Getting Married and the Wedding – Behind the Scenes

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The day you get married is believed to be the most beautiful one in your life. It totally can be that but especially the wedding is also a stressful experience that sets up expectations of others you’re often unwilling to meet and a lot of admin.

It all starts with gettting engaged which is really exciting. I remember I struggled to sleep for three days afterwards and kept touching my finger to check whether the ring was REALLY there. You have to inform all your friends and family about what happened and this adds up to the excitement. When the emotions settle, however, the time comes to start to think about the getting married part…

First of all, international marriages are not easy. The amount of paperwork needed is astounding and every document takes a long time to process, especially in a highly inefficient country in this respect like South Africa. Among others, I needed to get my husband’s certificate of no impediment, in order to get my own and then we still had to go through a formal interview that checked whether our relationship is legit and we’re not “a marriage of convenience”. The latter is a humiliating process no one should go through but South Africa is obsessed with the thought that every foreigner’s dream is to live here. The whole process of getting the documents sorted and getting the date for a civic ceremony took 6 months. Eventually we got married in an intimate ceremony with only four people present (including #englishrosiee) and proceeded to a day full of treats that ended up being really unforgettable and the best one in my life.

Now, wedding is a different story. People expect you to go full on and spend huge amounts of on this, let’s be honest, party. Sure, if you dreamt about a princess wedding be my guest but the way I feel is 1) it’s one night so instead of throwing buckets of money into it I’d rather travel with my husband 2) in a country like South Africa that has so much poverty it just doesn’t seem right to spend to excess and 3) fuck you wedding services providers I don’t see why anything that has a bridal service or wedding attached to it gets three times as expensive as a normal thing and I refuse to take part in this madness.

The other issue is of course the guestlist. People who haven’t made any effort to see you in over a year will also expect an invite. This is why it’s crucial to set your boundaries and establish who you actually want at your wedding. For me the list was limited to South African guests because the tickets are expensive and I didn’t want a disappointment from the side of my friends from Poland, telling me they can’t make it. With my family I additionally I didn’t want to play the role of an interpreter and opted rather for a seperate celebration in Poland.

Once you organize everything: the invites, the dress, the make-up, the food and most importantly the venue, you’re exhausted. Some of it is fun but it’s mostly frustrating and tiring. And the wedding itself? At some point with enough alcohol it’s really fun! At the same time it’s stressful before you get to that point. People stare at you (well, you’re the Bride) which I found very intimidating. The vows mean public speaking about your emotions which for me is truly nerve wrecking. Last but not least, things go wrong. Guests are late, the wind makes your photo shoot extremely difficult and ruins your bridal hair, people freak out last minute about delivering speeches changing the line-up, the layer of the wedding cake drops on the table… I also wanted to spend some time with the guests but even at a limited number of forty we had, it’s almost impossible. Eventually when all that could go wrong did, I  just relaxed and enjoyed the evening, drinking way too much. In the morning I woke up with a massive hangover and thought “I’m so happy I’m married and I had fun but I’m so happy it’s over too!”. Then I puked a lot, starting our forever after with my husband holding my hair back. There’s a long story behind this perfect wedding picture on Facebook, huh?

So Dear Rinsers, what are your experiences with getting married? If you had none what would you like?

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18 comments

  1. bklynboy59 · November 29

    First things first …congratulations on your wedding . Second my wedding was a outdoor wedding June of 2015. If it rained we would have moved the wedding right inside where there reception was. Every thing was done in one spot including the pictures. I understand what you went through about if the person wants to be a citizen or if it is true love. It is the same for many others coming to the States . In my case because my wife is from Puerto Rico we didn’t have to go through what you went through.But I do know many others who have gone through being questioned about why a person wants to be married when they barely know each other ….again congratulations I wish you a lifetime of happiness!

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · November 29

      Thank you! Yes, this part of formalities was very unpleasant. The whole idea that I have to prove to someone that my relationship is legit was very sad. I understand the reasons behind it but at the same time South Africa is quite xenophobic. We were misinformed about the process a lot and no one seemed to know what they were doing really. It’d be nice to show a little bit more of sensitivity in the matters of heart. This was an important event for us and I could really do without all the additional stress and rudeness we were put through .

      Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · November 29

        Well since you got married for all the right reasons look at your wedding day as a spring board to the rest of your lives together. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah Hope · November 29

    I wanted to elope, but am glad, overall, we didn’t but I did a long-distance wedding which I wouldn’t recommend – I never envisioned getting married so had never planned the date in my mind – so just thought it would be cool to get married where my parents did which was the ultra snobby resort in the middle of no where – I did not think through the logistics, but it turned out to be a really beautiful wedding – the place had just implemented a bar (it was owned by Quakers) and we were “those people” – it was mostly about the partying, but one of the reasons I wanted to do long-distance was not to get stalked by the ex-wife who was ever so determined to do so (and even had my stepdaughter convinced that I should wear her old wedding dress – my SD was too young to get it and thought it would be “nice”) – from a legal perspective, if two people are marrying from a different country they should investigate the immigration laws surrounding such marriages. In this day and age, marriage is not what it used to be but if someone is immigrating, it may become essential for citizenship.

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · November 29

      It’s sounds like a cool wedding, still. I’m sorry about your stepdaughter and I’m glad you realize it’s not her but her mother’s doings. I used to be in her shoes as a kid and it’s not a nice position. I agree in principle about the immigration rules but I’ve been living in South Africa for five years because of work and I didn’t need to get married to live here. Also in South Africa you don’t need to get married to get citizenship because of your partner. It’s enough if you live together. Considering all that I don’t know why they treat people so horribly, especially given that it’s such an important event.

