I have trouble getting into things like puppies, cupcakes, baby pictures, pink things or, well … things that one might call "girly." My one weakness is cats. I love kitties. But only if they are black.
So when my fiancé and I got engaged, after the initial high on cloud nine of loooove, I had to start thinking about the actual event, the wedding … and I could never get very far. It was all too saccharine-sweet, all too sentimental … all too girly.
I loved getting started with thinking about the music. Even though our wedding is a year away, my fiancé and I have had a lot of fun talking about our song list. Should we dance to Lionel Richie’s "Hello"? Should we play some Beirut? Would many people know who Beirut is? Do we care? (Nope) Also, there will definitely have to be a fair amount of Rolling Stones songs played … and my fiancé is still trying to convince me that Digital Underground’s "The Humpty Dance" is a good idea.
And the food. I love dreaming about serving a lovely sit-down dinner of braised short-ribs … or maybe maple-pecan glazed pork chops, or maybe pasta. I love dreaming about menus. This is the fun stuff for me.
But every time my mom would ask me something pertaining to centerpieces, flowers or even the dress, my eyes would glaze over. I tried picking up some wedding magazines to learn the lingo and get a feel for what was expected. I’d look through pages and pages of ridiculously sized engagement rings meant to make you feel unbrideworthy if your dude didn’t take out a separate mortgage on a two-karat diamond. There was page after page of beaded/tacky monstrosities known as wedding dresses. I felt like I was looking at some seriously kinky porn.
I have trouble not rolling my eyes at wedding stuff. Sometimes everything just seems so contrived. Like, on what other day in the whole of my life am I ever going to wear a big poofy white dress with sequins and lace unless I’m a professional ballerina, opera singer or a drag queen. It just seems a bit fake and ridiculous to me.
And there also seems to be some kind of arbitrary formula for weddings these days … and I have no idea why or how this came to be. Who decided this? The ceremony = flower girl, then maids, then bride; vows, then rings, then kiss. Reception = Announcements, then dinner, then speeches; cutting of the cake, then first dance and so on. What happens if one deviates from this formula? Mayhem? Bad luck? Divorce?
Add that to reality TV shows like Bridezilla, Bridalplasty, The Bachelor and Wedding Wars that make a mockery of weddings and marriage and just the idea of planning my "big day" makes me go apoplectic. I mean, where in the hell do I start? How do I disassociate myself from this crap?
To start, in all seriousness, I had to stop being so damn cynical. After all, I got engaged to the love of my life and I needed to remember that at all times, even when bombarded with overstuffed meringues by some sales lady at the bridal boutique. And I needed to start planning a wedding that would mean something to my fiancé and me. What’s a dream wedding for someone else is not a dream wedding for me and vice versa … and that’s okay.
I had to stop going to theknot.com because every time I went there I just started getting overwhelmed. I had to stop flipping through Martha Stewart Weddings. I’m not saying that these are not great tools; I’m just saying that they perpetuated my cynicism … so I went cold turkey.
During a trip to Barnes & Noble I began to see the light. I was browsing through "wedding planner" books and getting very discouraged by the same old thing … big pink books in cutesy fonts that looked more like something for a 9-year-old. Not a grown woman. Then I noticed a little book – it was green (not pink!), I opened it and read a few lines … and promptly went and bought it. That book was Offbeat Bride … and I knew that I’d found my kindred spirits in bridal bliss when I went to the Offbeat Bride website and read a blog about a wedding with a "zombie apocalypse" theme.
Now, I definitely fall somewhere in between "Big Traditional Princess Wedding" and "Zombie Apocalypse Wedding," but I love that they made it clear that if you want to have a zombie apocalypse wedding, then you should be able to have your zombie apocalypse wedding … and that’s okay.
This discovery led me to relax. To chill the hell out. I started looking up other creative wedding ideas at Pinterest.com, started brainstorming… and now I even love thinking about the centerpieces. Also, I have a couple things figured out, such as (but not limited to):
1. My bridesmaids. I’ve got a few good maids. My main thing was that I wanted peeps to stand in my wedding who would be excited to do it. Who really wanted to be there. I have a few extremely close friends who would probably rather stick a shrimp-fork in their eye than be a bridesmaid – I’ve been one, so I understand – it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But I’ve got some amazing maids who henceforth won’t be referred to as "bridesmaids" but as Supreme Chicks of Awesomeness.
2. Save-the-dates/announcements/programs. A perk of being a graphic designer is that I can design all of this stuff myself and I’ve already got some kinda cool ideas. Like this:
3. The engagement ring.
I knew that I didn’t want something brand-new. I wanted vintage. Something different. I knew that I didn’t want him to "go to Jared" if only because they’ve annoyed me so much over the years with their ad campaigns, subliminally suggesting that if my significant other didn’t shower me with jewels every holiday, then he didn’t really care. I resent that.
We ended up finding the perfect ring during an afternoon stroll through an antique shop. It’s beautiful. It looks like a diamond-y flower or a star-burst. Sometimes when I’m walking around outside I’ll catch a little sparkle on my left hand and I’ll stare at it. People probably wonder what the hell is wrong with me as I hold out my hand and smile at it at 2 p.m. in the afternoon sun like a goofball. It’s the Edward Cullen of engagement rings. It’s an antique … it’s dazzling … and it sparkles in the sunlight.
My ring is from the `60s … and I imagine that before it found me, some southern gent who looked just like Don Draper gave it to some awesome lady who looked just like Joan Holloway … and they lived happily ever after.
And so shall we.
Read more from Annie at anniedeladolce.com.