I grew up on Long Island, NY.
Not Staten Island, don’t get it twisted.
Even though I had already lived in FL for about 8 years when I got engaged to be married (to a boy from Long Island) I discovered there is a whole “Long Island” thing to getting engaged.
Registering at Fortunoff.
Fortunoff was a department store that originated in Brooklyn. In the ’70’s everyone was leaving their lives in Brooklyn and the Bronx and made a mass exodus for the suburbs. When I grew up in Long Island it was full of people who had grown up in NYC and the surrounding areas. Since I’ve moved to Florida it’s a pretty different world over there, but I digress.
Fortunoff had an amazing bridal registry. My Mother and soon-to-be Mother-in-law guided me through the motions of all the things I’d need to set up house. Considering we had already been residing together for some time (the new American way of progressive relationships) I took their help and picked out china patterns and stemware and crystal and all sorts of beautiful things that every bride is expected to need. I had these delusions of grandeur with my juicer and Kitchen-Aid mixer while I whipped up interesting and healthy snacks for my fictional set of identical triplets. Images of Hubby and I entertaining our friends “Mad Men style” with barware and highballs while playing bridge. The truth of the matter was, I wasn’t very handy in the kitchen or the house when we got married. And on the day of our wedding I was already 27 years old… 3 kids seemed like a reach (little did I freaking know about what the future had in store for me then). And our friends don’t play cards, or drink highballs. The American wedding Registry has become almost like a lottery of sorts. You get engaged and bam… people buy you things. But have you really actually accomplished anything? And don’t get me started on the baby registry. Why do you need 5 different diaper bags? For your second kid? The answer is… you don’t.
Overall Hubby and I were pretty practical. I recall looking at a friend’s bridal registry when attending their wedding and they had registered for (I shit you not) a kegerator. We didn’t go that far into left field. We still had a slight bit of restraint.
I can happily remember for months leading up to the big day, I would come home from work to find Fortunoff boxes eagerly waiting for me at the front door of my apartment. Another beautiful place setting, and a card of loving congratulations from someone who had known me before I was even a thought in my parents head. It was a magical time, full of hope and promise and downright fear. Fear that we were too young, too old, too different, too similar, to get married. Could it ever work? Would we want to wake up to each other every morning and go to sleep next to each other each night? Until death parts us? Pretty heavy stuff when you know the statistics about divorce.
And over the years we’ve been to a shitload of weddings, bought gifts off a lifetime of wedding registries and traveled back home a million times to see our friends and family members tie the knot.
Next week we will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary.
We still use the good china (although some of it is chipped), I broke out the crystal champagne glasses last night to toast the engagement of another friend (although we rarely use those with all the kids around), the silver need to be polished, the jucier got used twice until I realized I don’t “juice” or “green drink” and now it’s somewhere in the garage, the kitchen-aid mixer is my right hand and I love that freaking thing.
I mentioned to Hubby last night that when it comes to wedding culture and etiquette I think, as a whole, we are all doing it wrong. Getting married is easy. Staying married can be hard. The next wedding I attend maybe I’ll grow a pair of balls and give the happy couple a savings bond. In both of their names. If they are still married when it matures they can have it.
I’m not saying that you should stay in a shitty marriage. Some relationships are unhealthy and need to end. Irreconcilable differences are just that. If someone is toxic and unwilling to change, then getting the fuck outta there is the only option you have. I am saying that just “getting married” will be the easiest part of your marriage.
For my 20th wedding anniversary I’m going to make an anniversary registry. This time I’m going for the kegerator.