*** I wrote this on the plane over to NY right before for our August wedding in the US and after our big white wedding in Bordeaux. I was still overwhelmed with so many feelings that were hard to place.. One of which, was, strangely, guilt. ***
When Pyk and I first got engaged, we already knew that we were going to be having two weddings. Most of my family and friends wouldn't be able to make it to France, and most of his family and friends wouldn't be able to make it to the U.S., so we decided to make it easy for everyone.
The one in France would be a bit more elaborate at a château in Bordeaux, our friends officiating the ceremony, it would be the first that he would see my dress, it would be when we exchanged our rings.. Basically, it would be the "big" wedding.
That said, our American wedding is still going to be gorgeous and very much a wedding. We have an amazing caterer, it's outside, we have tents, we have my pastor coming to do a blessing on our marriage, I'll be in my dress, him in his suit. We are having the same amount of people if not more in NY. It's definitely still a big wedding on most standards. (UPDATE FROM 7 MONTHS LATER: Our friends and family made our day SO special helping us with decorations, beautifully handwritten signs, coordinating on the day of.. It was so much more personalized because of all that extra love.)
But… it's not the first. We already call each other husband and wife, we already feel married.
Our Bordeaux wedding day was a day full of emotion, of stress, of good memories, and a few not so good ones. It wasn't the perfect day, though it was the perfect wedding ceremony. One of the big reasons that I felt (and still feel) mixed about the day, was the enormous weight of guilt about so many people coming so far (both US coasts, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa) to be with us on the day of. I'm very conscious that everyone is on a budget, and if we could have paid for everyone's travel to be there we would have.
I've been struggling with the guilt I feel about people spending so much to be with us and trying to talk to different people about it to understand why I'm having it, and to help me get over it.
The overwhelming response to me is that people came because they wanted to come, and not just because they were invited. People made vacations out of it, they made a weekend out of it.. They were there because it made them happy to be there, not because they did it out of obligation.
In my heart I know this. In my heart I know that my friends and family know us enough that if that they didn't come because of financial reasons, we would have totally understood. I know that people had an amazing time in Bordeaux and through their travels in Europe.
Somehow though, that doesn't replace the guilt. I think it's because this time we were ASKING them to come, instead of them coming to France on their own wishes. For example, Pyk's parents are the only ones flying in for our NY wedding from France and I still feel guilty even though it's their son's wedding.
I never said this was rational.
Where does this guilt stem from? I've dug and dug, and dug some more into my feelings, and I'm sure that I'll keep digging until I hopefully find peace. But what I've found as part of the roots of the problem is that I'm fiercely independant. Probably to a fault. True story: my first phrase was, "I do it.". I'm not in the business of asking for many favors that I can't immediately repay. I need to internalize that inviting someone to your wedding is not asking for a favor, it's inviting them into one of the most intimate moments of your life. It's not an obligation, it's giving them a door with a pretty "Come on In" sign- they decide if they do.
This post was originally intended help you get over your destination wedding guilt, but in the end, I don't have the answers. Sorry! I'm still very much struggling with it. I'm still humbled and overwhelmed by all the faces that I saw walking down the aisle in Bordeaux, and all the faces that we'll soon see in NY.
I just have to keep telling myself that people come to weddings because they want to, they come out of love. That may even be a harder concept to grasp though, that people love us so deeply that they'd travel the world to be with us.
I constantly say to Pyk that we are so lucky. Maybe we're luckier than we even know.
7 months later:
It's been a bit over 7 months of calling him my husband, of feasting in our wedding memories. I'm still overwhelmed by gratitude, and little by little, I've let my guilt go. Writing thank you cards has been therapudic to say the least. Even if you only spend 2 minutes of real "face" time with some on your big day, just to know that they're there for you is a big deal. You don't need to serve caviar to show them you love them, but just to say it. Thank you cards were a place to put it all down in something tangible. I'm finally at the point that I can look back on our wedding without most of the stress and guilt weighing down on me. Finally. There are still heavy emotions there, but they're of gratitude and admiration of the people we have in our lives.
I wake up every day and know that we are lucky. That the universe conspires to bring us so much good- That I know in every pore, every muscle, and every heartstring.
I hope that if you've ever struggled with this crazy guilt, or are currently struggling with it, that you know you're not alone. I'd love to hear your story below. If you've ever overcame something like this, please leave a comment and share what helped you.