To kick off “Decided” month (keep an eye out for Meg’s monthly letter-from-the-editor this afternoon), we thought we’d start with a post that gets right to the heart of why we’re talking about this to begin with. Because any time you make a decision, be it about weddings, children, jobs, or life in general, there will inevitably be someone there, ready to question your choice. As a result, we spend a good amount of time during milestone events defending our decisions rather than celebrating the accomplishment of having decided. And frequently, as I’ve found it, having to defend our choices can be so much harder than making them to begin with. So now I’ll hand this over to Rebecca Edwards, who seems to have figured out the secret to wedding planning and keeping all of that subsequent second-guessing at bay.
I think weddings are amazing. They are a public recognition of one’s love for another and the community that surrounds them. They are a gathering of people, places, and things that mean something to two people. They are an amazing excuse to gather all your family, friends, and loved ones in one spot, even if just for one night. That opportunity will only arise a few times in your lifetime. They are also a great excuse to get dressed up, to celebrate, and, well, to dance your butt off with your great aunt you haven’t seen in six years.
You know what else weddings are? Weddings are an overwhelming conglomerate of decisions. Decisions about the overall feel of your wedding, the theme, the colors, location, food, alcohol, timing, music, who to invite, and probably everyone’s favorite decision: how to afford it all. These are decisions that require you taking your partner’s opinion and your family’s opinions into consideration…or not. Some of these decisions are big—like your budget, whether to incorporate religion, or where you draw the line on who is “close enough” of a friend to invite and who doesn’t make the cut. There are also decisions that are small, like table numbers or napkins, things that you might never have thought about before but now you have to make a choice. I barely know what I want for lunch today, and you want me to make seating arrangements for 150 people?!
With decisions come many different types of decision-makers. There are people that go with their gut feelings. There are people that mull over every option for extended periods of time. There are people that request many different people’s opinions, outsourcing the decision making. There are people that simply believe they cannot make a decision. Personally, I am a quick decision maker. This can sometimes be perceived as me being spontaneous or uneducated, but, trust me, this by no means indicates I have not thought things through or not weighed my options. I do my research, I compare and I compare again, but then I make a decision, usually quickly. I do not like to have unmade decisions hanging out there in my mind. I like to resolve things. Ultimately, there really isn’t a “wrong” way to decide. We are all different. My problem though, is how to deal with “decided.”
I believe there are two ways to do this. One way is to second-guess yourself. It was in Meg’s book that I first read Voltaire’s, “The best is the enemy of good.” Did you get the best deal? Could you have done something better? Will everyone like it? What if there is something better out there than what you decided on? The second way is to embrace your decision, trust yourself, and move on. I without a doubt believe the latter is the way to go, but ohhhh man, is that easier said than done, especially with all those people.
Yes, those people. You know the ones, the ones that seem excited for me, ask me a question about our wedding then respond weirdly. We’ve spent hours (sometimes days and weeks) making these decisions, and I thought relief would come once it was decided. Oh no. “What colors are you going with?” asks a colleague at work. I respond, “Gray and yellow,” only to receive a confused look and an, “Oh, that is… interesting…” Quickly, the colors I was so confident about from day one seem not as romantic or fun as I thought they would be.
I excitedly told a friend how I had spent hours cutting and gluing Save the Dates with my bridesmaids, only to be asked “Wait, is there a magnet on it? There has to be a magnet on it. That is the only way I will remember to Save Your Date, if it’s on my fridge. That is what everyone does.” Crap, since there is no magnet, will my Save The Date that we spent hours on accidentally end up lost or in the trash?
When telling people that we are getting married at what I believe to be a gorgeous barn surrounded by lush trees about three hours northwest of where we live, I have been asked repeatedly, “Why there?” Do we have family that live there? Is my fiancé originally from there? Is this a destination wedding if it is three hours away? People are confused as to why we picked a location that we simply thought was beautiful for our wedding day. So you know, those people.
Sure, most of them are innocent, asking questions, wanting to know more, but it is those people that make it so darn hard to be confident. Their words and reactions may not seem like a big deal to them, but sometimes it is the straw that breaks this bride-to-be’s back. Trust me, I have thought all of this through and even if I haven’t, what’s it to you? In a sea of already-made decisions, it is too easy to let those people take away from the excitement. As is with the rest of life, it is so hard to forget the negative opinions or put-downs, so easy to forget the compliments. But I cannot expect people to act differently because it is a wedding, I can only change how I react. From here on out, I am going to try my best to embrace our decisions, trust myself and move on. I hope you have the courage to do the same.
Photo by APW Sponsor Lauren McGlynn Photography