
We were married just before midnight on December 31, 2014 in my mother's living room.
That's right. A living room. And it was beautiful.
My mother's Christmas tree is decorated in cream and gold every year. We said our vows in front of it. My older brother officiated. My little sister was my maid of honor. About twenty or so guests were present. It was small. Tiny, really. And it was absolutely perfect.
At least, it was to us. In the eight months that we've been married I've had more people than I can count scoff at the fact that our wedding took place in my childhood home. The overall cost didn't even come close to $2,000. It was definitely a bargain for my dad, that's for sure. Still, I was ridiculed for it.
"Don't you want a Princess wedding?"
"What about all those bridesmaids you wanted?"
"Did it even feel like your wedding day?"
"Do you actually feel married?"
What I was to take away from these comments was that my marriage couldn't be real or true without a big party to prove it to the world. If my guest list didn't reach at least 100 then how could my wedding possibly be valid?
Not to mention the fact that I was pregnant in my wedding dress. Oh, the horror!
My answer to that is this: There is absolutely nothing wrong with a big wedding. For a long time, I wanted one myself. But, I see numerous news sources commenting on the latest celebrity divorce. So and so is separated from so and so. They were married for half a second! It's a new record! The divorce rate in America is astronomical.
I wonder how many of those people were married in a living room... I can't help but wonder how much those weddings cost? The ones that led to marriages so short you could blink and miss them? I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure a $100,000+ wedding isn't a happy marriage make.
A marriage isn't the sum total of a wedding. How, when, and where you place a ring on that person's finger doesn't determine how, when, and where you will spend the rest of your life. I plan to spend my marriage the way we said "I do." Surrounded by our closest friends and family in a living room. I was married in front of the very Christmas tree I opened so many presents under as a child. The house I grew up in is now also the house I became a wife in. It's the house my daughter will visit on holidays and weekends to spend time with my mom, her Nonnina.
Trey and I didn't need lights, sparkles, and people we barely ever see to make our wedding feel perfect. It didn't matter that I had a little person growing inside of me when we shared out first kiss as a married couple. We just needed each other, a couple of rings, and someone to pronounce us man and wife. To me, that's as close to perfection as you can get.