It all started during our anniversary dinner. Brad and I were drinking the most delicious Tempranillo out of those luxurious long-stemmed, goblet wine glasses and staring dovey-eyed at each other when Brad started, “Can I tell you something?” He said.
“Sure…” I said, expecting him, honestly, to tell me all sheepish and boy-like, about how Assassin’s Creed 3 really stokes his creative juices. He’s a screenwriter…and a nerd, and statements like this are what most often follow the precursor “Can I tell you something…”
“I’ve been thinking about marrying you,” he said.
I am open mouthed.
“And since I’m not very good at shopping, I was thinking maybe you could help me….”
“…help you buy a ring?” I garble out.
“Yeah,” he said, blushing and looking down.
Adorable, adorable, wonderful man.
And great news too, right? Happy news. We love each other. We have planned on getting married since almost day one. But this would be real. It would be a celebration and a sparkly thing and a wedding registry at Williams Sonoma that would be the stuff of my amateur cook’s wildest dreams, you guys. So great news, right? Wrong, apparently.
Because you guys, in the week that followed this conversation I have acted like a nutso-mcnutbar. Exactly, in fact, like the kind of bridezilla I thought I’d never be.
Since that fatefull night, I have, cringe…
Now, everyone says that weddings tease out the worst in people. I know it; I’ve seen it; and you probably have too. But until I lived it, I had no idea. I mean, our wedding has been on the horizon…merely on the distant horizon for a week, and I am acting horrible and nuts.
You see, I’ve always thought that when the time came for me to tie the knot, I would have it, well, pretty tied up. I love a good party, and I do like dresses. But beyond that, I never been one to go googly-eyed over princessy wedding stuff. Also, I’m at a point where I’m confident not only in my decisions, but my ability to navigate social and family dynamics. Brad and I have been around the block enough. We’re confident adults, right? Ah, the capacity we have to mislead ourselves!
So what’s my deal? Because, seriously, this ends now.
Lesson Number One: Nobody has everything tied up all the time. So, sorry ME. You don’t get to have it all together all the time. Nor, do you get to blithely think that you have it together all the time. (Isn’t this the crux of vulnerability?)
Lesson Number Two: Weddings actually are the the crux of vulnerability. Duh. You are promising to spend the rest of your life with someone. So huge. And not only that, you are speaking those incredibly intimate words in front of everyone you care about.
Lesson Number Three: Everyone you care about…oh, those people. You love them, dearly. Except their crazy, their judgement, or their booze is attached to them like new car smell. And true, you can be over it in daily life, but on those old blisters of family dynamics…wedding time is like a lance. Why? Because you’re now making your very own family.
Lesson Number Four: I am making my own family, which means that I am an adult. Which means that I can’t blame (outwardly at least) family crazy for any crazy on my part. The only person in control of me is me, and if I am to have any chance at making perhaps at least a minimally crazy family (let’s be real in our expectations, ya’ll!), projecting any fears of commitment or trust or intimacy or whatever else on other people can’t fly.
Lesson Number Five: The meat of weddings is lessons one through four. But that’s not what the media wants you to think. You and your lady bits have been prepped for this white dress, princess validation event since you (aka me) dressed as a bride in the first grade Halloween parade. And that wedding pomp and circumstance is an easy sell. Why? Because the act of getting married is a huge commitment, a very huge, a very real, a very big, a very adult commitment. And yes, it’s wonderful to fall in love. And yes, its totally deserving of a celebration, a big fat awesome one. But, you know what’s easier than focusing on the overwhelming emotional requirements of lessons one through four? Focusing on tablescapes, glittery things and lace.
I believe weddings can be — are — beautiful, fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime events. But not if you fail to embrace the emotional magnitude of the event. Everyone’s got a little bit of Bridezilla inside of them. Mine escaped from her closet and fired a warning shot. Good to know. Because you know what isn’t the wedding of my dreams? One hijacked by fear, nerves and teeth gnashing. So, Bridezilla, you are not invited. And I hereby swear, that my wedding — and my marriage — will be one filled with peace, love and only then maybe some vintage lace. (Seriously, I love vintage lace.)
PS: I’m taking my cues from Megan on “How to Plan a Wedding, Sanely.”
Thanks, WE for the photo!
Alison Steedman is the editor at Dating & Hookup. She lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their histrionic cat, Charles Dickens, where she still carries on a nostalgic and long-distance love affair with her 20's in Brooklyn, NY. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @yosteedman, and you can also send her your writing at [email protected], both of which make her very happy.
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