small stakes

As we trudge ever onward towards our wedding day, you may notice more action-item type posts from me. That is because we are truly in the “working on shit” part of the planning. There is no room anymore for postulating, or ruminating, or analyzing. There is just terror, deep-seated terror.

Sometimes I feel like I’m back in college, and it’s 2:00 am and I have a paper due at 8:00am. This was the point that I pretty much started bullshitting. Primary thesis not quite making sense? No matter, just throw some more words on the paper. Words, we need more words! Leave that sentence half-finished for now! JUST KEEP GOING.

And so the beau and I frantically flit from one task to another. Go grocery shopping, check out some park venues for the welcome picnic! Balance my checking account, work on the music playlists! Finish a project at work, dash off an email to my brigadier about the bachelorette party! Get into bed, discuss the menu options for dinner!

Yet despite this flurry of action, it feels like we’re just spinning our wheels. No matter how much we plug away, the ol’ to-do list remains mountains high and miles long, and the days keep clicking by. I have a deep-seated fear that I will wake up tomorrow and it will suddenly be our wedding day, and none of the things on this list will actually be done. I mean, we’re already behind on our invitations. Guess which week they were supposed to go out?* Guess who hasn’t actually even begun to design them yet?**

You know, time and again I’ve heard wiser people say, oh, in the end, you’ll just throw out those unfinished tasks! They won’t matter anymore after the wedding, trust us! And I’m like, OK, that’s cool, but what if, like, the ceremony is unfinished? Because it totally is, in the sense that we haven’t even thought about it yet. And don’t you need that? Don’t we need music? Don’t we need to settle on a final menu so there will be food? Don’t we need to finalize all the rentals so that people will have chairs on which to sit? Don’t we need to buy the booze? Don’t we need… clothes? Yes, yes we do. We need to do all of that and more. So much more.

I hear the rising chorus of voices already: “But dude! You totally have time! You have a shitload of time! It will all get done!” Well, all right then. But seriously, how did you guys do it? Did a unicorn come along one day and POOF, finish up your to-do items in one magical, glittery cloudburst of cupcakes? Because honestly, that’s kind of what I’m assuming happens at this point. Outside of quitting my job and devoting the next two months to Teh Weddingz, I’m just not seeing how to bridge that gap.

Nevertheless! For all the anxiety-ridden FAIL, there are small successes. Such as: I FINALLY FINISHED THE WEBSITE. If I could make these words leap off of your screen and transform into billboard-sized letters that blink in neon colors, I totally would. Because this is how strongly I feel about the fact that I FINALLY FINISHED THE WEBSITE. Maybe later this week I’ll tell you just how I did it, even. And no, contrary to popular belief, it did not involve magical cupcake-wielding unicorns.***

In the meantime, I’ve gotta get back to work. These invitations aren’t going to finish themselves.****

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* If you guessed “this week,” you win! Step forward and claim your prize of this, um… (looking around) slightly used paper towel! And some sweater lint!

** That’s a big, fat, resounding ME.

*** But oh, how I wish it did.

**** But oh, how I wish they would.

women with whiskey*

This is my flask. The beau got me this as a Christmas gift the first year we dated. He also gave me sushi plates and liquor-filled chocolates. I guess he knew me pretty well even then.

I’ve found the booze that will go in my flask on my wedding day.

Does that sound bad? Does it sound bad to bust out your own personal supply of booze at your hitchin’? No matter. That’s probably the only job I’ll put my brigadiers in charge of: Flask Management. And babysitting my camera.**

But back to what’s going in the flask: The beau is into liquor infusions. In fact, he just finished infusing Glenfiddich with dates. Yeah, dates. I don’t know where he gets these ideas from, either.

But my most favorite is the cherry-infused Maker’s Mark. The cherries smooth and mellow the bourbon, but it still has bite. Plus, they lend a really kickin’ red color. Observe:

I just hope I don’t dribble on my dress.

Did you plan on packing a flask for the big day?

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* You’re welcome, Kimmo.

