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. Wow, I really needed this. I’m only two weeks into planning and feeling like I should give up all together because I can’t be “them” – whoever the hell that is:)

  2. There is no right or wrong “picture” of love. Everyone is different and every couple expresses it in different ways!

    I had a friend say “if we don’t have a reception DINNER, it just wouldn’t feel like a real wedding.” Not even though you’ve said your vows? Not even if you get MARRIED that day?

    Ontop of making this type of ‘one-size-fits-all’ brand of wedding today, the wedding industry convinces us that it’s the WEDDING that’s important – what about the MARRAIGE?
    They project this idea of THE Bride or THE Groom. But, with 7billion on the planet, what is normal? Not that, I don’t believe.

    Go get ’em – in your own way!

  3. This is a great post! It makes me love my partner even more, and happy other people experience the same anxiety over not being a regular bride.

    We’re a saturday night curled up on the couch in lounge pants eating cheetos. We’re getting up in the morning to walk the dog and letting the other sleep in, and making the other walk the dog late that same night because I am afraid of the dark. We’re letting the dishes pile up in the sink and complaining about co-workers. We have a real love, and no air brushed photos.

  4. This is so spot on! I am at the beginning stages of planning and trying to make everything like it is “supposed to be” is exhausting. Thank you for the slap in the face and an eye-opening taste of reality. I love my fiance more than words can explain, and I love that he takes me for what I am, frumpy business and all.

  5. As a plus-sized woman, I’ve never felt like I could ever, possibly look like the YOUR PICTURE HERE save the dates. Like I could look like a bride.
    I tried so hard to imagine it, but all of those crazy-in-love couples on cobblestone streets–they’re thin.
    The whole wedding industry is filled with images of brides who are tattoo-free, who are blemish-free, who have awesome teeth and who are SVELTE.
    I thought a lot about hiring an engagement photographer while I was engaged, but I kept stopping in my tracks. I felt embarrassed to even pick up the phone because I wasn’t cute enough.
    So I could never have STD’s with our picture on them, because none of our photos were hi-res. I could never participate because I was afraid of my body, afraid of my face, afraid of being myself.
    Even as a self-proclaimed Offbeat Bride, I was buying into the notion that a wedding looks a certain way.
    I’m still not THERE, but I know that if I’m ever in the arena again, I’m going to leap. I’m going to leap and be full of laughter and show off my snaggle tooth and let my friends and loved ones marvel at my double chin and I’m going to be HAPPY.

  6. This is definitely my favorite post yet…I had the same panicky feeling and starting to get to the feeling this blog post describes… We have been waiting to get our engagement pictures taken because we’d like to lose some weight…and I spend nights worrying that my wedding will never look as perfect as all of these other wedding blogs. More recently, I’m become comfortable in the fact that our wedding day, wedding outfits, and married life are never going to be perfect…which is perfectly fine because we aren’t perfect either. I’m just hopeful that I feel happy and thankful and grateful for it all…

    Thank you for keeping us all grounded. 🙂

  7. I totally know how you feel. I actually have very few pictures of my fiance and I despite having been together almost 10 years. I always feel like “why would I take a picture of us sitting in bed watching anime?” I try to avoid too much of the standard wedding planning fare for the reason that we’re two nerds in love who look like obvious nerds. Who knows if those perfect looking people eating brunch might go home and secretly play World of Warcraft, but they don’t look it, so I can’t relate. Our wedding won’t look like the magazine pictures and the typical wedding blogs, but I’ll be damned if our wedding won’t be a glorious train wreck of everything that makes him and me, us.

  8. Hilarious, beautiful, and TRUE! So well done. I laughed out loud (okay… cackled) at “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.” GAHHH this is why I can’t be on Facebook! It drives me bonkers! Because yeah, that’s not our bag, either.

  9. Beautifully written post! I think so many of us have been there – I had this idea that I would suddenly get invisalign before the wedding (I’ve thought about it before, but never had the $$). I had a frightening thought – Oh my god, my teeth will be crooked in my wedding photos! I can’t have that – brides have perfect smiles! After coming to terms with the fact that I’d have to choose between getting invisalign or having a honeymoon, I realized what crap it was to be so concerned over something like that.

    A side note: I think very few people have amazing photos with our fiances – and that’s why people have engagement photo shoots!

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