One swipe of the thumb and Facebook wildly scrolls through what looks like a digital bridal publication. Alas, this is not a trendy wedding mag—it’s my news feed. Settling into my mid-twenties, I’m coming to terms with the inevitable life shift affecting my peers. We’ve arrived at the age of engagement—engagement in marriage, in home buying, in babies.
Here are the facts.
My inner circle is bursting with adulthood. All of them are half of (what I hope are) loving, healthy relationships. Two, or quite possibly three, are nearing the cusp of engagement. Some have already arrived. Three have purchased their very first homes. One is about to initial the bottom line. One is considering fur-baby adoption. One is a father, with another on the way.
And I’m over here with a mouthful of macaroni, perched on my couch in my underwear daydreaming about smoldering hotties and new rims for Bane.
But I’m completely at peace with my present. My life is my choice, and right now I choose singularity, a new car, and plants over pets. Because, let’s be honest, there’s less consequence if they die.
But I digress.
Every day, I’m exposed to the trimmings of marriage. Photos of proposals, rings, couples, dresses, cakes, and venues are thrust to the forefront of my media. And for my peers that have yet to tie the knot, lest we forget Pinterest. Now I can visually construct their ceremonies before physically attending them.
While I mow down my cheesy bowl of gold, I’ve pondered my special union, who it might involve, and what it might look like. Sans pinning.
It’s natural for tastes and preferences to change with age. I once considered mushrooms Satan’s gift to humanity, and I can only guess that my affinity for the color mauve will vanish next season. So while the visual details may change, there are a few particulars I know hold true.
This is what I know.
The man holding my ring will be infinitely more important than the ring itself, and I will not measure his love by the size of the diamond. If it’s a diamond at all.
Future husband, if you exist, do not spend 8.4% of your salary on this token of love. Your greatest gift is yourself, and your commitment. And when you propose spending every waking moment together for the rest of our lives, united in love, do not kneel. Stand up as my equal, meet my eyes, and ask. But please do so privately—this is our decision, not the world’s.
According to The Knot, the average American wedding costs $28,858. My wedding will not cost a car.
I will be happy with a tiny ceremony with a limited guest list. Aside from the obvious cost benefits, it just feels better. This overwhelming, emotionally charged day I feel will be best spent with my parents, siblings, a few dear friends, and the family I gain in the process.
I will be content without a wedding party—five or more bridesmaids is my private hell. I want only my maid of honor. I will be happy saying “I do” outdoors, even if it’s home among the goats.
I will design my own invitations.
My dress will not cost a house, but it will have enough personality and beauty to match my own. My shoes may be brightly colored, or I may ditch them for bare feet. I’d rather wear flowers in my hair and on my wrists than carry them down the aisle. The thought of crafting decorations makes me squeal with joy.
But my reception—let’s go.
Cue the music and raise the tap. I only need a few key ingredients to successfully throw an epic bash; high-quality guests, music, and grub. As long as those three requirements are met in celebration of this incredible milestone, the details are hardly relevant.
I want guests’ feet bruised and bleeding from excessive dancing. I want their livers to feel the sting of overflowing champagne. I want their stomachs loaded with enough carbohydrates to fuel the chaos long past sunset. More importantly, I want the love and euphoric happiness I feel on this day to rampantly infect their hearts.
And at the end of the day, I want to fondly reflect on the first memories made with my husband and share peace knowing when wed, our day was wholly rooted in love and family. Not debt.