** I have this improbable plan that, at some point during the ceremony, we will briefly pause so that I can take pictures of our guests sitting out there, staring back at me. Yeah, I know this is weird. But I am weird. Sorry about that.

the ring thing

I took my engagement ring into the jeweler’s to see about getting a wedding band made. And my ring? Because it is custom-made and oddly shaped? Well, in order to get the band — a plain band, I might add — to match precisely, it would cost a pretty penny. And by pretty I mean “horribly prohibitive,” and by penny I mean “many thousands of them.”

Since going the route of the matching band is completely, thoroughly out of the question, I’m stuck. I’m stuck on what to do during and after the wedding ceremony. I could get a regular band with a standard shape, but when worn on the same finger as the engagement ring, there will be strange gaps between the rings. I know this because I tried it with a ring I already have. I didn’t like it. The mismatched shapes just won’t work when worn together. So at this point, my options seem to be as follows:

  • During the ceremony, move the engagement ring over to my right hand (where, I must note, said ring does not fit any fingers). Wear the non-matching band on my left hand after the wedding.
  • Forget about the wedding band entirely. Just use the engagement ring during our ceremony’s ring exchange and continue to wear it on my left hand after we’re married — aren’t multiple rings just the wedding industry’s attempt to get us to plunk down more of our hard-earned dough, anyway?

But then the more I reflected on these options, the more questions I had. Why did I think the engagement ring and wedding band had to go together? Why was I slightly miffed that mine couldn’t? Why did I expect us to wear rings, anyway? Was it just because that’s what I’ve always seen done? And most importantly: Why even do this thing? Why exchange rings in the first place?

I don’t know. My best guest is that wearing a physical symbol of a bond, an agreement, can be a powerful thing. That’s certainly what it’s grown to mean to me. I’ve come to appreciate having a tangible reminder of the connection my partner and I share, and the commitments we’ve made to each other. I look at my engagement ring and I see my beau.*

Which is, um, not what others see at all. Since I’ve gotten engaged, I have become painfully aware that a ring broadcasts messages about your taste, class, status, and ethical stance. Even if you don’t want it to. The very experience of wearing an e-ring has thrust me into a confusing labyrinth of bizarre situations and conflicting emotions. Witness those times I’ve:

  1. Smiled, nodded, and tucked my hand in my pocket while others vociferate at length on their hatred of diamonds and tradition.
  2. Anxiously doubted the size and flashiness quotient of my ring.
  3. Been flabbergasted to find that my ring isn’t nearly big enough for some, as if being engaged is about some kind of carat pissing contest.
  4. Fumed because random strangers wanted to grab my hand and coo over my ring, like WTF, can’t they understand that I’m not shallow like that?
  5. Gotten my dander up because random strangers did not seem the least bit interested in grabbing my hand and cooing over my ring, like WTF, aren’t they aware that I’m ENGAGED over here?
  6. Felt confused and wounded because some of my friends didn’t seem to be all that smitten with my ring, as if that even matters.**

So, that’s fun.

In summary, rings, the tradition of wearing them, their inherent meaning, and the way others judge them is fraught with, um, issues. A lot of them. Which frankly I am just too tired to enumerate here any further. Ah well. Somehow we’ll all stagger on. And while I’m working on figuring out the wedding band thing, tell me: Have you selected a band? Do you plan to wear it with your engagement ring after the wedding, or without? What do you think of about the whole ring exchange tradition, anyway?

Oh, and in case you are interested in further evaluation my lifestyle, but mostly at the behest of Robin, I shall leave you with a picture of my engagement ring. And part of my hand. Don’t worry, I have more fingers than those pictured.

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* I also see SPARKLIES, but this is beside the point.

** Hi, I’m a toolbag.

social networking has ruined my communication skills

At the caterer’s place, working on the timeline

Caterer: “OK, so are you guys going to want to do the grand entrance?”
Me [exchanging confused glances with Beau]: “… Grand?”
Caterer: “You know, when everyone goes to sit down after the cocktail hour, and you kind of hold back for a minute, and then when everyone’s finally seated you walk in as the DJ announces, ‘Please welcome for the first time as husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. [Lastname]!’”
Me: “Oh. No. I guess not. I mean, I’m not taking his last name, so that wouldn’t work.”
Caterer [eyebrows shooting up]: “Ah ha ha! You guys are too funny.”
Me: “I mean, I guess we could say ‘Please welcome Lyn [Lastname] and Beau [Lastname]!’ But that’s kind of weird, because everyone already knows our names.”
Caterer: “OK!” [writing notes to self] “No… grand… entrance.”

