In a country where half of marriages end in divorce, second marriage is increasingly common. Second marriage is hardly new. Such unions are in the Bible. But for much of history and still in many parts of the world, widows and widowers are more abundant and more eligible than divorcées.
Second weddings are usually smaller affairs, less expensive and formal. This often reflects wisdom on the part of wedding veteran who doesn’t want to redo the stress send expense of a big wedding. It’s also frequently a measure of decorum. Divorce is common but frowned upon, and a flashy second wedding is shameless.
If I ever get married again, I want the big wedding I didn’t have the first time around. I had a shotgun wedding, to a man, in my third trimester of pregnancy. I’ve already had the shame cloaked family only wedding ceremony. If I do it again, I want to celebrate.
I want a party where I can dance and drink and share with my friends how much I love someone. I want to celebrate finally knowing myself and knowing that I’m gay. I want a poofy, ridiculous, impractical dress that makes me look feminine and expensive. I want to pick just the right flowers and music and venue together.
I’m grateful to everyone who made my first wedding as pretty as it was (read: not the groom). An aunt filmed the ceremony. The organist donated his services. The priest put out flowers for the next day’s service early so I could save on decorations. My brother in law took professional quality photos and made the cake, and my sister went above and beyond her brides maid duties by decorating the reception hall, making her dress, and lending me her own wedding dress for the day.
It was the wedding we could cobble together, with a highly unsuitable partner, because I was ashamed of being pregnant and unwed. Not because I was in love or wanted to be with him. Not because it was a sensible plan that would provide me with security. Because I was ashamed of my self and my social position.
If I ever do get married again, it will be because I am so overcome with love, all my fears are banished. It will be because I am proud of my choice in partner, not because I am ashamed. And it will be the biggest, loudest, proudest party we can pay for. When I would fantasize about my future wedding as a child, I always stumbled over the groom part and gave up.
Since last year’s Supreme Court ruling making same sex marriage legal at the federal level, I find it’s easier to want a wedding. To want marriage even. To ignore the odds and my own experience and commit to someone for life. Or at least, to plan to and have a big party to celebrate the attempt.