Less than 7 weeks out from my wedding to Paul, and I’m struck with how very different this time around has been, in every possible way.
Illustration by Astrid Mueller
Let’s recap the last wedding:
- 31 years old
- Together nearly 7 years by the time we wed
- Engaged after 5 years
- 20 months of planning
- 100 guests
- Well-defined theme
- Location we had no connection to
- Family-style dinner
- Epic dance party
- Week-long honeymoon
And now let’s have a gander at this one:
- 36 years old
- Together 1.5 years by the time we’ll wed
- Engaged after 7 months
- 11 months of planning
- 38 guests
- No defined theme
- Location with a lot of meaning to us
- 20-course tasting menu
- Epic dinner party
- 3-week honeymoon
So much can happen in the span of 5 years! My priorities have definitely shifted, and many were as a direct consequence of the experience of planning my first wedding. For instance, our larger guest list the first time around made for a very lively, crowded dance floor. But there were people in attendance that day whom I don’t even remember seeing, much less having any sort of meaningful moment with. So, when it came time to decide on a size this time around, I lobbied for a smaller, more intimate party, in which I could connect with and enjoy the company of every person in attendance.
And being in my mid-thirties means I’ve had more than my fair share of booze-fueled epic dance parties and wild exhibitionism. Now I tend to crave a bit more of a civilised type of fun. Since Paul and I are criminally serious foodies, treating our nearest and dearest to a multicourse molecular gastronomy meal by one of the top chefs in the country made perfect sense. In keeping with my tenet that your wedding should be an extension and expression of yourselves, this kind of dinner party suited Paul and me perfectly … and tells our guests a lot about who were are.
Our reception space — SAAM at The Bazaar
Our venue, the SLS Hotel, was designed by Philippe Starck — so it’s dripping with style at every turn, which makes things easier for us, as it requires little to no decor efforts on our part. Only some flowers to dress up the ceremony space, maybe a backdrop at the altar, and that’s about it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. The months and days leading up to Wedding No. 1 were a marathon of last-second design, shopping, organizing, and panic. This time will definitely be a much smoother ride.
Having had nearly two years to plan the first wedding, I was free to go down just about every twisty rabbit hole of possibilities, details, possibilities, hacks and DIY project around. And believe me, I considered them all. It was great, because we had more time to save money and find the thriftiest deals … but it was definitely dangerous in terms of becoming overwhelmed by options. This time, we’re less concerned with every little detail — partly due to time constraints and partly because of a fundamental shift in my priorities. It’s allowed a much more wabi-sabi or zen-like approach to the process — allowing for a few choice design elements, but letting the venue and food make more lasting an impression than highly-customized, tiny details ever could.
And the SLS has been a very meaningful location in our relationship — home to some of our most sentimental, romantic memories. From our second date, on which he told me I was the one for him; to the time we took my sister there a month later and he made a big romantic speech, declaring that he planned to “marry the shit outta me” and leaving us both in sappy, happy tears; to celebrating the release of my book with our parents; Valentine’s Day; and our 1-year anniversary … and on and on. All of these memories happened at The Bazaar, and thus it is the perfect place to make our lifelong vows.
Another reason a smaller wedding was the right choice for us is because it freed up our budget to make the honeymoon large and in charge! We’re hoping to have kids as soon as possible after we’re married, so we’re viewing the honeymoon as our “last blast” before kids. We’re spending seven nights in Paris and 16 nights in Seoul — traveling around the world in pursuit of romance and some of the best food in the world!
From here …
Having been through planning a wedding once before has afforded me the luxuries of knowing what really matters and what doesn’t. What details are worth the expense and trouble, and which one’s we’d never miss. I certainly don’t advocate divorce … but having the hindsight in this case has really worked in my favor. And I’m not gonna lie, it feels right that this wedding is so very different than the first. It frees me of any complicated feelings I have about how I got where I am, and allows me to experience my re-bridalization as something completely new, fresh and unlike anything I’ve done before. Most importantly, it gives Paul and me a platform on which to build our future that is distinctly us, and for that, I am entirely grateful.
Let the final countdown begin!!!