Bear and I got married nine months ago. Not to the day, or anything. I’ve never been like that.
Sometimes I feel a little like a wedding veteran, when people are talking about planning one. They always sound so young and ambitious, and I lean back in my chair, fold my hands over my belly, and say, “Alright now…Alright now, kid…But let’s just slow it down for a minute, here…”
No, I would never say that.
But I feel like I learned a lot from planning a wedding. And I realized suddenly that I never really took the time to write a post that summed up my experience into a neat little post with a moral at the end and a set of convenient bullet points for reference. And I’m a blogger, so that’s sort of unforgivable.
Instead, after I got married, I was really excited to not have to think about weddings ever again. A few months ago, I clicked on some fluff piece called something like “The Post Wedding Blues: Are You Feeling Depressed and Down During Your First Months of Marriage? It May Be Because All That Wedding Excitement is Over!”
I was like, “Wait, what? Are you kidding me? THIS is the good part.”
But sometimes I think I’m too hard on my wedding. It was a great day. I wore a stunning gown. I still remember exactly how Bear looked, and how he looked at me.
It was ridiculous how much love was in that room.
And here is what I learned:
1. There will be that much love in that room no matter what. People are thrilled to be at a wedding. You don’t have to worry so much about whether or not they’ll like it.
2. If you really want something, stand up for it. Don’t let the other people involved in the planning process tell you that thing isn’t appropriate, or isn’t “wedding-y” enough. It’s always wedding-y enough. I wanted to serve the guests deli sandwiches, but got overruled, on the basis of sandwiches being inappropriate fare for a formal wedding. Now I realize that no one would’ve cared, and it would’ve been cute.
3. Conversely, if you stand up for the thing, and the other people involved (such as your mother) care a lot more than you do, it’s probably OK to just let them do their thing. Because you will not be thinking about the food or the flowers or anything really, except for being extremely happy, on that day.
4. I am really glad that at the last minute, I told the awesome girl doing my hair and makeup that I didn’t want a lot of makeup. Because of this, I look more like me in the pictures, and I like it.
5. I am really glad I wore comfortable flats.
6. And a shrug I bought off Etsy for $40. I don’t regret any of the things I didn’t spend a lot of money on.
7. The only parts that really mattered were the ceremony and the toasts. You can tell people to keep it to 2-5 minutes, but don’t cut them out if you want them to speak or sing or play or recite something. There’s way too much concern over whether or not the guests are sufficiently entertained. They will get to dance a lot!
8. Along these lines, I am SO glad the ceremony was as long as we needed it to be. Bear and I wrote our own vows and Neshama Carlebach sang, and I sang, and people gave us blessings. And the videographer complained that ours was the longest wedding he’d ever filmed, and he’d had to burn an extra DVD, as a result. But I don’t regret even one second of the ceremony.
What I do regret is…
9. The receiving line after the ceremony. It slowed everything down, created a bottleneck, and left Bear and I locked in the basement for over a half hour, waiting to be told what to do next. I was annoyed at missing so much of our wedding, and it was clear that no one was sure how to manage it. And because everyone was still stuck in the ceremony part of the space, our group photos are outside, in the street. And there are almost no photos of Bear and I just standing around, being married together.
10. The truth is, I didn’t fully understand what weddings were about until months and months later, when Bear and I visited his cousins, and they were all still talking about it. They’re all gotten to see each other and hang out, and check out NYC, while we were busy freaking out and getting married and driving off for our very, very tiny excuse for a honeymoon. When you’re getting married, you forget about everyone else. But a wedding is about everyone else almost as much as it’s about you.
I’m bad at lists and bullet points. I wasn’t great at wedding planning, either. I can’t even think of a good moral to conclude this story with.
If I were to rewind time and do it all over again, yet with the great wisdom that I have acquired since then intact, I think I would’ve gone a little less formal. The formality was out of nervousness and inexperience. I think I would’ve hired the florist I liked, rather than the one with a longer track record, who my mom trusted, and who thought all bouquets should be huge and round. I think I would’ve had Katherine curl my hair even less, so that I looked even more like me, and I would’ve gotten deli sandwiches for everyone. And definitely no receiving line.
I might want to redo the wedding night, too, which concluded with me throwing up, and crawling miserably into bed, wearing one of Bear’s t-shirts and feeling like I was probably going to die. But then again, it’s hard to predict what the best part of a story will be. Sometimes it’s the stuff that goes wrong that makes for the best retelling.
I loved my wedding, but that doesn’t mean I know how to do weddings right. I loved it because it was mine. I think it’s easy to feel like there’s a chance you could mess your wedding up, when really, there isn’t. Which doesn’t mean I think formality is totally lame, and people who have formal weddings are suckers. I don’t. I liked wearing a huge, fancy white gown.
I liked that the day was just about as different from every other day as possible. But if it had been a really casual, in-a-field, potluck kind of wedding, it would’ve been special in a totally different way. And in many of the same ways, too.
OK, I’m done.
Also, one last lesson: gigantic bouquets are difficult to hold. Mine was really, really ugly, and could’ve easily been used to bludgeon someone to death, had I needed it for that:
(I think this is the only picture of Bear and I looking at the camera at the same time. And he’s not even really looking at the camera. The lavender lights in the back for cocktail hour were also a mistake)
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Unroast: Today I love the way I look in white.
Here are some of my favorite posts from the wedding planning days:
Cookies for my wedding: a post about not dieting in preparation for my wedding.
I am not grown up enough for my life: a post about how technical wedding planning can get, and how I’m not good at being technical.
Brides have to look in the mirror for a long time: a post about getting my gown altered and being informed that my breasts don’t exist.
I’m getting married in a little over two weeks: a post about how I reacted to getting engaged, and how I am probably too young to get married. And lots more. Actually this is probably the longest post I’ve ever written.