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The One with the Things That Matter

6 Feb

On Saturday, the futhubs and I went to premarital counseling– which has been grand, btw.  Lots of vulnerability, often a lot of tears, and even discomfort when it comes to ‘digging down deep.’  It’s good stuff.  Real talk.  And incredibly humbling.  It’s not super easy to go in and lay all your problems on the table.  This is how we’ve been interacting.  This is what we’ve been fighting about lately.  This is what I said.  This is how I reacted (instead of responded).

I’m super thankful that our premarital counselors are such gracious people who also keep it real.  They’re really honest about the problems they’ve had (and still sometimes have) in their marriage and, in their honesty, remind the futhubs and I that we’re not crazy.  That we’re just as broken as anyone else.  That understanding requires compassion.  That love is a choice and it is healing.

Anyhow, after sharing with our counselors about how stressed we’ve both been, they asked us both to do this exercise.  “Close your eyes and imagine that the wedding planning is all done.  It’s the day after your wedding and you’re reflecting back on this whole wedding planning process.  What are the things that were really important?  In other words, in the whole scheme of things, what is important to you right now?  What do you value?”

This is what we said.  (Our counselor jotted these down).

Wedding Planning Values

Notice that neither one of us wrote a thing about napkin colors.  Or flowers.  Neither one of us wrote about trying to please our parents.  There was no mention of decorations, the guestbook, or attendant gifts.  Or ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE WEDDING ITSELF.  In fact, every single thing we said was a relational value.  We value our relationship as a couple and as a soon-to-be family.  We each value our relationship with the Lord and we want Him to be a part of this whole process.

These are the things that matter to me, to him, and to us.  Real life is right now.  And this is what’s important.

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In the wedding planning process, what are the main values that you’re holding onto?  (Or that you held onto?  Or that you wish you held onto?)

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The One with the Blubbering

31 Jan

What else are you stressed out about?” asked the futhubs gently, as he stroked my hair.

Handmade Wedding Invitation

DIY Invite - Image via Wikipedia

All the things,” I whispered.  And then it came pouring out like Pandora’s box of wedding craziness.  Wedding decorations.  Favors.  Figuring out flowers.  All the inserts to go with our wedding invitations.  Wedding invitations!  Wording them.  Setting a deadline for one of our groomsmen to design it.  Getting them printed in time.  Inviting people over for an assembly line.  Getting them sent out.  Having time to send out multiple rounds of invitations.  Where to stay the night before the wedding.  Where to put the out-of-towner bridesmaids.  Not knowing how to ‘DIY’ anything at all.  Wanting our wedding to be pretty without pinching our wallets more than we already have.

“And it’s so stupid because I look at all these wedding blogs and see all these themed weddings –  and I’d love for our wedding invitations to have a cohesive theme that carries through the ceremony and the reception – but I don’t know how to do it.  And I’m frustrated at myself because I know that that’s not important and who CARES if our wedding is themed and ‘blog-worthy.’  But I just want it to feel pretty.”  (Ah, yes.  That would be me waving the crazy-bride flag.  Nice and high now.  Also, I started off sputtering and totally ended up blubbering).

The futhubs murmurred something akin to, “My poor girl!”  And he took me in his arms.  He kissed my face and whispered in my ear:

“The theme for our wedding is us.  I love you.  And I would marry you in any kind of wedding.  Pinwheel-themed, gothic, Halloween, whatever…  I’m just so excited to marry you.

The rest of that stuff, you don’t have to worry so much about.  You can worry or you can pray about it– you don’t have to do both.  Our God is a God who provides.  It’ll all work out.  I promise.

…more blubbering on my part.  Gah!  He’s right.  And he’s so frigging patient with me.  haha.  I’m grateful to be with someone who’ll hold me when I’m overwhelmed, listen kindly, lift my chin, and give me honest, loving truth.  I love this man.

The One with the Other Wedding Dress

28 Jan

I cried in a dressing room today.  Not because the dress didn’t fit right or because I felt fat.  Not because it was way too expensive.  Not because it was heavy or uncomfortable.

It actually fit me like a glove– hugging and forgiving in all the right places.  It was dreamy and beautiful and extremely lightweight.  (I twirled in it and felt I might fly away).  And it was incredibly inexpensive for what I saw in it.

And what exactly did I see?  Well… I saw the wedding gown that I should have purchased.  It was elegant without being princessy.  It was modern chic without looking too outrageous.  It looked unique and special– set apart from all the other humdrum gowns that more or less look the same.  It made me feel stunning.  And it was almost exactly 5 times cheaper than the wedding gown I already bought.

