Why wedding planning brings out my inner Andy Rooney

Guest post by Briennetheblue

Photo courtesy of time.com
Photo courtesy of time.com
There's a certain type of Offbeat Bride who is offbeat because she can look beyond the “typical bride stuff” into the tiny details most brides barely think twice about, like chair covers or napkin rings, and turn them into something innovative and suffused with meaning. She spins the traditional stuff into something entirely her own. Give her a glue gun and some sequins and suddenly there's not a square inch of that wedding that isn't stamped with the couple's deeply personal, self-actualized vision of their togetherness.

And then there's the Offbeat Bride whose beat rests on the other end of “off” — the kind for whom “typical bride stuff” is already too much to think about. In fact, it kind of turns her into a cranky old man. The world is turning too quickly for the likes of this bride, with its 250 shades of white and its 35 kinds of lace and its dye lots and seasonal greenery and hot glue guns and and and…

That bride is me. And in my head, that cranky old man is the late Andy Rooney, whose out-of-control eyebrows and ranty commentaries on modern life used to comprise the last five minutes of “60 Minutes” (and more importantly, at least at my house, signaled that there was just enough time to grab a snack before “The Amazing Race“).

Which isn't to say I have a problem with the other type of Offbeat Bride — to the contrary, I deeply envy their creativity and initiative in diving headfirst into something that absolutely petrifies me. It's probably why I managed to stay in a relationship for seven years without the subject of marriage coming up in any but the most abstract sense.

The week after my engagement became official, I hit up a local bookstore with my intended Maid of Awesome to do some very early preliminary research. Maid of Awesome recommended a few periodicals that had been helpful during her own wedding planning, and I was cautiously optimistic. After all, I had dim memories of my years working for a magazine publisher, when I'd casually flip through our flagship wedding publication to admire the frothy dresses and ornate centerpieces with the vague thought that yes, this is pretty, and someday, this will all matter to me on a more profound level. Surely now that I'm about to be involved in the actual planning of a wedding, I thought, that day has arrived.

Inner Andy Rooney just chuckled ruefully as I curled up with my newly purchased copies of “The Knot” and “Martha Stewart Weddings.” My journey into the heart of wedding-porn darkness yielded pages upon pages of text and pictures written in a seemingly foreign language. All of the “real weddings” featured clearly cost many times more than I felt comfortable pondering as my own bottom line. None of the models in the pictures looked the least bit happy or comfortable. Pages and pages of text were devoted to invitation typefaces, color schemes, thematic centerpieces, and registry items. (My view: if you need several paragraphs of text to explain to you what a particular gadget even is, chances are you don't need it, and you certainly don't need to be asking other people to buy it for you.) Also, memorably, there was some positively baffling mock-astonishment at the inclusion of tree peonies in an autumnal bouquet. I mean, PEONIES! Can you imagine?

Which isn't to cast aspersions on anybody who DOES understand what was shocking about the tree peonies, of course. It's just that I don't see myself ever understanding it or caring. (I guess I want flowers? And I guess they'll be… colors?) To be honest, nothing has ever, EVER brought out my inner cranky old man like wedding planning is already doing. And believe me, my inner cranky old man was not exactly the shy, retiring type up to this point. All I see at the moment is not a big party celebrating our love for one another, but a big project that I will eventually be judged on. If it's not frilly enough, not unique enough, not interesting enough, not traditional enough, not personal enough, not excited enough, not festive enough, not somber enough… someone's going to have a problem with it. Probably everyone is. Forgive me if that doesn't make me excited to muster an opinion on three thousand things I've never had to care about before.

As I get a little deeper into the planning process, I hope my curmudgeonly ways will calm down a little bit. I know my gooey center can still be accessed when the right venue, dress, or song hits it just so. While I probably won't ever be totally fluent in bride-ese, I'm sure it will begin to make some semblance of sense to me, and I'm sure I'll find my way. I'll at least try to get my eyebrows under control before the big day arrives.

Comments on Why wedding planning brings out my inner Andy Rooney

  1. Ugh, I hear you. 🙁 Every time anyone asks me what color the tablecloths should be, or something silly like that, I’m just like “I don’t care. They’re tablecloths. Are they -really- going to impact my ability to marry the person I love?”

