I’m getting married in 39 days.
Or, if I consult the countdown app that I downloaded because I’m a total masochist- 1 month, 7 days, 23 hours 35 minutes and rapidly disappearing seconds.
When we started planning our wedding a little more than a year ago, I was convinced that a full years worth of wedding planning would be a practically unbearable amount of time. That the days would drag and linger and I would be left just twiddling my thumbs and waiting.
Like most of my ridiculous assumptions, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
This year has flown by in a flurry of decisions (not my strong suit), tears (both of the happy and the absolute irrational meltdown variety) and a moment or two (or 5,253) of “why the hell didn’t we just elope”. I’ve bored just about everyone I’ve encountered with incessant wedding chatter and have developed actual opinions about things like wedding bands and photo booths.
Suddenly, people who I barely knew began sharing their thoughts about my wedding without even a second of hesitation. I have become fluent in a language I didn’t even know existed- of linens and letter pressed stationary, calligraphers and seamstresses and so much etsy. Wedding planning turns rational, kind human beings (myself included) into insane monsters with toddler-level emotions and coping skills.
Sweet, well-meaning coworkers and distant facebook acquaintances were constantly minimizing my stress level, insisting that this should be “the happiest time of my life”. To which I would dryly reply “dear god. I hope not.”
I have this awful habit of trying to do everything and doing none of it particularly well. I had been working long days, doing the mom thing, getting up at 5 am to work out in my basement in the name of “self-care” (aka being totally anxiety ridden at that thought of 250 people seeing me in a wedding dress) and balancing my laptop in my lap while “relaxing” in bed, placing orders for various wedding “essentials”. Two weeks ago, I reached a level of exhaustion that I didn’t know was possible. I called in sick from work and slept. For an entire day. I got up, ate dinner with my family, and went back to bed and immediately back to sleep. 20 hours of sleep and I began to feel moderately human again. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, other than perhaps I was actually dying.
That Friday, I left for my bachelorette party. I knew nothing about our agenda, except that were were heading to Newport and that most of my favorite people would be in attendance.
That weekend was magic.
I didn’t think once about the minute wedding details that had been ruling my life. I didn’t think of the unfinished pile of paperwork sitting on my desk at work. I didn’t think about my 6 year old for more than the time it took to FaceTime and say a hello and I love you (she was having the time of her life with her grandparents, as usual). I didn’t think about what Shawn was doing, except when he checked in with me at 11pm on a Saturday night to tell me he was exhausted and would rather be falling asleep on the couch with me.
I was happy.
I was surrounded by this amazing group of women, by my friends and Shawn’s friends and my soon-to-be sisters in law. Any worries I had about how everyone would get along dissolved instantly. We played silly games, laughed more than I have in a very long time, helped each other with our hair and makeup and ate our weight in junk food. We danced. For hours. (And for one glorious 10 minute period, to the best Beyonce mash-up I have ever heard. I’m pretty sure that DJ is STILL rolling his eyes) We had a private wine tasting with this actor-turned-wine expert named Kevin who complimented us for leaving our penis accessories at home and gave us much more than your typical tasting pour whenever his boss wasn’t looking. I took a late night cab ride to a very exclusive hot dog stand that turned out to just be a 7-11 and I ate the hot dog anyway. I don't even like hot dogs and it was still delicious.
I felt loved and supported and buoyed by all this positive energy. A sense of excitement and anticipation started buzzing within me, replacing the “how am I ever going to get all this stuff done” dread that had been weighing heavily in the pit of my stomach. I missed Shawn fiercely, sending him a barrage mushy texts after last call. This was a marked improvement over the week before when I was not-so-silently fuming at him for the way he was stuffing invitation envelopes and irrationally thinking “oh no is this really what I’m going to be stuck with FOREVER !?!?”
That weekend was a gift. One I will be forever grateful for.
That weekend was a gift. One I will be forever grateful for.
It provided me with an essential bit of perspective. That the whole point of this wedding nonsense is to be surrounded by people who love you, who have watched you flounder and grow and flourish and to celebrate. To be happy. Since that trip, I’ve been able to consciously chose to not worry about every little detail ( a rather impressive accomplishment, seeing as I’ve encountered a way too small flower girl dress and several invitation snafus in the last 72 hours alone) and to let myself just be excited.
Engagement and wedding season is rapidly approaching and I have this unsolicited piece of advice for all brides-to-be. Accept that you will, no matter how laid-back or organized or decisive you are- momentarily lose your mind. People who you love and admire may also join you in temporary insanity. You will have at the very least one 20 minute period where you cry uncontrollably- and the catalyst for this will be entirely unrelated to your wedding and very confusing for your fiance. You will become a distant (at best) or terrible (at worst) friend and a moderately distracted employee. But also know- it gets better. You can make the choice to let it go and just look forward with excitement and joy. Accept help, delegate tasks and realize nobody cares as much as you do (or as much as you think they do. Except for maybe your mother. She probably cares, a lot).
On May 7th, I’m not going to be worried about the quality of my table linens or if the white hydrangeas compliment the meticulously selected yellow roses. I’m not going to care if there was enough Advil in our bathroom baskets or if our guests are scraping the Gorgonzola cheese off of their fillets. I am just going to be happy. To be surrounded by all the people who have loved me throughout the course of my life while I proudly commit the rest of it to a partnership with the very best person I know.
And I’m going to be dancing. For hours. Preferably to Beyonce.