The dress I found today

My sister and I took our mother to the mall for her birthday to help her find ‘the dress,’ as she calls it.  The ‘mother of the bride dress.’  But we are our mother’s daughters after all– meaning that, just like her, we like to dress up every chance we get.  So as we were pulling gowns off the racks for her to try on, we were also pulling several choice dresses for ourselves to try as well.  One of them being this dress, the should’ve-been-my-wedding-gown dress.  My sister suggested it, thinking that it would absolutely pale in comparison to the dress that I bought way back in October– the one that the women in my family not only ooh-ed and ahh-ed at, but also the one that I giddily and impulsively committed to spending a fortune on.  I tried it.

Wrong move.  (Don’t do it, ladies.  Never try on a dress that even remotely looks like it could pass for a wedding dress AFTER you’ve already gone and purchased one for the big day.  It’ll end badly.  Trust.  I’ve done this twice now.  And yes, I’m smacking my forehead with you).  I was surprised by how comfortable it was.  How pretty I felt in it.  How unbelievably wallet-friendly it was.  (Again, 5 times cheaper than the wedding gown I’d bought.  How?  What?  Why?!)  “What do you think?my sister asked.

At which I promptly burst into tears.  Torrents and torrents of tears.  Because, when I looked in the mirror, I not only saw a wedding dress, but I saw how much money I could have saved.  I saw how much stress I could’ve saved both the futhubs and myself with that extra money.  Had I bought that dress instead, we might’ve been able to afford proper wedding favors.  Or actual flowers.  Or maybe pay for the bridesmaids to get their hair done.  We might’ve been able to book a nice hotel for our honeymoon night.  Ultimately, it came down to this (as it always seems to): I’m still costing my poor futhubs a fortune.  Pretty much his entire life savings.  (Much of that is due to poor planning/budgeting on both our parts very early on, but it leaves us stuck with that sad fact).  I felt incredibly spoiled and undeserving.  And regretful.  And selfish.  And stupid.  “I HATE MONEY!” I wailed as I flung my arms around my sister‘s neck.  (Yes, I’m totally the youngest child).

My mother and my sister were wonderful.  They doused me in verbal affirmation, telling me that the dress I’d already gotten was to die for.  My sister held me close.  She made kind shushing noises and rubbed my back.

I know that you’re kicking yourself right now,” she whispered.  “But it’s just money.  The futhubs is gonna think you look absolutely gorgeous in your dress.  Really.  And at the end of the day, you’ll be married.  And it’ll all be so happy.  You know?  This is just money.  You don’t have to dwell on what you ‘should’ve done’ instead– it’s not worth it.”  (My sister‘s amazing).

I sighed heavily.  I wiped my drying tears.  I honked my nose loudly into a tissue  my mom produced from her purse.  (She’s got everything in there.  Tissues, tylenol– you name it).  I stood up.  I took a picture in the dress.  And tried on others.  You know how they say: “Keep calm and carry on”?  Screw that.  Have your cry.  Cry it out.  And then carry on.  And if at all possible, be around people who love you and will whisper truth in your ears even when you don’t know that you need to hear it.

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When was the last time you had a good cry?  And what helped you ‘carry on’?

The One with the Cocktail Hour Music Rant

24 Jan

Eff cocktail hour!” is what I found myself blaring at my amused futhubs as I pounded the Starbucks table with my fist.  I only swear when I’m absolutely livid (or in the depths of despair), so ‘eff’ seemed to suffice for this particular interjection.  Plus it sounds funny to me, so I can guarantee myself a smile at my own ridiculousness whenever I say it, which I just need sometimes.  But I digress…

Let’s rewind a little.  Tonight the futhubs and I interviewed a third DJ just for good measure.  And because– being a girl who always packs 15 different outfits for a week-long trip just in case— I enjoy variety and the option to choose.  He was a really nice guy and I really liked him.  The futhubs said so too.  Then again he’s said that about every other DJ we’ve met too.  (I think a part of it is because he’s quicker to see the best in people while I jump to categorizing all their flaws in my head.  I’m an awful person sometimes).  I found the first DJ to be reassuring albeit rather cocky and the second, unprofessional and dispassionate about his job.  (Impassionate?  Non-passionate?  Are any of these words?  I could totally google the answer to this right now, but I’m not going to!  Lalala, also #englishmajorfail).

