My Fantasy Football Wedding


by Rachel W. Miller, Contributing Editor

For those of you who are newer to APW,  you might not know that lots of the early posts were straight up wedding inspiration (mixed with bouts of pure rage). Because y’all, I was PLANNING A WEDDING (I kind of miss that part of blogging, though I do *not* miss wedding planning). What I was going through was the process Rachel discusses in this morning’s post: differentiating all the lovely fantasies I’d had about my wedding from the reality of what could actually happen. Lucky for me (for us?) my process resulted in APW. Also lucky for me, Pinterest didn’t exist when I was wedding planning, leaving me with a tiny bit more sanity left. So here is Rachel, on moving from “wedding” to wedding. (Also, total side note, can I mention that I went to college with Kristen Bell? So I find offhand Kristen Bell references on APW super strange. Fin.)

My Fantasy Football Wedding | A Practical Wedding

All my life I’ve been told that I’ve been dreaming about my wedding all my life, so when I realized this week that I don’t really know what I want for Eric’s and my wedding, I was kind of taken aback.

What’s weird is that I really thought I knew what I wanted. I didn’t dress up like a bride or have princess fantasies as a little girl, but I’m on Pinterest, aren’t I? I should have been raring to go as soon as Eric and I got engaged.

But the thing is, I wasn’t planning our wedding on Pinterest. I was planning my “wedding.”

A “wedding” is what you plan when you have a vision of what a girl who looks vaguely like you and a person who looks vaguely like your partner (or, if you’re single, a still-vague but ridiculously attractive stand-in) would do with an unlimited budget, in between going to work at your dream jobs and hanging out with your family who never, ever pisses you off.

A wedding is what you plan when have a real partner, real future in-laws, a real job, a real budget, and you’ve told everyone you love, “Hey! We’re planning a wedding!”

When it came to my “wedding,” I realized pretty early on that I don’t have any money and my family is not rich, so I probably shouldn’t go dreaming about a lavish affair. As I became more comfortable with this fact about myself and let go of the fantasy that I’d be rich someday, I lost interest in having the fantasy wedding too. I didn’t like what it seemed to represent—pressure on couples, and particularly women, to fit into a certain mold—and I started to see the beauty in doing something that represented who I actually am. And once I realized that I’m probably going to be like Kristen Bell receiving her sloth on the day of my wedding, I realized, um, yeah… I’d prefer not to emote like that in front of people I barely know. Intimate and inexpensive is totally what I want for my wedding.

Don’t get me wrong, I could still kill an hour on a Lazy Sunday looking at wedding blogs or wedding boards on Pinterest, but this was mostly rooted in my love of a good theme party. When I tell people this, they raise an eyebrow. Or two. Trying to explain that you only read wedding blogs for the pretty things is like saying you only read Playboy for the articles. But the fact is, I liked looking at wedding blogs for the same reason I get excited about receiving the holiday catalogs from Pottery Barn, West Elm, Anthropologie, and Crate & Barrel: I just like seeing what talented creatives can do with a simple tradition. Whether it’s the wrapping paper, the stockings, the guest book, or the “something blue”…show me your best, creatives of the world! Am I ever going to walk down the aisle with a six-foot hand-beaded train? Probably not. And similarly, am I ever going to have a six-foot tall real Christmas tree covered in handmade silver and gold ornaments? Doubtful. I’ve always looked at these things like my version of Fantasy Football. They were just for fun; they didn’t really mean anything.

But now I feel like I’ve been told, “Hey, you play Fantasy Football, right? How about you come coach a team in the NFL this season?” And before I can even think what to say next, they’ve added, “Meet Eric, your assistant coach! You two had your own separate Fantasy Football teams, but now it’s time to create an entirely new team and then coach this new team together. Oh and also, your families will be on the coaching staff as well, so make sure you ask them what players they want on the team, what plays they think you should run, and what the uniforms should look like. But always make sure you do what you want to do! Because you know exactly what you want, right?”

And I’m like, “What?! No! You have the wrong girl! I’m a sham! I don’t know anything about football! I don’t even know if I like football! I don’t want to coach this team… I’m sorry I lied!!!”

And they say, “Get your whistle, lady! THIS IS IMPORTANT! So tell me, how do you feel about the quarterback? You need to choose a quarterback who really represents you and Eric as co-coaches. And are you going to have cheerleaders? It’s not a football game without cheerleaders and didn’t you love being a cheerleader when you were a kid? But cheerleaders are a sexist tradition, you have to admit that. But then again, it’s just a game, why do you even care?!”

