So much happens in the first week after he pops the question. "Have you chosen a date yet?" "Wow that was fast, did you even think about it?" "Can I tell my boyfriend to put the pressure on him?" Why has nobody told me that being #Engaged™ would be so darn exhausting? Between the unsolicited opinions (which everybody seems to have), the agonizing over yet-to-be considered details, and the overload of spam email, I'm ready to just elope. Bridal magazines are full of ugly bridesmaid dresses, overpriced invitations, and impossibly intricate canapés. It seems that unless you have all of these things, your marriage will be a sham. Well you know what, Martha Stewart? None of it interests me in the slightest. Since when did weddings make the shift from "public commitments in front of loved ones" to "Pinterest-fueled creativity competitions?" It could be because being in the wedding industry has jaded me in many ways but I'm kind of "over" weddings.
Since a lot of you seem to be engaged/soon to be engaged, I figured that a weekly journal discussing my thoughts and such on weddings and marriage might be a good idea. It's so soon on and already I have so many opinions. (You can stop reading now if you want to. I completely understand.)
Why does there have to be a theme? Do you just invite random people who have no significance in your life because you want good gifts? Furthermore, why do people get offended if not invited? Sorry guys, none of it makes any sense to me. It seems all very full of pomp and materialism. There's nothing wrong with wanting a big wedding but it seems that much too often, the planning of the wedding eclipses the infinitely more important planning of the marriage. I am not an expert by any means but I feel that the most salient details such as financial planning, growing communication skills, and "crisis-management" all get lost amidst the more "sexy" ones such as floral arrangements and the almighty Instagram hashtag. (As well as the "not-so-sexy" ones-- looking at you, "proverbial seating arrangement debacle.") I leafed my way through three different bridal magazines this week. I was visually assaulted with advertisements for more, and grander items with which to outdo the myriad of brides before me but was left with no advice for what happens after exchanging "I do's." Despite my first week of being engaged being a torrent of drama, complete and utter bliss has still been the strongest emotion that we've both been able to feel. It's also been quite the learning experience. Take my findings as cautionary words of advice:
1. "Wedding Entitlement" is a real thing. This is so much more than who's invited vs. who isn't. Everybody will inevitably feel the need to infringe upon your special moment. Now is the time for all of those opinions of you, your fiancé, your relationship, and yes, your hair, to start flying. It's a veritable free-for-all. If you're like me and are easily and irrationally angered by your extended family members and halfway-acquaintances, now would be a good time consider "secret marriage." They will inevitably overstep their boundaries and hurt your feelings in the process. People will say things without even thinking. When we told everybody, the reaction du jour was "shock" and barely anything else. Wow, rude. Just remember this though: YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED. Brush it off. You get to start a whole new family and will be the matriarch of a whole new generation of passive-aggression.
2. Having nicely manicured hands is incredibly difficult. Everybody asks to see the ring and along with that comes the pressure to keep your nails neat. I play music so all bets are off for this. I tried for a few days until I learned how easily nail polish chips and remembered why I never wear it. Now I just kinda do the "pound it" thing. It works.
3. Weddings are HELLA expensive. Even bridal magazines are ridiculously overpriced. $8 for some crinkly paper and hundreds of advertisements that are going to be outdated in a few months anyway? No thank you. A quick Google search for the cost of a wedding in your area will more than likely cause you to crap your pants. I always knew that matrimony came with a hefty price tag but I didn't realize just how gargantuan those numbers would be. So many costs that you would never think of until logistically parsing the entire thing: FORKS? REALLY? $150 for FORKS? And so on and so forth. The good news is that traditional weddings have fallen by the wayside and DIY reigns queen. "Etsy Weddings" (as I like to call them) can also get pretty expensive so you have to be smart with your budget and realize that nobody is going to care if you forego the succulents on the centerpieces. In all honesty, as somebody who has photographed weddings for years, they all look the same no matter how much thought and effort you pour into the decorations. You've seen one peony flower crown, you've seen them all. Pinterest has created this echo-chamber of special snowflake brides who are actually all the same. Don't believe me? Check it. I'll save you some money right now: HAVE to have that chalkboard that says "eat, drink, and be married!" in calligraphy? Forget about it. It's been done. You are not original and that is not clever. Move on.
4. Don't forget to stop, take a deep breath, and admire the sparkliness of your ring every once in a while. I had a particularly taxing (and enraging) moment this weekend. Brenden was luckily there and he looked at me and said "calm down. We're getting married." I took a deep breath, looked at my ring, and said to myself, "I'm marrying my best friend." All of the stress melted away. It's important to remember this because things will get crazy. (Unless you come from long line of mild-mannered and aesthetically flawless Stepford Wives.) Regardless of which color flowers you pick, the font on your invitation, or if you're able to lose those stubborn last five pounds before your wedding, you will wake up the next day next to your husband. How exciting is that? It makes the rest of it entirely worth it.
I feel like I should have gotten engaged earlier to weed out the weirdos from my life. I learned that my co-workers like me a lot more than I thought they did and that my family tree is full of nuts. (All in jest, family members who may be reading this.) I learned that none of that matters though. Don't let it get to you and you'll do just fine. Stay tuned for next week's thoughts: DRESS SHOPPING!