Friday, June 18, 2010

Eff The Effing It: I Am Not A Cool, Laid Back Bride.

Eff the bachelorette party
Eff the large bridal party and matching dresses
Eff the Saturday night wedding
Eff the fancy invitations
Eff the designer dress
Eff the really chic, sustainable, and super-fabulous venue
Eff the fancy catering and service
Eff the bouquet
Eff the favors
Eff the wedding cake

My ultimate wedding goal is to have an emotionally honest ceremony in a pretty locale, to get boozy with friends, and to dance to great music while looking fabulous. The rest can really go eff off. I'd love nice save the dates and invitations that would thrill my paper snob soul but I'd rather buy nicer beer for our guests. I'd love a pretty succulent bouquet, but I wouldn't choose it over a beautiful ketubah. I'd love a gorgeous designer dress but I'll be happy with special wear-again accessories. And once I made those eff it decisions, I truly decided not to care. It's not worth my time, angst, or money to second guess myself. I'm not shopping at fancy dress stores or custom shops because I'm just going to find a flattering white dress and be done with it. I really can't be bothered anymore.

So I'm willing to eff a whole freaking lot. I really am. But you know what? This wedding matters to me. In fact, it matters to me a whole darn lot. It sometimes weirds me out that I'm spending all this time and brainspace planning a wedding, because I was a happy singleton tomboy who could never really picture the partner or marriage. Five years ago I would have laughed in your face if you'd told me I'd be spending all this time writing and thinking about weddings. But the truth is, I'm still a bit in awe that I found a life partner who's so right for me in all the important ways. I want to honor our promise and commitment with seriousness and celebration. I want a day in which we can bring our families together as we begin to build a new expanded family, together. I want to facilitate joy and solemnity and giddy love. And creating space for that isn't simple. Coordinating family, tempering expectations, and defining meaningful traditions all while grappling with irritating vendors, huge amounts of money, and a shifting relationship is a painfully large challenge. And trying to find creative ways to limit that huge expenditure of money with 150 projected guests is a comically large challenge that's taken a lot of time and effort.

I wonder sometimes why I'm bothering with this challenge at all. In many ways, I think a wedding is simply an important symbolic ritual of marriage, but it's not a reflection on marriage itself. Jason and I feel "married" already, in the sense that we've been committed to the everyday efforts of building a joint life for a while now. So the wedding is icing on the cake. Many of the details (like that cake) can get tossed. Effed, as it were. Because the purpose of this all is a chance to say, "Yes, this matters. And yes, we promise to make it matter."

And that's the part that feels huge to me. It doesn't feel huge in a need-a-fancy-ballroom-reception way. It just feels important in a way I've never experienced before. I've never felt so sure of anything as terrifying as linking my future in with someone else. And I want to honor that hugeness.

And so, the wedding matters. I can feel entirely laid back about save the dates, but I can't feel entirely cool and laid back when the venue plans get tossed up and smashed to pieces and when the guest list feels out of control. I can't feel laid back when our plans get twisted in a way that doesn't feel right for us and our rituals and truths as a couple. And I can't feel cool and laid back when the little moments start adding up and I suddenly lose it in a cathartic scream of frustration. But oh. effing. well. This matters. And it turns out that I'm not cool and laid back about it at all. I'm heartfelt and earnest and I want to honor our marriage honestly. And at this point, I'm ready to rip on anyone and anything that gets in my way.


  1. you know- my post last night about the wedding, I wasn't at all referring to you :) Actually, I think that what you're struggling with are VALID reasons to be frantic and to take up your time.

    I was actually thinking, while I typed out how I was feeling pretty blasé about the details, that really some of it is because we are fortunate to have a venue. And I thought how much my sanity would be affected if I had to struggle with your situation- huge guest list, family, venue stuff.

    Your frustration and time commitment is warranted and valid for Honest and Authentic reasons. And your 'eff' list is what I realized and was referring to as not essential.

    What I didn't say in my post is how FRANTIC and STRESSED and not cool I have been about the IMPORTANT stuff like: financial merging, in-law catastrophies, guest list drama and fights, our almost elopement, my complete apathy when it comes to my dress...

    you know- the non-happy stuff.

    Which maybe was a bit unfair to leave out.

    But then- THAT stuff isn't stress about decorations, flowers, invitations, shoes, boutonnieres... it's VALID stress that deserves thought and time.

    Your reasons are perfect. :)

  2. i think we all approach the wedding day "knowing" our priorities.

    and then actually planning the wedding, makes us REALLY sort out our priorities.

