As I stood in a dressing room, surrounded by a dozen gowns, my head and arms halfway out of a tight-fitting number, I realized that our wedding was poised on a precipice that would separate a simple affair from a major production. I had tried on a dress that made me feel like a princess, like someone exceptionally special. I wanted it badly. But if I were to wear a fancy gown, it would change the tone of our celebration. And our budget. After a well-placed question by my friend, I reminded myself that I don�t need to fall for the wedding hype. So, I stepped back for a moment and chose another dress that I could use at a later date. And after living with that choice for a few days, I know I did the right thing. The dress I chose is a beautiful color and completely non-traditional � it fits us and what we want in a ceremony. J and I had previous marriages, complete with the big church weddings. Neither of us wants the headache or wasted expense again. We have plenty of friends that could throw much more lavish productions than we can. We want the focus to be us – our relationship – not keeping up with the Joneses. Maybe I was worried about others� perception of our ceremony and reception. But I know whatever we do will be heartfelt and meaningful for the two of us. Even if no one else gets it, it will be special to us. That has to come first and foremost. For a long time, I resisted getting married again. I thought living together would be enough. And it has been, until now. What changed? I finally realized that this is real, that this relationship is the one I want for the rest of my life. This man is a good man. He�s everything I want and I just wasn�t ready to see it. I didn�t trust my judgment. And now I finally do. We�ve always acted like a family, operated like a family, and even felt like a family. But we didn�t have a marriage certificate. Even though our relationship is long-term in our eyes, the outside perception was different. There�s a difference between being introduced as a girlfriend as opposed to fianc�e or wife. Why is marriage so important? Why is our society built around it? By getting married, are we succumbing to societal pressure? In my eyes, it�s only in the fact that we need to be married for J and munchkin to get my insurance coverage. We�re doing it because we want to. I want to introduce him as my husband and be known as his wife. We want the permanency, the bond, and the benefits that come from marriage. Do I care what people think about our ceremony and reception? Yes, a little bit. But I also can�t let that influence what we feel is right for us. Simplicity is right for us. Having those that we love around is right for us. Letting everyone see how happy we are together is right for us. That�s what really matters, isn�t it?