The Wedding You “Should” Have

Today I was watching a Sex and the City marathon and the episode was on where Miranda was on her honeymoon and hated it. Carrie wrote an articles/story about it, about how we live our lives based on what we think we “should” want or what we “should” do.

Miranda didn’t want to be on her honeymoon and have sex 3x a day, but it’s what she thought she “should” do and what is socially acceptable.

It made me think back to my wedding and vow renewal, and I think it’s something that a lot of military spouses experience. The idea that they “should” have a big fancy wedding, but the reality that the military makes that nearly impossible.

My husband and I did what many military couples do, went to the courthouse and had a quick civil ceremony and planned a big wedding for a few years later. A big wedding that we thought we “should” have, and one that our family and society expected us to have.

So I spent 2 1/2 years planning a big wedding, the dress, the flowers, the food, the venue, the invitations, all of it.

And the big day finally came, and it “should” have been wonderful, I “should” have felt like a queen. But in reality it felt like a big stressful expensive party where I was wearing a big white dress.


Now don’t get me wrong, it was fun. But it didn’t feel nearly as special and romantic as the day I said my vows to Jeremy in a horribly lit dingy courthouse.


There is a society standard that in order to have a special wedding day you “should” say your vows in an expensive white dress holding a beautiful bouquet in a church, followed by an expensive reception with dancing, an open bar, appetizers and a seated dinner on beautiful table clothes with show stopping centerpieces.

But after having both a courthouse wedding and a big wedding, I’ve discovered that what makes your wedding day special is that you get married. It’s the exchanging of vows, looking into your partners eyes as you say “I do” and exchanging a commitment to share the rest of your lives together.

Now, I am by no means putting down women who have had big weddings. However, I do think that it’s necessary to realize that you don’t have to have the wedding that society tells you that you “should” have, if you don’t want to. And this is especially true for military fiancees who find themselves with limited time to plan a big bash around the military schedule.

It doesn’t have to be just a courthouse or a huge wedding. It can be a private elopement on the beach or a backyard wedding with your immediate family and friends. Your wedding can be whatever you want it to be, not what you think it “should” be.

9 thoughts on “The Wedding You “Should” Have

  1. I totally agree! I didn’t listen to anyone who told us to just go to the courthouse, determined to not let the military change the wedding I could have. In the end, I planned our wedding in 4 of the worst, most stressful months of my life. If we could do it again, it would be about us instead of the party, and we would have eloped, saved a ton of money, and been able to enjoy the most important part: our vows.

  2. Oh my gosh, I completely agree. We had a tiny wedding the first time, with 10 guests and a justice of the peace. It was romantic and perfect. We had the BIG PARTY a month ago and, while we had a really fun night full of our best friends and families, we got it right the first time. We didn’t need the 2nd party, but we had the 2nd party because we felt like we had to have that big open bar/party til we drop thing for every one else. I poured myself into making it “ours” with personal touches but, in the end, he and I could have done without the reception πŸ™‚

  3. I couldn’t agree more! We had both, and while my big wedding was amazing and not very stressful at all, I would still have been fine if we had just done the courthouse. I loved that the day was just about us–I also loved telling customers at work I was getting married that day & seeing the shock on their faces!!

  4. We did the military elopement thanks to short notice overseas orders. We originally wanted to do a ceremony on our one year anniversary…and then my sister got engaged. So then we aimed for our two year anniversary…and his brother got engaged. We’ve since decided that anything that will happen will be once we live in the US again, which is good since his other brother just got engaged. While I don’t need the ceremony to feel actually married, I would like to be able to do a vow renewal and party with friends and family.

  5. I was determined to have our “wedding” be when we got married. Not just a party. I DESPERATELY wanted the big princess wedding, but eventually I had to resign myself to something much smaller. I still made sure, however, that there were details in it and not “just” a courthouse wedding. I knew that our wedding would BE our wedding. I’d still loosely anticipated that we’d do the big shebang later, but I’ve decided against it. Our “small” wedding (about 20 people) was good enough for me. It wasn’t the exact thing that I wanted, but in the end it was the exact husband I wanted, so it really didn’t matter. I still get kind of jealous of big weddings, and I probably always will, but I know that I loved my wedding. We’re just going to take vacations instead of the vow renewal haha.

  6. Loved your post. I’m currently engaged to an air force man and we plan on getting married at the courthouse within the month, with plans for a bigger wedding in a few years. At first i was a little sad about it but the more i think about it, it will be special no matter where we are or how big it is, or who is all there. I know we will cherish the day, even if we are in a courthouse. Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

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