Because, Ego

by Anonymous

“Maybe I’ll get curious and see if I can go beyond my resistance and experience the goodness.” –Pema Chodron

I have a confession to make. I have been comparing myself to you, APWers. I have been striving to find your clarity and your sense of community but I have judged your weddings while trying to superficially be part of them. I have felt very alone in this.

I am not sure why now is the right time to tell you all this. Well, that’s not true. I know exactly why now is the right time. I am about to lose my job, or think I am. One of the safest, most secure and consistent things in life is going to be washed away in a wave of dull office cubes and a very substantial paycheck. And so that’s the rub: I make a lot of money and am about to be laid off. And, just because, my company has pulled back the tuition money I had planned to spend on a designer gown. It feels like some kind of real, deep loss. But why do I feel like I am going to lose so much and yet today, right now, also feel as though I just gained everything?

I have been trying to explain this to myself. Trying to understand what this really means to my future, my partner and our wedding (which we are paying for ourselves). The glossy coating of All The Pretty Things has been scrubbed away with a Brillo pad of uncertainty. Excitement over big contracts and having “a wedding planner” and the Big, Big Beautiful Things now seem far-off and meaningless.

What I think I am getting to here, you guys, is that I have a massive, undeniable, raging ego.

The other day we went by our favorite little coffee shop in our pretty little affluent side of town. I threw on my expensive coat, because obviously Sunday morning coffee is for impressing everyone else. As we sat to read over the paper and discuss how we can try to pay for yoga through work exchange to offset the painful monthly cost, I glanced over at a pretty blonde standing in line.

Her ring nearly knocked me off my seat. It glinted and burned my retina. Her left arm looked like it was going to fall off. I chuckled to myself as I commented that she could be a neanderthal with that thing. I paused and looked at my own ring. Small, unique. By design it had a rare and expensive stone wrapped into the center just so that no one else would know that my ring cost as much as your ring. This elegant design that captured as much about us as we could cram into one little artifact. Of course I had wanted a smaller ring. Hadn’t I?

When I looked back up, it all came crashing down.

I had been comparing myself. To everybody. Somehow in the middle of it all, I had lost sight of everything. I was walking around all day lying to everyone, claiming that I did not care about the Pretty Things and that this was about us and our marriage. I was allowed to say I did not care, because I could afford these things and chose not to have them. I could afford a more subtle ring and I could afford the radical designer gown and the destination wedding and the big, expensive vacation house. So I got to look down my nose at everyone that wanted The Pretty Things and strove to get them. And, this really is painful to admit, I could look down my nose at everyone that *gulp* could not have them.

And now all of those comparisons are gone. All that is left is reality. All that is left is the love and support that my partner and friends will provide as I shift my income, lifestyle, and expectations downward. All that is left is caring not about a gown, but a dress that makes me feel beautiful and breezy (because we’re still getting married on the beach dammit!) and married.

And what can I afford? Well, I could afford to get married to the most patient and loving and supportive man I have ever known. I could afford to really not ever give a shit about another diamond or another dress or who made it or what it will look like to anyone else. I can afford to spend the next twelve months until the wedding creating a vision of a wife and a leader and a guardian for my baby family.

And I can afford to apologize for letting my ego stand squarely in the way of everything that life can be.

Photo: Gabriel Harber

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  • Rebekah

    This is really beautiful and brave. It makes me want to reevaluate my own attitudes towards others.

    Thank you.

  • Amanda L.

    My ego hit me squarely between the eyes lately, too. I thought for awhile that I didn’t love wearing my e-ring because it doesn’t always match (it has quite a bit of blue enamel in it). But recently I realized that that isn’t the whole problem. It isn’t traditionally e-ring’ish. It has a small diamond in it, which for years I’ve said ‘It’s from my grandma’s engagement ring, so I don’t care about the size.’

    You know what? I DO care about the size. Somewhere along the line, the WIC convinced me that I’m being judged. That we should have gotten the biggest diamond he could have afforded. That our love is worth less because it doesn’t shine as bright.

    Am I proud that I’m this brainwashed? No. But I have learned that I can’t pretend like those feelings don’t exist. Sometime soon, I’ll put a new diamond in my grandmother’s setting (DUH, that’s what we should have done to begin with). It will be bigger (slightly) than the one I have now. My blue ring will always be my e-ring, but I’m succumbing to the Diamond Olympics.

