Bride spins out of control selecting Save the Date photos

Guest post by Ericka Kreutz
Timeless Save the Date Cards from Minted
Timeless Save the Date Cards from Minted

So, I'm getting married. Like, ring on finger. Like, picked a date. Like, getting magazines delivered monthly to my door, reserving room blocks, and picking out “my colors.”

It's all a lot of input and should-haves and should-buys and not long after I said yes to a man, I was saying yes to websites, and wedding favors, and steak or chicken, and extra tents, and a whole lot of material things to make the one non-material thing in my life look really pretty in yellow ribbon and daisies.

And, although the semi-addicted online shopper in me enjoys parts of this exploration, it does become a glitter and bubbles-filled tornado after awhile. And I was spinning out of control.

It happened one late night while I was searching Save-the-Date postcards…

A simple task, and one that I was delighted to do. As I surfed, I found myself specifically attracted to those cards that had photos of the to-be-married couples in them. You know the ones: The couples are multi-ethnic. They probably live in Brooklyn. Or Portland. Or Prague. They met at an art supply store. Or at a mutual friend's dinner party on the lower east side. They have good skin and bright teeth and they look so damn happy.

I fell in love with a certain template so I double-clicked on the slick photo not expecting a new window to pop up. The website asked me to upload my own personal picture. Of me and my fiancé. A photo of us — fresh-faced, with blown out hair, in mid-laugh, after eating an eggs benedict brunch with sixteen of our closest friends in a quiet restaurant on a cobble-stoned street. We look intoxicated from the mimosas and the calorie-free blue corn muffins and with each other. We look so… damn… happy.

Well, I've got to tell you, there is no such picture of my fiancé and me. And believe me, I've searched. We're both geeks. And freaks. And hams. We have cavities. And allergies. And I would never wear heels on a cobble-stoned street.

But maybe I need to? Maybe I need to look like I'm beyond ecstatic, like those girls on those blissed-out wedding blogs. Maybe I need to scream and shout and giggle a lot. Because that is what those brides do on TLC. They are out of their minds in love. (And boy, can they say yes to a dress.)

But I don't look like those girls. And I certainly don't feel like they do. And although my fiancé and I have been together for seven years there is not one photo in our database where I am not about to eat something. Or about to complain about the blister on my toe. Or about to get a zit. There is not one picture of us looking longingly at each other. Or about to kiss. Or frolicking in some tall grass meadow somewhere. It just doesn't exist.

And that is where my tornado touched down.

I do not look like other brides: therefore I am not meant to be a bride. I do not act like other brides: therefore I am not ready to be married. And of course, we are not in love, because what we look like together does not match what these shiny people in sepia tones look like. At all.

And that is when the knot in my stomach took over surfing I suffered a sugar-crash from all the fluffy white marshmallow mass emails selling me the perfect cake topper and I made a decision to detox. And drink seltzer. And hide under the covers. And have a big long talk with myself.

The thing is, getting married is a big deal. It's a ginormous deal. And while cutting a deal with the DJ is great and all, it is really about the deal I am making with another human being. The deal says: I take you, for who you are, forever. And even scarier than that, as I came to realize, is that it is saying: you are taking me. As I am. As I am not. As I will be. Someday.

It is saying: I will let you take care of me. I will let you in. As my partner. As my companion. As my backseat driver. It is allowing someone into my groggy morning rituals, my yo-yo dieting, and all the various self-created tornados in my head.

We don't look like other couples. And we never will. In our pictures we are making silly faces. Or drinking beer. Or playing games. We are coffees, and instant oatmeal, and asthma inhalers, and mouth guards, and clipping coupons, and too much TV, and too much popcorn, and talking to each other twenty-two times a day. And sharing everything.

I still don't know what love looks like. Or what it's supposed to look like. But I know what my love looks like: It looks like a used couch that squeaks. It looks like a fourteen-dollar bottle of wine bought on splurge. There is a candle lit. And music in the background. And I am not wearing any makeup. Or shoes. Or pretenses.

And we are talking. And we are listening. And we are making suggestions on how to live a fuller life. And how to be a better person. And how nothing and everything matters. And we are teasing each other. And we are laughing. And I am so… damn… happy.

