And also: JASON AND I HAVE NEVER BEEN BUSIER AT WORK. EEEEEEEEEEEEEK!
And lastly: WHY YES, I DID START PLANNING THIS WEDDING 17 MONTHS AGO. AND YES, I PROCRASTINATED ON MANY THINGS UNTIL NOW.
No, you do not get to complain about the capslock on this post. It is an entirely apt expression of my life-angst right now. Because this is the phase of wedding planning that no one can prepare you for. They may try, and they will warn you about the monumental stress-mess-overload that takes over your life in the months preceding the wedding, but you won't really understand. I certainly didn't. I thought I'd understand. I'd pulled all-nighters before. I'd worked under pressure on eight competing deadlines. I'd planned 500 attendee conferences before and knew what needed to get done. I'd seen those to-do lists from The Knot and knew that the last two months seemed to be engulfed in an impossible stream of tasks. It was going to be hard but manageable.
What no one could prepare me for was the emotional overload on top of it all. No one could prepare me for all the darn tears: tears because I feel so gd*mn lucky, tears because I am entirely and legitimately frustrated, and tears from the straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back-eeeeefffffff moments. I didn't know I could get twisted in so many ways at once. I didn't know that people who had stayed away from our wedding planning process would all come clamoring in during the last two months (both in incredible and irritating ways.) I didn't know that small problems would explode into big problems when all the emotions, stress, and complete lack of time set off a dangerous fuse.
And since I can't really prepare you for it, all I can do is tell you how I've been coping. A from-the-trenches look at how I'm managing the day-to-day pressures of the end-stretch of wedding planning.
Snoop Dog is also a big fan of watermelon gum. Who knew?)
A good water bottle. I am not joking, my favorite Christmas present this year was this water bottle, in pink (for that, I blame my mother). I love it. Could I drink water out of a glass? Sure. Could I drink water out of a plastic disposable bottle? Sure (but here's why I don't). Could I buy a safe, reusable, aluminum water bottle? I did. I didn't like it. It leaked and got condensation everywhere. I didn't use it. Is $30 a stupid splurge for a water bottle? Not if I inexplicably love the darn thing and carry it with me everywhere. Mine is pink! And has a handle! And I end up drinking 9 glasses of water a day and feeling less sick and dehydrated from the three cups of coffee I'm also drinking! YAY!
Mini-Step Machine. I am not the best at regular exercise. I generally put it off until I'm too tired to actually get around to it. So I bought a mini-step machine that eliminates all "I don't have time for exercise" excuses. I wake up 50 minutes earlier than usual, load up a guilty pleasure TV show (Glee, perhaps? Or Buffy the Vampire Slayer?) and step away. It's been revolutionary. I can watch tv for 40-45 minutes and exercise, all without leaving my house/dealing with the gym. And all for $70 dollars. I cannot sing the praises of this machine enough (I compared reviews. There are cheaper machines out there, but go for the NordicTrack) It's a lazy whiny procrastinator girl's exercise-and-associated-stress-relief dream machine. Yay.
Massage: I don't care if you're too strapped for cash because of the wedding: do it. Or hint to the person planning your shower or bachelorette that you'd love one. Find a well-reviewed Thai massage or non-spa massage location that doesn't cost $100. Just go. I finally made an appointment here and nearly cried from joy (after nearly crying from deep tissue massage pain. There's definitely a tear theme here). I hadn't realized how bad the stress had become until I could actually move my shoulders again. If massage isn't your thing, get a facial, manicure, acupuncture, reflexology or whatever it is that feels like a mini-splurge and relaxes you. You need to take an hour for you. You can find an hour. You can find something in an affordable price range. Really. Now go schedule it.
Wine. That's right, wine. A glass a day is good for you. It doesn't need to be fancy, just something you can enjoy. Personally, if I air out the Charles Shaw Merlot or Cab, it does the trick. Ever since it won at our blind taste test party, we've been bigger fans. For white, however, I prefer Trader Joe's Vinho Verde, which is a refreshing, slightly bubbly, inexpensive ($4) Portuguese white.
Oatmeal oatmeal and more damn oatmeal. This is both a cost issue (waaaaah budget means very little money to buy lunches at work) and a time issue (time? who has time for supermarket shopping??!! or cooking!!!!!) So, as incredibly boring as oatmeal has become, I can still have something cheap and easy at my fingertips. I've stocked my home and office with oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, and nuts. And I keep a bag of pre-washed salad, black beans, and shredded cheese in the fridge for quickie salads. Because honestly, right now, I could stress eat the entire bag of fresh baked cookies that they sell at the shop beneath my office. In fact, I could happily stress eat that bag of cookies every day. But I don't have an extra $6 each day, nor do I have an extra 1500 calories each day. So, by keeping oatmeal in the office, I no longer have the excuse to pop by the store that sells those delicious cookies, looking for a lunch sandwich (and cookies). I can thereby save my money and my stress-eating waistline (yep, still trying to fit back into that wedding dress).
Ask for help. I'm not very good at that. In fact, I'm terrible at it. But I cannot tell you how grateful I am - and how much this wedding planning process has been enriched - by the people who have jumped in to help us out. And by the people who insisted on wresting tasks from my controlling hands. I want to kiss and hug every one of them right now.
Throw money at it. Seriously, if you can, get a bit freer with your pocketbook. I decided DIY invitations were insane with our schedule and we just ordered something we loved. I realized I have no interest in worrying about whether we have enough staff to clean up at the end of the night and just hired someone to help. I decided not to worry about how our small car will transporting things to the venue and we're renting a minivan (which will also take care of a taxi expense to the airport.) I decided I wanted a bouquet so my nervous hands won't be weird looking in photos. Whatever. I don't care anymore. I'm using our contingency budget on this and, if a real contingency comes up, we'll find a way to manage. Because I don't have the energy to deal anymore.
If you have a pet, indulge in tummy petting whenever possible. You may have heard that it's like frolicking in the back hair of an angel. It is. And it absolutely helps.
And lastly, let yourself cry if you need to. Even if you don't know what you're crying about. Curl up in your partner's arms, even if there's nothing he or she can do to help besides stroking your hair and offering you shoulder to burrow into.