    So I join you, OP, on Team Ego.

  • Hell yes. I love those moments when life just drops the science on you, and you get clarity that you’d been lacking. It’s painful sometimes, but you’re always better for it. Way to recognize who you’re being, and who you want to be, and reconcile those two. I wish you the best of luck, and as someone who’s be laid off not once, not twice, but THREE times, I promise it will get better.

    • Kate

      “life just drops the science on you.”

      This is the perfect phrase for it.

  • I know the comparison trap very well, myself. For me, it manifests more in the indie-coolness factor rather than strict economics– most of the time. And it often comes in the form of “Yes, but. . .” For example:

    “I want a cool job like hers, where I can build my workday the way I want”
    Sarah, you already have a job that allows you the flexibility
    “Yes, but.. . it’s not that cool, I’m bored with it, I haven’t been working that hard, so I need to show up at the office to make it seem that way. . .”

    “I want time to work out whenever like she does- so I can take yoga class and do other fun workouts at the gym”
    Sarah, you already have a gym membership, and you have plenty of time to workout before or after work quite easily.
    “Yes, but. . .I want to wake up early more easily, I don’t want to wake up that early, I want to be excited to wake up, I want to spend time with my partner. . .”

    “I want to write smart things and have people actually read them, like she does”
    Sarah, you can write whenever you want- all it takes is actually writing, then actually sending it to people.
    “Yes, but. . .I’m not as talented, don’t have the platform, no one cares, it’s all been done before, I’ll never be as good as I want to be . ..”

    The “Yes, but” kills my life, and it’s harder to get rid of than Round-up resistant weeds.

    • Sara

      This, plus the original post, just gave me a total wake up call. I have these exact conversations all the time and I feel like I’m spinning in circles because of it. For some reason I imagine that I can be the girl that goes to yoga at 6am (I will never prioritize exercise over sleep, I don’t know why I kid myself). My job is fine, my writing is fine…if I’m not happy, I need to act and not complain.

      I have a lifestyle that I’ve created that I keep comparing to the Others instead of whether my lifestyle fits the person I want to be. The Others are not me. Their grass may be greener but I hate yardwork so that was inevitable anyway.

      • “I hate yardwork anyway” sounds like a perfect new mantra :-)

      • meg

        And the truth is, we always paint a really delightfully rosy picture of how we imagine someone’s life is if we want it. Which is ok if it’s motivating, but bad if it gives us the excuse we need to not act.

        (Says the girl who in theory COULD go to the gym mid-day, but in stead is bleary from overwork and about to pick up a very tired baby. Aiii. The gym.)

        • It’s that whole “comparing other people’s highlight reel to our own behind-the-scenes footage”

    • Audrey

      For me personally, I find that the initial “I wants” are often motivated by the perception that other people are just so much happier than I am that I must need to do these awesome things other people are doing. Somehow the fact that I’m just me and I like what I like doesn’t factor into it.

      This is especially hard for me because I tend to dabble in hobbies and then move to other things after awhile and it’s hard not to judge myself as inferior because I haven’t spent 10 years perfecting my artesian guitar needlepoint (or whatever).

      It’s a work in progress, but trying to keep all this in mind ihelps me cut off the “I want…” statements that are motivated by competition/comparison instead of by things I would like to do.

  • My ego is hitting me, too. She is smacking me around real good in regards to my bachelorette party, and comparing it to the man’s.

    His boys are renting a cabin for a weekend, with groomsmen only for the Friday night, a chill night around a bonfire. Then the Saturday night getting silly in a couple bars, going paintballing or laser tagging, and back to the cabin for a keg and beer olympics. Exactly what he wanted.

    My girls (one of them, at least) are pushing back so hard on not wanting to plan the logistics of shuttling a handful of girls twenty minutes away for burlesque lessons, then going out to a cowboy bar, because I want to two-step, dammit! The one bridesmaid is pushing so hard for it to be the Thursday night before the wedding, because she is going to a music festival the weekend before, and I have no idea how many friends will be able to make it out for the bachelorette because it’s in the middle of the week, and they have to travel 1.5 hours to get to my city, then go home because they can’t afford a hotel after a night out.

    They (one) are pushing back intensely on not wanting to do a sleepover the night before the wedding, complete with pjs, doing our nails, cocktails and chick flicks. This is not optional. I will need my ladies with me the night before, and first thing in the a.m., to keep me calm and grounded.