So as we start the process of planning, Eric and I are beginning to realize that my intimate, inexpensive celebration was still a “wedding” and that he has his own “wedding” in mind too. And as much as we thought we knew what matters—and, perhaps more importantly, doesn’t matter—to each of us, the reality of how little we actually know is hitting us like an entire defensive line.

Photo by: Corinne Krogh (APW Sponsor)

Rachel W. Miller

For most of her life, Rachel has loved the sound of her own voice. She loves reading, doing yoga (she still refuses to call it “practicing”), hanging out with her dogs, and talking Eric’s ear off. She lives in Houston, TX. You can read more from her on her blog.

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  • Jashshea

    I wish there were emoticons on APW right now. I’d use the ones for heart, star, and flower. I love this so much.

  • KEA1

    Oh, pure brilliance for a Tuesday morning–such a perfect way to start the day! Hope that your planning is smooth, that your wedding will be a great day, and that your life together will be long, full and rewarding. %)

  • Kelly

    Nail. Head. The fantasy football analogy is pure perfection. Thanks for this bright spot to start my day!

  • Kara

    But now I feel like I’ve been told, “Hey, you play Fantasy Football, right? How about you come coach a team in the NFL this season?”

    Love it. No wonder I had panic attacks the first few weeks/months of wedding planning, a la, “what do you mean you want me to ‘pick colors.’ Don’t they come in a set, like my bedding?”

  • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

    How has nobody thought of the fantasy football analogy before? I may need to make the husband read this one so he understands why I still sometimes love looking at wedding stuff and still sometimes think about imaginary weddings.

  • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

    But then again, it’s just a game, why do you even care?!

    This! You HAVE to care DEEPLY about these things because it’s your WEDDING! But you shouldn’t really CARE about this stuff because it’s JUST a wedding! Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggghh!

    Our wedding is in just over two months and it does look a lot like my “wedding” except about twice as big and the bride won’t have Michelle Obama arms. I’m with you though on browsing Pinterest and catalogs just to see the pretty stuff. I’m not looking for ideas anymore, but I still like to see the cool stuff other people are coming up with. I’m not going to exchange my simple dress for one of the tulle/train/beading/sparkles dresses on Pinterest any more than I’m going to trade in my five foot Christmas tree for the 20 footer in the catalog, but they’re both pretty to look at.

  • SomeOther Hilary

    Rachel, I want to exactly this whole post so hard and thoroughly that little flowers sprout around your feet, and bloom into roses that have “Exactly!” written on each individual petal in super affordable Calligraphy I found on Etsy. There might also be sparrows carrying “Exactly!” banners and probably some Exactly bunting made from vintage mismatched prom dresses. CREATIVES OF THE WORLD, SHOW ME YOUR STUFF.

    Just kidding, ladies. I have not actually found super affordable calligraphy on etsy.

    • LMS

      HA!

      I love this post too.

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

      OP here — just wanted to say that this comment is amazing and has me laughing out loud!

      • SomeOther Hilary

        ;) <3

  • Laura

    Thank you for writing this essay. It sums up what I have been unable to put my finger on. Good luck xx

  • amc

    I found the early stages of wedding planning to be filled with angst. Although well-meaning, people were constantly asking what my plans were, and I had no response. My brain was full of ideas, but nothing that was well thought out or budgeted or booked. I felt very lost. But, once my husband and I decided on what was important to us, things started falling together, and it turned out to be a great wedding for us.

    Based on this line, “I wasn’t planning our wedding on Pinterest. I was planning my ‘wedding,’” I’d say that you are going to be just fine in the end. The fact that you recognize a difference in wedding v. “wedding” speaks volumes. Big hugs and best wishes with the planning. It can be tough, but the prize at the end is marriage and that rules!

  • LC

    Yes, this is wonderful! Thank you for writing! I hadn’t thought much about our “wedding” (I superstitiously thought I would jinx it if I thought about a wedding before we got engaged) and then the plunge into the wedding blogs/Pinterest/etc was a little overwhelming. And like Superfantastic said, all of a sudden every decision has to have deep personal significance for you and your fiance, and you have to start explaining what your “vision” for the event is…

    I think I’m going to tape this whole post up somewhere above my desk. Thank you and best of luck in planning!

  • Moe

    Ha! I thought “wow someone had a football themed wedding? Crazy! Only on APW…” But now I get it, what a brilliant analogy!

