With only a couple of weeks until our September 6th wedding, we’re feeling the pressure. I wake up in the middle of the night and my chest tightens up while I mentally go over the checks that still have to be written, comparing them to the balance in our wedding savings account. Then I spend some time chiding myself for worrying about things like money instead of fine-tuning our ceremony or reflecting on the very serious commitment we’re about to make. I try to soothe myself by thinking about our honeymoon but then reprimand myself for not staying in the moment. Although, honestly, this moment is so annoying that I can’t imagine why I would willingly stay in it.
We’re not the only ones feeling frustrated. My sweet, gracious, mom who has spent decades encouraging me to, among other things, be the better person, now responds to a question about group photos with: “Don’t be so nice! Just tell them where to be and when to be there. If they’re tired, they need to take a nap beforehand!”
My sister is taking her maid of honor duties very seriously as well, and she included the completion of a perfect huppah square in those duties. She recently bought her first house and asked for an extension on her square so that she could put some thought into it after her move. A few days later, I received a frantic text from her:
“I left my square out on the table so it could dry while I was in the shower and Holden [my seven-year-old nephew and Best Man] re-decorated it with Pokemon! All in black puffy paint!!” This was followed by several emojis denoting anger, death, and despondency. I suggested that maybe that might still make a really heartfelt, sweet huppah square—a collaboration of both of their interests. She let me know that she would be happy to direct some anger, death, and despondency at me if I continued to entertain the thought that her contribution to our future family heirloom would involve puffy painted Pokemon. I sent her two more squares, just in case.
In our own home, Julie and I have divided the remaining names on a spreadsheet between us: the friends and family we still need to hear from about whether they’re coming, and what they’d like to eat when they get there. I think this is funny because people not returning RSVPs is so common, it’s a wedding cliché. How are people still not returning preprinted cards, with a postage-paid envelope? How are people not even following the example of our friend Jason, who simply sat down at our table and said, “I’m not going to return the RSVP. I never do. I’ll have chicken.” That’s really all I need. Are you coming? Do you eat meat? Great.
We’re a little overwhelmed. We expected it, and here it is, no more pleasant for being unsurprising. There is a lot to do, not because it has to be done, or because the crafts and the catering are what make a wedding, but because this is what we decided we wanted at our wedding.
And yet, even with the anxiety, there are flashes of the fantastic things to come. My friend Amy had an unexpected day off last week and she chose to spend the afternoon with me, spray painting more jars and helping sample the Prosecco we plan to serve. A tasting for our rehearsal dinner, planned and hosted by Julie’s brother, was an unexpectedly joyful evening of crème brûlée, wine, and French onion soup. We felt so loved, and so special, and it was delightful to think about a party where we didn’t have to make any of the decisions, but were welcome to weigh in with our preferences. Our house is filled with clutter, but everywhere we look is another treasured love note from a friend or a family member.
There are moments when we feel like we’ll never get everything done, but the finish line is getting closer. While we won’t miss the mess, I do think we will be nostalgic for these moments. And despite what we have left to do, I’m feeling optimistic. If there is this much happiness during a period of such prolonged frustration, then we can only anticipate the joy the day itself will bring.