    "i want it to be affordable. and i want only the people i love to be there. everything else doesn't matter. la la la."

    and then you have to buckle down and decide which is more important- expense or people. DAMMIT, i thought i had it figured out. but that's a piece of refining the wedding so it's just right (as frustrating as it may be).

    start from scratch, lady. it's both scary as hell, and oh-so-freeing to take everything off of the table and start over. dig up all those old venues that you've already researched and decided weren't meaningful or cheap or pretty enough. rehash everything. give them all another call- by this point, if the date isn't booked yet, they may throw you a giant discount (i had places chopping THOUSANDS of dollars off of the price because we were only 3 mos from the date, and they hadn't booked the day yet- they figure they may as well get a little something than a lot of nothing). or you may stumble across something you hadn't noticed, or didn't realize you'd liked before. you have much wiser, more experienced eyes now.

    oh, and. make an excel spreadsheet, listing venue name, price, occupancy limits, and a number-rating of meaningful-ness or prettiness.

    from one last-minute-venue bride to another.

  3. Last week, when I was panicking and upset about our lack of ceremony venue certainty and lack of certainty regarding the food, you told me, "You aren’t worried about the details like letterpressed placecards, you’re worried about hosting with grace and 50-person logistics. These are important and deserve much consideration. We spend a ragged Saturday afternoon hashing through every conceivable wheelchair logistical question possible. It was miserable, there may have been a tiff-y moment or two, but it was all far more important than centerpieces."

    I thought it might help you to remember. Also, I think a lot of us blogging brides are often so concerned about not wanting to appear like we're wedding obsessed that we think it's not cool to appear to care about the wedding at all. Well, eff THAT. It's your damn wedding; you're allowed to care a great deal about it. You're allowed to worry about finding security in your wedding plans as much as you're allowed to worry about finding security with the person you have chosen to marry. Think of the wedding as a microcosm of the life you are crafting together. We like to say that it's not about the wedding, it's about the marriage, but I think this is an unfortunate backlash to the over-dramatization that wedding have received from the WIC and the inspiration blogs. The wedding itself is about the marriage. We have to cut ourselves some slack and allow ourselves to worry about the wedding. You want to get married in a pretty setting that is meaningful to both of you as a couple and that will accommodate your friends and family. This is not an obsession of finding the perfect rustic mason jars. It is a reasonable concern about location and the number of people you will need to accommodate.

    Vent, scream, punch pillows, go for a walk, take a shower, eat some ice cream, and when you feel better, start making calls again.


  4. Hmm do any of the restaurants on the "99 things to eat in LA before you die" work?

    Anyway, we're bloggers. We get inspired/freaked out more than the average bride. We also support each other and as Liz said, it can work for us last minute brides. The journey is the tough part but you'll get there!

  5. Been there, it sucks. Just keep a sense of humor about it and take a deep breath. Also be warned that this sentiment will arise about ten more times over different issues, so practice calming yourself now. There will also be about 100 times more moments of unexpected elation over things you wouldn't have foreseen. Those moments get you through the bad ones.

  6. I don't want to add much because you summed it up very well. I just want to say a big AMEN to you last sentences: "This matters. And it turns out that I'm not cool and laid back about it at all. I'm heartfelt and earnest and I want to honor our marriage honestly. And at this point, I'm ready to rip on anyone and anything that gets in my way. "

  7. Yes the wedding matters but you have totally the right perspective. It is the marriage which is most important.

    Just do what the hell you want and enjoy yourself. You will honour this amazing moment. How can you not?

  8. Yay! Back to the basics of what matters for YOU. That's the most important part. I think that ALL wedding stress is valid to a degree- you just need to sort out why it's stressing you and what you can actually do to solve it. And that's that. AND....are we going dress shopping soon??

  9. "It sometimes weirds me out that I'm spending all this time and brainspace planning a wedding, because I was a happy singleton tomboy who could never really picture the partner or marriage. Five years ago I would have laughed in your face if you'd told me I'd be spending all this time writing and thinking about weddings."

    Yes. I felt the same way. Shocked that I was getting married, and even more shocked that I cared so much about how the wedding turned out (and not just the ceremony, though that's where most of our work went).

    My dad found my supposedly secret wedding blog, and remarked how surprised he was that ~I~ was writing about weddings. He never expected to see the day that his fiercely independent, committed singleton daughter would spend her time musing about weddings.

    I think this 180 degree turn - from dedicated singleton to bride-to-be - can make the wedding planning, and feelings about the amount of care we do or don't put into it, all the more fraught. For a woman who's been dreaming about her perfect wedding since age 8, it's easy and obvious to put lots of time and care into planning "the biggest day of her life." She has no (?or at least fewer) conflict emotions around throwing so much time, energy and money into planning one day.

