You know those people who say “My give-a-damn’s busted?” I’m so jealous of those people.
My give-a-damn is never busted. It goes on and on, seemingly forever, spinning until all those imaginary gears are overheated and I’m the one busted, but still fully giving every ounce of “damn” on can give about everyone and everything else.
I’ve been in some stage of wedding planning for about a year, and with just under three months to go, there are a lot of plans that need to be finalized and announced. I’ve been bucked on everything by someone since the beginning, from choosing a Friday night date, to choosing an adults-only affair, to being “too traditional” (and in some cases, not traditional enough), so now I’m suffering from a serious case of predictive anxiety. I’m terrified that the moment I declare something will be a certain way or date or time, or heaven forbid ask anyone to do anything, I’m going be met with irritation because I apparently intentionally picked the worst possible thing/time/day just to piss YOU off.
I’ve realized that I’m taking on a ridiculous amount of guilt and shame, and not just about spending money. I’ve felt guilty about registering for gifts. I’ve felt guilty about choosing a venue that isn’t centrally located for most of my guests. I’ve felt shame for gaining weight after purchasing my wedding dress and because I’m afraid of not being “pretty enough” to make people happy. I’ve been embarrassed that top shelf liquor isn’t in the budget. There’s guilt because we established a guest list and have since made new friends. Seeing a pattern here?
Guys, it’s got to stop.
One thing I’ve become increasingly aware of through this process is that if I’m dealing with something, someone else is, too. Since I’m the one with the public platform, I frequently choose to air my dirty laundry, so to speak, and usually, someone out there ends up feeling a little more human for finding out they’re not alone. If my being honest can help a fellow BAB out, then by golly, I’m going to keep being honest.
The truth is, I’ve lost my joy.
I dumped my planned topic for the week Tuesday when I had a holy-hell meltdown over a bridal shower guest list and started writing this. I confessed to my mother that I was no longer looking forward to the wedding; I was looking forward to that following Sunday when we’ll probably go watch football with our friends and everything will start going back to normal. Now, I really love football, but to be looking forward to week three noon game more than my WEDDING? I’d say that’s a sign that something needs to change. I’ve gotten to the point where I no longer see this as “our” day; I see it as everyone else’s. As the bride, I’ve managed to quit seeing myself as one of the people getting married and thusly celebrated. Instead, I’ve started feeling like my job is to look perfect for everyone so that they aren’t made to feel uncomfortable looking at less than a perfectly aesthetically pleasing figure, all while flawlessly throwing a party that makes everyone happy. That whole part about marrying the love of my life feels like the boring part people have to sit through until the free booze comes out. Priorities, much?
Now, I typically like to discuss ways I’ve cleared the hurdles of wedding planning, but in this case, I’m not really fit to tell anyone what to do to make it better; I can only share my resolutions and the practical ways I intend will go about putting them into practice. I’ve had an irrational fear of the Bridezilla title since the moment I said yes, and while it’s all well and good to be conscientious and respectful of other people’s feelings, there comes a time when we need to put our needs at the forefront of our plans.
That time is now. Seriously, it doesn’t matter what stage of planning you’re in; you need to claim this period for your own. The idea that standing up for yourself and saying, “This is just the way it needs to be,” labels you as a Bridezilla is sickeningly misogynistic (because even if you’re a Broke-Ass Groom, you’re being attacked with the accusation that you’re “acting like a woman”). Personally, telling me that I can’t make everyone happy sends me into an obsessive whirlwind of soul-sucking attempt to prove them wrong. I am a pathological people pleaser. Like, if I could have a super power, I’d forego flying and invisibility for the ability to make everyone happy. It comes from a good place, but it’s also the source of many neuroses. Rather than focusing on can’t, I have to think about the reasons I shouldn’t have to.
Conflict-free scheduling is a pipe dream when you’re talking about a guest list of more than about four. It’s good of you to scan your calendar for birthdays or other couples’ anniversaries. You may want to consider relatively universal business conflicts like the end of the fiscal year, but if the “conflict” comes out of anything minor, it’s time to shrug it off. Are you catching trouble for inadvertently scheduling your wedding in the middle of baseball playoffs (like I have) or on opening weekend of some hunting season or on a Sunday night when “Game of Thrones” is on? If someone is implying that there is some place they’d rather be than celebrating with you and your beloved, tell them you were just so excited that you missed the potential schedule conflict and you’re really sorry because “We would have loved to have you.” I’m not typically one to advocate passive aggression, but this was my mother’s idea and I rather like it. If you’re basically being told that a baseball game is more important than your wedding, some restrained snark seems reasonable. I happily attended my sister’s wedding during Game Three of the Ranger’s first-ever World Series (and checked updates through my phone). They’ll get over it.
Sportsball. We love it, too.
Unless your entire guest list lives in the same apartment building, someone is going to feel slighted about the travel time. Are people complaining that they may have to drive an hour to your wedding or a pre-wedding event? That’(*sigh*) too bad. The aforementioned bridal shower meltdown was sparked by the fact that my mother’s gracious, amazing, generous friends have taken on the planning and intend to host the event in one of their homes, which is a fair drive from most of my guests. I’ve already had people voice their distaste over the driving distance to our wedding venue (which is still within the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex where 90% of our guests live — and EVERYONE drives in DFW), so I saw a disaster in the making. If someone is doing something for you, they get first convenience. Plain and simple. If you planned it yourself, you have reasons for choosing the location and they are valid. Destination wedding or chapel around the corner, get married where you want to.
Taste is not universal, so someone isn’t going to like something. Food, flowers, colors, music — we all like different things. If someone feels the need to complain or speak ill of any of those decisions, they’re being mean and mean people suck. I am officially done — DONE — taking crap for our personal taste and you should be, too.
Religion (or lack thereof) is also not universal, and it sure gets touchy. I would expect most of your guests will already know where you stand on faith and it’s only decent of them to expect that to be reflected in your wedding. Whether it’s a Catholic aunt offended by your Universalist beliefs or an atheist friend who complains about your desire to take communion, when it comes to your wedding, it’s none of their business and if they can’t deal, they can’t come. Doing anything more or less than you want is disingenuous and that IS. NOT. FAIR. To you, or anyone else.
You don’t have to turn the give-a-damn off, but for the next three months, I’m definitely turning mine down. I can honestly say that I have not once made a decision with the expressed intent of hurting, or even inconveniencing anyone. I’m not going to stomp my foot and declare, “No more Miss Nice Bride,” but neither am I going to let myself feel sick because something isn’t perfect for someone else. I haven’t reached full comfort with the idea, but if I’m going to reclaim my joy for a day that should be the happiest I’ve ever had, it’s an idea I need to get used to.
Do you have complaints you’re no longer entertaining? Something you refuse feel guilty about? Let us know in the comments!