In our culture we recognize sixteen years as a term of achievement. We grant drivers licenses. We have Sweet Sixteen parties. We have deemed it the age at which someone is mature enough to give consent for sexual activity in 33 states plus DC, and the age at which someone can drop out of school without the cops coming after their parents in many states as well (though that's a bad idea - stay in school!). Why don't we recognize a marriage this way?
Traditional anniversary gifts go from one (paper or clocks) to fifteen (crystal or watches) and then jump to twenty (china or platinum). I guess they figure if you've made it to 15, what's 5 more? There's no special gift, no designated way to mark the day. BigDaddyFish, always unconventional, thinks this is the time to follow tradition. Not that I'm overly driven by convention by any means, but I did keep to tradition back when I was 23 a helluva lot more than I do now. So I'm not bending to tradition, per se, but I'm choosing to mark the day by examining all the things I would have done differently on that day sixteen years ago.
- I would have been even more laid back than I was. Not that I was a bridezilla; the photographer had to tell my bridesmaids to put makeup on me so I wouldn't be so washed out in my pictures. I just didn't wear it, I felt it wasn't that important in the overall scheme of things, just like I felt about a lot of stuff (engraved crystal or silver? For one day? Not for me). I would have kept things more simple than they already were.
- I wouldn't have designated bridesmaid dresses, I would have just picked a color and asked my bridesmaids to wear whatever made them happy in that color.
- We wouldn't have rented tuxes for any of the guys, either. Again, nice clothes that make them happy.
- We wouldn't have registered for anything but flatware and dishes. Nobody pays attention to the registry for anything but that anyway, apparently.
- I would have gone barefoot. Or worn hiking boots. Does anyone care about the bride's feet, really?
- I wouldn't have asked my bridesmaids to wear hair bows. What the hell was I thinking?
- My aunt made my gorgeous dress. When she gave me a list of patterns that she thought she could manage, I'd have picked the simplest, instead of the most complex.
- I'd have worn deep blue instead of white. It's pretty and I look good in it. Or even an emerald green, my husband's favorite color. Who says a wedding dress has to be white? It's not like most brides nowadays are virgins, and frankly it's none of anyone's business but her's and the groom's whether she is or not.
- We would have altered the ceremony to include mention of the fact that our best man's father passed away that morning, and publicly acknowledge the sacrifice he made by choosing to be with us that day, even though I tried to send him home.
- We would have made the ceremony shorter.
- I would have let the photographer take more of the pictures ahead of time.
- We would have seen each other before the wedding, in a brief private meeting, just the two of us. For all that a wedding is supposed to be about the couple, there is very very little time together.
- Our food was great, but I would have had a wider variety of dishes offered. Not everyone likes chicken.
- We'd have had appetizers of some kind for while we finished up the pictures.
- We'd have had a smaller, more simple cake, and had a sheet cake for serving.
- I'd have made my own invitations.
Hell, maybe we'd even have scrapped it all, eloped, then had a barbeque in a park later. Or had a surprise wedding, where the guests had no idea it was happening til it happened (which certainly would have helped with the stressed out relatives. We kept telling them to relax, it's just one day). But one thing I absolutely, positively wouldn't change, even after sixteen years, especially after sixteen years, is the groom. It's obvious that it's a good match when sixteen years feel like two. We've been married longer than I shared life on this earth with my mother. Long enough for tradition to tell us this year doesn't matter. So we'll bow to tradition and do nothing. Well, not nothing. I'll take care of kids and do laundry all day. He'll work for 10 hours and add a 1.5 hour commute on each side. I'll make him chicken and dumplings for dinner, and we'll sit on the couch after the kids go to bed and play Rune Factory Frontier on Wii. Maybe we'll each have a glass of wine. We'll sleep late tomorrow.
Happy sixteen years, BigDaddyFish.