I have this cleaner called Sandra. She’s been our cleaner for 20 years. She’s the only person I am terrified of. And I am really fucking terrified of her. If you live in Brunswick you know Sandra. Everyone knows Sandra. And everyone is terrified of her. She thinks the answer to every question is bleach, a jumper or another serve of lasagne. 20 years she has cleaned for me and I have never left her a note. Why? Because she’s an excellent cleaner? Fuck no. Because I am PETRIFIED OF HER. Does she leave me notes? Sure! I have a file of them. All written with a pink highlighter a mix of upper and lower case letters. The way you would imagine a serial killer would write.
This is a typical exchange;
Sandra: ‘Andrew…Alastair…Anthony whatever his fucking name is. Does he run?’
Me: ‘Anthony? Yes. Yes he runs.’
Sandra: ‘Was he running along Sydney Road last week?’
Me: ‘Yes! That would have been him.’
Sandra: ‘Well tell him to move his arms when he fucking runs. And buy Domestos. I just used the last of it.’
So she was cleaning on Tuesday and I said ‘Hey Sandra, we’re having this thing on Sunday. It’s a wedding. We’re calling it a Love Party.’
Sandra: ‘So you’re having a party?’
Me: ‘No. It’s like a wedding basically but no god no government.’
Sandra: ‘So you’re getting married?’
Sandra: (GETTING REALLY EXASPERATED) ‘So you are signing the fucking paper and sending it into the fucking government?’
Me: ‘Yes we are signing a certificate but we are not sending it to the government.’
Sandra: (EXPLODING): ‘Well what’s the fucking point of that then?’
Me: ‘Joy, delight, love, celebration…’
Sandra: ‘What the fuck would I know about any of that?’
The closer we get to the Love Party the more pro-wedding I get and the more anti-marriage I become. Why I didn’t think was possible.
Since we came up with the idea of the Love Party over five years ago and set a date about six months ago many, many people have said ‘Ah yeah! We did that too. We had a Love Party.’
Me: ‘Really! I haven’t met anyone who has. So no god no government…?’
Them: ‘Totally! My dad didn’t give me away, I kept my name, we didn’t have a reception we had a BBQ, our honeymoon was going to Cambodia to help in an orphanage…’
Me: ‘So you had a wedding but you didn’t get married?’
Them: ‘Oh yeah we got married. But we didn’t do any of the traditional stuff.’
No. You did all the traditional stuff. You got married. That is all the traditional stuff. The rest is window dressing. Doing things you consider creative, individual or progressive does not make it less of a marriage. It doesn’t matter that you had a cupcake wedding cake, you wore lime green and the best man was a women. You got married. You didn’t have a Love Party.
Good for you.
Not for me.
‘Err what the fuck? Hubby? We are not getting married. I am anti marriage.’
‘Okay then well how is your future committed partner going?’
‘The Love Party isn’t a commitment ceremony. Nothing is changing. We are celebrating what we are doing and have been doing for almost six years and what we are going to continue to do.’
‘So what’s the point of the Love Party?’
‘Love, joy, delight, sharing our happiness, treating our friends. Reflecting on all the love in our lives. And hopefully giving our guests a chance to reflect on the love in their lives.’
‘So it’s like a non wedding then?
‘No. It’s totally a wedding. There is just no marriage.’
‘So it’s not a real wedding?’
‘I would argue that what we are doing is a real wedding because the wedding is simply the party as opposed to people who marry and add the wedding on to sweeten the deal. Perhaps they only marry because they think it’s the only way to have a wedding.’
A lot of people seem to find it really hard to get their head around the concept of a Love Party. ‘So why are you’re wearing a veil….?’
‘Because I want to.’
‘So you’re not having a celebrant’
‘We are having two celebrants!’
‘But you said you are not getting married.’
We are fine with the words, wedding, groom and bride. We are not happy with the words marriage, husband and wife. I ‘identify’ as a bride.
It seems people think you are not allowed to have a veil, flower girls, rings, a cake, confetti, a reception, celebrants or a wedding if you are not getting married. It’s like the spoon full of sugar to make the medicine go down. Only if you sign up to Love Jail are you allowed the fun stuff.
Why did you swallow that bullshit? And who fed it to you? And do you like the taste? And why are you feeding it to other people?
If there were no weddings attached to marriages would people still do it? If it was just like filling in a tax return would they get married? I think no.
