I’ve been a little bummed that we’ve had no wedding planning voices on the site since I got married, and stopped blogging about the fresh hell that is wedding planning (achem, I mean delightful relaxing time). So when reader Sarah sent this rant in, I had a very ‘sister preach it’ reaction. And so Wedding Undergraduates was born (Like wedding graduates, but still in school).
I want to specifically comment about the lack of trust she talks about… people inherently not trusting brides. It’s interesting, because I hear that across the board (and experienced that), and I’m not sure where it comes from. I do know that when planning a sane wedding, it feels like you get it from all sides. On the one hand you have people assuming you’re doing everything just like they did… when you’re not… which can be awkward, and on the other side you have people making nasty assumptions about all of the horrible BRIDAL things you’re doing… which you’re also not… which can make you want to punch them in the face (is that just me?). So with that, let’s hear it for Sarah:I am not a planner. I have faith that most things work themselves out, and I don’t stress over much. My future husband is the same way. We have impromptu dinner parties, we decide Friday morning to have a weekend getaway. Brunch with the fam? We call them on Sunday morning. Maybe it’s procrastination, or possibly a bit of laziness, but I like to think that we live in the moment and that we’re free spirits who don’t own agendas and whose calendars display August in November.
And now we’re planning a wedding. An outdoor wedding, on a farm 40 minutes outside the city, with 150 invites. In five months. On a budget.
We’ve been through some initial disagreements: I gave him a piece of my mind when he asked sarcastically if my girlfriends and I were going to talk about weddings all night at an upcoming party. I calmly explained to him that he is not allowed to “just show up” and that I’m not someone who’s going to become a “bridezilla” (whatever that means…). Since then we’ve pretty much been on the same page. He even suggested that we buy a notebook to keep track of our wedding planning ideas and experiences. He’s actively researching our food possibilities (friends of ours own a local restaurant, but I’m vegan so it’ll take some coordination), he’s really excited to design the invitations, and he’s talked me down from the ledge on more than one occasion (every once in awhile I have a good cry and ask why we can’t just elope?). As the wedding gets closer, I am reminded more and more why I love him, and how confident I am in us spending the rest of our lives together.
But. I was not prepared for everyone else around us to be so…untrusting of our decisions. It started early on: You’re getting married outside? You need a tent! (Our plan B is using the barn if it rains). You want white bridesmaid dresses? Maybe you should pick a different colour; white can make people look too pale. Vintage thrift store plates? That’s so much work, why don’t you just rent them? Here, let me call to get a price for you. What do you mean there’s no seating plan?! You’re not hiring a photographer? But how will you remember the day?!!! (Do I have short-term amnesia that I’m not aware of? I don’t need my wedding to look like a spread in a magazine and we know enough people with digital cameras – I’m sure ONE shot will turn out).
And right now we’re stuck on flowers. I want poppies (I think a bright pink/red combo against white sundresses and light blue sashes will work…) and Poppy is my grandmother’s name so I think it’s appropriate. But it’s like I’ve suggested using dead twigs or something. Poppies wilt too fast; they’ll make everyone think of Remembrance Day; it’ll look like the 4th of July! Why don’t you just use daisies? It’s more you! (Often my favourite: getting a lecture on who I am, in case I was unsure…) On and on.
I agree I’m impulsive. I’m not known for thinking things through. And I suppose we are doing things differently. There’s no giant spreadsheet of tasks, just some scribbles in a notebook, phone numbers and addresses on scraps of paper clipped to a page. The dress I bought was the first one I tried on (it’s from BCBG and I love it!) and I have seven bridesmaids while he only has five groomsmen. I’ve been getting this feeling that everyone thinks our wedding will be a disaster if they don’t step in and “help out.” Due to the organizational part of my brain that seems to be missing, all of my ideas are apparently ridiculous and beyond the realm of comprehension.
I’m realizing that an engagement is not necessarily a time to prepare for a wedding. For me, it seems to be a fine-tuning of who I am. I am learning to be comfortable with the strange looks I get when I say future husband will be wearing Birkenstocks for our ceremony. I am learning to defend my decisions to the people who love me most. I am learning to say “no” to them with kindness, because I’m also learning that they are offering their opinions from a place of love. I am learning that there will always be a “better” way to do things, but whatever that way is, it’s irrelevant.
I am not a planner. So I am not looking at my wedding as “planning an event.” I am looking at it like an opportunity for us to be creative, to have fun, to use our talents to express ourselves and create an amazing party for our friends and family. I am not “planning a perfect day” because I am aware that “perfection” does not exist. Not in a partner, not in a marriage and certainly not in a wedding. I am not going to spend hours negotiating with a caterer, but I might spend a few Saturdays looking for those vintage plates. I spent a total of one hour picking my wedding dress, but I spent a whole afternoon creating our Save the Dates (with an old typewriter, a picture of us from a costume party and a scanner). My poppies might wilt, and a bridesmaid in a white dress might hold a blue glass and a red strawberry at the same time which might make it look like the 4th of July. However, contrary to popular opinion, I have faith that everything will be fine. Waking up the next morning married to the man I love is all that really matters.
(And yes. Obviously Sarah will be coming back, like it or not, a wedding graduate. We’ll see you on the other side, lady!) This also means, if you have a particular wedding planning story that you really need to share, send it in.