Much later, at home

Beau: “So, you finally figured out that last name thing, eh?”
Me: “Yep.”
Beau: “When were you planning on filling me in?”
Me: “Whaaaat? I already told you. I’m sure I did.”
Beau: “Nope. News to me.”
Me: “I swear I told you. How did you not know? I mean, I tweeted about it.”
Beau: [gives me a look before dissolving into laughter]
Me: “Oh, shit.”

past and pending

My last post was about the day we got engaged, but the engagement process is so much more than just one day. It had begun many months earlier, as we gradually moved from whimsical musings on “If I ever marry…;” to cautiously-worded statements about “If we ever get married…;” to serious interrogations along the lines of “Oh my god, should we get married? Like, do you want to actually DO that?”

Turns out that, yes, we actually did want to do that.

And here is how we went about it:

  1. We began talking earnestly about getting married in January of 2009. We decided we were ready.
  2. My stomach went all fluttery. I started to obsessively peruse wedding websites.
  3. We went online and looked at rings. I showed him the ones I liked. Oh my god. This was really going to happen!!!!!
  4. February passed. So did March.
  5. In April we took a trip to Austin, TX. I was sure this was the golden ticket. Engagement, here we come!!!
  6. Still nothing. I started dropping not-so-subtle hints into our conversations. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, the beau had just picked up the ring from the jeweler and hidden it in his dresser drawer.
  7. I angrily unsubscribed from my Weddingbee RSS feed.
  8. What’s wrong? There’s something wrong, right? What’s happening here? Is he ever going to ask?
  9. OMFG.
  10. The beau decided to put the proposal off some more. We had a lot of stuff going on in our lives, and he wanted to wait for the right time to pop the question.
  11. I didn’t want to nag. I didn’t want to be a sitcom stereotype. I am not that person. WE ARE NOT THAT COUPLE.
  12. June arrived. We finally had a weekend at home to ourselves. He suspiciously asked me to go on a suspicious wine-tasting trip. I was… suspicious.
  13. Oh, shit, it finally happened. We’re finally engaged.
  14. Um. Yay?

Now, OK. Here’s the deal. Having been through all of that? Having now been engaged for a year? Reading what I’ve read? Knowing what I know? If I could do it all over, I would totally do things differently.

Here’s how.

The Proposal

Now, let it be known that the proposal itself — that question asked and answered, in all its unplanned awkwardness — was perfectly imperfect. It was just right for us.

But.

The part leading up to that day? Was just all wrong for us. Because following all that deliberation and deep discussion about our plans for the future, together, we then proceeded to part ways and go off into separate camps: Me into my “waiting and guessing” camp, and the beau into his “researching and plotting” camp. Um, huh?

After we decided we wanted to get married, I kind of threw my hands up and backed away. Far be it from me to appear aggressive or pushy, right? Or needy, for that matter. I dumped my time and energy into cultivating a relaxed and indifferent persona, like I imagined a “cool” girl might do. Except for those unfortunate instances when my defenses were down – yes, usually after I’d been drinking — and those anxieties rushed in and made me ask, tearfully, if he still really wanted to get married, because really I wasn’t trying to make him, honest, cross my heart and hope to die. Promise. And he had to assure me that all was well and that he still loved me very much and that something would indeed be happening at some unknown date. Promise.

And in the meantime I just had to sit on my hands. Really, that’s what it was. This method of marriage proposal enforces unreal expectations, because one person in the partnership is rendered passive. Turns out I don’t know how to be passive. Neither of us do; we’re accustomed to making decisions and taking action jointly. Why was it different leading up to our engagement? How did my partner and I get fooled into copping roles that we don’t typically play in real life? Easy, I guess: When faced with a new and scary situation in which we didn’t quite know how to behave, we defaulted to what we had typically seen others do.

