Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weddings Woes

Hi! Missed me? Maybe? I've missed you! I'll try and make more time to write. Promise. But, like, life and what not.

I want to preface all this with that this is THE most first world thing to bitch about ever. Okay? I understand. I get it. I'm gonna do it anyway.

First off: I started writing this MONTHS ago. Then got on board with weddings. Now I'm back to being tortured by them. So I'm getting it all out and hoping to move on and be YAY HAPPIEST BRIDE EVER! I have to do that for, well, everyone.

The being engaged thing was cool and shiny and new. And now it's not. And people are, as I knew they would, asking me about the wedding. Which makes me want to murder, like, everyone. Including the person I'm supposed to marry who didn't see this coming from a mile away, even though I did, and didn't listen to me when I said this is how it would turn out because LOL MEN DON'T LISTEN! (Not really. That's not what happened. He's just naive enough to believe you can do things like "tell your mother that's how it is!" I may have fallen on the floor laughing at that.)

At one point somewhere I wrote about crying at the mere thought of planning a wedding. Before we were even engaged. Because ohboyzieeho do I have the fun divorced parent problem who make every event a major drama. Then I got momentarily excited about the thought of plying my friends with booze and food and music. And now I'm back to hating everything about it.

Judging by the 1.85 million results google gives you when you search "Wedding planning for people who hate weddings", I am far from alone. Though a lot of those people HATE weddings. Like HATE. And have it out for brides and grooms. Weddings are lovely! Even the ones I have snarked openly at. I just don't want to plan one. And I don't think it's the most important thing ever in the history of ever. I'm sort of a reluctant bride, which I wish I could alert people to without sounding like an asshole. Everyone asks, from sales people to close friends, "Aren't you SO EXCITED?" "Isn't this just THE MOST EXCITING time of your life?" No, actually. It's not. Passing the bar exam, finishing law school felt like greater accomplishments than a wedding. Even my mom understands that the only thing I ever get really excited about is college football. And yet is also incredibly disappointed I'm not more excited about this. Which makes me feel SO BAD that I'm not more excited. Like there is something wrong with me. Like all the things that have always made me feel like an outsider and a weirdo because I don't react "normally" are magnified by not being so stoked on being a bridezilla control freak. It just really doesn't matter. I love him, obviously. I look forward to spending a life together. But a life is not a day that is a big giant party.

Here's the deal: I never anticipated this in my life plan. Sure, I got through bar study imagining my fantasy life with Brooks Laich and planning our wedding but that's, in my entire adult life, as close as I even came to thinking about it. I am not a "yay! weddings!" girl. When it did become a reality, my first instinct was to flee and do something small. I at one point drunkenly came up with a New Orleans for Thanksgiving dinner, LSU game Friday, wedding Saturday plan. HOW GENIUS IS THAT? Like twenty people. Done. But. That's not what everyone else wants. (And because we have to deal with immigration issues, Canada being a different country and all, not realistically feasible.) The person that gets main deference in this decision, the bf, really wants something bigger to celebrate with his family. So I agreed. I convinced myself this would be great. Party for friends!

After going to enough weddings to know better, the one abiding thought I had was, "In the crazy  world where I get married, the one thing I want is a wedding planner." I have attended events that have like an hour of people just hanging out doing nothing waiting for the bride or groom to miraculously appear and things to move forward. Sitting in the heat, nibbling the dregs of the cheese trap, empty champagne glass in hand, I knew that I wanted someone to be the bitch for the day. To make things happen.

I also know that I'm pretty bad at making decisions, especially in this era of the internet. I want ALL the information to make the "right" choice. Because there are too many choices to be made and I'm never sure what the "right" choice is, until I just leap, I get paralyzed by indecision. I wanted some guidance from someone experienced with all this wedding malarkey. Guess what big ticket item we're on totally opposite poles on? In even an abstract "we don't even have a plan" plans, we're split here.

And let's be honest, I have NO idea what I'm doing. None of my BFF's are married. Okay, a couple are. But it's just...all...the worst. And then I feel horrible about finding it all the worst. And I feel so guilty everyone is spending just insane stupid amounts of money on this big giant party. Like, when do I stop being a drain on everyone and actually contribute? I feel awful about that. The scale of this thing has gotten so out of control. I still have massive amounts of student loans and we're spending money on this? And me being me and being from a somewhat fancy family (and being a snob in my own right) it's not like you just throw it in your backyard. Which, I shouldn't have been opposed to. At all. Ever. Instead we're doing something here. (Pause on the crown room picture.)

