I've finally figured out wedding planning's dirty little secret - that it doesn't become our lives because the day "has to be perfect". It becomes our lives because it's the easiest way to express who we are. Everything else about our lives is about work, about TV or books or whatever, about exercise, about what to eat and what to do and what is fun and what isn't fun but has to get done. We get sold on this idea that the day is "all about you" and you can use it to represent your values, your ideas, even your favorite colors. In theory, it's all fun - it's all about the fun. It's a big giant party, and even though the tasks to plan it suck sometimes, the party, the ceremony, the love, the commitment, it's all about love and it's all about fun. And it's all about you and the person you love most in the world.
But then, once you buy into expressing yourself, the flood starts. It comes up time and time again on the inspiration boards. "Turtles are important to Tina and Greg, both Maryland Grads, so they rode live tortises to their reception and gave a donation to Save-the-Turtles in honor of the guests." "Bethany and Bruce wanted to combine their two favorite colors - hers, purple, and his, chartreuse, and the result is spectacular." "Mandy and Madeline wanted to showcase their talents, so Mandy handpainted each guests champagne glass and Madeline sang a soulful ballad about lesbian love in Texas." There are just these weddings that have so much love, so much work, so much of each person poured into it, like if you don't use your wedding to express every inch of who you are, while still making it pretty, it just won't be special.
I'm starting to crack under all of this pressure, I will admit. The centerpieces have to be right! They have to be the perfect expression of who we are! The buffet must include all of our favorite foods! I must show our guests that I'm creative and crafty and can do it all myself! I must prove to them that I am worthy of Mark's love and that he has a reason for marrying me! And woe is the man who gets stuck with a wife who would dare put centerpieces on the table that are too small, or not colorful enough!
I may have had a slight breakdown in Michael's last weekend about centerpieces. I looked at all the candles, I looked at the rocks, the moss, the fake moss, the flowers, and nothing felt RIGHT. Nothing felt US enough. It wasn't a total expression of our love!
You know what is us? Not caring about centerpieces. Most nights we sit on the couch and eat dinner and the Tivo remote is our centerpiece. Now we have a table. Our centerpiece is our laptops that we pile in the middle of the table to get out of the way of our food. And I suspect that this is a lot of our friends lives as well. So why do I feel this pressing need to not only make the centerpieces, but to make them somehow reflect us? Same with the table names. Same with the flowers. Same with the food. There are SO MANY choices and we might pick the WRONG ONE!!!!!
And as much as I do believe in making the right choices, I'm going to try, very very hard, to remember: there is no wrong choice here. The only wrong choice is any kind of plant that attracts mosquitoes. Whatever choice we make, it doesn't matter if it doesn't express us enough. They will be the centerpieces that are there and man, I hope our guests are occupied enough with food and dancing to care as little as I do these days.