Here comes the stress

Editor’s note: I plan to include the column that runs each week in the newspaper I edit. It’s a little insight for readers on my job.

After attending not one but two weddings in Nebraska this past weekend, I think the whole getting-married-in less-than-three-months thing has finally dawned on me. This is the reason for wedding receptions: to unload the stress, which builds and builds over months whether it’s necessary or not, of planning a wedding.

As I sat in St. Teresa’s Catholic Church ogling at the unfamiliar altars and candles prior to friend Kristin promenading beautifully down the aisle, I realized that very soon I’ll be enjoying a similar walk down an aisle while everyone near and dear and about-to-be relatives looks on.

I sure hope I don’t trip. Or pass out. I’ve been to two weddings this year now where the grooms looked about ready to drop to the ground.

There’s just so many things we brides convince ourselves can and will go wrong. The dress won’t be perfect. The cake won’t be perfect. We’ll have bits of asparagus between our teeth in all the photos. We’ll look fat. The bridesmaids will suddenly morph into whiny banshees. The groomsmen will get sloppy drunk and ruin the evening. In short, even the most mild-mannered woman (this is not me) becomes a snarling control freak during wedding planning.

A few friends have indeed experienced some of the infamous wedding horrors. Kristin walked into her seamstress’ office five days before her wedding and the woman hadn’t done any of the alterations Kristin had requested a month before during the final fitting. Worse, the woman tried to lie about making alterations and if Kristin hadn’t been as astute as she is, she would have walked out of the shop with a dress that wouldn’t fit. One agonizing day later, however, Kristin’s dress was finished and beautiful. The seamstress likely worked through the night to make the changes she said she would.

Another friend’s bridal party was in tatters just days before the wedding. For no apparent reason, several members of the party dropped out. Then a sister broke her ankle. But the wedding got on just fine. Despite the uneven attendants fanning to the right and left of bride and groom. Despite the sister hobbling down the aisle on crutches ahead of the bride. Despite guests ignoring a seating chart and grandparents ending up at the back of the ballroom with a real estate agent at the reserved grandparents table. What’s more, what seemed so horrible at the time has fueled hours of laughter at the memory. A wedding to remember, indeed.

But perhaps that’s the root of the problem: worrying that everything has to be perfect. So much planning goes into a wedding and all of it down to the last rose petal — Are the invitations elegant yet unique? Will the pastor trip over his sermon? Is the wedding cake frosting completely smooth? Is the soundtrack hip yet inclusive to even the oldest guests? — that it’s easy to obsess over every detail.

It’s also easy to forget that the wedding isn’t just about the bride, but also about the groom. So many brides get so caught up in territorial perfection planning they forget that Mr. Right might have some ideas of his own. Some songs he’d like to hear. Some flavors of cake he prefers.

So even though I’m trying to plan an event that will satisfy guests and glow as a happy memory my entire life, I’m also trying to take a step back from the furious rush toward the Big Day and remember to enjoy these two and half months. Listening to the song I will dance to with my new husband, “Dance With Me, Now Darling” by Hem, I’m hopeful. And even if I do trip, I know I won’t faint. I’m too excited to miss a minute of it.


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