When I posted my end of the year blog, I realized much of what I said really reflected the magazine overall, so I decided to include parts of it in my editor’s letter. Not long after my first book release in June 2017, I started planning a special surprise for my husband. I knew we’d have a lot going on in 2018, however, I also knew we couldn’t wait any longer. This was the year. So I started planning.
When I first married my husband in 1991, we had a beautiful, traditional church wedding. Etiquette would only allow me to wear an off-white dress, because I wasn’t a virgin and on top of that I was pregnant…in The South. It didn’t really didn’t bother me until I told Larry. He thought that if etiquette makes people feel bad about themselves, or dirty, then it should be tossed out the window (not his exact words). However, still, I wasn’t allowed to get a white dress. Yes, for those of you that are asking, I was an adult, 21 years old, but in my family, those decisions weren’t left up to me. (Read more about that in my blog.) Needless to say, I found a beautiful off-white satin gown and had a lovely wedding.
Flash forward twenty years, my husband started joking about going to Vegas and getting remarried by an Elvis impersonator, to which I would joke that I might even wear a white dress, regardless the time of year (there is a triple meaning in that, because I wear black most days, I didn’t get my white wedding dress originally, also because you weren’t/aren’t supposed to wear white clothing in cooler seasons, it should be off-white—except for a wedding dress, if you were virginal—and no white shoes after labor day… **PAUSE** EXACTLY! Phew!) Through the following years, the idea of doing it “OUR WAY” went from being a quirky thought to earning a top slot on my bucket list.
I’ve learned that everyone is full of advice for you, but it’s you who must live it. I’ve also learned that some people devalue things that are important to you, but doing those things don’t have to be important to other people. None of us has to follow the same plan as everyone else. We can be as different as we really are. There are so many rules, even simple etiquette, that tell us how we are supposed to live.
In my family, we were raised to value etiquette. Rules of society are important. It teaches us more than just how to set a simple place setting (included in the food section), it also teaches us respect for others, manners and the proper way to behave in certain surroundings. Boundaries, if you will. However, the older I get, the more I realize many of those rules do indeed make people feel bad about themselves.
At the very least, it can make someone feel uncomfortable; at its worst, unworthy.
While etiquette is important to me, so is grace, Southern Grace and Godly Grace. Sometimes when we value rules more than people, it is almost a lack of both Graces. Sometimes, people confuse the expectations of others as rules. And I’ve learned, sometimes, when we value etiquette or other’s expectations over our own voices, we devalue ourselves.
So last year, with the BEST ELVIS IMPERSONATOR EVER (and top Saints Super fan), Randy Bonneval, I wore that white dress, with that black jacket, surrounded by many of our friends and family, and renewed my vows to my incredible husband! (full story and album in my blog)
Going into this New Year I’m reflecting like most everyone else. The ceremony, while it was fun, meant much more than just being silly or whimsical. It also represented something serious and fulfilling: a new start, changing, overcoming, and living life.
…And doing it our way.
As seen in Modern Grace Magazine