Back then, pre-engagement, there were just too many difficult and rigid gender expectations wrapped up in a proposal for me to throw my weight against. I’m not saying this to kick sand in the face of what I perceive to be big, bad, evil tradition. I’m just saying that sometimes a paradigm shift is necessary. I couldn’t get my head around these issues then. But if I could do it over, I might take the bull by the horns and just propose to my partner, first.

The egalitarian proposal isn’t for everyone. But for who I am now? It totally is.

The Ring

Can I just come right out and say this? My engagement ring was, uh, not what I had in mind. I was anticipating an antique ring with a smallish stone. I visualized it having a sapphire or two instead of a diamond. I imagined that the band would be engraved with a pretty wheat pattern. What I got was a very new, very large diamond ring with a smooth, shiny platinum band. Worse? I have no idea where the diamonds’ place of origin is, which was one of those squicky ethical things that were originally important to me.*

That said, allow me to be crystal clear: I LOVE my ring. I love it because the beau had it custom made for me. Yes, he went out and researched and looked and researched some more and became dissatisfied with the strength and quality of the antique rings I had shown him online. So he went to a local, independent jeweler, spent a few weeks selecting stones, and had a ring built. It has one round center stone with two pear-shaped stones flanking it. The band tapers up to a delicate point where it meets the side stones. It’s very pretty, to me anyway, and it sparkles a lot. And every time I look at it I think about how he sweated over making it for me, and it’s his sweat and effort and love that in the end made me fall head-over-heels for this ring. And now that I have it, I don’t really want to change anything about it.**

And yet. The truth remains that if I’d been part of the shopping process, I’d be wearing a completely different ring.

All of this is neither bad nor good. It just is. Like everyone else, we’re just two people clumsily trying to wend our way through life’s Big Important Moments. And sometimes it seems like I finally learn what I needed to know long after I needed to know it.

But ain’t that just the way it goes?

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* This was a hard thing for me to admit, because I dislike the thought of opening myself up to public attack. But this was just a post that warranted complete honesty. So, there it is. I have a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad, non-eco-friendly, traditional ring. Do with this information what you will.

** Except to add engraving to the band – I’ve had plans to do that for months but haven’t yet mustered the strength to part with the ring for two weeks.

a year ago today

The beau thought we should go wine-tasting. I had no problem with that. We packed up some provisions and got in the car.

So we drove over the mountains and into the winery-laden Santa Ynez Valley. We had no real plans; we just roamed. We picked up some sandwiches in Los Olivos. We took a detour to Solvang and procured some rocky road fudge. We stopped off at a few wineries along the way, but kept striking out on good picnic spots. So we just kept going.

We ended up way north in the valley, far outside the normal winery circuit. We finally found a place named Rancho Sisquoc with a number of picnic tables in the sun, and proceeded to spend a lazy couple of hours tasting wine and snacking on sandwiches and fudge. On our way back out to the road we found an old American Gothic church with an overgrown cemetery. Seriously. Check this shit out:

That’s some serious business.

At this point in the afternoon it was getting kind of late, so we pointed the car towards home. We were passing Lake Cachuma on the 154 when the beau suggested we try to find a scenic area and have some drinks.* He took a turn for a lookout point over Bradbury Dam.

As far as dams go, this wasn’t a particularly, um, scenic one. Consisting of almost all parking lot, the place was surrounded by trees that blocked all views of the lake save for a small clearing directly overlooking the dam, which was guarded by a rusty rail. The only place to sit down was a lone picnic table under a scraggly tree. Not promising. Not to mention I was feeling sleepy and allergic. But the beau had already mixed up some vodka drinks in plastic hypercolor cups, so I rallied and we ambled over towards the “view.”

On the way there, however, we spotted a small trail down a hill. We set off down the trail eagerly for several yards only to have our hopes for adventure dashed by a barbed wire fence. There was, however, a hole at the bottom of the fence that looked just big enough to fit a person. We looked at each other and shrugged. He held my drink while I ducked and shimmied underneath, then passed the cups to me through the fence before he scrambled through.

I was wearing highly inappropriate footwear for this spontaneous and illegal hike—cheap flats with absolutely no tread. We passed copious amounts of poison oak as tiny rocks gathered in my shoes. Just as I was starting to second-guess our decision the trail once again came to a dead end, this time on the shore of the lake. There we encountered a gorgeous, sweeping vista. The water stretched out to either side of us. Big white puffy clouds sped by overhead, chasing their shadows over the mountains. We stood there for several moments amidst the sun-bleached branches of dead wood and the deer tracks, sipping our vodkas.

