Wedding Planning Part I – Decisions are not our strong point.

It is time to talk about the wedding.  I have put off posting about this for several reasons, some of which I may get into and some of which I may not.  But seeing as we are at T-minus 6 weeks and counting, I guess it is time I tackle the subject.

I said in my love story post that Jay and I have been living together for 10 months now.  We have had a wedding date picked out for a bit longer than that, but there was no proposal or ring or anything like that.  Jay doesn’t buy jewelry.  He also doesn’t buy things on credit. If he cannot pay cash for it, he does not get it.  And he is certainly not going to create debt for jewelry – engagement ring or no.  But, trust me, he makes up for the no jewelry thing in other ways.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a girl and I like rings and things as much as the next chick, but if it were overly important to me, Jay and I just would not work.  I have had an engagement ring before and I will take Jay over that everyday of the week and twice on Sundays.  That being said, if he ever changes his mind on this, I will not stop him, either…and he shall be rewarded accordingly.   

If you have ever lived in Atlanta, you know about the notoriousness of the 400.  It is a bitch to get up and down.  The 75 by comparison is a breeze.  When I lived in Roswell I would have to leave the house by 7:30 at the latest to get to work by 9:00.  From Jay’s over in Marietta I could leave at 8:20 and make it in without hardly breaking a sweat.  I am not a morning person so that hour was a big deal.  It did not take too many times of getting and extra hour of sleep in the mornings when I stayed at Jay’s and I was trying to figure out how to move over to his neck of the woods.  However, I had to be careful.  I had told Jay this was his dance – he called the shots with regards to the level of seriousness of our relationship.  But finally I had to ask him if he would feel crowded and pushed if I started looking into moving over Marietta-way.  We went back and forth and his basic answer was that he would like me to be closer and we could start planning a future – part of which included living together at some point.  But he did say that moving in together was a big step and one he preferred to save until there was a “certain level of commitment” or our relationship was at least “rooted in a long term outlook and understanding.”  We were getting to that point.

There was talk of eloping.  There was talk of a wedding.  And we started talking about when we would want to get married and how soon was too soon, that kind of thing.  At some point I suggested we think about getting married April 30, 2011.  We would have been together a year and a half to the day and it would be the 7th anniversary of the night we met.  I liked the symmetry and symbolism – and he agreed.  I also pointed out to Jay that he would be marrying a single mother with 2 kids (one of whom was a toddler and the other a teenager) and I figured eighteen months would be sufficient time to make sure he was okay with that and all it entailed – any earlier and I was afraid he would regret being hasty. 

By the beginning of last year, I had a hard deadline to get out of my apartment as my brother had moved out already and financially things were tight for me.  I was not having much luck on the house hunting front.  Time was running out and I would be homeless if I didn’t find something soon.  Jay and I went around the Marietta area and saw all kinds of places – apartments, houses, townhouses, duplexes.  Jay owned a house off South Cobb Drive, but it was a two bedroom, two bath and, even if we wanted to live together, there was no way even the amount of stuff I had in my apartment would fit into his house – not to mention it was a bedroom short.  I had a 1400 square foot 3 bedroom apartment and I still had a storage place for the stuff that would not fit in my apartment.  (In 2002 I had lived in a 2600 square foot 4 bedroom house in Mobile, so I had stuff – ok, maybe too much stuff, but whatever).  In May time ran out and we wound up moving a bunch of my stuff into storage and the rest into Jay’s house while I continued to look for a place.   Staying at Jay’s was a temporary fix, but as I looked for a place we both understood that this would be somewhere that we would both have to like, as we would both live there – whether he moved in immediately or not.  As luck would have it, a friend of Jay’s was moving and the guy he rented a house from had another place up for rent.  When I saw it, I knew it was the house.  It was 2 miles from Jay’s, a 3 bedroom with hardwood floors throughout, updated and refurnished kitchen, a huge fenced in back yard, and a full basement (unfinished, but who cared?).  We decided Jay would go ahead and move in with me and he would sell his place.  We signed a lease in July and moved in the first weekend in August.

We still talked about getting married, usually late into the night over glasses of wine.  The outcome of the conversations was always the same – we were going to get married April 30, but could not make a decision as to how and where.  There were three choices I could determine.

We could elope.  This was really my preference.  I know how much planning a wedding takes and how much it can cost – especially all those costs you tend to forget about that come back to bite you.  Dresses, attendants, cake, invitations, reception halls, food, etc, etc, etc.  So an elopement seemed like the best of both worlds.  A bed and breakfast was used to doing small weddings.  I found a few in Savannah that would include everything from a cake to an officiant and champagne for a toast.  Best of all, there was a 2 night stay in the honeymoon suite.  I have been married before, but I had never had a honeymoon.  I was sold.  But Jay’s mother was coming no matter where the wedding took place.  And if his mother was there, what would it say if mine were not?  And then my kids would need to be there… and so you can see how this would get out of hand quickly. 

