To wed or to marry?

We’re midway through June, the prime wedding season. Ah, the Big Church Wedding, that singular rite of passage that every little girl dreams of as the starting point of her “real” life. The dress, the rings, the flowers, the invitations, the venue, the guest list, the symbolism, the pageantry, the traditions, the planning, the expense! Oh yes, and the groom, of course.  Who wouldn’t want all that, all her life?

Most girls who dream of a wedding probably imagine something like this…

Bridesmaids and groomsmen in their matching outfits, friends and family packed into the pews, the organ playing that venerable song. Candle lighting, vows, prayers, tears. It’s all so … so.

I never dreamed that dream.

I have always wanted to be married, but I’ve never wanted a wedding. My vision was closer to this:

No fancy outfits, no attendants, no guests, no prayers, no candles, no crushing debt in the aftermath. Just some paperwork and a short ceremony in front of a judge at the courthouse to make it all legal. Maybe dinner with our immediate families afterwards and a short honeymoon somewhere warm. Then back to normal life, married. Because the only part of that elaborate, expensive, exhausting Big Church Wedding ceremony that really matters is the piece of paper that says the state recognizes two people as lawfully wedded spouses. No ceremony in any church or anywhere else can replace that. All I want is the marriage, not the wedding.

Civil marriage is a civil right. =

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