Ahh, wedding bells. Or, wait… was that just a cash register at a Bridal Boutique? *kaching*
Only halfway kidding. Weddings are big business. I can’t tell you how big exactly because I’m refusing to allow myself to Google what the wedding industry rakes in every year. Ignorance is bliss and today I choose bliss. Ishh can’t kill my vibe.
I always knew that I wanted to be married. But as far as wedding plans go, I never really had an idea of what I wanted The Big Day to look like. I mean, I had a Pinterest board or two dedicated to finding out. Also admittedly, I had watched my fair share of episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, whilst weeping into an empty pint of Ben and Jerry’s (Cherry Garcia if you’re curious).(Also, I cry a lot. I’m very dramatic.). But a big, extravagant wedding. Was that me? Did I want that?
(If you know me, then you know I got flown in on a helicopter to the top of a mountain on my wedding day. So I guess the answer there is a resounding yes.)
My husband and I began planning our wedding almost immediately after getting engaged. Ok, that’s a lie. I started planning it. He just kept saying, “Do whatever you want babe. I’ll just show up.” Typical male response, no?
But something felt off as I perused through wedding venues, calling around to find the best location and pick the best date. I wasn’t filled with excitement as I scrolled through Pinterest to choose my colours and flower types (I should have been though, right?). As I endlessly and painstakingly searched through catering menus and cake flavours, something weighed heavily on my heart.
I didn’t want to get married to my husband to have a wedding. I wanted to get married to him so we would have a marriage. In my opinion, these are two very different realities.
As my excitement for my wedding day dwindled, and my Pinterest activity screeched to a halt, I made a decision. One day, while on vacation in Newfoundland (yes you can vacation there) I blindsided my then-fiancé.
“Let’s just elope,” I said to him.
And so we did.
We hired an amazing wedding officiant who took care of literally everything from the flowers, to the location (hellooo mountaintop), to the helicopter ride up there (hellooo still being fab), to the photographer, to the wedding supper. All we had to do was show up. Full disclosure: we almost frigged that up. Seriously. We almost missed our own wedding. (More on this in an upcoming post!)
Suddenly, the only decision about our Big Day that we were faced with was whether we just disappeared and got married, or whether we told (and invited) our immediate family. Further, we had to decide if my husband’s son would be present.
Spoiler alert: nobody was invited to our wedding. Not even my husband’s son.
And to be honest with you, it was so much better that way. My wedding day was actually the best day of my life.
So although I’m sure my husband probably really, really wanted his son there on this super important day, there is one reason he wasn’t there:
Not Having my Stepson There Made our Wedding About Us
Look, when you’re about to become a second wife, planning your wedding feels a bit bittersweet at times. Second-Wife Syndrome rears its ugly head. You are flipping through bridal magazines — err… searching up Hashtags on Insta #isaidyes #futuremrs (does anyone even read bridal magazines anymore?) and finding yourself wondering what she wore the day she married the man you’re about to exchange I Do’s with.
Even though we ultimately ended up eloping, before we made this choice, I found my thoughts being pulled off in directions that I didn’t want them to go in. I realized I probably spent as much time thinking about my husband’s first wedding as I spent thinking about ours.
And you know what? It sucked. It royally blew that I allowed my insecurities about being Second Wife overshadow the joy that this day was supposed to bring to me and my future husband.
After we decided to elope — after we made the decision that our wedding day would be only about us, I felt so, so much better. I allowed myself to fully embrace the fact that I was about to become the wife to the love of my life.
And on that day, in that once-in-a-lifetime moment, literally standing on the top of the world with this amazing man who I love so deeply, there were no reminders that he’d ever done this before. There were no guests who had been at his first wedding, making insensitive cracks about “second time’s a charm.” There were no Welcome to the Family speeches that my in-laws could have very easily recycled. There was no little boy, carrying 50% of another woman’s DNA, tugging on my husband’s kilt and complaining about being bored. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, my husband wore a kilt. It was very Braveheart.
So while this may not have been the most popular decision among our families and friends, while some people rear back in utter horror at the blasphemous thought that we could leave my Stepson out of our wedding, I quite frankly don’t give a rip.
We didn’t get married for them. We got married for us.
Although our marriage grows and strengthens with each day that passes, as a Stepfamily, we are constantly overcoming a unique set of challenges. In essence, our marriage will never be entirely ours. While any married couple is up against the odds to make it last over time, second marriages involving stepchildren face an even greater risk to their success. We navigate subjects such as co-parenting, financial obligations to ex partners, custody, sharing holidays, and delicately learning to discipline children who don’t belong to us. In second marriages, we must be stronger. We must be more forgiving. We must be more self-aware. We must have firmer boundaries. (If you need a bit of help in that department, click here to schedule a free one-hour Discovery Session with me!)
So while our marriage may never completely belong to us alone, our wedding day was ours and only ours.
That one blip in time, that one day that we had all to ourselves… it was worth it. And I’d never do it any other way.
Were your Stepchildren included in your Wedding? If you have a wedding coming up as a Stepmom, will they be included? Why or why not? As Stepqueens, we are committed to ending negative Stepmother associations. How have you recently risen above the Stepmonster label? Comment below with your thoughts, or feel free to drop me a line!