Suddenly, a fish jumped out of the water to my left. “Hey, did you see that fish?” I asked the beau, but he was too distracted to answer because he was really digging into his pocket. I pretended not to notice and kept looking off to the left where I’d last seen the fish jump, like it was the most sincerely interesting section of water I’d ever seen. Then the beau said, “I love you.” So I turned around to look at him and he asked, “Will you marry me?”

He was holding out a ring. “Yeah!” I said. I took the ring from him and for some bizarre reason told him, “Thank you!” Then for one long moment we stared at each other like deer in headlights, and then he suddenly began to sink like he was going to drop to one knee. I grabbed his elbow and murmured, “No, no, no!” He stood up again, uncertainly. I slipped the ring on my finger and exclaimed, “Wow!”

We were engaged.**

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* Yes, we had brought a cooler full of booze to accompany our wine tasting trip. Stop looking at me like that.

** Entirely unintentionally, we got engaged exactly 50 months to the day after we met. Strange thing, that. My friend thought it was silly, but I liked it. It feels auspicious when the numbers line up and click into place, you know?

so that’s done, then

I did it. Just today, just now, I ordered that dress. That infernal dress that’s haunted my mind.

You can all laugh now, because I’m pretty sure you guys knew that my endless debate was just noise. Just a large diversionary loop that would bring me right back around to the starting point, which all along was: I like this dress. No other dress will do. I am now admitting publicly that indeed, no other dress will do.

I am settling down. I’ve made a commitment. And boy, does it feel good. It feels like accomplishment. It feels… like I’ve written the plot of my very own romcom. Bear witness:

Girl goes out looking for Dress. Girl flirts with many dresses before she meets this one Dress. One passionate afternoon, she tries Dress on (cover the children’s eyes!). And she likes it. But Dress is out of her league. And Girl worries if Dress is too bohemian for her. Honestly, Girl and Dress run in different circles. Never the twain shall meet, and that should be that, right? Things look grim. Subsequent dresses fail to measure up, though admittedly Girl is not trying very hard anymore. Girl seeks counsel from her oldest friends and strangers in the grocery store checkout line alike. All earnestly inform her that Girl and Dress are Meant To Be. After much hemming and hawing, Girl experiences an epiphany and rushes to Dress. Er, well, or orders Dress on the phone, as it were. Dress and Girl are reunited within 4-6 weeks, depending on availability. A guaranteed lifetime of blissful happiness ensues, for the Universe and the satisfaction of the story-readers deem it so.

THE END.

So. Now that the logical conclusion has been reached, I once again leave you with this:

lo-ve

They said it was fate all along.

let the music play

It’s funny how we’re sort of born with our personalities firmly rooted in place. Each morning my second grade teacher, Mrs. O’Keefe, would lead us in a rousing rendition of “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from the musical Oklahoma! as we marched single-file into the classroom. Each morning. Oh, how I despised this routine. The song was a lie, a despicable lie, for if everything was truly going my way, I would not have been at school in the first place. And it didn’t help that the line about the corn being as high as an elephant’s eye would usually haunt me for the rest of the day.

Yep. I was a cynic from the start.

Looking back, this seems ridiculous. “Lighten up,” I want to tell my second-grade self. “You are seven years old.” But even though I’m not quite the misanthrope I once was, I still sort of, well, am. All of which makes the hunt for wedding music that much more complex, because I am just all sorts of turned off by your typical love songs. I need only glance at The Knot’s 50 Classic First Dance Songs and I immediately feel a bit queasy.