    Creating Pinterest boards for my friends when I was a bridesmaid was a hoot. Then my time was drawing near and it got even better. Jenny Packham beaded dress? Pin! YSL studded shoes? Pin! Plump happy peony bouquets? Pin!

    But now that the rubber meets the road so to speak and I’m hiring vendors and thinking logistics it’s as if the ugly underbelly of wedding planning is showing itself . Ugh.

    Thank you for sharing this, it puts things in perspective.

  • Copper

    “I liked looking at wedding blogs for the same reason I get excited about receiving the holiday catalogs from Pottery Barn, West Elm, Anthropologie, and Crate & Barrel: I just like seeing what talented creatives can do with a simple tradition.”

    Yes. This! I will drool over a CB2 catalog for half an hour, just because I love seeing so many beautiful things in one space. And that’s the same part of my that goes “ooh, that is adorable! I’d totally want to be the fox!” when I look at the picture accompanying this story. Will I actually want to have animal masks at my wedding? Probably not so much. I think people assign too much meaning to looking at wedding pictures; the assumption that looking at photos means you know what you want in that regard, that’s such a big leap.

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

      “I think people assign too much meaning to looking at wedding pictures” AMEN to THIS! Sometimes a bouquet is just a bouquet, you know?

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I have a shelf full of books of pretty pictures – books on Renaissance art, a book just of Caravaggio paintings, picture books of Monticello and Mount Vernon, Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, cathedral vaults, even beautifully illustrated children’s books. No one would say that was obsessive in a bad way. Beauty is good, desirable in itself.

      The same goes for supposedly lower brow beauty – fashion magazines and wedding blogs. I consider them of a piece with the art books.

  • KC

    This is glorious. Well done. :-)

  • Katie

    Hmmmmmm. . . This pretty much sums up how I’m feeling right now. . .

  • Amanda L.

    I am madly in love with your fantasy football analogy and SO glad you weren’t planning a football-themed wedding :)

    Also, for those that watched the Kristen Bell video, I am just like her in that if I am not between a 3 and a 7, I’m crying. It was so nice to know that I’m not the only one out there like that!

  • Mallory

    This is one of my favorite APW posts! Clever, funny, and oh so true!

  • http://theincompleteidiotsguide.blogspot.com/ Alyssa

    This was pretty much the best metaphor for wedding planning I have ever read. Also this: “All my life I’ve been told that I’ve been dreaming about my wedding all my life.” I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve thought about my dream wedding ever. When I was a little girl I was more interested in designing a house that had the ballroom from “Beauty and the Beast” than the wedding part. The only image I can summon when thinking about a wedding is cherry blossoms falling around me and my man.

    • http://www.vanillarani.com Suzanne

      Totally how I felt. Some people are shocked when I tell them I hadn’t really started thinking about what I wanted for my wedding until I got engaged. All I knew is I wanted to find the right person and to have a wonderful day with good people. I was too immersed in reading books growing up to care about silly weddings! Thank goodness for APW to help validate my practical, non crazed wedding planning self =)

  • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

    This post is amazing. This should definitely be posted on the “Just Engaged” because it just nails what it feels like when you first start planning your wedding. Well-done, Rachel.

  • KB

    “Trying to explain that you only read wedding blogs for the pretty things is like saying you only read Playboy for the articles.” I want to exactly this entire post a million times, and this specific sentence two million times. I love looking at all the shiny things in wedding magazines/blogs because it’s like a Pavlovian-response – so much happiness and prettiness. Doesn’t mean I know the first thing about grosgain ribbon and tissue paper flowers, though. ‘Cept they look damn purty.

  • http://www.vanillarani.com Suzanne

    I sure felt like I got hit by a defensive line when I first got engaged! Questions from everyone came pouring in. What are your colors? Where you getting married? What dress are you wearing? OMG, this girl was overwhelmed. I have never been one to dream over weddings, even as a little girl. For me it was something I would worry about when I got engaged and would plan with my partner. I have always been a bit too practical for my own good or too wishful thinking for my own good on the flip side. So I gave up on wedding blogs/sites because my wishful thinking side took over and I’d get depressed. Then my practical side would say “to hell with everything, just show up”. And then the vendors started asking questions and I was like “crap, I can’t just show up.” Our wedding date has changed a few times due to things out of our control and so I got a little lazy about planning things but sometimes waiting around pays off. Got my florist a little over a month before the wedding from a wedding coupon site (she’s fantastic to work with) and we decided to do French pastries instead of a traditional wedding cake (yum!). And I’m learning to adapt many things I see to be more practical or simplify them down for our small wedding. But I still feel like I get battered around by even a Rugby team (I’m in New Zealand) from time to time because I’m not the traditional bride when it comes to planning and people tend to get shocked. So don’t let anyone get to you that think you should be doing things by the book! I tell them it’s my day and it will be special for us.

