Introverts Guide to Marrying a Mennonite

I often write about the hardships of being Jon’s wife but nothing compares to our wedding. On September 8, Jon and I celebrated 9 years of marriage. I remember saying to my husband “I just want to marry you. As long as we’re married at the end of the day, I don’t care if guests are eating pizza off paper plates on the floor.”

This almost came to fruition. Here’s what I learned.

Pick a Mantra and Stick to It
Repeat it over and over. It keeps you calm when you feel the world of cake and taffeta closing in. Mine was, “As long as I’m married at the end of the day…
Small Wedding =  Destination Wedding

For me, minimal spotlight means minimal stress.  I’m a recluse and hate being the center of attention.  I wanted to get married in the church I grew up in. I thought I could have a small wedding close to home by simply slashing our guest list.

If you are Mennonite, you already know why this isn’t possible. 90% of our guest list was family. His family. They all lived close to home and doubled my ideal wedding size. Example: You have to invite his cousin because of that deal he cut you on corn – six years ago. You have to invite his fourth cousin twice removed because he works at your Superstore.  You have to invite his grandma’s brother because you keep running into him at Tim Hortons.

I was afraid to leave the house without a stack of blank invites.

I was afraid to leave the house.

My family lived far away. I felt underrepresented. To compensate I started adding more of “my” people. You know, the usual guests one invites to their wedding, like your nail tech or that guy that makes your lunch at Subway.  Maybe my dentist. Our guest list exploded to 250 people. Still small if you’re Mennonite.

“As long as I’m Jon’s wife at the end of the day.”

Don’t Panic

I panicked. Jon’s mom is an event coordinator but when she wasn’t around, I made bad decisions. The worst decision was my wedding dress. Choosing a dress sent me into hyperventilation. It was a screaming reminder that many people (250 in case you missed it)  were going to be looking, staring and even possibly judging me.

“I want to be SO pretty!”
“250. I hate this.”
“Ooh sparkly! This is so fun!”
“250. This is the worst.”

Dress shopping always ended with me eating something covered in chocolate and crying in the dark. Eventually, I put down money on a discount dress in hopes this newly acquired schizophrenia could be stopped.

I noticed the beads were falling off after the bridal store went out of business. His mom and I spent many nights at her kitchen table sewing white beads back onto a white dress. Ever looked for cotton balls in an avalanche? I have.

I would have had more luck with a stapler and bed sheet.

There are blood, sweat and tears on my wedding dress. And chocolate.

“as long as I’m married at the end of the day…”

It’s Best Not to Blame Your Spouse

We took our pictures before the wedding. I thought if Jon saw me in my wedding dress before walking down the aisle (without those judgmental guests like my dentist) I’d be calmer. I was wrong.

The idea of a full church waiting for ME plunged me into a nervous breakdown.   How dare he have a large, happy, functional family wanting to celebrate our marriage. Jerk. Selfish. Egomaniac.

Our last conversation before getting married was something along the lines of, “This entire thing is your fault. You did this to me.” Not even in labor did I use those words.

I forgot my mantra.

You’re Not Marrying Your Sibling
Maybe I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. 

When I walked down the aisle my awkwardness and social anxiety came unglued. I was so nervous I couldn’t even look at Jon. Leaving a beautiful trail of sparkly beads and  broken string, I locked eyes with my sister the whole way down the aisle.

There was an actual spotlight.

You’re on Mennonite Time

Pack snacks.

I’m not sure if this is a Mennonite thing or a Penner thing but the entire day ran late and continued to for 9 years. I have pictures where I’m scowling. Hair done, make up done, happy bridesmaids, and I’m scowling.

Put Distance Between His Home Town and Your Reception

If you decide to have a reception on their turf, beware the wedding crashers. My husband was determined to celebrate in his home town.

Jon’s mom approached us, “Megan, we are running out of room. I need to ask you if you we can wheel out more tables.” I rolled my eyes and said something along the lines of, “Let them eat cake!” New mantra.

…Or pizza off the floor.

…Or chocolate of my dress.

We added chairs and tables and prayed for a “Loaves and Fishes” miracle. The cook said he had never been so close to running out plates. Ever. The town of Niverville ate well that day. Don’t say I never contribute to charity events.

At the end of the day we were married. We’re still married so according to my own standards and all of Jon’s well fed friends, it was a major success.

 

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