I am constantly horrified by stories of people’s weddings being deeply miserable affairs because their mother wanted this and their father wanted that and their partner’s parents wanted something else.
WHAT THE FUCK HAS SOMEONE’S WEDDING GOT TO DO WITH ANYONE OTHER THAN THE TWO PEOPLE GETTING WEDDINGED?
(And what’s with people’s parents paying for their daughters weddings? Super. Fucking. Creepy.)
All the parental involvement makes me wonder what the wedding and the marriage is actually all about. Is it about approval from their parents? It it about their family only taking their relationship seriously if they are married? Is it something they want to do so they can be princess for a day? Do they feel they owe it to their parents to allow their mum and dad to feel a sense of success? Does it make them feel safe? Different? Like someone chose and now owns them? Are they doing it to break away from their family so they feel like proper independent adults? Do they think the event ‘wedding’ has a gravitas about it that makes people make a fuss, turn up and forces the to buy gifts? Or is it about brokering a deal. ‘Okay you be the man and I’ll be the lady. This is my apron and that is your brief case. I keep house and you go to work. FOREVER.’
There are people contacting me saying since they heard about what we are doing and they are no longer marrying but having a Love Party instead. Five times as many have contacted me saying ‘I wish we’d had a Love Party and not gotten married. I didn’t even think of it.’
How could you not? I find marriage such an abhorrent concept I am staggered people just ticked the terms and conditions so they could have a party. Or so they say. Why would you chose going from an intimate realtionship with just you two, to having a third and or forth party (god and or government) involved?
YOU CAN HAVE EVERYTHING YOU WANT FROM A WEDDING WITHOUT GETTING MARRIED.
So why do people do it? Why do they get married when they have the choice not to? No one can explain it to. ‘Just wanna’ is the only response I get.
We are two days out from the Love Party and I have never been as happy and excited in my life. The household is fizzing. Rings are done, cake is being cooked, flowers being sorted, dress back from the drycleaner, suits picked up, vows are written, today we are off for a ‘couple pampering session’ a bunch of our friends have chipped in for and Saturday we do our regular thing and get a pedicure with our friend Vic.
Everyone is beside themselves with excitement. Every single one of them (many do weddings all the time for work) say ‘This is so much more exciting than a wedding. Much more special…”
‘Really? Seriously?’ I probe. ‘Why?’
It seems to feel more ‘special’ because of the lack of the default settings and obligations and the fact we have selected exactly what we have wanted. As opposed to starting with a basic wedding format and altering to suit. Insert bride’s name here insert groom’s name here. People seem deeply moved that it’s really and truly only about love. And spoiling our friends. That’s a huge part of it. The Love Party is a small way we can show them we love them. By treating them. They have loved us so hard over so many years and troubles we want to take a day to say ‘Thank-you. We love you. We are here and happy today because of you all. We are at your service.’
Someone said, ‘People talk about doing stuff like this but never do it. That’s what makes it so special. That you are going to the effort. For no reason other than love.’
People are also interested and supportive of the concept. And curious. The can’t wait to see the pics and find out how it went. It seems to be a case of ‘you can’t be it unless you can see it’. More Love Parties is my hope. I’d be thrilled if that was the case.
The enthusiasm, generosity and big heartedness from people has floored me. My phone is dinging off the hook with mates and people coming to and working on the Love Party telling me how excited they are. The cake maker, florist, catering manager, DJs, ring maker, photographer, video guy, even the people providing the garden wedding setting and the portaloo just can’t do enough. But this is the best thing. Perhaps there is a god….
When you are getting married you start STALKING the weather. This time last week I was on a long range forecast website and it said Love Party weather was going to be 16 and raining. I was a little glum. Coincidently my sister pinged me and the same time and said ‘Weather looks brilliant for Love Party!’ I thought she was taking the piss. No, she was just on a different 14 day forecast and it said the weather was going to be 27. I then just went to the website she was going to.
I’m rapt the weather is going to be lovely. I’m looking forward to treating our friends and hopefully creating magical, dreamy love filled memories. But most of all I can’t wait to stand in front of all those people, 26 years after first setting eyes on this guy and thinking ‘I wish I were good enough to have a boyfriend like that’ and saying ‘I do’ to this magnificent man. Yes. We’re saying I do. We’re also saying ‘til death do us part’.
Because fuck the police.