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      • Sarah Hope · November 29

        Well, I find no other country likes Americans as a general rule! Do you like South Africa?? I find that most people do not like people different themselves in race, beliefs, or otherwise – it is one of humanities discriminatory flaws…but how long have u lived there?? Also, would be interesting to hear about your perspective for being SD – was there a lot of loyalty conflicts on your end?

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      • zlotybaby · November 30

        I think it depends on the American but yes, similarly like Russians they sometimes feel they’re better than others just because of their nationality which I think is the main source of dislike. I’ve been living here for five years. The country has its advantages but the system here doesn’t like foreigners and they try to limit you as much as possible. As SD I had lots and lots of loyalty issues. Eventually I stopped telling one what the other says/does at all just listened. I oftener felt like a double agent, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah Hope · November 30

        Anytime I travel out of the country, I wear my “PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN SHIRT” and make bets on how many dirty looks I get…Russia is pretty cool – what brought you to Russia? Where were you from before that? Do you miss your former country or like Russia better? Anytime I travel out outside the US, it is always a burden – no one likes foreigners…even on some blogs so I understand countries! 😉

        PS. Removing yourself from the gossip is always the best route to take – may I ask who you are as I pour out my life story to you? Is your name Eric?

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  3. EttaD · November 29

    Congratulations on your wedding.

    But, OMG!! I truly believe our minds are in sync. I had a discussion on weddings with one of my colleagues on Friday.
    My first marriage was intimate, me, him and two of our friends as witnesses. I’m probably the only girl on the planet that never dreamed of the huge fairy tale princess-like wedding. After going to so many weddings (as a child and adult), seeing my people, including some close friends, put themselves and parents in debt feeding people they hardly knew or like and vice versa, spending thousands on a wedding dress you only wore once and having friendships ruined over UGLY bride’s maids dresses. I was like no way, not for me!! The conversation at work came up when my colleague said a friend of her daughter was getting married next year and the wedding cost was said to have totalled £60,000, which her parents are footing half of. I can tell you I nearly fell off my chair. My first wedding 20yrs ago cost me exactly $100-$10 for my coral linen top, $20 marriage certificate, $40 for Justice of the Peace services, $30 lunch after the ceremony. So there’s no way I could even imagine spending 60 gran on a wedding!

    Like yours, my second was an international marriage. So in Belgium, we had to go through pretty much the same as you did but it wasn’t all that bad and it took all but a week to process. But the financial damage still did not equate to a traditional fanfare marriage, it was just a matter of having my documents which were in English translated to French and Vola! That was it, again it was a civil ceremony, close friends and family. I understand that this is a once in a lifetime event for some, but the couple should be practical, they’re starting a new life and instead of spending all that money on a wedding, why not bank some of that cash to start their new life together 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · November 30

      Thank you for your comment. Still as a student I waitered at a wedding once and one of the guys who was doing it for longer told me that it happened to him to have worked on two weddings for the same groom within two years after his first marriage. What’s important in the whole getting married business is how you feel about your partner. Unfortunately many people rather put money into the wedding than effort into a relationship. Even if we had really a lot of money and were able to afford a new house, traveling AND one of these weddings I don’t think I’d like that. What’s the point of paying for a lot of strangers apart from showing off? It’s only certain people who’d appreciate that as well and they’re obsessed with status. You’d be surprised how many time I heard a sentence “Well, if you can’t afford…” insert more guests, a more expensive dress etc People don’t seem to appreciate that you may just want to CHOSE something else for yourself. I’m glad to meet someone with similar views. It’s quite rare 😊 Regarding your international marriage your paperwork was probably easier because you are/were an EU country citizen. I’m one too but we live in South Africa.

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      • EttaD · November 30

        Actually I’m a Bahamian and my husband is an EU National, but because of the relation with Bahamas/Belgium it went a bit more smoothly I think 🙂
        You’re right about putting work into the relationship. Most people feel that after the honeymoon is over so is the work, they don’t have to work on their marriage because they have a piece of paper binding them together.

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · December 1

        Oh sorry! I just assumed you were British because you mentioned pounds but I guess in our modern times people move around a lot for work and other reasons and we shouldn’t assume anything. To be honest I think Europe wouldn’t allow the treatment you get as a foreigner in South Africa but it’s more of a naive belief in European values that something I know for sure. I’m glad you didn’t struggle, though! Agreed. Fairy tales should start after the wedding 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. bexoxo · November 29

    Throughout high school, my best friend’s dad was a wedding photographer and my BF and I would assist him on site every once in a while. Then, in college, my BF became a wedding planner, and again, I helped with the behind the scenes at a handful of weddings. I’ve been dreaming of my wedding for many, many years, but I don’t have the fairy-tale haze to cloud my vision most bride-to-bes seem to have. And there is no way in HELL I will be spending anywhere near $60K on my wedding!

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · November 30

      I don’t know how much of a fairy tale fantasy has to do with showing off to be honest 😉 Fortunately for your BF’s professional life there are so many brides willing to spend whatever money on their wedding. Fingers crossed for you to meet the right guy soon! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • bexoxo · November 30

        My boyfriend and I have been living together for 1.5 years now. We talk about marriage from time to time, but we don’t feel the need to rush into it. It’s comfortable. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · December 1

        As long as you’re happy. We felt like it was an important commitment for us and the time was right to make it.

        Liked by 1 person

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