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 TheKnot.com. 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.

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

  1. Thank you, and I love you! Sincerely. This is exactly what I needed to hear right now.
    I am newly engaged, and my finance and I are incredibly happy and in love. We’re also both goofy, and fat, and awkward. Even pictures of us in Paris, at the beautiful sites, would never work on those “Save the Date” cards or for engagement photos.
    And the part about the friends, too. We have very few close friends, and those we have live several states away since we moved last year. I get so inspired, and then extremely sad when I read the blogs and see the pictures of all the friends being super-involved in the wedding plans. Especially here on OBB, where there are lots of GREAT ideas and stories about cool things friends did for the weddings. Well, we don’t have that kind of life, but instead of letting the websites make me feel bad, I need to step away, look at the love of my life, and say, “It’s you and me, Babe”.

    • I feel your pain… all our friends and family are hundreds of miles away during this planning process. At first I was ready to give up the plans of doing an actual ceremony and reception but I finally had the epiphany that this is about me and my mister.

      The people in our life are still involved. We do tons of things over the phone, email, skype, iChat, etc. The people who reach out and put up with the challenges of helping us plan our wedding across the miles are doing so because they love us and the want to make our day awesome!

      Near or far they’ll find a way to help… 🙂

    • Me and my guy are the same. We don’t have a lot of really good friends and I feel like maybe I’m not going to have a great wedding when I look at all the wedding on this site. But I really like what you said. Because even though we want our family and friends to be there to celebrate with us on this huge day in our lives, it really is about the two of us. So thank you for your post. I needed to hear (or read) that. 🙂

  2. My future-husband and I have one single photograph of the two of us taken in the last 2 or 3 years, and it was only because we were on vacation and someone else held the camera (and it’s pretty terrible, for the record; we were fresh off a long bus ride after the second flight of the day and travel-weary). I don’t think I have any pictures of him without at least one of our two dogs, and the focus of those pictures is always the dog, not him. We don’t take pictures when we go out with friends; there’s no cute photo anywhere of the two of us, his arm slung over my shoulders as we sit in a bar and laugh at our best friend’s jokes, or frolicking about a meadow peppered with wildflowers with a picnic set-up lingering in the background. And I think that reading your post has made me realize that there are other real couples out there like us, with little photographic record of some kind of existence, and that it’s okay. Our relationship isn’t inferior or less valid because we don’t have albums crammed in bookshelves full of the two of us. Thank you for writing this!

  3. This is my very favorite article I’ve ever read on Offbeat Bride.

    My wedding is just over two weeks away. I’ve been asked “Are you excited?!?!!” more times than I can count. And while I am excited, thrilled really, I’m not TLC excited. I’m not fairy tale excited. Because I’m not a “princess bride,” and I wasn’t looking to be.

    My future husband and I have a Sunday kind of love. The kind where you don’t talk while driving, but hold hands. The kind where he sets out an extra bowl for my Cheerios. The kind with bed head and fleece pajama pants and the Muppet show.

    Cheers to celebrating YOUR love, however it may manifest, in a way that feels like you. People will know it when they see it – they just don’t know what they’re looking for yet.

  4. I love you for this. I actually do. You, like so many others on OBB, put in to words the way I feel about our wedding. The fact that it’s about the MARRIAGE – about the two of us spending our life together and promising every bit of ourselves to each other.
    Incidentally, my favourite photo of us was taken with a cameraphone on a windy cliff in Arbroath, Scotland. I’m wearing no make-up, my hair’s a mess and I have a double chin from smiling and Dr M is kissing my cheek. We both look RUBBISH but incredibly happy despite the fact that we were kind of going through some stuff at the time. It shows that despite everythiny just being together was enough.

  5. I thought I had escaped the wedding madness until I read this article. I may not be flipping out over centerpieces and chair covers, but I still have this idea in my head of what my fiance and I should look like, and how we should feel throughout this process. We are very different from that idea! And that is ok! Hello, perspective. Nice to see you again.

  6. Brilliant article! We didn’t send out save the date cards (not done here in Germany) but I have to admit that I felt like I had missed out on something. I got the same feeling when (even on OBB) I saw engagement photos, parties and showers. Those things are all great but whether we have them or not does not change the validity of the marriage.

    Also: you’re a ham? As in ham radio ham? My future husband is a ham and he’s trying to rope me in 😀

  7. I was this bride and I went through the exact same feelings. Especially the “I’m not meant to be a bride” feelings because I don’t fit the traditional mold in the magazines, looks, personality, or wedding style. But then I realized that out of the people I know, the geeks like me are the ones still together. Because maybe, instead of concentrating on these things we finally give up and see the beauty of our love for what it really is.

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