Those fairy-tale happy ending stories seem a lifetime ago when you finally feel the weight of that cool platinum engagement ring wiggle onto your formerly plain ring finger. There is this ‘pinch-me-so-I-know-it’s-real’ emotion coursing through your body. A surreal pallor grips you when you ultimately reconcile with the implications of the trigger-happy decision that was just made in a fleeting moment.
The first thing in your head is the big white dress and that flower arrangement clogged aisle that you must wade through without any clumsy moments. It is precisely then that you wish you had been like the other little girls plotting their dream weddings on scrapbooks with stolen pictures from some of mum’s pretty girl magazines. The struggle is real for the tomboy in you who never envisioned the big fat wedding, let alone having to star in it.
The excitement in the room is palpable when you make the announcement of impending wedding bells. I would like to believe it is normal to feel like there might be recipients of the news more thrilled than the announcers are. Right? Setting a practical date is the next challenge- there is always going to be the naysayers who cannot fathom an executable plan in limited time. Getting past this is the first of many hurdles – a harbinger of what is to come.
A couple of days after normalcy has set in and the regular routine has begun to kick in, you are tempted to Pinterest ideas for everything from wedding colours to bridesmaid dresses to bridal gowns. There is the constant pressure of living up to those perfectly poised and beautiful brides with not a love handle out of place and enough hairspray to last your normal hair through the better part of a year.
For the OCD, control freak in you, a little black book seems to be the best option to ‘manage’ the chaos that is the list of tasks to do. As if planning a wedding far from home was not hard enough, there is the budget that you must not blow for what the logical ones claim is “just a few hours of merriment”. Then there is the group of “enforcers”. You must categorically avoid those ones unless you want to nod your head yes into debt. Then there are the ‘advisors’. The ones who tell you “not to end up paying for the wedding after the wedding”. To be honest, that is actually good advice. Let us not get into the other bits. Your brain must conveniently forget and or classify them as ‘not applicable’.
For the couples planning a religious ceremony, there is the additional responsibility of the rules of faith. There are courses that prepare you for the upcoming “doom”. The goal seems to make you realise how the whole idea of marriage is a big mistake and how your partner and you are just not prepared to be taking this step. Long story short- ultimate terror. It takes a calm control & ultimate faith in your relationship to be able to avoid drowning in the in-class exercises.
Finding the dress is sometimes harder than finding the one. You go in with a checklist of what you think is good for you based on those last-minute pouring over bridal magazine sessions and countless google searches, and you come out with something completely different. You go in determined not to leave with a ball gown, convinced you would end up looking like an upside down cupcake but then you fall in love, all over again, with this Vera Wang beauty that hugs you in all the right places in spite of being one.
Your brain will convince you not to micro-manage every detail to ensure your sanity but there is always the ridiculous perception that you can work endlessly for a year to plan this one perfect evening. One for the books. Even if you are not royalty, it is nice that you can come close to having a day that celebrates a union of two hearts with all the glitz and glamour your financial situation can afford.
As if the to-do list, that keeps getting longer, is not enough, there is familial pressure to keep at bay and put to bed. This one in particular is the hardest because there are a crazy number of strings attached and feelings potentially being hurt. You do not want to be the rebel or pot stirrer in your new family and you do not want to be the evil conspirator that is destroying the other in the eyes of their family. You must not cross an unfortunately skinny line, at all costs if you must make it through the days leading up to the wedding unscathed. It defines the nature of the relationship you will have with your old/new family for the rest of your life.
Quite realistically, it is a once-in-a-lifetime right of passage into adulthood that is almost inevitable. For those of you in shoes similar to mine, you will associate with many of the sentiments shared. For those of you wanting to get into these shoes, this is not my attempt at warding you off the very idea. I would just have liked to be better prepared for “what to expect when…”. I hope this helps.
With a little more than 3 months to go until my big day, I am holding my breath towards our attempt at a “and they lived happily ever after” like those fairy tales I used to fall asleep to oh so many years ago.