We could have a small wedding.  This was Jay’s preference.  However, not being much of a planner, he had no idea how to execute such a thing and did what all good procrastinators do in such situations – think about it for about 10 minutes, realize it was complicated and figure he would think about it later.  I, on the other hand, knew that some sort of decision had to be made one way or the other.  And if we were going to pull off a wedding we would have to make decisions soon, as we were already getting pretty close by the time December rolled around.  I started looking into options.  Maybe a local bed and breakfast here and we could just have immediate family.  Basically a combination of what each of us wanted.  However, getting an answer from Jay was problematic…and frustrating.  I know people plan weddings a year in advance and nail down all the details early.  Here it was December and we were 5 months out and could not decide anything. 

But there was always the JOP option.  Just screw it all and go to the courthouse one day and get it done.  Hell, we could do it on a lunch hour and go back to work.  Practical and done.  But Jay did not like that, either.  While he is not overly romantic, he is not devoid of any emotion or oblivious to the significance of the event. 

So I eventually told him that we could either elope to somewhere like Savannah in April or we could do a small wedding at the end of the summer or next year…or whenever – his dance, his choice.  He did not make a decision, so I did not say anything else about it.  I figured we would take marriage off the table for a while and, if he really did want to get married, he would bring it up sometime and we would start planning how to do it whenever that happened to be.  He was a big boy and if he was fine with things the way they are, so was I. 

And then February 19th rolled around.  It is amazing how a positive pregnancy test can cause decisions to be made.  Now, I know the more cynical among you would be thinking that the convenience and coincidence of this is a bit much.  I would be one of you… if it was not my pregnancy and marriage we are talking about.  But I know a couple of things you don’t know.  First of all, I know whether or not I intentionally got pregnant.  Second, I know my deep seated philosophy and beliefs about trapping a guy.  You see I, like everyone else, know a few people this has happened to…and I know how it turns out. 

I am not talking about the relationship where the wedding planning was in the works and, oops, she was on antibiotics or was a day late with a pill or something like that.  If you are having sex, you are risking a pregnancy, birth control or not.  I am talking about the girl who decides she is going to get this guy to be hers and/or marry her regardless of what he wants – and she will do whatever it takes to get him.  Some couples may get past it and manage to have a good marriage in spite of it, but I believe those to be rare and even they have to deal with the fallout.  How does a man trust someone who would do that intentionally?  I am not sure, although I am sure that some never do.  Doing something like that is laying the foundation for a deceitful relationship.  You will never know if he would have married you without the baby – and neither will he.  I don’t know of any situation where this did not lead to mistrust and resentment.  And, quite frankly, I am too old for that shit.  I will be 40 next month.  I have been married and I am fine with not being married.  And believe you me when a marriage goes bad and resentment sets in, it goes really bad. I would rather live with Jay for 20 years unmarried rather than risk the entire relationship for a state sanctioned union built on the kind of deceit required to trap a man into it.  Getting married for all the right reasons is not a guarantee, but I am here to tell you that getting married for the wrong reasons will blow up in your face in the worst way possible.  If you make a vow to someone whose motives you question, how could you ever expect that vow to be rock solid?  You can’t.  Some women may not care…the end justifies the means and, hell, once he is married he will be fine, right?  You just go on and think that, honey, and best of luck to you. I know a few divorce attorneys whose number I can give you one day. 

Of course, there is always the subconscious argument.  Maybe I didn’t realize it when I was late with that pill or whatever, but part of me did and that part did it just to give him a bit of a push in the right direction, that’s all.  Jay himself has voiced that – and said he would not blame me if that were the case. My answer to you is the same I gave him – I can’t tell you.  By the very fact of it being a subconscious act, I cannot know it, so I would suppose entertaining that possibility is moot. 

So there we were.  As Jay’s sister put it, “You cannot have a bastard child, Jay.”  And so it was that a decision had to be made.  Go down to a courthouse sometime before the birth or have a wedding fairly soon.  I didn’t much care how it was done (hell, his name would be on the birth certificate so we could wait until after the baby as far as I was concerned), but there was one thing I did care about and that was not being obviously, you-can’t-ignore-she-is-pregnant for my wedding. Don’t get me wrong, if I had a problem with everyone knowing I am pregnant when we get married, I obviously would not be writing this blog.  It is not the 1960s and the taboo against premarital sex and pregnancy died sometime in the 1990s as far as I can tell, but it is one thing having everyone know you are pregnant, it is another if you can see the kid kicking through a wedding dress. 

The one idea Jay kept coming back to when we talked about a wedding was the Auburn Wedding Chapel.  Jay is an Auburn graduate and I am a born and raised Auburn fan, so it was perfect.  I called and low and behold the Chapel was available on April 30.  I sent Jay and email asking if I should book it or if we were going to do the JOP thing.  He said book it and it was settled – finally.  I full year or more after deciding on a wedding date, we could start planning a wedding…with a whole 8 weeks to do it in.  I was encouraged, however, because a high school friend of mine had just pulled off a beautiful wedding here in Atlanta in half that time.  Hey, if she could, I can, right? 

Right.  And that is what I keep telling myself.

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