Sometimes I blog about writing my novel. And sometimes I blog about not writing it. Per this latter category, a thing I did last year instead of writing a novel was plan a wedding. With about a year of recovery under my (grosgrain ribbon) belt now, I can finally talk about it.
If you love kissing your partner in public on cue and hate your money, then a wedding is for you! Here’s what to expect…
You will think to yourself, “hey, I’ve thrown a party before, this will be a breeze!” You will quickly discover that this was some serious Sophoclean hubris and immediately regret every dumb little child’s play holiday mixer you’ve held that led you to this conclusion.
You will never spend so much time in your life trying to figure out what your ‘style’ is. Are you and your fiancé vintage or modern? Traditional or offbeat? Cool or lame? Rich or already broke? You will read an article that says for help identifying your wedding style, look to your living room as inspiration. You decide this is good advice and start planning a wedding that is small, cluttered, and covered with cat hair.
You will agonize over the venue. You will visit a great, unique museum but hesitate because it isn’t a barn. You will visit an affordable barn that doubles as a crap-whitewashed barracks for an army of sparrows, and you will decide to go with the museum.
You will discover that the wedding industry is unabashedly bride-centric, and this will make you feel a little bad for your partner, but also a lot drunk with power. “What color tablecloths?” they’ll ask, and when your poor fiancé pipes up to suggest gray, they’ll look to you for confirmation. You wonder if this is what it’s like to be a man out in the world all the rest of the time. You will feel inspired to be a more vocal feminist, just as soon as you’re done adjudicating table linens.
In the final weeks before the wedding, you and your fiancé will be business partners in a struggling start-up that is such a money suck that it requires you both to work secondary day jobs. Ok, fine, those secondary day jobs are your actual jobs. Advice: take care not to lose your actual job while planning your wedding.
Lured into a false sense of confidence by your own creativity, you will DIY (Do It Yourself), which is a quick way to LYM (Lose Your Mind). Your cool, unique, self-designed save-the-dates are a gateway drug. Your dealer, Pinterest. This will reach a fever pitch when, two nights before the wedding, you attempt to make string balls you remember mastering at girl scout camp two decades ago. Instead, you’ll end up on the floor of your apartment with your hands gloved in a white glue mixture, sobbing over a mess of oily balloons and drippy Elmer’s-soaked yarn and trying gently to kick your inquisitive cat away. You will suddenly realize your fiancé CANNOT FIND YOU LIKE THIS and you’ll spring into Winston Wolfe mode to destroy the evidence and save your marriage, which hasn’t even started yet.
You will still wake up the next morning and try your hand at flower arranging, which seemed like a great money-saving idea 11 months and 57 to-do’s ago. This “adventure” could use its own blog post, but here’s the rub: dry run two months before goes great, decide you are a creative genius, week-of wedding flowers start to arrive from online wholesaler, just now start to worry the flowers will poison your cat, batch of flowers gets canceled by wholesaler because of rain, order new flowers from another wholesaler, first wholesaler says game back on, cancel the second order from second wholesaler, the earth decides to continue to be 85 degrees and humid in early fall, half of your flowers wilt pre-arrangement, go to the grocery store to buy anything close to your color palette that has leaves and a stem and doesn’t look sad, lose your keys inside your hot car for 15 minutes while your new flowers start to wilt, find your keys and rush home in a huff to arrange flowers before the rehearsal dinner, fail, finally complete them (with a lot of help) as you are getting your bridal hairdo done.
You will wait outside the liquor store for it to open the morning of the wedding.
Because you and your husband-to-be are both writers, you will have tried not only composing your own vows, but also the entire ceremony. (This, again, could be its own post.) You’ll do your best to strike a note of interfaith-yet-secular, nostalgic, lighthearted love, easy on the sap and heavy on laughs, without making the entire thing a joke. Simple! Running out of steam one writing day, you’ll put a placeholder in your vows to finish up later. You’ll forget to finish it later. You’ll hurriedly print out the vows an hour before game time without looking them over and will eventually read “SOMETHING ABOUT THE CAT” verbatim out loud in front of your friends and family at the ceremony. All that planning and worrying, all that running around and arranging, and this thing that you missed, this accidental moment, will become one of your favorite parts of the day.
Finally, you will be married, and a year later will mostly focus on the good memories of the event rather than the nightmarish planning tornado that came before it.
And then you can get back to your novel.