    • Or even worse, what *fabric* the table cloths are going to be, and floor length or lap length, and omgwhothehellactuallycaresaboutthisshit. Exactly

      • Ours were slightly shorter than floor length by virtue of the fact that we didn’t know if my daddy would be in a wheel chair on the day or not. However, if you don’t have accommodations to make for someone that is physically disabled, it doesn’t really matter.

    • Wait, do people actually ask that? My head would explode. Aaaand that’s why I’m doing a package destination wedding with random sprinkles of DIY. I can’t imagine ever caring about table cloth fabric, but I can definitely imagine going postal on anyone who tried to make me do so. Yech.

  2. I also suffer from this. People ask me questions about tablecloths or centerpieces or floral arrangements and my response is always “er…. whatever is cheapest?”

  3. same here. i told a few people i didn’t want flowers all over the place… or ‘colors’… or dance music…. what a mistake that was!

  4. I was just talking about this last night to my fiance. Why is it suddenly we are all expected to become expert event planners for our wedding? I can’t find two shits to give about 99.9999% of wedding stuff.

    Themes? Bridal party? Fancy printed invitations? None of this makes a lick of sense to me. I’ve been engaged a year now and my wedding is about half a year away, and the closer it gets to the wedding date, the LESS I care about wedding stuff and, honestly, the grumpier I get about it. I really resent the social expectation that I, as a woman, am supposed to care about this completely inane bullshit.

    My fiance and I both just want the wedding day to be over with so we can just be a married couple.

    • Seriously. Our wedding is 2 weeks away and I still have no idea what’s happening for the most part. We made the mistake of letting our families talk us into having the wedding in our home town instead of where we live now… so… it just kind of ended up as “You guys do whatever you want because you obviously care sooo much more than we do.”

      • I have to keep reminding people that weddings ONE generation ago were basically meet at the ceremony place (according to your tradition or religion or whatnot) and then everybody meet at someone’s house or a local restaurant for a modest, simple dinner. Suddenly now we all need to be staging these crazy elaborate affairs with every possible detail nauseatingly attended to, meant to scream “OMG TRUE LOVE!!!!11” like some giant folksy pinterest orgasm.

  5. Hear hear!! I was the same way. I gave my “special designated people” samples of the colors I generally wanted them to follow, and said “go find a dress.” I got questions like “What are the bridesmaids dresses like?” and “you don’t know? You haven’t seen them?!? What if they don’t match?” so on and so forth. I didn’t see 2 of the dresses until my sisters in them showed up for pictures, and you know what? Everyone looked good! So do what you want, don’t listen to the nay-sayers.
    Great side note; not one of them spent more than $35 on their outfits, total.

    • I did this for my wedding to! I still havn’t seen the dresses. We shall find out Friday! I am sure everyone’s going to look great. And more importantly to me, they are all going to feel comfortable and look like themselves. All without spending a ridiculous amount of money.

      • I asked my four girls to get a dress they are happy with in blue….Only issue I have is one of my girls is still freaking out that the ‘four’ will not “match” and I spun her out completely when I told her the otherday when she asked about what the otherd have….not only are the dresses different styles, lengths, tones……and drum roll different fabric…….ahhhh the horror!!!!! Her eyes nearly popped out lol

  6. Cranky old man is the perfect way to describe how I felt about wedding ‘hooplah’. I wanted to just spend time with my new husband and our friends & family. I felt like all the decorations were taking away my vital brainspace/energy. Feeling so detached from the decorations/people’s attire/similar details was very conducive to letting my eager loved ones ‘take over’. Folks who asked to help coordinated things beautifully. The only things I paid real attention to were the food, my dress, the venue, and photos. Everything else was too trying on my patience. Oddly, I loved diving into the nitty gritty details for my best friend’s wedding about a year later!

  7. Thank you so much. I thought I was the only one getting pissed when asked about things I’ve never cared about

  8. Just wanted to say thank you for posting this. =) I knew I couldn’t be alone. For me it’s napkins. Why do I need to care about the color of the napkins?

  9. I’m the same – with a little less grump (…I tell myself not fully believing it). What worked for me was being honest with people when I really didn’t care about something (people have a hard time accepting this though…), and picking a couple things that I DID care about (food, outdoor setting, casual atmosphere). Good luck!

  10. I’m really lucky I had such kick-ass family and friends. And I’m also glad my mother is a lot like me. At one point my mom offered to take over renting dishes. She called me with the options, and I was all “white is fine” and she was all “great”. Took us about five minutes. My mantra was “will anyone other than myself give a shit?”

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