It’s not just that I don’t generally listen to that type of music. It’s that the heartfelt descriptions of love contained therein don’t really apply to my relationship. I love my partner, but I’m sorry, our love does not lift us up where we belong (where the eagles cry, on a mountain high). I am not everything I am because you loved me (uh, codependent much?). It all goes straight back to my second-grade aversion to “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning”: I don’t like being told what to feel, and when to feel it. My love isn’t contrived. It’s not something that fits off the rack, or straight out of the box. And maybe it’s just that old subversive, stubborn side of me coming out, but it so follows that I don’t think that songs played at weddings are required be 100% about fluffy, buttery love.* After all, in the immortal words of Etta James, “At last, my love has come along / If only you wouldn’t leave your clothes strewn all over the goddamned floor / And I really can’t stand that noise you make when you chew.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it would be fitting to throw some plodding, melancholia-inducing music on at the wedding and commence with the collective navel-gazing. But I know plenty of happy, uptempo tunes that aren’t necessarily about falling in or being in love. That and I love too many wonderful songs that, if you listen closely, are about breakups or hardships or not even necessarily about love at all. Why should I ban these from my wedding because they don’t follow a particular script? Huh?

So, yeah. Wedding songs. I have been thinking about them.

I’ve been pondering those infernal first dance songs the most, because let’s face it. The first dance — should you choose to have one — between you and your beloved is a statement. It’s like putting up a giant billboard in the middle of your wedding that reads: WE ARE TOTALLY IN LOVE. HERE, LET US SHOW YOU. So it’s gotta be good.

To that end, our choice has currently come down to two songs.

Option #1 is Arcade Fire’s “Haiti.” It was penned as an ode to Arcade Fire member Régine Chassagne’s cousins murdered by the Tonton Macoute militia during the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti. Um, whoa. Sounds like automatic wedding happiness fail, right? AND YET! It sounds so pretty and danceable.

Bonus points: Much of the song is sung in French, which means that most of our guests won’t have the capacity to even understand what the damned thing is about. Also, I started listening to Arcade Fire shortly after meeting the beau, and we have a poster from their June 2, 2007 show at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley hanging on the wall opposite the foot of our bed. It was a good show.

Option #2 is… you’re going to laugh. Or at least snicker. No, seriously. Because Option #2 is “The Promise” by When In Rome. The actual video for the song frightened me,** so I am putting in the video clip for the ending of Napoleon Dynamite. Now, OK, this song is actually — GASP — about love. I know! After I just went off on a paragraphs-long rant against love songs! But these lyrics aren’t smarmy. They are simple, sincere, and non-threatening — even a little awkwardly endearing! “I’m sorry but I’m just thinking of the right words to say / I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be.” That sounds like MY ENTIRE LIFE.

Bonus points: NAPOLEON DYNAMITE CONNECTION. That’s all I have to say about that.

EXTRA EXTRA BONUS POINTS: To my knowledge, none of the members of Arcade Fire nor When In Rome have been convicted or accused of raping or killing anybody!***

So, what do you think? Do you love songs about love? Do you hate songs about love? Are you planning on having a first dance? Did you already have one? What songs did you/will you play? Will I ever stop asking questions?****

Tell me everything!

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* What? Your love isn’t all fluffy and buttery? Huh.

** Long flowing 80s dude hair! Pianos! Leaning against/forlornly looking out of windows! Tight butt jeans! Continuous camera pan! AUGH!

*** Thanks, Robin, for the ethical reminder.

**** Yes. Right about… now.

showtime

Look, I’m fully aware that I’m not all that and a bag of chips — I know that people won’t stare at me, slack-jawed, all wedding day long. Amazingly, our guests have other interests. They lead full lives. They will be chatting with others, they will be raiding the dessert bar, they will be checking their cell phones,* they will be scanning the crowd for potential date material, they will be refilling their drinks.**

And yet.

There are times when I think — gulp — about being up there getting hitched, or dancing, or commandeering the microphone,*** and everyone will be watching me. This thought alone is enough to make me reconsider elopement or, failing that, maybe just hiding out under the bedcovers for the entirety of the wedding day.

It goes even deeper than mere stage fright, too. There are times when I just can’t fathom why anyone would want to witness the beau and I get married. Besides our moms, that is. There’s just something that feels a touch narcissistic about the whole thing — O HAY U GUYZ, KOM WATCH US GET MARIEED! Is it wrong if your wedding feels like a show? No, I suppose not, because it is. It’s just that there’s a fine line between honesty and spectacle, and sometimes I can’t gauge which side I’m standing on for this wedding.

