Eight years ago I started 2015 with a Facebook post proudly declaring that I was going to "finally" write my wedding book and if you've known me for that long you'll know the book never happened. Lots of weddings happened, lots of travel, two children, a pandemic and a few tacos thrown in most recently. But I've got a fire inside of me I can't put out, so this year is the year, I've asked for help from some friends, and I'm writing a book - I've even written an introduction!
So here's the first chapter, the introduction, enjoy!
Introduction to The Rebel's Guide To Getting Married
People who say there is no God, or even if you believe there is one, that they would have no sense of humour, would be totally evangelised if they found out how many times that I, a marriage celebrant, have been seated next to vocal anti-marriage activists on long haul flights. It's gone past happy coincidence to my being almost sure that there is a cosmic force at play in my frequent flyer account.
I'm one of those annoying guys who says hello when you take the seat next to me. If on the off chance you're also of the same type of socially annoying person who engages in pleasantries in public we'll almost always get to the stage in the conversation - in between directions from air crew and other passengers interrupting - where I divulge that I'm flying somewhere appreciably impressive for someone's wedding and I am their wedding celebrant.
The common reply is that they 'don't believe in marriage you see, it's not necessary." And they then go on to tell me how some unlucky human has been stuck to their side for the last five, 10, or 30 years and how they've never gotten married.
If I'm feeling cheeky, and if I'd like to regain my quiet time on the flight, I'll respond with my pre-baked zinger: "Mate, according to the law you basically are married, you just never got a wedding."
This is the big unknown about marriage. You don't need a wedding to get married, but you can't have one and not be. And thanks to de facto relationships being in the law, many of these people are mostly married they just missed out on the most beautiful part of being married: getting married. How you start something determines how it will end.
One of the most beautiful things about hosting a wedding is that unlike my friend in seat 4B is that when you gather your people together you and your favourite human have the opportunity to broadcast to the world as you know it that this is who you are, and when people like you marry, this is how you do it. You can telegraph your worldviews, values, and beliefs to the friends and family you hold closest, leaving no doubt as to what your future looks like.
That's the thing that's been missed in weddings in modern society. A wedding isn't a place to "do the right thing" and keep up with the Jones's. A wedding is a statement. Thanks for the upbringing family, thanks for the good times, friends. But despite, or even because, of that, today we are proud to pronounce that this is who we are, please deal with it. Insert gif of Shiba Inu dog and sunglasses falling onto it's face.
That's how a rebel gets married. With intent and purpose. Nothing happens at a rebels wedding without them having decided on it as a couple, and everything that does happen has a reason to exist. You don't get a wedding photographer because some checklist somewhere said you should book a wedding photographer 6-18 months out from your wedding. You get a wedding photographer because you love their work and you want to document your wedding like that.
This kind of thinking can result in chaos, be warned. You might end up having a wedding on a Tuesday and Tom from work might possibly be uninvited. It's possible that your mum might make a weird face as she finds out your plans and it's highly likely that your best friend is going to stage an intervention when they find out the intricacies. But you're going to have the best damn wedding two people like you could ever have.
As Seuss almost wrote,
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And you are the two who'll decide where to go.
Welcome to the club, rebel. You're getting married, you get to decide where to go, this wedding is going to be awesome.
What do you think I should cover in the book? Let me know in the comments, and subscribe with your email to see me work this out in public!