    I keep comparing to the bachelorette parties I have planned, for two of my bridesmaids. I put so much care into organizing exactly what I thought she would want, to the scale of humiliation, posh, and frivolity they would enjoy. Those bachelorettes would be exactly as I want, but it’s not going to happen, because “it’s too much work.” For both of them I planned it from another province, entirely by email.

    Ego is telling me that my bridesmaids aren’t as good or as in tune with what I want as the man’s posse, or as what I was with them. And I am listening.

    • Jeannine Fleeman

      I am about to celebrate my 19th year of marriage to a man I have been with for 23 years. My bachelorette party was a cheezy guy stripper in my friends small apartment living room. On the day of our wedding, a wedding in which I made all the bouquets and boutonnieres from local craft store silks, my bridesmaids and I enjoyed a small Chinese food lunch. The restaurant was tiny,dark and smelled like stale cigarettes.The bartender who served us our umbrella embellished cocktails, had the oddest shade of orange hair coiled into a beehive shaped dome on her head. I could tell as she took our order ,popping her gum, she wanted to be anywhere else but there. It was then that I realized I was truly lucky to be sharing this special moment with the girls that always stood by me through anything I threw at them. It was not about the place or the activity.It was about sharing that fleeting moment in time. The day I was going to go from a Miss to a Mrs. They had been with me through all the hysterical laughing bouts that almost always ended up with somebody shooting beer through their nose, to the nights where they had to graciously hold my hair back to help me rid myself of the extra shot of vodka that I really should not have taken. It is about friendship. What it is not about is who can have the most outrageous activity to post on Facebook. Let go of wanting to plan the “perfect” party, and just enjoy the company of the girls who are willing to stand up in front of a group of your family and friends, to say they have your back, and always will. I guarantee you, if your marriage goes in the pooper, these will be the chicks to hold you during your dramatic crying jags and then pick your behind back up off the floor and dust you off to go through it all over again if need be.

      • What a beautiful story – you are awesome for recognizing how precious your friends are! I can feel Amie’s pain, though, in that if I were in a similar situation I might wonder if, in fact, my bridal brigade would be the ones to have my back no matter what. Like … they don’t even have my back as far as partying on a Saturday instead of a Thursday. Those kinds of thoughts may not be fair or accurate (unlike Amie, when on the other side of this coin I wasn’t a total bachelorette-extravaganza-planner superhero or even very gracious about having the responsibility, and in spite of that fact I HAVE been the hair-holder, tear-wiper, rant-listener, baby-minder, apartment-mover, and secret-keeper many times since then) but they are damned hard to shake.

    • Just another anon

      I know the point of your comment was comparing, and I don’t mean to be unkind, but my first reaction to the burlesque/cowboy two-stepping/non-optional sleepover was, “wow.” If the standard test for loving a friend is doing those things, I am a horrible failure.

    • Loneliness and feeling like no-one is there for you is hard, from another person who feels that her partner has a great support system while drift along without a community. I say don’t beat yourself up for feeling sad, it would make me sad too. Dwelling on it is probably not healthy for either of us, but I think there’s more than ego at play here, and possibly a frank discussion with your bridesmaid about feeling unconsidered? (I have yet to practice what I preach in this department, so don’t feel the slightest bit bad if that feels daunting/undo-able).

    • I gave up on expecting my friends to plan me a party at all, of any kind. Tried to convince myself I didn’t want it, and then someone asked me about what K, my future husband, was doing for his, and I found out I did care and was actually pretty hurt that no one cared enough to run logistics.

      I’m the friend who runs logistics, though, and I’m good at it, which is why I do it. Eventually I decided I wanted the party more than I wanted someone else to plan it to prove whatever point was in my head, so I basically called the Captain of my Bride Squad and dropped increasingly more obvious hints because I’m not always good at asking for what I want when I think it’s something I shouldn’t want/don’t deserve.

      So I’m planning the thing, the Captain of my Bride Squad is nominally hosting it for reasons of etiquette, and now I don’t need to pine over the Booze Piñata That Never Was.

    • Hannah B

      Amie, it sounds like you’re disappointed because expectations are clashing with reality. If you want to dance, go with whomever can show up! No reason not to go two-step, also no reason it HAS to be a bachelorette party only thing. If you want to have a sleepover the night before, invite them all and whomever can show up will be there, and that is who you will need. The rest can join for an early breakfast! It’s tough when people can’t do everything you would find ideal, but what you really want is your best friends around you to love on you and support you on your big day. And they all will, in their own way. And, hopefully, it will manifest in ways far better than you imagine.