Again: not a problem. It's gorgeous. Those above mentioned divorced parents? They actually agreed AGREED! independently on the venue. Hey! Locked that down. Even got a deal because SF is the smallest city ever and people know people!

And the wedding planner issue mostly resolved itself with the picking of a venue that is a hotel. A lot of decisions get made immediately when you do it at an all in one venue. You have to use their caterers and their booze and their overly expensive everything. Including the room rate discount for guests that weren't really a discount. It didn't occur to me that getting married in SF in the summer meant high European tourist season and pretty outrageous hotel room prices, even when discounted.

Point being: planner issue resolved. I'm gonna tab a friend to be head bitch in charge and make sure things get done and details are attended to and then I have someone who cares about that stuff who will make sure it happens and I don't have to.

But issues persist. Mostly that I've discovered a lot of people tell you no. We had a brunch shortly after we were engaged and a friend innocuously asked what I wanted to do for my bachelorette party, being as I'm not particularly girly. I said my ideal bachelorette party was a weekend in New Orleans that involved going to an LSU football game. The girls in attendance were like, "Hahah. No. You can take the guys to that." Uh. Okay?

I've been told I have to wear white. (Fortunately not by my mother, who has lots of opiniony opinions.)

I've been told that tradition dictates that I can't spend the night before the wedding in big fancy hotel suite with the person I'm betrothed to and oh by the way already cohabitate with because TRADITION! A friend gave me, encouraged by my mother who was also present, a, "No! You can't spend the night with him! The first time he sees you that day needs to be as you walk down the aisle so it's dramatic!" Swear to god. Those were the actual words. That was about the point, after a day of dress trying on (more on that later), that I almost lost it. You're telling me the one person, THE ONE, who is listening to me at all I can't be with? Because "tradition" according to some amorphous idea? Fuuuucckkkk thhhhaaat.

IF we decide to not spend that night together, it's not because someone once upon a time decided it was tradition not to. A tradition that exists so that you could guarantee virginity was in tact. Lemme tell ya, that's not an issue.

As to the dress trying on, I went to a respectable department store that I know and trust. I insisted to the girl I talked to when I made the appointment that I didn't want to look like a goddamn marshmallow. I am already a big girl. A puffy skirt does me absolutely NO favors. I sent her pictures of my wedding pinterest board (yeah, whatever. I haven't updated it in forever. I'm completely over it). She pulled none of those dresses. There were ball gowns. I humored everyone and tried on everything. And got increasingly depressed. All wedding dresses are sample sizes. Which means they are made for skinny bitches. Really skinny bitches. I am not. I wasn't trying on so much as holding up. Which was goddamn demoralizing. Then I picked one that I sort of liked and had the girl draw up the information I needed to order it, should I decide to. She took my measurements. The designer charges an extra 20% to make the dress in my size. An extra 20% of an already absurd amount of money. What a sexist, size-ist, horrifying thing to be told. I was over it. Completely over it.

And sales chick is like, "Well. Dresses are custom made. You need to make a decision about this post haste because it'll take seven months to get. Five to get it made, 2 more to alter it." Which just confirmed to my mom that this is all SUPER URGENT! MUST BE DONE NOW!

My mother has done me no favors in this whole process. She thinks everything is urgent. Absolutely 100% has to have been done yesterday. At the same lunch with my friend after dress trying on, she insisted that we need to register immediately. "Because what if people want to buy you engagement presents now?!" I start to buy into this frenzy. I think, "Okay. I'll drag the boy to Macy's tomorrow and we'll go register and it'll get done." Then I take a beat and take a breath and think, "Fucking no. No." We didn't have an engagement party. If people are HELL BENT on buying stuff, they can just pick something out. And even with the dress. So these fancy designers need 7 months? Fine. I don't have a dress. I wear something off the rack. That's just the way shit is. I walk down the aisle in a bath robe and that's life.

But my mother and I being the uptight Irish Catholics that we are, none of this has been communicated particularly well. I just raged to everyone for the next two days about the dress shopping day. My other friend was at lunch with me the next day and is like, "You're miserable!" Yes, yes I am. I woke up Veteran's Day Monday after an anxiety induced wedding planning nightmare and bawled my eyes out. We discussed canceling the whole event. It's making me deeply unhappy. But eventually came to the conclusion that canceling probably creates more problems than it helps alleviate. So this is the way things are.

