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. This is a great attitude. Things will go wrong. Chances are they won’t even be the things you planned on. But you’re right, it won’t really matter. The only thing that HAS to happen is you have to marry the person you love. That’s all. 🙂

    One tip, though–when it comes to how you want people to act at the reception (dancing, eating, etc.) just be sure you and your partner set the standard. If they see you guys dancing, they’ll dance. If they see you eating, they’ll eat.

    At our wedding, we had a special dance right after the first dance and parent dances where I got my entire wedding party out on the floor. It set the mood and the dancing didn’t stop, literally, until the DJ packed up and went home.

    But that’s really all you can do and if people don’t cooperate, it doesn’t matter. As long as you enjoy yourself, the memories you’ll keep will be the faces of your loved ones, not how many of them danced to Thriller. 🙂

  2. I actually felt a few heartstrings jerk and that cry-ey feeling start… thank you. I’m worried about my own people that will bitch and moan, and though I’d like them to let things go and enjoy themselves, their expectations and experience of the day will be out of my hands. Perspective! Huzah! Dave and I will be married, and let them eat cake!

  3. So we’re on our honeymoon, recovering after hosting our rustic campout wedding weekend. And what you say couldn’t be more true!

    It was cold during dinner & it rained during the outdoor reception & there was drama & we forgot or messed up more than a handful of things…and ya know what? Our friends & family told us endlessly that it was the best wedding ever.

    I know that to be true because I see it in the first photos that friends are posting. With only a couple of exceptions, we all glowed with joy.

    Thanks for a great post.

  4. I’m bookmarking this in my “Wedding Stuff.” folder for when I’m officially planning and am starting to freak out. 🙂 Thank you so much! This is great. And that last line is SO in line with my own personal beliefs that I literally got chills. Beautiful.

  5. Thank you SO much for posting this! My wedding is still 8 months away…but there are times when I already catch myself going into control freak mode, and find myself unable to let go of all the little things that might go wrong- for instance, forgetting to bring something with us, having way too much food leftover, nobody getting up to dance etc etc. Your post definitely served to remind me that some things are just way out of my control- and, as long as my DF and I end up married, then the day will be a huge success no matter what!

    I have to say, though- I really relate to your fear of having friends leave your wedding early! A handful of my really close friends ending up leaving our engagement party WAY early- which actually really upset me, to be honest. 🙁 I’m really scared the same people will duck out of our wedding early as well. However, once again, how they might be feeling on the day is out of my hands. So, just another thing to let go of!

  6. Just shared this on my Facebook. I have a lot of engaged friends…and this is something that I think they should all read. So well done…and its all SO true ^_^

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