  • NTB

    …oh, this rings a bell. And it didn’t stop with the wedding. It goes on and on.

    I became really materialistic in graduate school. I didn’t actually have to pay tuition, because I had received a full-tuition fellowship, so instead of paying for school, I would just buy lots of Marc by Marc and Tory Burch. A year later, planning my wedding only made my mentality worse. I’m not paying off loans, I thought, so I will just buy stuff that I want. Seems reasonable, right?

    Then, I find out that my husband’s ex makes four times what I make, and it sends me spinning. Why would he marry me if he could have married someone who works for a major financial institution, someone who can afford many expensive vacations in a year and who will be financially ‘set’ by the time she’s 40?

    This piece makes me want to re-evaluate how I view others and view myself in regards to money and possessions. Thank you.

  • Oh man this hits close to home.

  • I was just getting ready to sit down to type a APW post about how, during this wedding season, I’ve been comparing all the very beautiful weddings and couples to my own wedding and partnership and then this post happened. APW, you know me so well. Thanks for this.

  • Rachel

    This? “I was allowed to say I did not care, because I could afford these things and chose not to have them.” Kind of took my breath away. It perfectly encompasses what bothers me so much about this faux-empowered “do whatever you want for your wedding (as long as I approve of it)” attitude that I see a LOT of, particularly on progressive websites (not APW).

    What I feel like this post is getting at is that whether we want to admit to it or not (and most of us don’t), weddings are, in many ways, about our own aspirations. (I know there was a fantastic post on this topic on APW last year.) They are about who we are, but also who we think we are. And that’s sort of tough to own up to because there will always be people who are like, “Well that’s dumb, just do what you want to do, who cares what other people think?”…but I’m starting to feel like that attitude puts even MORE pressure on brides and then we find ourselves firmly in “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” territory. Because when it comes to weddings, I so often feel like not caring IS caring. The people telling us we shouldn’t care are, in a sort of passive-aggressive way, telling us we’re WRONG to care, or stupid for caring. And so I get why this author had the attitude she did. Because if you have a fairly large or diverse social circle (or if you just use the Internet) you’re likely going to be told that your wedding is the most important day of your life…and that you’re an anti-feminist bimbo for thinking your wedding is an important day in your life. It can be really hard to remain authentic and own your feelings when there’s so much pressure coming at you from both sides.

    • meg

      That was the line that punched me in the gut too. That’s really the line that made me publish this post.

    • ItsyBitsy

      “The people telling us we shouldn’t care are, in a sort of passive-aggressive way, telling us we’re WRONG to care, or stupid for caring.”

      YES. I didn’t realize how much I (sadly) bought into this until I got engaged. Despite being absolutely over the moon, I felt myself reeling in that excitement when I talked to people and sort of watering it down. Not even on purpose at first! But I found myself giving off sort of a blasé attitude because… didn’t it make me sound silly or stereotypical-wedding-obsessed-girl to be excited? It looks especially foolish to see it in writing, but that’s really how I felt (still sometimes feel?). Thank god I have a dear friend who I felt safe enough to voice these feelings to. “Um, no. You have every right be to excited. Are you excited? THEN BE EXCITED.”

      Anyway. Spot on, Rachel and OP. The two of you rock.

  • Jen

    Ego doesn’t just hit the bride or groom.
    It hits our family and friends, hard.

    It’s the:

    “If I’m not the BEST man, I’d rather not attend”

    It’s the:

    “If you don’t have a sit down dinner people will think we are poor”

    It’s the

    “If you don’t wear white people will think you’re weird and *cough cough* loose”

    It’s the:

    “I can’t believe she is making me wear this, it’s hideous”

    It’s the:

    “Why didn’t they ask me”

    It’s the:

    “I didn’t get invited!?”

    It’s the:

    “You CAN NOT invite that person”

    Egos are the major source of wedding planning “issues”.

    Weddings: a place where egos roam wild.

    • Kate

      Yes. The people in your life that are lovely will shine lovelier while you are planning your wedding. And those you suspected to be otherwise, whether that be entitled or selfish or jealous, will prove to be just that.

      The same is true of ourselves, though. Tricky.

