When I started planning my wedding, I was excited. I love parties and I love fancy dresses, so planning a wedding seemed right up my alley! And honestly, much of the time, it is. Picking out my gown was a sublime experience, and my shower was the absolute best. I even had the opportunity to design my own wedding invitations – complete with our favourite cheesy romantic quotes from film and TV. Having said all this, I now know there are times when planning a wedding sucks.
In the realm of minor inconvenience, wedding planning sometimes sucks because of the many moving parts. You need a venue, but it rarely comes complete with everything else you need to book. There will be days when you do not have time to meet with the photographer or the makeup artist or the DJ, but the deposit is due and you have to pay it or else someone else will book them before you can say, “Save the date.” Wedding planning is basically a competitive sport.
There will be days when you are so exhausted from work you can barely move. All you’ll want to do is crawl into bed with a glass of Shiraz, listen to Radio Lab, and go to sleep. You won’t be able to though, because you and your fiancé will have to finalize your seating charts. This will be a weeks-long task, as the various politics about who is allowed to sit at whose table will make the whole thing more complicated than a logic game on the LSAT.
“Sweetie, can we put your friend Sylvie at the table with my maternal cousins?”
“No, she’s a vegan and strongly prefers to be seated beside people who will not be eating meat.”
“Okay, what about seating her beside my high school friend Rupert?”
“Um, honey, don’t you remember? Rupert fucked Sylvie after your birthday party last year, and now everything is weird when they see each other.”
“Gaaaaaah!!!!! I give up!”
While all the seating plans and rehearsal dinner logistics will seem awful at the time, they are just minor irritants in the grand scheme of things. There will be more difficult politics about who gets to bring a guest and why. There may be tears over ballooning budgets or family conflicts over how religious your ceremony is going to be. You’ll worry on the daily that your uncle will get drunk and give a really racist toast. You’ll likely have a recurring stress dream where some sort of botanical super virus destroys all the roses in the world, and there will be none left for your bouquet.
In my experience, all this terror constitutes approximately 23% of wedding planning.
There have been one or two days when I even regretted our decision to have a wedding. I have, on occasion, fantasized about what would have been if we’d just gone to city hall and gotten it over with. But then, I look at the invitations we designed ourselves and I remember the cheesy reason we opted to have this romantic love fest to begin with – I love my fiancé, and I want to have a beautiful day devoted to showing the world just how much.
Of course, admitting wedding planning isn’t always fun makes me feel guilty. I have long argued that women are socialized by society to feel unworthy. Years of such socialization means that whenever people do nice things on my behalf, I freaking despise myself if I don’t experience unadulterated joy. I feel like an ungrateful brat for complaining when our friends and family have already put in an extraordinary amount of work for our wedding. In response, many people I’ve met on social media would even open up the big chest of gendered insults, calling me a “bitch,” or possibly worse…
In the end, my partner and I are beyond grateful for the labour our loved ones have put into our special day. They are helpful and enthusiastic at every turn; however, no amount of support erases how planning an event for 140 people isn’t easy. And all this hard work is not always my idea of a good time…
The way I’ve come to understand my complicated relationship to wedding planning is like this: If my wedding and I were TV characters, we’d be Blair and Serena from Gossip Girl (preferably I’d be Blair because I like her clothes). We’d start out childhood best friends, then we’d become teenage frenemies when she banged my boyfriend, but eventually we’d learn to love and appreciate each other. Wedding planning isn’t exactly relaxing, and it’s not all fun. But when I put that ring on my fiance’s finger, I’m confident he and I will feel the satisfaction of a job well done.