The wedding is less than two weeks away (specifically, 11 days according the The Knot, The Wedding Channel, Inside Weddings and the Weather Channel reminders that I've been crazy enough to sign up for and now wish to undo) and, well, there you have it. Eleven days. 11 days. How to count the ways to say e-l-e-v-e-n d-a-y-s?
The good news: Most of the prep is done and so now it is time to relax. Go for another run. Tack on another 20 minutes to morning meditation. Sneak in another yoga class to keep things mellow.
The bad news: I wholeheartedly resent the notion that on this day one must look their best, feel their best, be their best blah, blah, blah. It's so insanely inauthentic, unreal, unrealistic and, well, plain silly.
Don't get me wrong: I'll look amazing. :-) And my dress, well, if there was one area in which I capitulated, one area where I spent more than I should have, it is the dress. It isn't a big old bridey-dress. There is no poufiness. No taffeta. It's as "urban" a dress as I could find with it's shredded chiffon. But. It does have lace. And...well...a train of sorts. But a bizarre train. One I've never seen before. That comes out of the top. Sort of couture/runway-like. That counts in the indie bride category, right?
Here's the thing: I loathe the bridal industry and the ridiculous notions of perfection that are foisted upon brides and grooms, particularly in the US. There were many points along the way where we thought - what the hell are we doing/we should just elope. We've lived together for six years. This isn't exactly going to signal major change once "the day" is over. Yet there is something - something - in planning a party for your closest friends and family members. In thinking up ways you can all have a hell of a lot of fun together that day. In planning a few small surprises that will hopefully delight them and make their visit more memorable. I realize what constitutes "a hell of a lot of fun" is different for everyone and I think that's where ideas on weddings differ. And they should.
capitulation necessity: While I've refrained from buying a single bridal magazine during our year-long engagement (although I realize this is not quite the feat I believe it to be, given that everything is online and I only know that because, well, I frequent those sites!), I did break down and buy Altared. But. Well. The writers are so good. Certainly I cannot be faulted for reading the likes of Elizabeth Crane, Meghan Daum, Amy Bloom, Jennifer Armstromg, Gina Zucker, Dani Shapiro and so many others. I couldn't sleep at all the other night (no, not wedding stress...call it three foster dogs plus our own two and a lot of scratching about, shaking their tags late at night and general walking all over the house with their clickety clacking feet whilst I was trying to sleep) and so I got up, grabbed Altared from the shelf (I remembered, of course, the white cover and white spine, aiding in my quick location of the book on my rainbow colored shelves) and crept into the guest bedroom. I read it from cover to cover and felt so much better. Really. Like bridal therapy. Funny. Bittersweet. Instructive. But mostly - importantly - funny. Just what I needed.
So: Thank you ladies of Altared. Thank you for your wit and wisdom at this crucial hour. Perhaps I should have read this book...say...months ago. Before a few things got out of hand. But instead of beating myself up for my gorgeous dress capitulation (but we're doing our own iTunes! there are no bridesmaids! there is no big fancy cake! we're getting married in a parking lot! i'll be wearing green shoes that i can wear again!), I will take solace in Carina Chocano's words at the end of her piece "There Went the Bride":
"It might rain, as it has on that date for the past three years running. (We forgot to look into the weather before booking the date.) I might, as I get ready to walk down the aisle on my mom's arm, be overcome with embarrassment. I might capitulate to the small-town makeup artist and wind up looking more like Baby Jane than like myself. If it were possible for me to return the silk gown, which it's not, I might do it and start all over again at Level 1, the cocktail dress. Maybe I'd then cycle through five more dresses and wind up with a ten-foot-long train and a veil.
The truth is that, two months before the event, I'm still alternating among excitement, horror, and genuine surprise at how it was exactly that we would up here instead of eloping and taking off for Thailand for a month. But what has changed is that the idea of the wedding itself, has, for me, taken the place that marriage once occupied in my imagination. What I mean is, I now see the wedding, and not the marriage, as the possibly great, possibly regrettable stage in my life. But when it's over, we'll be married, a condition that now looks to me a lot like those pretty rooms that seemed like such a happy reflection of their inhabitants -- a warm, enveloping place where I'll finally get to feel like myself again."
Also: I'm kicking myself for not somehow getting into this collection. Not that I've yet got the, you know, proof of having been published properly elsewhere. If there is one frustration I have about all this weddingness...it is that my writing has come to a rather abrupt halt. I simply cannot get my mind focused enough to finish up stories that I had long planned to send out. Contests I meant to enter have gone un-entered.
All in good time, I say. All in good time.