    • Hintzy

      yes, yes, yes and more yes… I want to print that out and put it on a wall.

      (had an ego clash last night… so my reaction might be a bit magnified, but hot damn yes)

    • Molly

      I would add the “I don’t need to RSVP” to the list.

  • Jennie

    If you haven’t already read this wonderful post on APW about the paradigm of plenty, I highly recommend it!

    It was just the perfect way to shift my focus, and I find myself thinking about it every day when those thoughts of judgement or competition creep in. And you know what? It has really made me happier to see the world in this way; it has allowed me to really embrace the good in other people’s lives without letting it become a social commentary about mine. It’s work, but in the best of ways.

  • Jen

    This made me cry in the best possible way. Thank you for the gut-check on the material merry-go-round I’ve been on lately…..I really needed that.

  • Oh, I get stuck in the comparison trap often! You’re not alone. I feel like everyone’s wedding is better, everyone’s business is better, etc, etc. It happens to the best of us. Teddy Roosevelt’s “comparison is the thief of joy” quote always helps ground me. It truly sounds like you’ve got so much with a loving partner & your future together!

  • Anonymous

    I find myself comparing as well, but the other way – I judge other people’s big rings, and think “ew, that’s so big. How ugly!” and smile at my small vintage ring on the train. I genuinely love my ring and I genuinely don’t like big diamonds, but still, it’s not a great side of my personality.

    I judge other people’s engagement parties and showers and bachelorette parties – I haven’t had any of them, because I don’t want them and I’ve downplayed it to my girlfriends. But now my maid of honor might not even be able to come because of personal issues and I’m upset (haven’t told her that, she doesn’t need my sh*t right now, she’s got enough of her own).

    We all have the parts that are not so nice, but I think (I hope) that recognising it, not acting on it, and knowing when to keep your mouth shut can help.

  • Stella

    “I was allowed to say I did not care, because I could afford these things and chose not to have them.” This.

    I hadn’t really thought honestly about how much of my attempts to have a “low key” wedding are really just old fashioned snobbery about fancier weddings, but truth is its probably quite a bit of it. A (welcome) wake up call. On the one hand it’s kind of hard to admit something pretty mean — on the other hand – completely APW. Facing up to some healthy hard truths.

    • meg


    • Cass

      Totally agree. I’ve been engaged for almost a year and half (probably still have another year to year and a half to go) and I’ve started the planning process. Not knowing how much things costs I dreamt of an “aspirational wedding”, but once I found out, I was completely turned off by the “typical” wedding. I felt my wedding planner had been trying to push me into a cookie cutter wedding by referring me to a space and vendors that she uses all the time. I began to rebel. After all I found APW and began a new aspirational wedding full of DIY Djing, finding a venue that hired an outside catering, and doing my own hair and make up (all very good tutorials!). I got frustrated when my planner didn’t understand how I wanted to have dinner and dancing the night before the actual ceremony rather than doing the same day (I thought I was clever! haha! take that WIC! It’s not a wedding reception, it’s just a party with family and friends ;) But lately I have realized these (awesome) ideas were not really practical for me. I have been thinking, so what if I have to use these same vendors? So what if I have to have the reception right after the ceremony? So what if I go with a package deal that give me a cake and DJ rather than baking my own cupcakes and setting up an iPod. It’s okay if I have to book that same photographer that is going to take my picture in the same place he took the other 15 couples he photographed at the same venue. Am, I conforming? No! I am realizing that my wedding will be awesome because it will be about me and my future husband and NOT the fact this is the 20th time my planner has done a this same “typical” or “boring” wedding. This is just the reality of what is “practical” for me.

      I appreciate how this site is not about being alternative or rebelling against the “norm” (whatever that is), but it is more so about realizing your own truths and accepting them.

      • Kristen


    • Daisy6564

      The shame is that often the WIC, cookie cutter wedding is cheaper and easier to plan than the indie/creative wedding. All inclusive packages at a country club won’t actually set you back as much as renting an industrial loft, hiring staff, making all of your decorations, hiring a vegan restaurant to cater, your favorite rock band, and a fashion photographer. Before you know much about wedding planning you think that going with non-wedding vendors releases you from the stress and expense, but it really doesn’t. It just sets you up with a lot of balls in the air and a lot to manage yourself. Luckily I had witnessed this phenomenon with my friends planning processes so I knew there would be compromises.

