The night after Ethan proposed, the two of us sat down at our kitchen table and started discussing what kind of wedding we would have. Would it be in Chicago? South Dakota? In another country? As we made lists about what kind of lighting we would have and who we wanted to marry us, I started to panic. The only vision I could muster up was me, sitting in a white dress, sitting on a bench or a table, and worrying. In this dream scenario, I was worrying about who didn’t come and the real reason as to why. I was worrying that so and so thought our decorations were cheap and gaudy. I was worrying that guests were not having a good time, therefore my relationships with them would be rocky and strained after.
As an anxious person, I knew that wedding planning would be stressful, and it has been, and not really for the reasons I assumed. Mine and Ethan’s mom took care of much of the logistics and DIYing as I gave them directions and ideas. The guest list gave me the most headache, as I wanted to keep it small while inviting everyone I knew, but eventually we figured it out. What caused me the most anxiety, though, was all the comparing.
Weddings are supposed to be this big event in a person’s life, the one day when all of your loved ones come together to show how much they love and support you. Your wedding is supposed to look perfect with touches of your personality dripped into elegance. Your wedding is supposed to be the single best day.
Supposed to, supposed to, supposed. I’ve been haunted by supposed tos.
For months, I compared my wedding, and myself as a bride, to those not just in Martha Stewart Wedding magazines, but to also weddings of friends, families, and acquaintances on Instagram. When someone RSVPed no to the wedding, I thought about how they had made the effort to travel to someone else’s wedding. I doubted how good of a friend I was because I didn’t have a gaggle of women wearing matching shirts that said “Bride’s Team” even if I did not want that at all. I worried that my wedding would be the one people talked about long after the event, and not in a good way. At every corner and decision, I found a way to compare myself to grand ideas, many not rooted in reality, so I could see that I was coming up short. Whatever definition a bride should have, I wasn’t meeting it.
But that’s just my perception, and I can change my perception with gratitude.
The wedding I am planning at 33 is by far different than the one I would have planned at 23. There are many friends that I’ve lost touched with in that decade who won’t be there, but also a whole gang of new ones who will be by my side, and many others rooting me on from afar. I’ve lost things, sure, but I’ve also gained so much. When I stop to think about all the things that are going right – a loving fiancé, incredible family who have spent hours to bring this wedding together, friends who have checked in on me to make sure everything was going well – I am not sure I need anything else. And, sure I get sucked into thinking my wedding isn’t like so and sos from time to time, but when I remember to be thankful for all the good things I have, that despair dissipates. It no longer matters, but it never really did anyway.
It is officially my Wedding Week, and I am no longer thinking about who isn’t coming to the wedding or if the guests will hate the food. Rather, I am so focused on how excited I am to marry the man I love in front of many of my favorite humans. I know, with certainty, I will not be sitting on bench worrying, rather trying to soak up all the love and joy that I possibly can. It doesn’t matter what will go right or wrong, I have everything I need.