It isn’t all sunshine and unicorns: Reconciling my wedding expectations with my likely wedding realities

Guest post by Boxer the Attention Whore
A portion of Offbeat Bride Tribe member kzimmerwoman's invitation.
A portion of Offbeat Bride Tribe member kzimmerwoman's invitation.

I'm trying to be realistic about both my wedding expectations and my wedding suspicions, based on past events and attitudes. And then I'm trying to let it go. So with that in mind, here is a what I'm expecting from our wedding versus what will more than likely happen…

What I want from our wedding:

  • I want the people we love/who love us to come and celebrate that love in all its fucked-up forms (we are a truly motley crew made up of friends who are sometimes also exes, cross-dressers, extremely shy lesbians, staunch Mormons, conservative republicans, libertarians, political activists, coworkers, clients, friends, and family).
  • I want things to look beautiful and make for beautiful photographs.
  • I want to feel beautiful and confident.
  • I want to marry Brandon, knowing full well that it isn't all sunshine and unicorns.
  • I want our friends and family to stow the drama and play nicely with each other.
  • I want to laugh and dance and cry happy tears (without ruining my makeup).
  • I want to eat and enjoy myself and have others eat and enjoy themselves.
  • I want to privately hold the little rituals that keep me grounded and sane (burning rosemary and lavender bundles, lighting a candle for friends and family who could not be with us, talking to my grandmother even though she's been dead for the last nineteen years).
  • I want to dance.

What I suspect will happen:

  • The morning will be stressful and hectic and something will not get done the way I think it should. This will frustrate me.
  • My hair will be uncooperative and I will have to do something other than what I planned with it.
  • I will have to apply my makeup at least twice to get it right. One eye will look better than the other.
  • We will forget to take something to the venue.
  • Not as many people as I would like will eat or dance, and at least a dozen will dip out WAY early, and I will miss them.
  • Something we are doing will offend or upset someone.
  • I will have some sort of body image issue that will piss me off and make me cry. Maybe my teeth won't be white enough, maybe I'll decide I'm fat that day, maybe my eyes will be puffy.
  • I will have to break up at least one sibling fight between The Girls.
  • Everything will run fifteen-minutes-to-an-hour, behind schedule
  • Junior will drink too much and I'll have to have someone “handle” him.

Honestly in ten years it will not matter that no one danced, or that Tuffy got offended by our ceremony, or that we had a fuckton of leftovers. It will not matter that I made all the decorations and food, or that I had the seamstress sew awesome Neo-Victorian things to the train of my dress. No one will care that we ran out of beer and that the weather was a trifle too hot or too cold. But it will matter that B and I married each other and that we have happy memories of the day.

So my goal (aside from doing everything in the to do list to utter perfection… riiight) is to make happy memories of the day. And to be present enough to make them stick.

Of course I'll still hope for the best photos ever, impromptu dance offs, and heartfelt toasts. But in ten days it will all be memory. In ten weeks it will all be “stories” to share. In ten months it will be “WOW! We've been married almost a year. So much has happened.” In ten years it will be photos I look back on and smile, and memories I hold dear (possibly while sharing my wisdom with The Girls as they plan/dream about their own weddings). And in ten decades… in ten decades it will only matter that we lived and that we loved.

The rest will be lost to time and tall tales. And I'm okay with that.

Comments on It isn’t all sunshine and unicorns: Reconciling my wedding expectations with my likely wedding realities

  1. Thank you thank you thank you so much for this. This particular post is well timed because as I type, I am taking a five second break from the whirlwind of house and yard work that preceded our families arriving for our wedding Saturday. I was on the verge of a manic freak out with the forecast calling for rain (so much for backyard reception!) and every craft and project that didn’t and isn’t going to get done. Then I read this and reached a moment of clarity: “And in ten decades… in ten decades it will only matter that we lived and that we loved.” Thank you.

    • This is going to be me in about 45 days. I can already feel it happening. It’s so nice to know we’re not alone, isn’t it?

      Boxer, thank you for the reality check. I’m taking deep breaths and letting more stuff go right now.

  2. “So my goal (aside from doing everything in the to do list to utter perfection… riiight) is to make happy memories of the day. And to be present enough to make them stick.” This is soooo important, and I recommend that you reminisce out loud with you husband and others who were at the wedding as often as possible to lock the memories into your brain. We need to reinforce those neural pathways so we don’t lose bits and pieces of that precious day.

  3. I kind of needed this. My wedding involves my side of 10 if we’re lucky vs. his side of 80 with his side being mostly practicing Mormons and my side being a crew of hippies, San Franciscans, art teachers, and ravers. I accept the lack of balance, but I fear the outcomes of my family getting totally lost and swallowed by khaki-clad masses or else my little crew offending and angering everyone in sight. But I guess that fear is just part of having any offbeat wedding. Somebody’s grandma will disapprove no matter what, so savvy with it and forge on.

  4. Thank you thank you! I definately added this to my bookmarks for later- I need reminding to keep my head when things get crazy!

  5. Exactly! And what you can’t laugh about later and turn into a really good story you’ll completely forget about. There will also be unexpected wonderful surprises that all your careful planning never scheduled in. Having expectations gives us something to plan towards but the day will take on a life of it’s own so plan and obsess all you want up until the day, then let it go and let it happen however it does.

  6. Loved this, especially: “I will have to apply my makeup at least twice to get it right. One eye will look better than the other” because isn’t that always the way?! Best of luck that your day will succeed your expectations in all the good ways!

  7. Perfect article. I needed to hear it. I needed to hear it so much that it made me tear up a little bit. Especially the part about “…it will only matter that we lived and that we loved.”

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