      In all my friend circles I’m the hipster, the vegan, the bike commuter. Everyone is expecting me to have a wedding that is “different.” I sat down and made a list of things that I am willing to diy/pay extra on to make them different and express my personality and what I am willing to just let go and accept cookie cutter basic to save myself the time and aggravation (and money). Also, by allowing my parents to pay for it I have the means to get nicer things but more parties to appease.

      But I still am battling the ego, and its not just me. My fiance and I spent all day yesterday locked in a struggle over wedding bands. As a musician, with mostly musician friends he feels that he will be embarrassed if we hire a standard “wedding band” that plays covers. I want music that people will dance to. (The people want to dance!)

      • Emily

        Ugh, I wish I’d read this months ago! I was blown away by how it was almost exactly the same price to do a reception at the local farmer’s market vs. at a hotel. And of course a lot more work. This caused countless arguments with my folks.

        When we were in the first parts of planning, and I was getting upset about different values, my dad told me that “Your wedding is not a political act.” But when everything about your identity seems political (or ego-driven, whatever) — whether it’s biking, veganism, craftiness, etc. — it’s really hard to separate a special day that’s supposed to be about you from your identity. I’m not even convinced that you’d really want that separation, even though it’s driving me nuts.


        Yes! The cookie cutter banquet hall/country club/hotel wedding can be soooo much cheaper and easier (and sometimes less pretentious/fussy?) than the customized intimate whatever in a less conventional space. I think I chose the latter out of a bit of snobbery. Turns out looking modest and tasteful and sweet can be crazy expensive.

        If I could do it all over again, I would choose the simplest old-school ivory invitation and paper products (and have no theme to adhere to)…and a space that is comfortable and can accommodate Everyone….and offer tons of food so people can pig out (food prepared on-site can be better than expensive food being brought in). And I would have spent my engagement time with my fiance and friends and family rather than Michael’s and etsy and ebay trying to make everything look so picture perfect…

        One thing that I think worked well was our band that played the crooner standards and motown…everyone danced, all generations, such a happy memory.

        Obviously…lots of trade-offs. Just my 2 cents. :)

  • Katherine

    “a wife and a leader and a guardian for my baby family.”

    LOVE this! That is all.

  • brieanna

    I love this post it’s a story about humility and personal growth, its about realizing what’s actually important and what is just a distraction. This is a lesson that takes a long time to learn and one that needs to be continually learned. I don’t know who posted this but I want them to know that I wish them the best and not to be too hard on themselves. Its natural to be competitive and its almost impossible not to be judgmental in a world that incourages this behavior. After reading this post I think I want to work on myself too thank you for being so honest good luck!

  • anonymous

    Oh wow, APW read my mind again!

    I have always been the ambitious one. The highly educated one. More recently, the larger earner. And next year we will move to follow my husband’s work. I will likely be unemployed for a significant period of time.

    I’m going to have to rebuild so much of the way I think and relate and identify. I don’t even know where to begin. But this post is a good start.

  • Martha

    This post is probably one of my favorite APW posts. I think, that in creating off-beat-indie weddings, society has now created the pressure to have the most unique, pretty, hand-made wedding possible – which can be just a limiting as the pressure to have a 6-course dinner and open bar shebang.

    At the end of the day, your wedding needs to reflect you and your partner and what you want the day to be – and it’s hard to remember that!

    • Emily

      So I generally agree, but what if you think of yourself/ves as unique, indy, off-beat, hand-made, etc? Maybe this is just wearing on me now since I’m increasingly admitting to self-imposing a lot of this pressure to put on a particular type of event.

      • I think it’s still the narrative that ONE day, ONE party must represent the entirety of your life/relationship, whether it’s WIC “We can afford all this! We are doing everything right!” or indie/alt “We are unique butterflies! We are doing everything right!”

        It is _one_ day, it is _one_party. Yes, tie in the unique, indie, off-beat, handmade details that make you happy, but ditch the pressure- you have your whole life to paint the picture of who you are and what your relationship is. And really, it takes a whole life to describe anyway :-)

        • Emily

          Nice; helpful perspective :-)

  • Sarah

    You shouldn’t be so hard on yourselves. Absolutely everything wedding industry related (or fitness related, or house decorating related, basically everything you might find on Pintrest related) tells you that it doesn’t matter what you *can* afford, you should make it work anyway. In the days before credit, people didn’t have the same choices. You did what you could afford, and if you didn’t have the cash, you didn’t buy it. Period. (At least that is how I imagine it from what my parents told me). Now, the message is: you can (read: should) have it all and you can (read: should) make it work. So it’s not about what you wanted for an engagement ring, it’s that you could have gone bigger/better/brighter if you wanted to. And you should have wanted to.

