Bridalwave writer Amber McNaught talks about the not-quite-as-stressful-as-you’d-expect world of wedding planning, and why not every bride to be is a bridezilla in waiting.
I’m getting married this month. Hold on, just let me say that again: I’m getting married this month. Sorry about that – I know I’ve been engaged for years and the wedding has been booked for 11 months now, but I’m still having a bit of trouble convincing myself it’s actually happening.
You see, I never intended to get married. While the other little girls were all dressing up as brides, I was out digging in the mud. While the bigger girls at high school and university talked about their dream wedding dresses (and dream grooms) I went on a never-ending search for the perfect, little black dress.
It wasn’t that I didn’t think I’d ever find a man mad enough to put up with me (well, it wasn’t just that, anyway) : I just didn’t think I was the wedding type. No one was more surprised than me, then, to find myself obsessively looking at wedding gowns and wondering whether I could afford to buy a pair of Christian Louboutins for the big day. (I couldn’t. Damn.)
What surprised me most of all, though, in the course of my wedding planning, though, was other people’s reactions to my wedding. Oh, don’t get me wrong – everyone was happy for us – or at least they said they were. But the congratulations would so often be followed up with a smirk and a "God, you must be so stressed with all the planning!" that I quickly realised that there’s a certain perception about weddings these days – and it’s not necessarily a positive one. People tend to think that every bride to be is a Bridezilla in training; that our heads are filled with fripperies, sugared almonds, net bags, and satin sashes that are the exact colour of the bridesmaid’s eyes.
At best, most people I spoke to during my year of wedding planning were sympathetic, imagining me to be so stressed by all the planning that I’d be barely able to spare a second to speak to them. At worst, I’d notice a kind of reverse snobbery in action: an unspoken understanding that because I was planning a wedding (even a small, civil ceremony like mine), I must be completely crazy/superficial/materialistic/a show off/insert-insult-here. I was surprised by the strength of opinion of the "anti-wedding" brigade, but ultimately I decided to ignore them. Well, each to their own and all that…
The truth about wedding planning? Well, I won’t say it’s been a completely easy ride. One of the things I worked out very early on is that although everyone says to you "It’s your wedding – you must have whatever you want!" (If I had a pound for the number of times I’ve heard this line in the last year I’d have been able to pay for the wedding three times over), what they actually mean is, "It may be your wedding, but if you don’t do it exactly the way I want, I will go In The Huff forever", but that aside, the stress has been minimal. And actually? It’s been a lot of fun.
Yes, planning a wedding can be tricky. It’s not every day, after all, that you plan to entertain all of your friends and family at the same time. It can be expensive. It can, at times, be stressful. But most of all? It can be lots of fun. And when I wake up on April 1st this year, and realise that my wedding day has been and gone, and that there’s no more planning to do, I think there’ll be a little bit of me that will miss it.
Roll on the 31st March… (And also, if we could have a little bit of sunshine, that would be great.)