My mother still thought dress buying was urgent and was going to head to the valley the weekend of Nov 21 to drag me to do more dress shopping. The boy and I discussed it ad naseum and decided that for everyone's sanity and well being and for me not killing them all, this was not a good idea. So I logically put it off until Christmas week, with a well thought out email to her. Further discussions have led to the conclusion that I don't wear white in every day life. Why should I suddenly do it for my wedding? (I had told sales lady I was interested in non-traditional colors. Got none of that either. White is a holdover from Queen Victoria that I don't feel particularly tied to.) I'm seeing what I can do to have a purple dress I am madly in love with made.

But I still found myself ill at ease with all this stuff, even as we discussed ways to minimize my anxiety and utter unhappiness with everything. "What don't you like?" the boy asked me yesterday. I can't even articulate it. How do you tell people you hate everything about it? There are several issues I have. So:

1) I hate, hate, being the center of attention. It is not a role I relish. I am a sit at the bar and snark at events kind of girl. I don't like being the object of snark. I am a quiet dinner party for 12 kind of person. Large parties tend to make me anxious, which I over compensate for by drinking to excess. That 100 people will be there for US is...a lot. I committed to this, knowing it was what a lot of other people wanted, and was gonna fake my way through it. I forgot I'm REALLY bad at faking things. Basically: I'm an introvert. This requires being an extrovert.

2) The control freak in me has a hard time not being the host of things. I have to let a lot of things go. I'm just gonna have to attend this thing and not be the one making sure everyone is having a good time. I'm delegating. I've pawned off finding a DJ and a photographer to him and I just get to make the final decision. I've told my mom to contact her flower guy. It's handled. But...I let it go and still want control of it.

3) No one is listening. All those people that tell me no? Don't get it. Women either want to recreate their wedding or have the one they have yet to have. They're projecting. A venue that we were first looking at was absurdly expensive. I gave my one aunt my requirement that I didn't want a ballroom where you could be anywhere in the world. She said she was on it and came back with options of: some clubhouse in Potrero Hill and Stern Grove. I wanted to scream, "Have you ever even met me?" Like...nothing about that is me. And I'm gonna bring a bunch of people from Canada here and send them to STERN GROVE? Ugh. Dating a nice, diplomatic Canadian, I instead said, "Thank you for your input, I'll take those under consideration." I'm getting very good at saying that. It was used again when his aunt emailed asking if we could make sure the weekend for the wedding wasn't the weekend we'd already picked (unbeknownst to her) because she was rowing in a regatta that weekend. For serious. I sort of admired the sheer hutzpah to request that. She was very easy going when we said we couldn't do that. Still.

So. I...just don't know, you guys. We've come up with some stuff. Like communicating a timeline to my mother so she calms down. I'm picking bridesmaids (since apparently that's a thing I have to do too) who get me and are in my corner. I'm going to start ignoring "no". I have people I can talk to. And yet I still feel...ugghhh.

A final story to illustrate how all this is going:

My mom went to an over the fucking top wedding in September. As part of this friend of hers kid's wedding, they had "the donut guy" come late at night and make fresh donuts.

I sent my mom the contract for the hotel to see if she had any questions before I signed. She emails me back, late the night before it's due, and says, "Can you have outside vendors? Like the donut guy?" I ignore her question because it's a done deal and this is irrelevant to getting this document signed.

The next day, I email my aunt, her sister, about something unrelated. She responds to that and then says, "I'd like to help out with something, flowers, photographer. Maybe that donut guy you're going to have." *record scratch* Wait, what? How have I committed to this donut guy? I don't even really like donuts. Like, they're fine, or whatever, but I'm a burger and fries girl. As is the boy. (He would like to interject here that he's far more of a pizza guy than a burger guy so fine, noted.)

We then went and visited the hotel to just get an idea of the space, my mom continued to press about the donut guy to the wedding event coordinator people. So apparently we're having a donut guy, you guys! Because I have to pick my battles on this thing and this is not one I'm willing to fight.

Look, I realize it's not the worst thing to have a donut guy. Or to have someone want to provide that for you. I just resent that no one bothered to ask me if I wanted the donut guy, if this is something we were interested in. It was just done.

After I spent the weekend being tortured by my mom, the same aunt emailed me about something else, and asked about wedding stuff. I responded politely that it was, ya know, going, deleting several drafts of how much I hated it all. She implored me to be nice to my mom as I'm her only daughter and this is important to her. I. Needed. To. Be. Nice. ME! I couldn't decide if I should laugh or cry. I ended up doing both.

So. Any words of wisdom or insight are appreciated so that I can be the HAPPIEST BRIDE EVER!


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