As many of you probably already know…
Yes, that’s right,
some poor sod was fool enough to fall for my feminine wiles the Fella and I are going to get married! The proposal was a dream come true, just as our relationship has been from the get-go, and I couldn’t be more grateful for him in my life. His family has opened their arms to me (even long distance!) and mine has welcomed him in turn; another source of massive gratitude and joy. Everything about it is just wonderful, and I’m thrilled to pieces that I get to say “I do,” and love and cherish him forever and ever (and vice versa with him for me)!
But can I just say… wedding culture is insane?
I am a romantic. A die hard romantic. I’m a Pisces, okay, I get it. Romance is one of the greatest things we have as a sentient species! I’m over the moon to discover my Fella is the same way, and we get to be almost nauseatingly happy together for all eternity. But Wedding Culture is insane.
I was not a kid who grew up fantasizing about being a bride or having a wedding. I just knew that I wanted to have adventures in my life, to travel and learn and grow, and I wanted the love of my life to be there with me while it all happened. I am impossibly grateful that I’ve found that love and that co-adventurer in my Fella. We’re excited to start our lives together. And we’re excited to throw a little party to kick it all off.
A few days after our engagement, I bought a copy of The Knot: Chicago magazine at CVS. I sat down with it and flipped through, smiling and sighing over gowns and venues. As minutes passed, however, my smile faded. Most of the stuff in the magazine was so expensive they didn’t even list the actual price, they just gave you a random rating from a system they invented specifically for that purpose. That shook me a little, but I simply put the magazine aside and kept looking at Pinterest (full of much more budget-friendly ideas, that Pinterest).
Over the next week or two, I wrestled with a lot of startlingly complicated feelings, which include (but are not limited to) the following (in approximately chronological order):
- Weddings are really expensive.
- I am very poor.
- WOW THAT LOOKS BEAUTIFUL
- My family is not doing so hot financially right now either – we’re trying to raise money to pay for my father’s medical bills. Oh, cancer, you old so-and-so….
- We can TOTALLY do this affordably. Right? Right.
- I have a lot of student loan debt. If That Bride In The Magazine paid X amount for her dress, surely she could afford to help me pay off my student loans?
- Oh man. How do people even GET that much money? Who ARE they?
- Should I have my wedding in a toolshed? Or a kiddie pool in the backyard? Or perhaps a random street corner? Would that help us be more frugal?
- Where are we going to get the money for this?
- I don’t even want my wedding to look like that, but I feel bad about it because it’s so opulent and gorgeous that I feel like I should want my wedding to look like that. Is that weird?
- If we got married there, I’d break something by accident for sure. It would be a disaster.
- How do we figure out who to invite? I mean, the obvious answer is: everyone we like. But the reasonable answer is: immediate family, immediate best friends, possibly extended family, and like three other people who are important for various reasons and that’s it. But what about everyone ELSE we like??? We like SO MANY PEOPLE.
- Holy crap. Catering. CATERING. We have to feed everyone.
- Maybe like ten people should come to this wedding.
- Maybe no one should come to this wedding.
- Maybe we shouldn’t HAVE a wedding???????
- …do I deserve a wedding?
- *begins clawing at face*
- *assumes fetal position*
- *stays very still and hopes The Wedding will pass by without attacking*
And the cycle continues from there. I now understand why people go coo-coo-for-coco-puffs and why the term ‘bridezilla’ exists… much as I wish it did not. There is a lot of pressure involved. There’s etiquette up the wazoo, expectations from family and friends and friends of family and family of friends. It’s mind-numbing, and there’s layers upon layers of feelings you don’t expect, like layers of tulle and crinoline under a ballgown. Where does it end? Where does it begin? Only the seamstress knows.
I am lucky in that I have family and friends who are intelligent, conscientious, helpful and crafty. One of my best friends in all the world is learning to be a wedding planner, so she’s helping me with all this. My closest friends are all super ready to tackle whatever task I give them… but I haven’t been able to do so yet, since we needed to lock down a venue, a date, and a game plan. Thankfully, today we did exactly that.
This ish just got real.
Now the actual work begins… the website. The save-the-dates. The invitations. The catering. The decorations. The ceremony details – the officiant, the vows, the style, the music. The baked goods (we’re not doing a full cake, but rather a small one for us to cut and cupcakes for everyone else). The dress.
Here’s the thing: I am painfully happy to be getting married to the Fella. He’s all I ever wanted and more. He’s just right. And I’m just right for him. It’s marvelous and mad and magical. In many ways, though, this venture is daunting not because I don’t have a strong opinion about things one way or the other yet, but rather because other people definitely have opinions already, and we’ve barely begun. I want everyone to feel loved, included, special, meaningful. I want everyone to have fun, and be happy and enjoy themselves on this day we’re planning. Myself included, of course, but it’ll mean a lot to me to have everyone be settled and cozy and complicit. It’s going to be a feat, for many reasons. I am anxious to make sure everything gets done, and that everything is ready. This isn’t just going to be an obstacle course, it’s also a sprint. Rather than a long-distance race over a year or two, this is a short-term, high-octane push. Uphill. With smoke machines. And falling rocks. And glitter.
…I just described the Aggro-Crag from Nickelodeon’s hit 90’s game show “GUTS.”
D-d-d-do ya have it?*
It’s all gonna be okay somehow. I don’t know how, it’s a mystery. But it will be okay, because the wedding isn’t the happy ending. That’s the bit everyone gets wrong. The wedding is the happy beginning. Our whole lives are ahead of us, and the possibilities are endless! That’s what really matters here.
So maybe “Legends of the Hidden Temple” is a better gameshow metaphor; they competed in teams and could help each other out and take turns. That’s probably more accurate. I know my Fella won’t leave me alone to handle this… and neither will my amazing friends and family. This is a group effort, really. So does that make it “Family Double Dare” then??? I need to stop.
Here, have fun falling down this rabbit hole of nostalgia.
*Disclaimer: My wedding is not 90’s, Nickelodeon, game show, GUTS, or Legends of the Hidden Temple themed. It DOES have a cool theme, but none of these are that theme. Just so you know.