I’d always figured I would be, like eemusings, a bullshit free bride, but even more so because I don’t consider myself a “bride” even if we’re doing this wedding thing, more like the Female half of the couple. It turns out my insistence on doing things my way, the clearly LESS stressful way, is still stress-inducing. Y’know, the world would run a lot more smoothly if people would just Do As I Say.
Honestly, I just wanted to plan a fun party with good food, the people I love, some fun music and kick back with everyone and the Dog. And I hope that’ll still happen, but in the meantime, my current status is: I can’t wait to get the damn thing over with. Planning has been a prickly, multi-thorn in my side and the sooner this is over, the better.
1. The most surprising people are unreliable and/or frustrating.
A. Family members who offered to not just help, but to plan the whole damn thing, were incapable of doing ONE task I’d asked them to take care of. I asked them to order 1 food item because it’s easier to order on site in SoCal, and eleven thousand texts and three months later, they still hadn’t done it. Two weeks before, I get a message asking if I want to go with them to the store to order it when I get into town for the wedding. Which is, of course, entirely beside the point of delegating.
B. Friends who said they’d do ANYTHING to help? Total radio silence after I sent them an email asking for their input. I finished that item a month later and still hadn’t heard back from them.
C. Friends who couldn’t manage to RSVP. Now, I know you people can read, I’ve seen it happen. We went to school together and I know you were booksmart enough to read printed text AND you’ve planned weddings. So what possessed you to not read the invitation and actually think: She must not want us to RSVP, anyway I don’t know how? Have. Mercy.
D. Family who are completely preoccupied with how things will affect them: my dad saying that doing one thing my way would kill a lesser man with the shame of it but hey! it’s my wedding and my way so whatever! He’ll suck it up! I didn’t know what truth I spoke as a frustrated kid when I said he was the king of passive-aggressive; my relatives being stupidly clannish and refusing to sit where I planned to seat them because they assumed they’d be uncomfortable and refuse to integrate even one little bit with anyone else because you know, this is really just an event where they should hang out with each other and no one else. Honestly, people. There was no greater justification of that sinking feeling I had when I didn’t want to plan this: no one really cares about this, it’s either all about them or just an inconvenience.
2. The good people will make your heart sing.
A. I asked a very uncrafty friend to come scrapbook with me because I was feeling unloved and lonely. Months of late nights, attempts at crafting and planning alone made me crave company, but she HATES crafting. Without demur, she showed up for dinner and made several scrapbook pages late into the night even after I’d said it wasn’t that important. Just to humor me.
B. Katie (and Ruth and Twitter, I tried to spare the rest of the world a bit) listened to ALL my whining, every time something went wrong. Every. Day. Of. It. And she stayed up in the wee hours of the morning to go through old country music with me, rocking out. It’s probably one of my best memories of planning.
C. SingleMa was frakkin amazing. I pled mercy on the hunt for shoes: I needed a pair that were fancy enough for an event but not so fancy I couldn’t wear it everyday later. It felt impossible & I just could NOT take it anymore. She so graciously let me email her what I liked (but couldn’t have), loved (but couldn’t find), and hated (so many ugly shoes!) and worked her shoe fairy magic, coming back with an extensive list of great options for me to pick from. She nailed it.
D. One set of relatives I haven’t seen in years took my one request and completely ran with it. I have photographic evidence that we’ll be fine with their end of things.
E. The long distance friends who, without a moment’s hesitation, RSVPed an enthusiastic yes even though it involved a long flight, a lot of travel, or otherwise what I’d consider an inconvenience. There is no greater gift than these friends who show so clearly with their actions and their words that they want to share a special day with us. That’s all I was hoping for.
3. Guest lists are the devil’s playground.
Wrassle with the number of people you can invite, cut it down, get into fights over the family lists, chase down people who (see above) apparently don’t think it’s important to respond to that nicely printed piece of paper that asks them to come to a party so BTW TELL US if you’re going to come, and then discover that a whole lot of people who were planning to come aren’t, anymore. *deep breath* It’s enough to make you say: just forget it. Don’t even care anymore.
And rude relatives who invite themselves or their kid’s boyfriends or girlfriends are ridiculous.
4. Service fees and taxes
Did you know that venues will charge you at least 20% service (21% in our case) first, and THEN tax you on the total of all the services, food cost and the service fee? So that’s another 8% on top of 121% of the expected cost. YAY! I expected to pay those fees, but they weren’t clear about how it was applied. Also! We got a whole bunch of things free and they charged us a service fee on the value of those things (a coordinator, for example) so instead of free, it was 21% on the cost. Free: I don’t think that word means what you think it means.
At the end of this road, this day isn’t just MY day, or even just our day. Yes, all the decisions are made by us because we’re paying for and planning the whole thing. But it’s about having a nice time with loved ones and making a special memory to shine against the other darker days that we have had so many of. I’ll be grateful for everyone who shows up to have fun.