Photo by Spindle Photography
I think a marriage is a commitment between two people, and a wedding is a sort of commitment of its own, between that couple and their broader community. At a wedding, you bring all your people together to witness your promise, to celebrate your plans for the future, and to signify that they’ll be available to help when you need it.
When I married Russell last fall, we started a new family. But we’re also part of a bigger family, and we’re part of a broader community. I wanted our wedding to honor that. We had a big wedding because our community is big. Russell worked for a decade as a bartender, and I was a barista for almost as long, and you meet a lot of people in jobs like that. Could we have limited our guest list to family only, or to our very closest friends? Of course we could have, and that wouldn’t have been a bad decision. But there are so many people who are truly important to us, and we wanted to acknowledge those relationships.
Putting on a big wedding with a small budget takes a lot of creativity. Making unconventional creative decisions is something I like to write about, but I’ve been reluctant to write about our wedding. I don’t want to look shallow. I don’t want my identity to be completely determined by my wedding or even by my marriage. I hate thinking of a marriage as part of an “industry,” and I didn’t love how much attention and money was focused on me just for getting married when I’ve done other things I think are a lot more important (writing a book, starting a business, etc.).
But I think it’s time to write about it anyway. When I was planning our wedding, I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere — my friends who love weddings were frustrated with me because I think a lot of the “normal” wedding traditions are silly, and my friends who hate weddings couldn’t understand why we weren’t just going to the courthouse. Maybe sharing what we chose can provide connection to someone out there who’s going through something similar. Maybe I’ll be able to thank the people who came together to make our wedding something so much better than I could’ve made it myself. Or maybe I’ll just be able to work out some of my feelings by writing about them.
So I’m going to spend a couple of weeks posting blogs like Throwing a Wedding Potluck and DIY Rubber Stamped Invitations. If this isn’t your thing, know that I’m going to try to quarantine the wedding stuff to a couple of weeks. I don’t want to be a wedding blogger, because I want to blog about things that matter. But that’s where it gets tricky — because these things do matter. A wedding doesn’t mean everything, but it does mean something. And over the next few days, I’m hoping to share what mine meant to me.
Carrie Rollwagen married Russell Marbut in September of 2018. She’s the author of The Localist, a book about buying independent, and cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Currently, she’s Director of Strategic Planning at Infomedia, a Birmingham-based web development company. Find her on social media as @crollwagen: Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Russell is a web developer and jiu jitsu instructor who isn’t much into wedding blogs or website bios. He’s on Instagram as @russellg9.