    Guess I’ll find out how the wedding goes in 36 days! Yikes!

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      French pastries is a fun (and delicious-sounding) idea! I hope your wedding goes wonderfully…

  • Jane

    “A “wedding” is what you plan when you have a vision of what a girl who looks vaguely like you and a person who looks vaguely like your partner (or, if you’re single, a still-vague but ridiculously attractive stand-in) would do with an unlimited budget, in between going to work at your dream jobs and hanging out with your family who never, ever pisses you off.”

    Oooh, this is spot on and hilarious! I would love to hear what comes to mind when people think of “marriage” as well.

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

      I don’t know about everyone else, but for me “marriage” takes place in a townhouse that is beautifully decorated (built-in bookshelves obviously) in a city where it’s always cold enough for us to be wearing really amazing cable-knit sweaters. Oh, and we both wear glasses as we read in bed, planning our next fabulous vacation with our Christmas bonuses! And we have All the Sex. :)

  • Kelly

    Too funny! I’m in a fantasty football league for the first time ever, and my sweet fiance gets so frustrated with me when I just randomly choose a player from the bench each week to replace someone not playing. It’s about the same reaction I get from people asking about my wedding plans when I say I don’t know what I want or what I’m doing, LOL!

  • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

    This is amazing. And I’m not just saying that because I like fantasy football.

  • http://brusselsproutblog.blogspot.com Cassandra

    Right?!?! Thank you so much for articulating this. I hadn’t been able to put my finger on this exactly yet, but now I “get it”. My dad (military man) has this saying about being the “resident expert”, which is basically that if your squad gets a new weapon or doo-dad and nobody knows how to work it… then the guy that’s seen it once before is the resident expert and gets to teach everyone else how to use it.

    I feel like that.

    “But hey, wait, I don’t know how to plan this thing! I’ve never done this before! I’ve only been to THREE weddiiiiiiiiiings!”

    Well, yeah, but… you’re creative. And you’ve seen a couple. So what’s the prob?

    Gah. And lol.

    At least I know I’m not the only one :)

    • Copper

      worst response ever: “You’re creative, you’ll think of something.”

      Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  • Sarah

    It’s like looking through the pages of a fashion magazine knowing you’ll never be that girl, you don’t really think you want to, but gosh, doesn’t she just look awesome?
    Is it weird that I don’t ready any wedding blogs but this one? Just after I got engaged, I wandered up to the magazine rack, stopped in front of the bridal magazines, cocked my head and considered them for a few seconds. Then I though, nah.
    Perhaps this has helped me more than I know, because I tend to choose what I like and not be haunted by what I SHOULD have done. My fiance and I also have a non negotiable rule that we only work with people who we like personally. It hasn’t steered us wrong yet.

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

      I actually looked at wedding blogs besides APW more BEFORE I got engaged. Now I feel like shit’s gotten too real.

      • Kat

        YES! Now that I’m actually engaged, I only ever look at APW or eastsidebride…but that’s more for some hilarity in all of this. I was on a wedding magazine frenzy in the first two months, I think I’ve read all the mags on the stands now…yikes… but that’s even feeling like “yeah I don’t need any more of those.”

        We’ve got our planning under control, all vendors booked, details all figured out, we just have to wait for the calendar to roll around a bit more… so I guess I’m just at the stage where I’m feeling satisfied with everything.

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  • Heather

    I will also totally be Kristen Bell receiving her sloth on my wedding day. I know it.

  • Louise

    This is just so, so good. Thank you for this analogy!!!

  • Brooke

    I am so very, very glad that I’m not the only one feeling like what I don’t know about wedding planning is hitting me like a defensive line!

  • http://amountaintophigh.blogspot.ca cb

    This post is absolutely hilarious. LOVE. Can we talk about the part where your family must weigh in on the uniforms? And the part about the cheerleaders. Oh my god.

  • Dana

    I am going to nicely ask (force) my fiance to read this tonight because it is written in language he can understand! great post!