Wedding Zen came early for me. There were two months of activity in which we chose a country, pinned down a date, grappled with how much it was really going to cost, and booked a venue, photographer, and caterer. I bought a dress and we sent out Save-the-Dates. That was nearly six months ago and I have been in a blissful state of calm ever since. That’s pretty much it, right? Venue, photographer, caterer, dress: the big four of the Wedding Planning Safari. We made a list of additional details and left it buried in the computer.
“How’s the wedding planning going?” my parents asked over Skype.
“It’s fine,” I said.
“Nothing you need us to do?”
“Nope. Everything’s pretty much under control.”
My sisters asked me about bridesmaids’ dresses. I told them that whatever color and style they like is fine. Yellow, maybe? Lavender? My lack of direction must have been frustrating, but there was no rush. We had plenty of time! People continued to ask me how planning was going, and I continued to say that it was “fine.” Their questions bewildered me because the wedding wasn’t part of my day-to-day life. It was like asking how my best friend from fifth grade was doing. How would I know? Fine, probably.
Then the wedding was less than four months away and things got real. That wasn’t Wedding Zen I’d been feeling; it was Wedding Denial. The Braxton-Hicks of wedding planning. I thought our wedding date was a moving target, that it would always be about a year away. In reality, it’s been stalking us, creeping closer and closer like a stealthy ninja. It’s close enough now that I can see it and believe that it’s real, that one day soon I’m actually going to wear that white dress outside of the house, where people can see me.
Jared and I sat down and verbally ran through our to-do list to reassure ourselves that there wasn’t that much to do.
“We need to book a celebrant,” he said.
“Yep, and get rings,” I said. “Oh, and also the stuff.”
“You know, the chairs and tables. The tent. The stuff.”
“Right. The stuff. Does that include speakers for the iPod?”
“It does. Shit! Music. We have to make playlists. But first we should probably do invitations. And decide what time to have the wedding.”
Things felt decidedly less fine after that conversation. It appears that the Wedding Planning Safari has a more detailed itinerary than either of us had initially absorbed. If only I had opinions, I thought. This would be so much easier. One of the reasons I’d let our wedding grow moss in a corner is because I was hoping that my opinions would come to me, perhaps in a dream or a Pinterest-infused bolt of lightning. Yes, I would cry, bolting upright in the middle of the night with an air-punch. The bridesmaids should wear teal!
That still hasn’t happened. We went to get Jared’s suit and I was rendered speechless by the selection of ties on display, the ties that in theory were to match the as-yet-determined bridesmaids’ dresses. The salesman held up two suit jackets, one dark and one less dark, and both he and Jared looked at me expectantly. I was the bride, and therefore the one with the Opinions. I stared at the lifeless jackets and waited for clarity as the seconds ticked by. What seemed like a simple errand suddenly felt like Sophie’s Choice.
“What color is that one again?” I pointed at the darker one.
“And that one?”
Useless. I’d been hoping for a creatively named color that would tip me in one direction. It’s the way I choose racehorses, by identifying the name I connect with the most and hoping for the best. It is not a lucrative strategy.
The salesman sent us outside with the jackets so we could compare them in natural light. Standing on the sidewalk, looking at Jared dressed in a suit jacket and board shorts, I realized how ridiculous this was becoming. This was exactly why I’d stopped planning: the more time I have, the more worked up I get. It’s like when I get ready too early for a night out; I don’t relax, I use the extra time to mess with my makeup and change my outfit.
Last-minute deadlines are my thing. I pretend that they’re not, obviously. In job interviews I tell prospective employers that I get things done in advance, to allow for plenty of wiggle room. The facts don’t lie, though, and I usually find myself the day before a deadline, charging through, making quick decisions and relying on instinct. Clarity comes over me when the luxury of time is removed from the equation, and I don’t stress; I act.
“You know,” I said to Jared, “I’m hardly going to look at you on the day of the wedding and say you should have gone with the grey. Whichever one we pick will be fine.”
What I’m feeling now is not Wedding Zen, but it’s not Wedding Denial either. It’s more like… Wedding Determination. We are doggedly working through our list; after ordering the suit we sat down and picked out invitations, and the fact that we needed to get them done became more important than getting them perfect. Some of our choices will be perfect; some will be wrong; some will be just fine. And that, in the end, is how we need it to be.