{the lessons} My Fantasy Football wedding

by Rachel on August 23, 2012

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.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie August 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Ohmygod I was in tears laughing the 1st time I saw that sloth video. Sooo funny.

Is it sad that having a wedding/”wedding” is one of the reasons I don’t want to get married? Ever? :) GOOD LUCK!

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2 Manon August 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Caity, soooooooo with you. Don’t get me wrong–I love going to other people’s weddings, but the thought of the planning, the $$, the stress, the drama that ALWAYS seems to follow with family/friends who are/aren’t in the wedding party no matter how much you say/think it won’t? NO THANK YOU.

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3 Katie August 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Yes! You nailed it!! I have never planned my “wedding” because the practical side of me always overrules the beautiful pictures you can dream about. Thank you for putting it into fantasy football terms, did you run the idea past eric to see if he followed the example?

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4 Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution August 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Well, first of all, I had no idea there was such a thing as wedding blogs, so thank you very much! But yeah, I’m the same way. I’ve decided that when Zach and I get married, I’m going to save up about $5,000, rent a beach house for a week and invite as many people that will fit in said house. Then we’ll get married on the beach and party in the house all week long. Done and done. But I LOVE (attending) big, huge, elaborate weddings and I read wedding magazines like it’s my job. I don’t even care about having one myself (in fact, I don’t think I do), but I love attending them and reading about them. But you tell someone that and they sure don’t believe you.

I cry every time I see that Kristen Bell sloth video.

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5 Rachel August 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I LOVE THIS POST! Perfect comparison.

I also love looking at wedding stuff but the idea of eventually planning my own wedding is so daunting…to the point where eloping is attractive! HA. Something small and intimate can be just as grand as those big productions. Best of luck!!!!!!

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6 Keri August 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm

You most definitely captured the EXACT crazy, schizophrenic nature of the wedding industry/wedding blog world. My fiance and I are going through the same things right now – we’ve done the fun stuff (venue, dress, photographer) and now every remaining detail is just…..excruciating.

Whenever you get stuck on a specific detail, just take a breath and remember why you’re doing this in the first place…….for me, if I just remember that ultimately, I’ll be marrying my guy and celebrating with the people we love (and only those people, thankfully) – it helps me realize that the stupid, annoying details and endless decisions don’t really matter.

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7 Mel August 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm

“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?”” I never thought about it but this is exactly what Pinterest does to us. I’m watching my two step-sisters plan their weddings with limited options because of the size of their families, or added cost due for food restrictions, etc and their weddings will be beautiful, but they hardly resemble a Pinterest board. Best of luck to you!

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8 Jessica August 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm

AWESOME ANALOGY! I love this. It also makes me so glad my wedding was three years ago before Pinterest and, while I regularly looked at Style Me Pretty, my husband and I were the first of our friends to get married to the bar was set pretty low. :)

Also, for what it’s worth, every time a well-meaning friend gave me a wedding magazine I waited until they left and then threw it away. Those magazines stressed me out so much with all their assumptions. We just wanted a party with good food, music, and loved ones. Simple enough.

Good luck! :)

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9 Sarah Crowder August 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I both love and hate that Ben and I wrote our own vows. We had only 40 adults at our wedding, and that moment we shared some of our most intimate feelings out loud, in front of the people closest to us, was so intensely embarrassing. We were both crying and Ben had snot coming out of his nose. We cringe at the thought of watching the video, or at the fact that such a video even exists.

(He whispered to me right before we started: “Can we skip this part??”)

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10 Rachel August 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm

THIS IS MY GREATEST FEAR! I would LOVE to write my own vows but the idea of reading them in front of people? I break out in hives just thinking about it.

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11 Sarah August 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm

We solved that problem by writing our vows together beforehand. Our officiant will announce that we wrote them together, then ask us each to repeat them after her. That way we still got to make them our own, but we also get to do the “hear and repeat” process of more traditional vows, which takes the pressure off a bit. Here are a few lines of our vows:

[Your name], I promise to love you, respect you, and honor you in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, forever.
I promise never to stray from you. To remain faithful in body and mind, and to keep our vows of fidelity always in my heart.
I promise to remember in times of strife that you are my partner and my love, and that you are worthy of patience and respect.
I promise to practice forgiveness and humility.

And so on

I’ll let you know in early November how it goes!

