I hear it said that “everyone has pre-wedding jitters” — what ifs and cold feet. But I had a full-on panic. Like, “I woke up crying and told my fiancé that I wanted to cancel the wedding” kind of panic.
Our wedding hasn't been an easy one to plan. We wanted to get married before my job contract expires and before we move across the country, so that put us at a four month engagement. On top of looking for a job, and thinking about moving, our families are not terribly supportive. Add to this that most of the wedding is DIY, and that most of the DIY is being done by me… Nevermind, all of it, because I am stubborn as hell.
I was at the end of my rope. Spending all of my time doing DIY research, making lists, calculating costs, and worrying. Fighting with my family. Getting outrageous quotes from caterers who kept insisting on throwing in things that I didn't ask for or want, and then charging for them anyway. And realizing that I didn't even own a cake pan.
I lost it. I told my fiancé that I thought we should cancel the wedding and just elope, or even not elope and just keep things the way they are. I told my two close friends the same thing, then read every article on how to tell people you're canceling a wedding. I even told my therapist I didn't want to get married. I took my ring off to see what my hand would look like without it, and then I started Googling jobs in Botswana.
I came home that same day to a living room full of camping supplies. My fiancé said that he had to get me out of here. Too tired to fight it, I allowed myself to be scooped into a car packed with blankets and hot dogs, and driven two hours out into the wilderness. It saved our wedding.
Second: no one else around. No friends. Goodbye, fights with family — the rest of my energy had been going there and getting even less promising results.
Third: nothing else either. No chores, no grocery lists, or book club books to finish, or even real work to do. I had my dude, and some hot dogs, and really not much else.
So we pitched our tent and left the fly off to look at some stars. But it rained at 3am so we rushed out in our underwear to put the tent fly on in the rain. And I thought, “wow, we're a pretty good team.” We slept in. We went for a hike and he gallantly went first with a stick to make sure he knocked down all the spider webs. When we tried to light a fire with our damp wood in the light rain, he wound up using our air mattress pump as bellows. He bellowed the hell out of that campfire for maybe an hour because he knew I wanted a hot dog. And then I realized how very badly I want to marry this guy.
I like to think I took the wedding crazies to the woods, killed them and buried them there.
And that was it. After that, all of the wedding stress seemed stupid. Even worse, I seemed stupid, because I'd fallen into the trap of focusing so much on the wedding that I'd forgotten about the marriage.
After that we started talking wedding stuff, but without any of the panic. We set deadlines for things we knew we wanted, and we tossed things that were more stress than they were worth. We did it together, without 100 Google images in front of us, without budget spreadsheets and raving in-laws, and without other peoples' expectations, so we could focus on what was really important to us and what wasn't. Then we looked at some fireflies, ate some s'mores, talked about politics and just enjoyed each other's company for the first time in what felt like a month.
I like to think I took the wedding crazies to the woods, killed them and buried them there. But really, my fiancé did. He said he had promised to take care of me, and that started the day he proposed.