And it’s times like this I really have to sit myself down and have a heart-to-heart. Ritual is important, I remind myself. Community is important. People need a reason to come together — especially these days, when our respective communities are scattered across the far reaches of the country and even the globe.

Yes, people will look. But they’ll also love and support. Not unlike a night out on the town, our guests will be wined, dined, danced, and socialized at our wedding — but it won’t be empty and contrived entertainment. At the wedding’s best moments, our individual personalities, our laughter, our shared happiness will meld and grow until it becomes something bigger than all of us, together.

And that’s what keeps people coming back. After all, it can’t just be the open bar that makes people fly or drive hundreds of miles to join in your wedding celebration, right?

Right?

Right.

Eh. This is all just part and parcel of muddling my way through this thing. I will get up there during the wedding and I will like it. And if I don’t, well… there’s always that bed to hide in.

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* This has always sort of annoyed the crap out of me. It’s been sitting on the table in front of you the whole time. Why do you have to pick it up and look at it every five minutes? Are you feverishly praying that someone texted you? Are you checking your stock options? Are you looking at pr0n? What? What is it?

** Repeatedly. Copiously.

*** I know it’s “weird” for the bride to speak at a wedding, but man. Personally, I can’t imagine hosting any party – and this is going to be a mother of a party – without getting up to welcome my guests and thank them for coming. Yeah. I don’t mind getting up in front of 100 people to say hello, and yet the thought of them watching me incites terror. I don’t understand me, either.

in which everything is JUST FINE, thank you

As we creep ever closer to the hallowed 100-day mark* I’ve been a tad, how shall I say, down in the mouth about all those things on that wedding to-do list I’ve been ignoring. A week ago I actually had to lie down in the grass during a wine-tasting trek** because I was having stress-induced stomach cramps over this list. See? This is why I tend to ignore it in the first place. I’ve found that ignorance truly is bliss – at least until someone asks about the infernal wedding again.

Lately it seems like everything is a reason for people to furrow their brows at us in disbelief. You don’t have your website done? Brow furrow. You don’t have the invitations done? Brow furrow. You haven’t made a playlist? You haven’t made a map of your table layout? You don’t have a registry? A dessert order? Your honeymoon planned? Epic brow furrow supreme.

Meanwhile, there are other things going on. We are both trying to figure out what we’re wearing on the big day. We’re trying to figure out what we want in a ceremony. I am writing my bridal shower thank-you cards. We’re finalizing hotel blocks. Finalizing where the rehearsal picnic will be held. Finalizing the dinner menu. We have jobs to tend, oh yeah that’s right, WE ARE EMPLOYED FULL-TIME AT ORGANIZATIONS THAT MAKE US DO THINGS ENTIRELY UNRELATED TO WEDDINGS FOR SUBSTANTIAL PORTIONS OF THE DAY.*** I also have a blog to write. And some semblance of a social life to maintain. And I have to get my cousin a card for his high school graduation, and I have to send my friend a birthday gift EVEN THOUGH HER BIRTHDAY WAS LAST WEEK,**** and I have to change the oil in my car, and, and, and AND.

I didn’t mean to turn this post into a whinefest. It’s just that we’re finally in the thick of it. We’re past the point of what ifs and should wes and well maybes and into rolling up those sleeves and grinding it out. I am suddenly hyperaware that this is a very strange and unique phase in our lives that we’ll never, if we’re lucky, ever repeat: The all-wedding-all-the-time crunch.

Tonight we had a meeting with the caterer and he drew out a map of the venue along with where everything would go: Bar, dancefloor, gift table, buffet, dessert table, everything. And as we were walking through the timeline of the day I finally saw in my mind, for the first time, all of those things in their respective places, and our friends milling around with drinks, and our families giving tearful toasts near the dancefloor, and it was REAL. This thing is real and it’s happening. And we’re rolling.

Maybe we’re not rolling particularly fast, but damn if we’re not doing the best we can.

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* Which BY THE WAY is happening next week.

** And I know what you’re thinking, but no, I actually hadn’t even had any of the damn wine yet.

*** I’m sorry, but the capslock key just flowed forth mercilessly in this post.

**** Sorry, man. I’m lame.