Q: I’ve been with my fiancé for almost five years, we’ve lived together for a year and a half, and we got engaged five months ago. Since we’ve gotten engaged, I’ve read A Practical Wedding, looked at Pinterest, checked out bridal magazines, talked to married friends, searched the Internet, and you know what? I have no idea what I want to do.
My fiancé and I have a few things we won’t do (get married in a church or in a state where our LGBTQ friends cannot get married), but the opportunities are still endless. Since then, we’ve come up with a million different ideas (eloping, courthouse wedding, DIY backyard wedding, etc.), but nothing has stuck. My family and friends keep telling me to do whatever will make me happy, but I just don’t know what will make me happy! I’ve never had an idea in my head, and I’ve done a ton of research, and I’m so stuck, I’m frustrated. I just want to be married, and I’m getting tired of everyone telling me to “hurry up and figure out what I want to do.” No one ever told me that the biggest problem I would have was figuring out what I wanted to do! When all of my friends got married, they knew where they wanted to get married, the type of cake they wanted to serve, the shade of white their wedding dress would be, and how they would boogie to their first dance. I can’t even decide if I want to elope or have five hundred people present. Please tell me that there’s a magical answer you can give me to solve this problem.
A: Dear Indecisive,
Yeah, tell me about it. I still describe beautiful could-have-been weddings to my husband, five years after the fact. There are so, so many ways to do this thing, and lots of them are really pretty.
You’re starting at the right point at least, weeding out the things you know for sure you don’t want. But that still leaves dozens of options, right? Well, for starters, back away from the Pinterest. It can be nice to gather some ideas, but after a point, all of those floating pictures of pretty can be Too Much. Give yourself a break from it.
Then, look to logistics. You can’t decide whether to elope or have five hundred guests? Well, which can you afford? How far will everyone need to travel? Who will be insulted that they weren’t invited to an elopement, and how will that impact family dynamics? You didn’t pick your partner based on feelings alone; real deal logic and facts came into play. And when it comes to weddings, there are a whole damn lot of facts to logic through. (And speaking of your partner, what’s he got to say about all of this?)
Once you step back from the pinning, take a look at the surrounding factors, and talk to your partner about what he wants, just pick a lane. You know how to make decisions. Every morning, you pick out an outfit to wear. You decide what to eat for lunch each afternoon. For each of these, there are endless options that you would like, but you manage to choose just one, for better or worse, and carry on with your day. Don’t let the wedding world fool you into believing this decision is all that different.
When you’re choosing a pair of pants or a sandwich, you’re just making a decision in the moment. What do you want right now? And I think sometimes we forget that wedding planning can be the very same. It’s not about guessing what future-you would also like, predicting what wedding trends will be out of style, or trying to choose something that will be “timeless.” Yes, yes, your wedding will probably be eternally meaningful to you. But that’s because you bit the bullet and married someone you loved, not because you made yourself crazy making all the perfect choices. In short, the dress, or the menu, or the invitations don’t have to be meaningful forever-and-ever-amen. They can, instead, be a little reflection of what you liked in this specific moment in your life. In fact, they’re probably going to be a reflection of what you liked when you got hitched, no matter how much you (over) think it.
They also don’t have to be some cherished vision you’ve had since childhood. It doesn’t work that way for everyone. So your friends had lifelong visions of their wedding day. Meh. That doesn’t mean that you will (or should), so don’t tie too much meaning to your feelings (or lack thereof).
So, you know, just pick something already. Quit trying to sift through and find the exactly perfect assortment of details and just go for it. It might make you happy. And it might not. But, you know, your friends who planned their dream weddings since age five have the same chance of being made unhappy by their wedding details. Luckily, it’s not the details that make the day, or the marriage. It’s that person you decided to marry, and the fact that you took the plunge.
If you would like to ask APW a question, please don’t be shy! You can email: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!