By Heidi Biswas
(Dave and Heidi are fairly new residents in Springfield, Ohio, with Dave joining our Encompass team in January, 2019 as Outreach Coordinator. You'll get an interesting and inspiring glimpse into their process of selecting wedding attire and atmosphere.)
So we got married in our pajamas. It took me a little while to figure out that this was what I wanted.
At the time of being engaged I didn’t know I had felt an expectation of how I was supposed to get married. The dress, the venue, the decorations, the guest list - I knew it wasn’t what I wanted, but that’s just how weddings are, and I felt some unspoken pressure that that was how it had to be, or I’d be letting people down.
In preparation for the wedding, my sister and my mother would show me pictures of beautiful decorations and plates and dresses and ask which ones I liked best, but I remember not being able to answer very well.
Of course most of them were pretty, but I felt a hesitation inside that I couldn’t explain. I just wanted to elope somewhere, as the wedding itself was not what was important to me. We just wanted to be married.
We’d been dating for nine months (engaged for three), but had spent six months of it long distance. Dave was living in Wales, and I was in Minnesota with a 6 hour time difference between us.
By this time I was exhausted by hours of Skype calls that were often blurry and interrupted by a bad WiFi signal. I was exhausted from not being able to visit and not knowing the next time we’d get to see each other.
Eventually we decided Dave would come to Minnesota to visit for Christmas, meet my family for the first time and we’d get married then. It had been months of me being indecisive about what we were going to do for our wedding ceremony when Dave pulled me into the kitchen and asked if there were no limitations of what our wedding day was supposed to look like, what did I picture?
In the midst of wedding stresses he had mentioned a few weeks earlier that we could just get married in our pajamas. An idea I had liked, but brushed off at the time - that just wasn’t how weddings worked. You can’t REALLY do that!
But without feeling limited by what I thought a wedding was supposed to look like, I realized that I would like to get married in our pajamas as well, and I’d like it to be in my sister’s living room with everyone sitting on pillows on the floor.
This was a big breakthrough for me. Before I had been limiting myself by an idea of what I thought a wedding looked like - by what I thought other people were expecting me to want. It didn’t make sense to me that people were willing to go into debt for a wedding, when it’s just a single day of the rest of your married life.
Most people we told were very excited, but ultimately, our decision to wear pajamas wasn’t well received by everyone. Before the wedding there were some concerns that we weren’t taking marriage seriously and there were some tears involved. Any concerns, however, quickly dissipated on the day of the wedding. Everyone loved it, and Dave and I got to be married in a cozy living room, surrounded by a small group of friends and family, wearing pajamas and fuzzy slippers.
Moral of the story, a wedding’s success is based solely on whether or not you are married by the end of it, nothing more. If you love dress shopping and choosing decorations and all that goes into that kind of wedding, go for it!
But if that stresses you out, don’t be afraid to challenge your view of what you think you have to do, if that may not be what you actually want.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.