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12 Laura August 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I didn’t know I felt this way till right. this. second. This was a total EUREKA moment. Thank you for externally processing my thoughts for me. you da bomb.

:)

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13 Emily @ Relishments August 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Wedding planning is hard, on so many levels, not the least of which is the expectations others put on you. Best of luck. One tip I offer in general (that I’m sure you already know), is that boys have as many wedding related desires as girls do, though they’ve been told they’re not allowed to have wedding opinions. Also, it’s your (meaning you and Eric) day, make sure you like it.

That video of Kristen Bell is one of my all time favorites.

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14 Sarah August 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I never want to plan a wedding ever again. Honestly, if I could go back and do everything over I would elope. At one point I just stopped logging into pinterest because I couldn’t handle anymore visual inspiration or ways to do something or how to make it better. That, in its self, became extremely stressful.

Writing our vows actually was one of the sweetest things we did. Yeah, I cried, he cried but everyone else in the room was crying too. It was a nice emotional moment, for everyone. If the thought of saying your vows infront of a group of people makes your skin crawl, maybe write a note to have him read before the ceremony/first look on the big day? T

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15 Katie August 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Seriously? No, seriously. This is the best wedding post I’ve ever read. I’m in the middle of planning a wedding I’ve never really thought much about and it’s insane how much people expect you to care and not to care at the same time. And the reality of paying for it ourselves vs the ideas that we had in our head take planning obstacles to a whole new level. I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling like this is not “the best time of my life!” The marriage part will be, though so I can’t wait for that part.

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16 Aj August 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Having just witnessed a beautiful, totally personal, amazing wedding of two of my best friends (to each other), there’s part of me itching to have wedding. Of course, I already had a fairy tale wedding (long before Pinterest, thankfully, The Knot was enough for me!) and I know how that turned out. But even if I could convince R to do the traditional wedding route, I’m realizing more and more it’s fun to participate in and see but holy hell my friends worked their asses off for this wedding and I simply cannot do that. I cannot get myself to consistently give that many shits about one day. I want a party, I want my friends and some relatives, and I want to hear R tell me she promises to be with me and I want to say it back. Booze and food. End of story.

That said please please please don’t skip the writing your own vows part. Yes you may (will) cry, yes it won’t be “cute” but it’s really kinda what the wedding about and, personally, my absolute favorite part. You’re such an amazing writer, your vows to Eric would be so personal, filled with humor and love, it would be a shame to miss out on that. At the wedding I attended one bride promised to save the other from “all the scary bugs” and the other bride said “You’re the reason I’m singing all the time” (she does, in fact, sing all the damn time). You can’t get that any place else!

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17 Erin August 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm

I’m not engaged yet but am with the guy I will be marrying… wedding talk makes me throw up in my mouth for all of the reasons you just mentioned. You completely identified my primary concern – that people will be all “WTF, you seriously don’t want to spend eighty bazillion dollars {that I don’t have} on napkins and dinner for people you don’t know & family that makes you want to hang yourself?” Seems like the whole process can snowball so quickly.

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18 Kristin August 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm

It took me three years to plan my wedding. I was planning it in my hometown from 800 miles away, where I live, so I had no choice but to give up control on a lot of things. But I really, honestly, did not care about details like the flowers and the seating chart for dinner. We got married outdoors and had the reception and dinner at an art gallery so that we didn’t really have to decorate much at either place. What mattered to me was the dinner (delicious), the cake (even more so), and that I finally got to marry the love of my life (SAPPY). I just trusted the people I hired to take care of everything else, and it turned out simple and beautiful, just like I wanted. So my advice is not to listen to the wedding industry, which will tell you that you need a million things and must pay attention to every minute detail and that you must be stressed out planning your wedding — you totally don’t.

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19 rosie August 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Fantastically written fantastic analogy fantastic fantastic fantastic.

We just got married – in my parents back yard. My baby sister (pastry chef) made the cake, my brother (musician) played as we walked down the aisle. Everything was beautiful and we wouldn’t have changed a thing. Oh, and it was all planned and executed in four weeks.

My advice? Find a venue you don’t need to decorate. DIY where appropriate but don’t overdo it (kind of like furnishing your place with ONLY Ikea). And take the help that’s offered to you!

