I’m not getting married back home.
When I told my grandma she was understandably disappointed having held onto the hope that I would celebrate my nuptials next to the tractor in my cousin’s shed. “It has a heated floor,” she liked to remind me.
Despite the heated floor (“And a bathroom!”) Jason and I decided to get married in Palm Springs.
For a girl who holds her hometown deep in her heart, this was not an easy decision.
But – as I’m learning – marriage is going to be about compromise. So instead of choosing one of our home states, we chose the place we fell in love.
Grandma, get our your sunscreen.
Grandma, get out your sunscreen.
Despite being thrilled with our decision, I was not surprised to learn that a wedding – like everything else – is more expensive on the West Coast. My dream of having a giant, invite-the-whole-town kind of wedding just wasn’t financially feasible for us.
So when my Aunt Marcia called to say she wanted to throw a bridal shower for me back home, I was touched but when I hung up the phone I started to get concerned. I realized that most of the wonderful people who would come to that bridal shower are people Jason and I couldn’t afford to invite to the wedding.
I had read the etiquette blogs that warned against this kind of thing. It was highly inappropriate (they said) to invite a person to your shower that was not invited to your wedding. Every picture I looked at on every fancy wedding website reinforced this sentiment with willowy bridesmaids surrounding a pastel-clad bride enjoying a champagne lunch at a small, intimate shower.
I thought about it for a few days and finally, in a slight panic, I called my Aunt back and told her maybe we should move the shower to Fargo. That way it would be smaller, more intimate. That way, no one would be hurt. That way, I would feel less uncomfortable with all the kindness being thrown my way.
My aunt was quiet for a second.
“Well…do you want to have the shower in Fargo?”
I mumbled something about it maybe being easier that way.
Marcia stopped me mid sentence.
“Listen, Jessica. All these ladies want to celebrate with you. Whether or not they’re invited to the wedding, they are thrilled for you and want share this moment with you. That’s just how we do things up here.”
I bit my lip a little to keep my eyes from watering.
She was right. What had I been thinking?
In Los Angeles, sometimes it can feel like you never get something for nothing.
In Los Angeles, sometimes it can feel like you never get something for nothing. You don’t get tickets to the concert unless you know the musician. You don’t get a seat at a great restaurant unless you know the chef. You don’t get a big bridal shower unless you can afford to invite everyone to the wedding.
But I had forgotten that all of that doesn’t matter where I come from. No one is keeping track. In fact, there is nothing to keep track of. The people of my community want to celebrate milestones simply because that’s what being a community means. And I am honored that they still consider me a part of that.
The people of my hometown were a part of so many of my life events. They were there to welcome me into this world with handmade blankets and hotdish and warm wishes. They taught me how to chew durum until it turned into gum, how to rollerblade on gravel roads, and how to make ice cream out of snow. They were there to watch the first solo I ever had, to cheer the first time I dribbled a basketball and to make me more handmade blankets for my first year in college.
And I wanted them there for this milestone too – to send me into married life with wisdom and pie.
I took a breath filled with thank yous.
“That sounds wonderful” I said and meant it. “It sounds like home.”
This piece was originally written for the Fargo Forum. You can find them (and me) here.