As my twitter friend, @silentvolume, said yesterday, “The only fun thing about wedding planning is the Registry Gun.” The planning process has so far been all over the place, emotionally speaking: Exciting, tedious, pleasantly surprising, stressful, infuriating. It has also been a big learning curve – mostly about myself. I thought I would like it more. I thought I would like the details more. But it’s kind of overwhelming. There probably is a person for whom wedding planning is awesome. That person likely has endless money, time, and patience. That person must also have the ability to let go – let go of the ideas, the details, the opinions and the static. That person can decide on a vision, make a decision. That person doesn’t get hung up on silly things because that person can focus on the the more important things (you know, the getting married thing). I’m truly trying to be that person. I think I have even succeeded on some fronts, but not all. I haven’t been able to let go enough.
Like with many decisions so far, I’ve realized it is really hard to only medium care. For the venue, I thought I could live with simpler and less pretty to save money. But then it turned out I couldn’t and we went with the higher priced (but still very reasonable) venue instead. I’m confident that it was the right decision, but it took a lot of angst to make that decision.
For bridesmaid dresses, I figured I’d fall somewhere between “wear whatever you want” and “go get measured for your gown.” I had an idea but I hadn’t given much thought to how it would come together. But learning moment: finding a dress that I like, is affordable, comes in the sizes, lengths, and colours I need, and will hopefully not make my friends miserable is actually not straightforward! A big light bulb when went off and I finally realized why people buy “bridesmaid dresses” at bridal salons. Sure, they’re humiliating by only carrying samples in two sizes and colours, but it’s a one-stop shopping experience. You buy your matching dresses and move on. But by not wanting that experience, I created a whole world of stress. And the worst part is that by being uninterested/unwilling to designate the dresses as something that I am allowed to think is important, I’m feeling resentful of myself for caring.
“othering” on Offbeat Bride. I’ve realized recently that I’m being totally weird and self-conscious about wedding stuff. I felt the need to rebel against mainstream wedding ideals, but also the need to suppress the parts of me that are so very mainstream – because I never really feel like I fit in with mainstream femininity, I really wanted to fit in with the “opposite” of that. But as soon as I got there, I started worrying that I didn’t fit in there either! I’m realizing that I’ve been trying to convince myself that I am something I’m not. I’m not quite mainstream, but I’m more mainstream than I thought I’d be.
Take my dress, for instance. To be accurate, it’s a gown. I had no interest in a big wedding dress, but I thought it would be fun to try some on. So we went to a sample sale and I tried a bunch on that were nice, but nothing special. And then just as we were about to leave, I got talked into trying on a great big gown. As it turned out, I loved it. I truly don’t have any sort of princess fantasy, I just put on an expensive dress, made of expensive materials, and felt really good. I wanted to be looked at. Those aren’t really feelings that I’m familiar with. And both leading up to, and after my big dress experience, I felt the need to tell people that I wasn’t taking the big dress thing seriously. Otherwise they would totally judge me for being just another part of the wedding industrial complex, right? They would think I was silly. (Sometimes I feed people my flaws so they can’t point them out first. I’m working on it.)
But wedding planning has also helped me realize the things I’m sure I want. When registering for gifts yesterday, we got a lengthy sales pitch about having a “relationship with our dishes” and got firm direction about our expected roles based exclusively on gender (me: shiny, pretty, things. Women don’t care about price. him: practical. electrical. money). We walked away, both saying longer, more expletive versions of “WOW.” And we picked things we really liked, that made sense to our personalities and lives. It was actually a really nice team experience. And in a funny way, it was helpful in reflecting on the type of wedding we were throwing, who we were throwing it for, and what kind of experience I want it to be.
Now if someone could just tell me which bridesmaid dress to pick I’d be happy.