    But for one who didn't expect to get married, and didn't think weddings were really ~all that~, to shift perspectives over a few months can be a bit harrowing, in my experience. Especially if the friends/ family who knew you as the tomboy singleton don't understand the new fascination with dresses and venues. And this conflicting emotions/ messages can make it all the harder. (I was ready to chuck it all when my MOH and best friend couldn't understand my obsession with finding the right style of dress for her...this after she rejected my suggestion that she wear whatever in a particular color. She WANTED me to choose the dress! That was nearly the last straw...)

    Hang in there! You'll get there!

  10. You are laid back about the little things. I think you are totally in the right place by effing those things. I'm effing many of those too.

    But yes, the big stuff in the wedding matters, and I think it's absolutely fine that you want to work on those things. I want to work on those things too! And yes, they are hard. But they are worth it. Thinking, writing, screaming about them are all part of the process.

  11. You know this is normal, right? The eff it moment usually happens about 24 hours before you walk down the asile. This is stressful, it's huge, it's transformative, you'll learn a lot. So just let yourself cry it out or yell, or whatever.

    Though you probably can eff the geust list. It's seriously fine.

  12. Man, does this one speak to me. (Most of your posts do, but this one, so much right now.)

    I wanted to have the most fuck the WIC/BIC/and your mom kinda wedding so badly... just to do it. Just because I could. Just because I wanted to. But getting closer to the wedding and feeling how close it is, is resulting in me wanting a wedding and now having a wedding that actually looks like one. But not in the intentional like, "every little fucking thing has to match!!! AHHH!!" sorta way. But the, "yes, yes I would like a beautiful necklace to match my beautiful dress, and you know, I want to DIY our bouti-caca's because I care." And I got so mad at myself- "Ange, you're not supposed to care. That's not who you are!!!"

    I learned, caring or not caring, eff it or not effing it (but love effing it), I yam what I yam. And I love going through the motions of hating my wedding, loving my wedding, caring and the not caring. It's kind of fun. And it shows I'm growing. Planning a wedding is most definitely a learning process... and it should be fun just for that reason.

    It's also all about where you choose to focus your energy- succulent bouquet or ketubah.... um, ketubah. Real, fabic linens or the "heavy drinking package." Well, that's one obvious.

  13. You know what's important. It will be okay. It doesn't feel like it right now, but get a few pieces together and the rest will fall into place. Promise.

    I think this is harder for you because you're having such a long engagement. It gives you too much time and luxury to overthink and stress and torture yourself. I did the same thing--I often wish I would have had a six month engagement: that would have been EXACTLY enough time to plan the wedding we wanted and that was honest and real, and not enough time for everyone else to make me second-guess our decisions and send things out of control... of course, it wouldn't have given us enough time to save. But it would have saved us from having time to come up with ideas that cost more. Hm. I have to rethink this. :)

  14. Also! I have to say, if the big crazy wedding never was you, but feels like you must have it now... there's a good chance you'll remember it wasn't you after the wedding. Try to make your real self happy instead of your wedding-planning self, because your real self will last longer. Does that make sense? That's what I wish I knew before I started--that if something feels REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT while planning the wedding that I KNOW I didn't care about before... I didn't care about it after, either, and regretted throwing the money/energy at it.

  15. I keep hearing the same thing when it comes to planning a wedding. It's all about priorities. I think I have a pretty good sense of mine. I do want pretty stuff, yummy food, and good sounding music. But it's all going to be as inexpensive as I can get away with. That's my priority. And a lot of the extras, forget it. Not paying to monogram and personalizing every little detail. They'll see our names and date on programs and menus and whatever else I can make myself in Photoshop.

    Then again, I'm really early on the process. I wonder how my priorities will change by the end?

  16. Wow...all I can say is a big AMEN HALLELUJAH to your post. I'm right where you are. Five years ago, I would've laughed in your face if you told me I'd be genuinely excited about being able to cook dinner and do laundry in the same room. Five years ago, I would've laughed harder if you told me I'd be getting married not that I had never believed I would, I just was never one of those "I've been dreaming about my wedding and all its details since I was 7" type of gal. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not me.
    Yet, here I am: semi-addicted to Weddings911 with a blog, FB AND Twitter all for this wedding. I'm incredibly grateful and amazed at this wonderful community of brides to be that have helped me find my sanity, vent with much understanding and helpful advice as well as laugh my ass off.
    I definitely have the eff off attitude, even about people showing up. Because to be honest, I'm on a budget and don't know if I could trek off to Santa Barbara for a weekend. I'm not going to hold that against you. We're going to have a blast, and at the end I'll be married to the surprising love of my life.


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