Comments on Bride spins out of control selecting Save the Date photos

  1. “We don’t look like other couples. And we never will. In our pictures we are making silly faces. Or drinking beer. Or playing games. We are coffees, and instant oatmeal, and asthma inhalers, and mouth guards, and clipping coupons, and too much TV, and too much popcorn, and talking to each other twenty-two times a day. And sharing everything.”
    This is me and my partner exactly!
    What a great and well-stated post. 🙂

  2. OMG.. I teared up reading this!! I hate that WE don’t have many actually pics of US together at all!! BUT, when I read this, I could actually see all the good times and the fun and the goofiness, and your right, it looks nothing like those pictures. But we are happy, and that is truly what matters!

    • I’ve had the same experience… I actually couldn’t find a photo to post on our wedsite. Searching through my hard drive, I found exactly three photos of the two of us together, after a nearly 6-year relationship. Two of those photos were poory-lit flash photos taken at family barbecues in the middle of summer, with sweaty faces and all. The other photo was at his brother’s wedding, where we’re standing next to each other with those frozen “Oh Lord, do we really have to pose for another photo” smiles on our faces.

      Yeah, it kind of bums me out that there aren’t many pictures of the two of us together. But I can smile at the photos I’ve taken of him cuddling with our cat taking a nap on the sofa, or the pictures he’s snapped of me as I pose like an idiot with the crazy food I’m about to eat. I’m kind of the default “family photographer”, so it’s not often that we have someone else to take photos of the two of us. However, the photos we’ve taken of each other in our daily lives say a lot more about us, I think.

      • I want to click “THIS!” but I don’t think it could truly convey my feelings towards your post. So I’m typing it out as a statement:



        We had a family party, hosted by us a couple days ago and I have hundreds of photos of him, and my mother has a hundred of me, but only one of us together out of the thousands of photos taken. Its nutso.

      • Yep, we have approximately 7 photos of us together from our 15 year relationship. Most of them were taken while we were still in high school (graduation, prom, etc.), so they’re out. That leaves about 3. And they’re pretty underwhelming. When we go on vacation, we take pictures of each other, since we are too paranoid to trust somebody to not run off with our phones if we ask them for a photo.

  3. I have exactly one “respectable” photo of me and my fiance and while it is nice, and we both look nice, and happy, and yadda yadda I still kind of prefer the photos in which i am laughing and have a red face or one of us is sticking our tongue out or licking the other’s face and where there is beer and chips and that weird forced smile my fiance does in photos where he looks like he’s either about to eat whoever’s behind the camera or run for the hills and that photo of us dubbed “Meatloaf and his girlfriend”.
    So thanks, for this. I kind of needed to be reminded I don’t need to worry about the “respectable” wedding photos because whatever’s happening in them, it will be us and happy and he’ll probably be eating and i’ll be snorting and giggling like a loon because I can.

  4. I wear female buddy holly glasses, and would wear flip flops year around. I wear just eyeliner and carmex. I always have one zit. My future husband and I are geeky. And we are nothing like the couples in the magazines, or the couples in the galleries for the photographers we’re looking into. But we are so in love, it makes people sick. And we make faces about it. And then I use my inhaler from laughing too hard and cannot catch my breath.

    Your post here, almost brought a tear to my eye, and let me know, I am not alone on this quest of planning, being a little quirky, and having a slight meltdown about it at one point. 🙂

  5. :standing and clapping and whistling wildly: BRAVA!!!! BRAVA!!!! Wonderful, simply wonderful writing. Well said. And don’t worry about looking like those other couples. Worry about BEING who the two of you ARE. Cause that, my friend, that is truly awesome.

  6. Thank you for putting that nameless feeling I’ve been having into words and eloquently I may add.
    I’ve been struggling with all the people who can’t understand why I’m not jazzed out of my pants about my wedding and assume things because of it. I’m excited about being married, not about all the stuff I’m “supposed” to have at my wedding.
    This was just what I needed to clear my planning blues!

  7. I loved reading this. Thank you.
    And, I may take two lines of it for my vows:
    “I take you, for who you are, forever.”
    “I will let you take care of me. I will let you in. As my partner. As my companion. As my backseat driver.”

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