Episode 17: The Winner and a Not-Crisis

First of all, the winner of the Great Lace Vote-Off (by a landslide with a whopping 7 votes) was my favorite design:

Someday I’ll take a picture that doesn’t look like it’s been beaten up by a sepia filter.

Today I plan to start construction on Dress 2: The Revenge of the Dress. But in the meantime, there’s something that’s been bothering me.

Am I doing this wrong?

By “this,” I mean being engaged. Planning a wedding. Coordinating the biggest, most expensive party I’ll ever throw.

I think I must be doing something wrong because everything seems to be going very smoothly. Aside from picking out colors — something I never wanted to do in the first place and still can’t muster the strength to care about — I haven’t had a single wedding-related panic. Even realizing that the dress I’d spent months on wasn’t right didn’t result in me going full fetal position behind the couch. Nick and I have had some difficulty with the big, important things like God and our ceremony, but that was more about life than the wedding. As someone with pretty severe and unfortunately untreated anxiety issues attempting to do a thing that an entire industry has openly advertised as being the most stressful thing EVER, this lack of trouble is kind of alarming.

Now I’m sort of panicking about how unpanicked I am. Isn’t that required? Doesn’t it come with the ring?

Maybe it’s not the panic, or lack thereof, that I’m worried about, but the enthusiasm. As I mentioned above, I can’t get excited about colors. They’re colors. I kind of like them all, although I’m not too crazy about pink. Will anyone remember my wedding colors? Well, maybe certain family members, but they’ll probably just remember how the colors tasted.

I got pretty excited when I finally summoned the courage to ask a waiter at our favorite restaurant if they cater weddings. It turned out the guy sitting next to us at the bar was one of the owners, and we had a nice chat with him and the head chef about Friday weddings and the Penn State scandal. On the way out the door I ran into the person in charge of determining my job status, which is currently a big bureaucratic mess. Nick walked out wearing half a bottle of Tabasco. It was all sort of surreal.

A few days earlier, we took my future mother-in-law to check out the University of Illinois Arboretum, a potential ceremony venue. It being November and all, the plants were either brown and withered or stubs of decapitated stalks. We walked around the barren landscape and tried to imagine it in June. Would the archway be set up under those leafless, dying trees? We left with the feeling of, “Well, that was probably OK.”

Maybe it’s that the wedding is still so far away. Maybe it’s that we’ve been living like married people for so many years. Maybe it’s that I have no clear picture of what our wedding might look like, or sound like, or feel like. Maybe if I tried on a bunch of poofy dresses I’d feel like a bride. Maybe if I tried on a yellow jumpsuit and carried a katana I’d feel like The Bride.

This is all a bit inane, isn’t it? It’s patently ridiculous that the societal expectation of Brideliness is a completely deranged person bloody with paper cuts from origami swans, bits of tulle sticking out of her hair, abusing everyone around her. It’s even more ridiculous that when my experience of sanity and clarity isn’t living up to that expectation, I feel like I’m the one who’s wrong.

Pictured: What's actually wrong.

This is a really obvious point that many other wise people have discussed before me. But for what it’s worth, I’m going to stop trying to find panic where panic doesn’t exist. I’m going to feel lucky that things seem to be going so smoothly. I’ll go back to the Arboretum in the spring and know that even if it isn’t perfect, it will probably be all right.

One response

  1. Meh, I literally let Sophie plan most of my wedding and didn’t really panic about anything (except several dreams about showing up at the church without rings), I think you’ll be just fine

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