February 7, 2013 catherinetownsend

Please Stop Talking About Your Wedding. Because No One Cares.

I’m more than willing to share the love on your special day. But after reading yet another story about the rising cost of being a bridesmaid, it’s time for a reality check.Look, I think it’s great that you are entering the Vatican in a horse-drawn carriage covered with Swarovski crystals. But I would still rather stab myself through the hand with a fork than discuss your invitation fonts.  

It’s nothing personal. I was just born without the bridal gene. While my girlfriends spent their childhood walking their Barbies down the aisle, I drove off in the dream car with two Kens.  Then I grew up and discovered that engagement jewelry could unleash a dark power on formerly sane women. They assured me that I, too, would ‘get it’ and behave like the little monster from the Lord of the Rings someday. Fast forward twenty years: I got engaged to an amazing man whose heart was set on a big wedding. But even after our ‘City Hall and a bottle of tequila’ turned into a Vera Wang ball gown and a Vows story in the New York Times, the only people really emotionally invested in the details were blood relatives, people I paid to help, and brides-to-be on Pinterest. That’s just the way I like it—and here’s why:

1. Weddings are boring. Your wedding is not a Justin Bieber concert. It may be the most momentous event of your lives as a couple, but to everyone else it’s just dinner. Personalized menus and a photo booth aren’t going to change that. This is why, no matter how much your guests love you, at least 20 percent of them will be wondering when your uncle’s speech will end so that they can ditch out and watch Homeland.  This goes up to 80 percent if you make people wait too long for food or booze.  After the vows, bring on the vodka.

2. Weddings are overrated. I kept getting offended when people referred to my wedding as ‘the most important day of my life’. Really? What about the day I found out my book was a bestseller; the day I got my first big job and the day I had my first orgasm? That one definitely deserved a specialty cake. Weddings are like New Year’s Eve: Sometimes the more you build things up; the more disappointed you are if they aren’t perfect. If you really want to have the happiest day of your life, go in expecting nothing more than an amazing celebration with the person you love. You’re more likely to notice the small beautiful moments and not nitpick flaws.

3.Your wedding is not unique. If you want to get married in a crypt on Halloween, go for it. But everything from Goth to The Little Mermaid has been done before. So don’t stress, spend tons of money or put on a pirate hat because you feel pressured to ‘create an experience’.  This also applies to the wedding website. People go there to get hotel info and directions. We already know how the ‘how we met’ stories end: You get married. And they are edited for content—you won’t see ‘Tom and Angela’s knew they were meant for each other after that first night of drunk sex in a public bathroom’. In my experience, most weddings blur together—except the ones where something goes horribly wrong. Of the hundreds of weddings I’ve attended, the two most memorable moments were a hawk attacking someone and a drunk ex actually speaking after the minister said ‘forever hold your peace’.   So don’t obsess over the cocktail napkin color. Enjoy each other. And for crying out loud, eat the food!

4.Your wedding isn’t all about you. This is really a nice way of saying ‘get over yourself’. Let’s face it: If you really just wanted to focus on the two of you, you would elope. Planning a party for hundreds of guests involves taking other people into consideration. This is especially true with destination weddings. As long as you remember that the harder it is for people to get there, the fewer guests you will have, you’re fine.  But expecting people to shell out lots of money and vacation days is the quickest way to make people hate you. Unless you expect a separate destination bachelorette weekend first, in which case they hate you already. Of course you can’t make everyone happy. But is one day worth alienating friends, family and your fiance? I’ve seen it happen, and it’s not pretty.

5. Your bridesmaids are doing you a favor. In return, pick something that doesn’t cost a bomb and/or make them look fat. Or let them choose themselves. I told my bridesmaids to show up in whatever they wanted. They looked gorgeous—and happy—in all of the photos. Don’t stick them at the Singles Table From Hell next to your creepy uncle with the lazy eye.  And if you’re over 30, you really may want to re-think subjecting your single female friends to that special form of public torture that is the bouquet toss.

Wedding planning isn’t about being a princess. It’s really about compromise, a skill that you will use every day in your life together. Knowing that no one is going to care as much as you do means you can let go of the crazy expectations, and bring the focus of the day back to where it should be: On you and the person you love. So if your father in law throws a punch or the released doves poop on the wedding party you won’t fall apart. If you can handle disasters together and stay calm in the face of adversity, you’re well on your way to a great marriage—and a real happily ever after.

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