Today’s wedding is, in a sense, about getting married young (and it gives me such a funny feeling about being thirty-two and remembering twenty-one, which seems like seconds ago). But really, Laura’s story is about being present in the moment, accepting ourselves for exactly who we are, turning off that voice that tells us that our wedding has to be like the other weddings and that we’ll never be good enough. Laura’s letter to herself back at the beginning of planning is the best advice we could ever hope for. Listen:
Dear Laura (the twenty-one-year-old college graduate, who has no idea how to plan a wedding):
First step: breathe. Second step: smile. Third step: Let your inner-child shine!
Tim, your boyfriend of four years, has just proposed and you are already set on the theme of your wedding. You want it to be homegrown, because that is what the two of you are, homegrown. Family is the most important thing, so you both choose your aunt’s house as the location. You were blessed to be able to fit into your mother’s fabulous 70s wedding dress. Food comes next, so you plan menus with your mom and dream up wonderful ideas involving farmers markets and family reunions. Then you go back to college for your last semester.
You’re sitting in your dorm room, looking at some Etsy page for customized wedding hangers (something you don’t want and you really don’t need), worrying about whether your wedding will be the “right kind” of wedding instead of finishing your sixty-page senior research paper. Don’t you remember, Laura? This is a paper you’ve wanted to write since you started college, and it’s here. So stop looking up how to make felt balls or what song is best for your bridal entrance and instead write that awesome paper, screw around with your friends, sleep in hammocks outside, and stay out all night having a blast and doing cartwheels on the lawns of your college with your fiancé. That is what matters most, that you always find true Joy in life.
But okay, I know, it took a while to learn that lesson. You graduate and come home with your fiancé to live with your parents while you plan your wedding. Now you are sleeping in your bed from eighth grade while your soon-to-be groom is sleeping on the futon couch in the office. In your eyes, you went from badass college graduate to “tween” bride-to-be in one week. You tried to plan the perfect wedding, but everywhere you looked, all the photos, blogs, websites, albums were about “women” getting married. Not twenty-one-year-old post-college chicks, but thirty-two-year-olds, with savvy jobs, awesome vacation spots, who are always photographed looking sexy and pulled-together while holding some cocktail that’s pink or orange and has a flirty name like “Between the Sheets.”
The problem was that you were stuck in a cycle you knew too well, where you kept comparing yourself to others and feeling nothing but guilt. You looked at other weddings and wondered if you measured up, if you were confident and capable of being a perfect “grown-up” bride. You saw the photographers, the chefs, the table settings, the whimsical decorations that look hand-done yet professional at the same time. You told yourself you had the skills to do everything DIY even though your last craft project resulted in a C- and a disappointed sigh from your teacher. You decide to go to an event rental place called “Chic” and felt small and awkward while standing in their showroom instead of feeling, well, chic. You didn’t know what was wrong and why you felt so unaccomplished, when you should have felt amazing.
Well guess what. I can tell you exactly what was wrong. You were feeling guilty about your age, your youthfulness, your child-like pizzazz. You looked to your peers who were also getting married that summer for support, and instead of seeing weddings like the one you wanted, you saw thirty-two-year-old-inspired weddings with three photographers, a castle location, and pashiminas for every guest. You panicked and felt unsuccessful in all your ideas and plans. You didn’t know what to do. Continue reading Wedding Graduates: Laura & Tim’s Homegrown Backyard Wedding