All my life I’ve been told that I’ve been dreaming about my wedding all my life…so when I realized this week that I don’t really know what I want for Eric’s and my wedding, I was kind of taken aback.
What’s weird is that I totally thought I knew what I wanted. I didn’t dress up like a bride or have princess fantasies as a little girl, but I’m on Pinterest, aren’t I? I should have been raring to go as soon as Eric and I got engaged.
But the thing is, I wasn’t planning our wedding on Pinterest. I was planning my “wedding.”
A “wedding” is what you plan when you have a vision of what a girl who looks vaguely like you and a person who looks vaguely like your partner (or, if you’re single, a still-vague but ridiculously attractive stand-in) would do with an unlimited budget, in between going to work at your dream jobs and hanging out with your family who never, ever pisses you off.
A wedding is what you plan when have a real partner, real future in-laws, a real job, a real budget, and you’ve told everyone you love, “Hey! We’re planning a wedding!”
When it came to my “wedding,” I realized pretty early on that I don’t have any money and my family is not rich, so I probably shouldn’t go dreaming about a lavish affair. As I became more comfortable with this fact about myself and let go of the fantasy that I’d be rich someday, I lost interest in having the fantasy wedding that gets shoved down our throats. I didn’t like what it seemed to represent — pressure on couples, and particularly women, to fit into a certain mold — and I started to see the beauty in doing something that represented who I actually am. And once I realized that I’m probably going to be like Kristen Bell receiving her sloth on the day of my wedding, I realized, Um, yeah…I’d prefer not to emote like that in front of people I barely know. Intimate and inexpensive is totally what I want for my wedding.
Don’t get me wrong, I could still kill an hour on a Lazy Sunday looking at wedding blogs or wedding boards on Pinterest, but this was mostly rooted in my love of a good theme party. When I tell people this, they raise an eyebrow. Or two. Trying to explain that you only read wedding blogs for the pretty things is like saying you only read “Playboy” for the articles. But the fact is, I liked looking at wedding blogs for the same reason I get excited about receiving the holiday catalogues from Pottery Barn, West Elm, Anthropologie, and Crate & Barrel: I just like seeing what talented creatives can do with a simple tradition. I love the idea of taking a story we all know and putting our own personal touches on it to represent ourselves in some way. Whether it’s the wrapping paper, the stockings, the guest book, or the “something blue”…show me your best, creatives of the world! Am I ever going to walk down the aisle with a 6-foot hand-beaded train? Probably not. And similarly, am I ever going to have a 6-foot tall real Christmas tree covered in handmade silver and gold ornaments? Doubtful. I’ve always looked at these things like my version of Fantasy Football. They were just for fun; they didn’t really mean anything.
But now I feel like I’ve been told, “Hey, you play Fantasy Football, right? How about you come coach a team in the NFL this season?” And before I can even think what to say next, they’ve added, “Meet Eric, your assistant coach! You two had your own separate Fantasy Football teams, but now it’s time to create an entirely new team and then coach this new team together. You must agree on every decision you make. Eric shouldn’t have an opinion though…that would be suspicious. Oh and also, your families will be on the coaching staff as well, so make sure you ask them what players they want on the team, what plays they think you should run, and what the uniforms should look like. Football games are about them! But always make sure you do what you want to do! Because you know exactly what you want, right?”
And I’m like, “What?! No! You have the wrong girl! I’m a sham! I don’t know anything about football! I don’t even know if I like football! I don’t want to coach this team…I’m sorry I lied!!!”
And they say, “Nope, sorry! Get your whistle, lady! THIS IS IMPORTANT! So tell me, how do you feel about the quarterback? You need to choose a quarterback who really represents you and Eric as co-coaches. But not so much that it takes away from who you are, because the team should still look like you and be the team you’ve always wanted. How do you really feel about the idea of a quarterback? And are you going to have cheerleaders? It’s not a football game without cheerleaders and didn’t you love being a cheerleader when you were a kid? But cheerleaders are a sexist tradition, you have to admit that. It’s just a GAME, why do you even CARE?! And why are you just going along with what Eric wants for uniforms? Don’t just go along with what he wants. How do you not have an opinion on uniforms yet?! Football is an outdated and irrelevant tradition! Why would you want to waste your money on the uniforms? Just go play a pickup game in your backyard! But if you want to play in a stadium, play in a stadium! Get the best stadium money can buy! Right? You don’t know where you truly and deeply want to play and what venue represents you?!?! YOU GUYS PLAYED FANTASY FOOTBALL, YOU SHOULD HAVE THIS FIGURED OUT BY NOW!!!!”
As we start the process of planning, Eric and I are beginning to realize that my intimate, inexpensive celebration was still a “wedding” and that he has his own “wedding” in mind too. And as much as we thought we knew what matters — and, perhaps more importantly, doesn’t matter — to each of us, the reality of how little we actually know is hitting us like an entire defensive line right now.