    What would happen to the wedding industry if all prospective brides and grooms looked deep into their partners’ eyes and said “I just want to marry you because I love you. Let’s have a wedding that reflects our love and share it with the people closest to us”? It would implode, that’s what. If this blog is any indication, now is the day and age that couples can literally do anything they want to as they officially show their commitment, and because of that, the wedding industry is pushing back harder to say we can’t, if our friends really loved us they would take us to Vegas for our bachelorette parties. Anything less and they don’t love us.

    I’ve lost my point now. I guess it’s that weddings are a lot about symbols and rituals and we have lots of options when it comes to which ones we want to include in our own. But not every single one can be of the utmost importance. Not all of them have life-long meaning. It’s hard to feel confident picking from the endless lists when we are bombarded with the message that we should have them all. We need to be brave.

    • Hintzy

      What was that the other day about having enough vs having it all?

      and compassion for yourself… we have egos, egos make us think nasty mean things, but learn to let it go, have a drink and move on :)

  • Parsley

    I love this post. Thank you for sharing so honestly. Reading it, and reading the comments, I’m realizing that the reason I didn’t go to this place too often in my own wedding planning (though it was there, my own version, anyway) is my wife. She was just genuinely more interested in our personal priorities and helped me to stay in that place. So, feeling grateful to her today.

  • Amanda

    This post is amazing. Thanks for putting into words what I (and I’m sure many other brides-to-be) couldn’t quite put their finger on. That nagging, dirty, “it’s not good enough” fog that creeps in before you know it. It’s wonderful and tough that you’ve come to realize that it’s time to look inward between you and your fiance and not outward. I am struggling with that right now, as we start the planning process. But the important thing is that you’ve called out the Ego, and are now keeping it in check. My turn to do the same. Thanks :)

  • This post is so on point. The wedding process can reveal so much about ourselves in really unsuspecting knock-you-off-your-chair sort of ways. I didn’t want a wedding and told everyone I didn’t want a wedding and ended up having a semi-elopement. What I had to come to terms with was that the whole time that I said “I don’t want a wedding,” I was actually saying, “I can’t have a wedding and have it look the way I want, so I’m not having a wedding.”
    Ugh. Ego.
    I loved what we ended up doing. But I think I would feel a little bit of dissatisfaction and guilt had I not had a come to jesus talk with myself about what I truly wanted and why I wanted it and what that would look like realistically. I think my husband did a good job of saying “Do you want to care about (insert whatever) or not? Because if you care, that’s totally fine. You just need to say it.”

  • phira

    Amazing post.

    We’re having my engagement ring custom designed and made by a local jeweler. I’d love to say that I wanted a small stone because it’s definitely the perfect stone for me, and I didn’t care about having an engagement ring anyway.

    But in reality, I’m disappointed that the beautiful stone I picked is so tiny because we couldn’t afford anything larger. I’m disappointed that my ring won’t be as detailed or eye-catching because we had such a strict budget, and my frugal partner refused to even consider going over. And it’s not because I think that a big stone is important … it’s that I’m constantly feeling like an idiot for spending twice as much on this tiny ring as I would have on a huge, impressive big box store ring that would prevent people from thinking, “Well, if her partner loved her more, he would have spent more on the ring.”

    I love my partner, and I can’t wait for my beautiful bezel-set blue-green sapphire ring, but I feel ashamed on a regular basis that I’m this upset about what other people might think.

    • Sarah

      Don’t feel ashamed. Getting engaged moves your private relationship into a very public domain. The role of girlfriend is fluid and flexible but the role of fiancee or wife is less so, at least in the eyes of others. I wrote in the other post about engagement rings that people will judge you regardless. Being a spouse or a parent opens a door to people commenting on your the quality of your relationship and they sometimes use rings at their evidence.

      It sounds like there are so many nice things about your ring — you helped create it together, you supported a local artist, you picked a beautiful stone, and it’s unique, and the only thing you might say about a cheaper but flashier ring is that it would shut people up. Hopefully yours will win out in the end.