A Hopelessly Hollingsworth Wedding

I started this blog with big ideas about posting about our lives together and what it means to be Doug’s purple-er half. But then, things started to get tumultuous and I’m having conflicting feelings on what being “Hopelessly Hollingsworth” means.

It started with Christmas. Family events on both sides changed the dynamic. Doug’s sister got engaged, my super-close family had a fight and now some of us aren’t speaking. Things changed. It was also the push I needed to suppress some of my people-pleasing desires and just start planning the wedding I wanted. (Before anyone gets all up in arms about Doug’s role in this, know that he is my partner in crime but he prefers his role to involve picking from choices, not making the list of choices to pick from.)

On a whim, I emailed my dream wedding photographer to ask if he would be available for an elopement in the Dry Tortugas. It’s what I’ve wanted since before Doug and I were even a couple. I got an immediate response asking for more details so he could check his availability and give us a price. Once he knew the logistics, he was in. Knowing our budget and our situation and how badly I wanted HIM to be our photographer, he found a way to make it work. I cried when I heard from him and let him know. He told me not to cry and sent me a smiley face in return.

My initial contact mentioned a hazy date sometime in October. On a whim (again), I checked my calendar and realized that our anniversary happens to fall on Labor Day this year. 3 day weekend, during the ‘low’ season in the Keys (so everything is more affordable)… win! It’s also 3 days before Mr. D Sir’s birthday.

As I kept planning, things kept falling into place like it was meant to be. Things keep falling into place, but what about people?

I sat down and had a talk with my mom about what I wanted, what I thought I could or couldn’t handle, and started the difficult conversation about the guest list or lack thereof. I want to elope, just me, Doug, a photographer and an officiant. I don’t want to stand in front of a crowd of friends of the family, many of whom I’ve barely met, and only see who isn’t there. No grandma, no David… my heart breaks every time I remember Doug had to go to the cemetery to ask Mr. D Sir’s permission. Mom understood and brotherface, in true “I love my sister but won’t admit it” fashion, said he’d do whatever it took to make us happy.

Doug’s parents took it surprisingly well, from what I heard. He was on the phone with them while I was pacing nervously and trying not to throw up. I heard offers of a reception venue (which we will get to shortly), questions about what time the seaplane leaves and where it leaves from (which I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t know at the time), jokes about (in)appropriate dress code, and questions about who should talk to Doug’s sisters.

I’ve spoken to most of my family already. I made my poor Auntie cry because she’s still not ready for her baby to be a bride, but she was completely on board. I know she wants to be there with and for us, to support and celebrate Doug and me as we make it official, and I was honestly concerned she wouldn’t be okay with what we’re planning. I have to admit: I underestimated her. Immediately, she was surprised at how much we had planned already and offered to help any way she can. She also kept telling me that I shouldn’t compromise what I want for someone else. What took me so long to realize that? My other aunt responded by saying she was happy for us and wanted the details so she could book her hotel. This doesn’t really come as a surprise to her, since we’ve been talking about this for years. My grandfather proceeded to ask me a million questions and then tell me about when he and grandma were planning their wedding. It was the most amazing phone call and I couldn’t not have predicted how wonderful it would be to hear that my great-grandfather thought $40 was too much for a wedding cake…

I’m still waiting to hear back from Doug’s grandparents (both sets) and his aunt and uncle, who are currently on a honeymoon adventure and probably haven’t checked their email in a while.

Doug’s sisters, on the other hand… I know his middle sister is unhappy (to say the least). I don’t know if anyone told his baby sister yet. I knew this was going to cause some trouble, since a comment I made to Doug about skipping the stress of a wedding and eloping was apparently the greatest scandal of a night in which I also mentioned some of the adult products we sell at work. It’s a sore subject and I feel it would be in poor taste to discuss it further.

So what are we doing for our not-wedding? We’re having a “private ceremony with dinner to follow.” I get to ‘elope’ in the Dry Tortugas with Doug, an officiant, and a photographer, Mama Llama, Mr. Andy & Ms. Sherry. Then, we’re going to do dinner (not a reception!) with a small group of family and a few friends that might as well be family. We’re also toying with the idea of doing the Duval Crawl in our wedding best. Simple, (hopefully) low stress and something that will make us happy.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with my conflicted feelings about this blog, it’s because all this family stuff has called into question where I belong. Am I really a Hollingsworth if my sister-in-law resents me? Am I still Suzie’s granddaughter if I let someone else kill my spirit even a little bit? How can I be David’s daughter without quoting Wicked or Les Mis at least once in this blog post? (I’m not done yet, Mr. D Sir…) Do I invite the family I’m currently not speaking to? Where does my father fit into this? I don’t know.

It took a lot for me to sit down and write this out. I’ve been keeping it to myself but it’s been eating me up inside. I have a little less than 8 months and I can’t afford to be doubting myself or second-guessing my decisions. When the day comes, I want to stand up there and say to Doug “to love another person is to see the face of God” and cup his face in my hands and kiss him. He’s my family, he’s my port in the storm, he’s my redder half and the love of my life. And at the end of this mess, no matter what happens, he will love me no matter what. In the end, I’ll be a Hollingsworth because it’s what he wants and it’s what I want.

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