By: Revanche

Getting back on the horse: planning a wedding & reception

August 17, 2013

Friend 1: “Why didn’t you ask for help?”
Friend 2: “PSH, Revanche? Ask for help?” *proceeds to laugh her head off*
– On me nearly unsuccessfully heaving a suitcase into the overhead, thinking I’d be damned if I didn’t get it in there myself.

There’s something almost therapeutic about old friends who know my foibles. I’m terrible at this.

It’s 2:30 in the morning. PiC and I have just set the date for our reception that’s oh, about 2 years overdue or something like that and now it’s time to actually plan this thing. I only get the occasional rage-attacks that tend to leak out when I think “wedding” and “Mom” and “family that was horrible” so this should absolutely go smoothly now.

For the three years since our engagement, the idea of asking people to be involved, to help or stand by me as I navigated the road of being engaged and getting married tasted sour. It was hard to fathom how it wouldn’t be an imposition, that family or friends who hadn’t volunteered might actually be willing to lend an ear, a hand or a brain.

And for the past four months, talking about setting a date and finding a venue, the thought of even asking them to make time to attend felt like a definite imposition. As much as I don’t care about what people think in the abstract, that non-caring only works when I’m doing my own thing and working on my own life. Not when I have to *shudder* share part of my life.  Setting a date was something of a random process, filtered and narrowed down as I frantically tried to ensure that the really important people wouldn’t be put out too much.

Not all of this is the rambling of a paranoid, oversensitive loon. More than some of my oldest friends have moved thousands of miles away and it’s no small thing to travel cross country for a wedding.

I mean, weddings. High probability of mediocre food, questionable music, and dozens if not hundreds of strangers surrounding you while you don’t spend quality time with the person you came to celebrate. (yes, i a wildly sentimental.) That hasn’t been the case for most weddings I’ve attended since becoming an adult but only because I started self-selecting out of the ones where I don’t love the person enough to put up with nearly anything for them years ago. As a kid, I was the unwilling baggage at dozens of family weddings, and believe me, when you’re related by way of dad’s mom’s sister’s brother in law’s nephew’s elephant’s trainer, “family” didn’t make them any more special.  (Kidding about the elephant trainer because honestly, I would have been 100% all over the elephant trainer thing.)

But it’s time. It’s time to commit to a thing that’s supposed to be special, supposed to be for us to enjoy with our family and friends, and supposed to be memorable in good ways and not the kind that leave me up at night pondering the meaning of life. And for that, it might also be time to learn how to ask for help in a way that lets our loved ones know we want them to be part of it.

We didn’t get here all unwilling after all. We really did want to share some part of this with good friends and family.


And speaking of loved ones, maybe I’ll learn how to talk to Dad again. Those conversations have not been going well these past months and I feel like the World’s Worst Daughter for it.

In trying to talk about wedding receptioning, he and I have butted heads far more severely than I ever imagined possible, leading to my insisting that he’s obligated to support me and my decisions rather than insisting that we must invite “all or none” of our relatives. The grief hasn’t been doing either of us any good, and in this situation, being the only child he’s likely to parent at a wedding, I understand that he’s suddenly got a vested interest in “Doing It Right” culturally but … guys. “All” is approximately 500+ people. I would lose my mind. I’m going to do that anyway, what’s the thing after that?


In any case, we have a date and a possible venue and we’re going to spend twice as much as my stingy soul’d prefer but whatever. Full service. Small wins, right?


13 Responses to “Getting back on the horse: planning a wedding & reception”

  1. eemusings says:

    Win’s a win. You can do this 🙂

  2. Sense says:

    Yay! That is so exciting! So many lose their heads over a wedding. Even the types that don’t think they will (I bet I’m one of them…). Maybe the way to think of this is that it is just a party. A very special one, but a party nonetheless.

    Definitely ask for help. Can you appoint a good friend as bride-wrangler, so that THEY ask others for help when you can’t see that you really need to? I can see how asking a friend for a favour (in lieu of a gift) would make the day more meaningful, ease your worries, and make them feel more included. Particularly since you never ask for help, the people that matter will feel flattered, and like their hard-earned money is well spent on attending a function of which they are also an important part.

    • Revanche says:

      Yes, trying to think of it as a really most-but-not-really organized party. Complete with party things. And that helps a lot, now.
      I definitely don’t expect any gifts from close friends (well, other than family who will feel obligated as is part of our cultural traditions) so it would be nice to have their help in small ways, in lieu of spending money.

  3. Kris says:

    Oooooh girl. I had a great relationship with my mom growing up, but these last years it’s been just terrifying. I’m sitting in the airport right now, on my way to see her, and wondering why I there isn’t some Bailey’s in my coffee to get me ready.

    You’ll be fine! I’d probably be as angsty as you, to be honest, but it will be what it will be. Just make up your mind to enjoy yourself even if the venue’s on fire. <3

    And I, too, will land myself in traction before I ask for help. Totally get that.

  4. Katie C. says:

    Ach! Asking for help is so hard. I still remember having a breakdown at midnight because, after looking over the invitations I had done myself, David pointed out that I misspelled his middle name. (I still don’t know if it’s spelled “Alan” or “Allen.”) I thought I could do everything on my own, and when the evidence that I couldn’t was staring at us in black and white (thank god I had bought extra blank invitations for printing)… Well, let’s just say I spent a few hours sobbing. David helped me reprint the invitations that night, but I still didn’t lean on anyone for help, not really. So, yes, accept help when it’s offered and feel free to request it when it’s not offered. Lord knows you help the people around you enough to deserve a little help in return.

  5. Here’s the plan. You invite all the relatives, for sure. But you have the reception in Tahiti. Voila.

    Okay, that’s sardonic.

    Heh. Ever think of having two events, one for the 500 relatives in a gigantic reception hall, with a specific hour at which it’s over, and another to which you and a few of your closest friends repair afterwards? Sort of like some people have huge weddings but small, very private receptions…

    • Revanche says:

      I had thought about doing the two events thing but somehow we just couldn’t wrap our brains around the logistics. Sort of sucked trying to make it happen. So now: invite maybe 50 of them and go with that. (I wish that were the end of the story. We both know it’s not.)

  6. Small definitely wins for me. I’ve been to weddings where the couple didn’t even know I was there, not that it was their fault, it was just too big to be intimate and meaningful in my opinion.

    • Revanche says:

      Haha I meant small wins as in I’ll take whatever little wins I can get. Even with going super minimal we’re at nearly 200 invitations of just good friends so I’m fine with organizing it so that it’s casual so I can spend time with people I care about and the people who are courtesy invites can occupy themselves (family, mainly).

  7. […] and PiC are settling in after a busy summer. Now they’re planning a belated wedding reception, a scheme infinitely complicated by the vastness and complexity of […]

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This website and its content are copyright of A Gai Shan Life  | © A Gai Shan Life 2017. All rights reserved.

Site design by 801red