Monday, December 22, 2014


photo by Douglas Sylvester
Alan and I married when we were 23 and 24, respectively. Apart from asking whether or not we’d be allowed to change some of the words in our vows (we weren’t allowed), I did absolutely no thinking about the whys of the wedding ceremony, which is something I regret now that I’m older. If I could travel back in time and encourage a younger me to take up feminism and irritatingly-insistent-question-asking earlier than was originally scheduled, one of the only things about our wedding I’d keep the same is the groom (NAW! I’ll pause briefly while you vomit…). And my dress, I loved my dress. And my bridesmaids, I love my bridesmaids. But the rest would be different:

Asking for permission/blessing
This isn’t part of the ceremony, but it’s a tradition linked to marriage that I thought about and wished we’d discarded only after it’d happened.

On the day he was planning to propose, while I showered and dressed after a swim at the beach, Alan called my mum to tell her of his plans and to ask for her blessing. My mum then suggested he call two other men who were important in her life (not so much mine) and do the same with them. He also tried calling my dad, who didn’t answer his phone in time. Apparently – and fortunately – the three people Alan spoke to were all positive about the idea of us getting hitched; I’m not sure what Alan would have done if they’d reacted differently, but I hope he would have cared more about what I thought of his idea than what they thought of his idea and asked me anyway. After all, I’d been living away from home for over 6 years by that point, and I was pretty used to making decent decisions for myself.

Walking down the aisle
Although I love this part of a wedding, if I had to get analytical about it, it kinda just seems like a glorified fashion parade. Why can’t the men walk down the aisle to meet the women? I really like that idea. I wish we’d done that. My sister-in-law and now-brother-in-law were married at a bowling club, and they were the welcomers as their guests arrived. When it was time for the actual wedding, we all walked onto the green and when the music started, the groom walked down the aisle and then the bride walked down the aisle after him. I loved that, too. I wish we’d mixed things up a bit, but we never stopped to ask the necessary questions (Why? Pour quoi? Hvorfor?). I wish we had.
My brother walked me down the aisle, because my mum and dad were both doing speeches and I wanted Chris to also play an important role in my wedding and for no one to feel left out (this ended up being the theme of our wedding, really: “Try not to offend anyone!”). I love that he did that for me, although I wonder why I thought I needed anyone to walk beside me? My shoes were pretty comfy and sturdy, I didn’t need a prop. Being handed over to Alan as if I was a belonging changing hands was slightly odd. I never questioned it at all at the time. I wish I had.

At my sister’s wedding, when Hazel was only a few weeks old, a teary Alan told her that he’d walk her down the aisle one day. He was emotional for different reasons after hearing my views on the matter (“One: Don’t talk to her like it’s a given she’ll get married! She may not! Two: Why would you walk her down the aisle? What’s that saying about your views about you, and about her, and about women in general?!”). I’m really no fun at weddings these days.

The vows at this same sister’s wedding were beautiful. At one point the bride and groom promised that they’d stay together forever. “FOREVER?!” I said to Alan on the way home, “That’s flipping HUGE!”

“You realise you promised the same thing at our wedding,” he told me. “That’s what ‘until death parts us’ means.”

“WHAT?!” cried I.

I wish we’d written our vows so that we knew exactly what we were promising. This would have meant we couldn’t be married by our minister or in an Anglican church, but now, 7 years, a few churches, a couple of faith shifts and a new denomination later, I see that that really wouldn’t have killed us.

The name change
I’ve written about changing my name before (here and here). I regret changing my surname to Alan’s, and I HATE receiving mail addressed to us as Mr and Mrs Alan M[insert the end of our surname here] (I cringe when new couples are introduced this way at the end of some wedding ceremonies too). If Alan and I were getting married for the first time tomorrow, we’d choose a completely new surname, and both of us would take that one on. (I wonder if choosing a surname would have been an easier process than choosing names for our children? We’ll never know. I’m pretty sure Alan would never have agreed on ‘McAllister’, though.) We could have tried mashing up our surnames: Parrow, Morsons, Parmor, Rowson – ROWSON! We could have been Rowsons. But no.

It’s slightly tempting to change our surnames still, although it’d be so much more difficult now with Mo and Hazel around; there’s enough paperwork to get together just for me to prove I’ve changed my name – thinking about us having to keep track of the appropriate documents for three more people does my head in.


I wonder who I’ll be in my 40s, and what about my 30s I’ll look back and wish I did differently. I also wonder if I’ll remember how to write in non-lists again soon.


  1. you've raised a lot of issues for me that I didn't think I had issues with.. and I still don't think I do. but the fact you do makes me think I should...

    1. You certainly shouldn't have issues with something just because I do. You like About Time, and I like Girls, remember? We have nothing in common!

    2. Look I know, but joking aside, as a cheating thing, I often don't think deeply about things but just accept the opinion of people whom I love and admire and respect the opinion of (side note - did i use whom correctly there?). i.e. infant baptism - i haven't spent anywhere near the time and energy looking into it that others have... so i'll just go with what my trusty companion says about it. and so if you have these thoughts about YOUR wedding, maybe I should rethink this before mine?

      PS check out my back handed compliment! I respect and admire you? whoahh...

    3. That comment makes me really interested in knowing what your views on infant baptism are!