We went into wedding planning understanding that we did not want to make a Big Fuss. We wanted simple, quick, in, out, done. Then the quick became relative, and I started reading wedding blogs and looking at Pinterest. And along came Martha…
I bought a couple of magazines for my wedding. One was a copy of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine.
That Martha mag, man — that was a little bit of the Wedding Industrial Complex reaching out and grabbing me and pulling me in. It taught me a few very important things…
Happily drowning in Martha
Like, Claire Pettibone: fucking WOW… if I had one of her dresses, I'd wear it every day. To the grocery store. And holy shit, weddings have become HUGE and COMPLICATED since I was planning my last one ten years ago. And no wonder so many young women are losing their minds and tying themselves up in knots.
I mean… $50-a-pound French candy favors wrapped with paper with a hand drawn caricature of the couple on it? Hand-calligraphed place cards that look like slices of lemon set on special glasses that look like water glasses but aren't because they're just for looks? One Martha-featured wedding had the dinner menu printed on vellum using letterpress, and then the little precious menu was wrapped around a porcelain hand-crafted twig. A fake twig. Made of porcelain. Just to hold the menu. Can you even imagine how sweet and fancy?
And my god, the ads! Bridesmaids, looking like heroin addicts with a love of formal wear who aren't sure how they came to be sitting in this tulle-draped armchair together. Are they twins? They look like twins… but the way they are embracing is vaguely sexual… they're heroin-addicted incestuous twins, covered in pink lace. Aren't they glamourous? Don't they make you want to make your girlfriends buy these dresses?
Brides, gazing moodily off into the future, tightly wrapped in handcrafted beading and ennui. The dresses were amazing and fantastical and completely unattainable for most of us. Seven thousand dollars worth of hand-embroidered beads and sequins and bird appliqués?! It's sublime, but I'd be afraid to even move in it, much less eat a canapé. Even if my kidney did have some resale value on eBay, but it does not, Ms. Pettibone, it does not.
Reading the magazine was like eating too much custard. When I was finished, I was strangely sated but slightly sick feeling. I could still taste the lingering delicious sweetness, but there was also the sense that I'd overindulged and would regret it later.
Wait, could I have a Martha wedding?
After reading Martha Stewart, I found out that a bed and breakfast down the road would do a little dinner and elopement package for us. And then I started to think I could have some awesome decorations… Like, a backdrop made of branches and twinkle lights! Floral arrangements made out of those paper map flowers! Candles and a cool vintage typewriter guestbook! And then I realized that we could invite guests. And maybe we could have someone do a little reading or something. And GASP, I could totally put a little outfit on my dog and he could walk with me… CARRYING THE RINGS! HEAD EXPLODE!
I totally started to second guess myself about the whole courthouse thing. Because we COULD afford to have a wedding. We'd have to pull it out of our retirement, but we COULD do it. My partner wants short, sweet and simple, but ultimately if he felt like having the whole experience was important to me, he'd be happy to do it.
But, do I want to? Honestly, no.
I love my family. They love me. But do I want to spend my wedding day worrying about family members fighting? And worrying about what everyone is going to eat because my brother can't have gluten, and his wife is a vegan, and Billy is diabetic. And who has the fucking typewriter?
I get that weddings are about the community, and about everyone coming together in love to celebrate love and yadda yadda. But I had that wedding already. I had that big huge everyone-packed-into-one-venue, eating rubber chicken, giving me presents, and hugging and crying experience. It was fine. And I don't want to repeat it.
So, Martha Stewart ideas aside, and awesome Offbeat Bride wedding inspiration aside… what do I really want? I want to get dressed up pretty, go to the courthouse with the man of my dreams, and get married. I want to entertain the possibility that we will share the elevator with at least one convict on our way up to the magistrate's office. I want to go out to eat after and have yummy food, but I don't want to make any decisions regarding that food other than ordering it off the menu. I want to walk around and have some pictures taken, so we have some pretty pictures to look back on later. I want to carry a bouquet of damn paper map flowers.
I want it to be just the two of us, just about the two of us, and nobody else. Anything else would be me trying to force something, or getting lost in the idea that somehow I MUST do whatever or go to “Poor Taste Hell.” It would be OUR day getting away from us and snowballing into something that we don't need, don't want, and won't enjoy as much.
Thank heavens for Martha Stewart, for making me realize that some weddings can be beautiful and huge and complicated, and that mine can be beautiful and simple and just right.