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20 Chase August 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I’m a reluctant host… I really didn’t love planning a wedding. I say divide and conquer. Pick what’s important to you and you work on it, let Eric pick what’s important to him and set him to work on it. Share the balance and compromise when it overlaps. My wedding wasn’t over the top but I for sure stayed within budget and we all had a great time.

I remember reading once a passage in a book where the author said something about how everybody says your wedding day is the ‘best day of your life,’ but she didn’t want it to be the best day of her life! She surely hoped it would be a wonderful day, but that there would be better days in the future. Once I read that, it took a lot of pressure off on making it the PERRRRFECT WEDDINNNNNG DAAAAY. Best of luck to you two :)

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21 tina August 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I am the same way. I always wanted huge, beautiful churc, princess dress, and to go into debit, basically. Now, I’m all like…I’m not even religious- why did i ever want a stuffy church. Older mature me appreciates mermaid and trumpet dresses. I want and outside wedding. Hell, I’d even do the backyard thing. And photographs are the most important thing to me. I am fearful of crying the entire day – and i am not cute when i cry.

P.s i adore Kristen bell. I almost think we are the same person. Someone told me her astrological sigh is cancer and I’m like, um, no wonder we’re both huge emotional messes. I love tgat she is all about equality because i am so passionate about that as well. I almost want to follow her lead and pledge not to marry until everyone can.

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22 Caroline Leigh August 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I recently got engaged and I feel the EXACT same way!!! (and we haven’t really started planning yet…

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23 Tish August 28, 2012 at 10:29 am

I think all of us newbies who are scared shitless should start a club. I’m so happy to hear I’m not the only girl who played on the knot for an hour and then ran screaming into my guy’s man cave stating I’m not THAT kind of girl…I’m not good at this shit and broke down into tears.

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24 Rain August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am

My advice, not that you asked for it, just do something small and intimate. The day goes by so fast and before you know it you have spent tons of money on a day that wasn’t really that important.
It’s not the day that is important, it’s your marriage.

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25 deva by definition August 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Planning our wedding has lead me to really feel like wedding planning is a bit like fight club: until you’re doing it, you don’t realize how little people talk about it. I feel like the stress of planning it is crazy, but when the day works out well, people forget about the stress and insanity of getting it “right.”

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26 Emily Susan August 24, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Last year I had a beautiful wedding, it was not a “dream wedding” but it was a good representation of my husband and myself, lots of friends and family at a picnic type gathering. Now all of a sudden people are like, “Didn’t you feel guilty accepting money from your families?” “Why didn’t you just go to the court house and give the money to charity?” “Any more than $1,000.00 is too much, I want to make my own dress when I get married!” I feel so judged for having what was very low key and informal wedding!

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27 Tish August 28, 2012 at 10:32 am

Those people suck balls! DUDE! So you have to throw a monster bash in order to get help starting your life together now? Oh the pressure!!! My kid sister had a potluck at her wedding. We all brought dishes and it was AWESOME and no one was telling her to donate her gift cards from Bed Bath and Beyond. Hmph. You just described my dream wedding…AND the type of weddings our parents used to get down with when they were getting hitched. Old school rocks. You rock!

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28 Whitney August 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I absolutely love this post. I love the comparison!

I do have to say though: people make wedding planning way more difficult than it has to be. I wasn’t stressed out once during our wedding planning. I know what you’re thinking: she’s an effing liar. But I’m not. People stress out about stupid shit that they shouldn’t. It’s not that big of a deal. Even my florist told me that I was the most laid back bride that she had ever worked with.

People see wedding and think OMG WEDDING HUGE DEAL but take a breath, and enjoy it. And I’ll be here if you need any help. Stuffing little favors or invitations? I’m there. Seating chart? I’m there. Crying shoulder? I’m there too. I’ve been there and by not looking at it as this huge deal, it really helps!

I hope my rambling helped a little!

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29 Tania September 4, 2012 at 8:46 am

WOW! I have never heard wedding planning described more accurately! I really wish I had some supportive advice like Whitney, but I was a STRESSBALL for my wedding! I honestly don’t know how I never broke down and cried from the stress of trying to please everyone under a budget. BUT I did remain 100% calm the day of. I guess that counts for something? I let my vanity play a part and told myself I didn’t want any ugly pictures, so I was smiling through every phone call of things not going right and saying whatever. And we all survived. So, if all else fails, try to do that the day of ;)

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