Anyhow, something I really appreciated about DJ #3 is that he was eager to work around our budget– which, btw, we calculated correctly and held to for the first time.  (Sigh.  Harsh lesson: learned.  More on that in another post).  He even suggested super helpful things like cutting out music for the cocktail hour and asking our tech-savvy friends to run sound for the ceremony instead of hiring him to do it, since both of those things would put us over our budget.  I love that he was eager to help without being pushy.  Also, it helps that our friends used him for their wedding so there’s already a level of trust there.  Anyway, blahblahblah– it was a good meeting.

The futhubs and I stayed put after he left to discuss how we felt about it.  I heard myself saying things like, “I liked him, but we wouldn’t be able to have music for the cocktail hour with him.  If we went with DJ #2 we could totally afford it.”  And then my brilliant fiance pointed out: “Yknow, I can’t even remember a wedding where they had music during cocktail hour.”  I heard a pane of glass just shatter in my brain.  He’s so right!  I’ve been to plenty of weddings (I think we went to 8 in the past year alone) and even if they had mood music playing during cocktail hour, I’ve never ever noticed.  And I can totally remember weddings that I know for sure didn’t have music, but I was just as happy gabbing away with old friends and downing stuffed mushrooms.

Appetizers we've attacked sans music-- they taste just as delightful! Trust.

And the thing is, I’d never even thought about having music during cocktail hour.  The thought had never occurred to me (read: it wasn’t at all important to me).  Until, that is, we started interviewing DJs and they started sliding all these price quotes across the table and wooing me with coffee to make me think that I needed it.  And badly.  But the truth is, people come to your wedding to celebrate with you– to rejoice at the fact that you’ve found love and you intend to spend the rest of your life loving someone else unconditionally (and apologizing when that fails at times).  They don’t come for cocktail hour music!  And they’re not gonna miss it!  At all!  There are so many things that people won’t care about but the wedding industry tricks us all into thinking that they’re important (or maybe just me because I’m impressionable and trusting!  Gah!).  Ahhh, ridiculous!

And so I say again: eff cocktail hour!  Eff cocktail hour expectations and eff obligatory wedding things that you’re ‘supposed to do!’  Huzzah!  I’m free!  I’m going to bed.

The One with the Bad Dreams

23 Jan

It’s 2:41AM right now and I’m not in bed yet.  Partially because I’m such a n00b at navigating wordpress and I’ve been trying to figure everything out for the past hour and partially because I know that once I nod off into dreamland I’ll be transported to a dark and unkind world where the theme is: Our Wedding Gone Wrong!

Awful Dream #1: Last night, for example, I had an unnerving dream about the day of.  Not quite distressing or fear-inducing, just unnerving.  I dreamt that the futhubs and I had just finished the ceremony, which may or may not have been completely lovely– I don’t remember.  Basically, we were supposed to take family pictures immediately but my dad’s side of the family went missing.  And then my mom’s side went missing.  And I spent the entire hour running around, looking for all of them only to find out we had no more time for any pictures whatsoever.  I think I was about to sink to the ground in despondent, sweaty resignation when I woke up.

Awful Dream #2: This was a couple of weeks ago.  I dreamt that we were running 2-3 hours late on the day of because we couldn’t find my dad, who will be officiating our wedding.  I ran around the venue looking for him like a chicken with its head cut off– much to the surprise and disapproval of all my parents’ friends.  And then the futhubs started yelling at me in front of everyone because it was somehow all my fault that my dad was MIA.  I was so humiliated; I just stared at him wide-eyed until he turned on his heel and left.  The dream ended with me numbly trying to tell my guests that he’d be back without believing it at all myself.

Yesterday the futhubs told me that he had his first bad dream about the wedding too.  (Also, I refuse to call them nightmares because I feel like that would mean I’m letting these dreams terrify me.  And I’m not!  I refuse!)  The futhubs’ Awful Dream: It involved our ceremony going through with neither of our immediate families being present.  He said that all he remembers is the recessional; once we walked to the end of the aisle we slowly looked at one another and started to cry.

My days are filled with so many wedding details and hypothetical things going wrong already.  It’s so frustrating that my nights have been taken over by dreams about it too.  Can’t a bride catch a break?  Even the futhubs has gotten dragged into it.  Le sigh.

Have you had any crazy dreams about your wedding?  Any tips on how to will yourself into kinder dreams at night?  Help a sista out!  Please!