Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wedding writing

I know, I said I would make this into a wedding planning blog, but that hasn't stopped me from reading a bunch of wedding planning blogs. One of my favorites is A Practical Wedding, a tip from an old roommate who got married. It has some great wedding planning tips for low maintenance wedding planners, but also just interesting stories and ideas about what it means to get married or to be a wife. I wrote a post to submit to them for this month's theme "Decided," but I think I screwed up the submission process and didn't actually get it in for consideration. Well anyway, waste not, want not. I thought I might as well post it here. It does tend to break my promise about not making this blog about wedding planning, but this is more a general discussion of the process and less about the specifics we're dealing with. Plus, I think I'm the only one who actually cares if I make this blog about wedding planning or not.

Because I was writing for a different audience it's a bit more on-the-nose and tied up at the end with a nice message than my usual posts. Fair warning.

I get about five of these emails each day. This one had the subject line: "10 New Wedding Etiquette Rules You Should Know." Reading them is never a good idea.
Sometimes I think I’m not qualified to have a wedding. I know, logically, that aside from the potential issues of legality, the only qualification a couple needs to have a wedding is to want one. However, when someone is holding twelve forks in front of me, each with subtle differences and surprisingly varied price points, while suggesting I should have an opinion on them, I start to feel like a fraud.
I approached wedding planning going on instinct. Hoping that I would “just know” the right choice. This started out well enough. My fiance and I made a number of different appointments at venues around our city in our price range. Then we went to the first one--a working farm just twenty minutes from our city apartment--loved it, and decided the search was over. Even as I was emailing the other venues to cancel the appointments, I didn’t have any concerns about loft galleries and event spaces left un-seen. After all, the farm felt so right and fit nicely in our budget, why waste our time with more options?

This trend continued with a few other decisions...choosing the cake, hiring a caterer (this one was probably helped by the fact that the venue had a preferred caterer), a photographer, and an officiant. All of these decisions were made after copious online research, several emails, but ultimately only one meeting. We liked what we saw, and we went for it. After some marathon planning and booking vendors, I took a short break (okay, more like a month) from wedding planning. During that time, the only decision I made was on my dress, which is the first decision I made by committee. Or at least I had the opinions of several friends and my mother as opposed to just that of my fiance to go on. Since I’ve jumped back on the planning train, I’ve found I’ve lost some of my planning mojo. I think it might be because I’m now looking at the more decorative aspects--the flowers, the reception decor (which apparently is supposed to have a theme?), colors that supposedly have to match other colors, and a host of other things that seem out of my skill set. 

Thankfully, the Internet exists to supply me with the paralyzing fear of turning my wedding into a goat rodeo by failing to choose wedding colors. Pinterest, facebook, and the wedding websites currently infiltrating my inbox with daily advice, giveaways, and “Top Ten Mistakes You’re Probably Making Right Now!!” lists. The problem is this doesn’t just lead to agonizing over future decisions and staring longingly at one guestbook, then another on Etsy. That alone would be an inevitable slowing down of the overall wedding planning process, but what’s worse is that it’s causing me to re-think all the decisions I’ve already made.

Well, not re-think exactly. But I continue to waste my time perusing options for things I cannot change. I look at the websites for other venues and daydream about my wedding there despite loving my chosen site (in addition to being a working farm, they also have alpacas!). I haunt the website for the store where I bought my wedding dress and imagine what I would look like in their newly released spring styles. It isn’t even that I think any of the options out there are better or that they invalidate any of my choices. It’s just that each decision that is made takes a field of endless possibilities and closes it to just one. Or, I guess, sometimes more than one, as we did choose three cake flavors when we couldn’t decide.

When we got engaged back in August, the decisions came fast and easy. We knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We also knew we wanted to share that with our friends and family. These are the decisions that matter long after the playlist winds down and the last Instagram is taken. There isn’t some better option; there is only what is. I know that on our wedding day, our guests won’t be surreptitiously using their iPhones to compare our centerpiece choices to other even more rustic chic options. And I know I won’t be either. While it can be hard to keep things in perspective while the Internet is constantly reminding me of all the things I could be doing differently, it’s nice to know that the most important decision has already been made.


  1. Nice piece. I guess you can't submit it again, since it's now been published.
    Advice from Mom: Don't make yourself crazy.

  2. Well this month's theme is "the good," so I think it wouldn't quite work anyway.

    I promise not to make myself crazy. At least until the week before or so.

  3. I'm kind of glad pinterest wasn't around when I got married...I think I would have driven myself nuts as well! The wedding is going to be beautiful because it's you and Sam getting married! Everyone who really cares about you just cares about that. Love you Susan!! (and p.s. great writing!)

  4. I loved your invitations! Great choice. Love, Sharry