Julie and I will end up with a seventeen-month engagement. We started off strong, embracing the idea of front-loading the stress. We got our venue, we got our food truck, we found our photographer. We chose our officiant and our DJ and congratulated ourselves on building in this luxurious stretch of time to plan this event, stress free. Cue the smugness.
Coworkers and friends would ask about the wedding planning and I’d be cavalier. “You know, we’ve got most of the big pieces in place. We’ll get to the rest. We’ve got lots of time.” We started to believe it too. Julie changed jobs, and I took on more part-time work. We spent weekends out to dinner, sitting on our porch, and hiking. I would do a lot of big talking about all the things I need to spray paint gold but, really, happy hour was always the better option.
Then I woke up one morning and we were three months out. And where had all my damn time gone? We’d planned on getting those invitations out next week, but I hadn’t even finished cutting out all the pieces so we could put them together. I’d bought no liquor. I’d called no places to find donuts. My mom and my sister threw us the most gorgeous shower recently, and I’m glad people got to see all that pretty goodness once, because we had no decorations made for the wedding. I was a broken out mess with my to-do list running in the margins of my calendar, and a notepad next to my bed so that when one of us woke up from a wedding related nightmare, I could write down whatever we’d forgotten until our collective subconscious brought it to our attention.
Finally, I worried enough that my social worker training kicked in. When you feel like you’ve lost all control, it’s time to look for some resources, and in our case, we’d already picked and put deposits on some wonderful ones, back before we took an extended break from the wedding. We’d hired our lovely day-of coordination team. I am the person in my friend group who stage-manages the weddings, so paying someone to do it for me was one of the first things I wanted in our budget. Our photographer referred us to Lauren, her fellow roller derbyist, and an East Coaster like Julie. We clicked with Lauren immediately, just like we had with our photographer. We spent all of our initial meeting talking about our favorite restaurants in Denver, and comparing the most delicious Colorado beers. Julie and I could instantly see the wisdom in hiring people we would enjoy hanging out with to spend our wedding day with.
Except, the wedding was going to be a super fun party that I was hoping they’d enjoy attending, and now I was going to ask our new “friendors” to hang out with us and… talk about folding chairs, and timelines, and who was going to pack stuff into cars. These people liked us because we were fun and had so many other interests besides our wedding. We were supposed to be the couple that was so on top of things and had used our time so wisely that we could execute a year and half of stress-free wedding planning. I was so sad to think about how we were going to disappoint them by being stressed about wedding details, and then I beat myself up, both for feeling anxious about something as silly as wedding details, and for “wasting” all of our time and allowing it to get to this point.
We met for planning happy hour at our favorite neighborhood burger place. Lauren, her co-coordinator Molly, and photographer Kristy were already there. “We got here early to defend your seats,” Lauren crowed triumphantly. “Now people will believe we have friends!” I was even more nervous to broach our to-do list once I’d had the opportunity to remember that we really did like these people. Before I could say anything, Lauren had whipped out a to-do list she and Molly had made (gender neutral, and complete with plenty of reminders to enjoy ourselves and each other). “Do you want to check stuff off?” she asked, smiling. “You’ll feel better.”
So we did. We talked about first looks over fried Oreos. We ate fries and made a plan for the ladies to load up the wedding stuff at our house. Finally, Julie and I were able to relax just a bit, because we really have hired great people, who also seem to be pretty great at their jobs too. Part of them being so great at their jobs is that, of course they weren’t fazed at all that we’re maybe just a bit focused and a titch overwhelmed at this stage of the proceedings. We weren’t expected to be anything else.
We’re still having some wedding nightmares, but we can laugh about them now. We’re stressed about the logistics of the wedding, because it’s a big day, filled with people we care about, and we want everyone to enjoy it. Best of all, we’ve hired people that will make it very possible for us to be in the moment on that day, which is worth way more than we’re paying. And the same could be said for the bourbon, which, really, I should probably go buy already.