Monday, March 02, 2009


Planning a wedding kind of sucks.

We've created a list of what I think are fairly reasonable, flexible requirements:
Not winter
Sunday of a holiday weekend
Less than a year engagement
Afternoon event with appetizers, desserts and champagne
Accessible by public transportation

Really, that's it.

But every option we find that fits all of these requirements will either cost double the very generous budget that we've set for ourselves or will require a lot of elbow grease on the part of our family and friends on the day of the wedding.

Neither of those options is acceptable to me. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a DIY wedding: full of community and barn-raising good cheer. But community building is hard. And I just don't want to coordinate it.

I just want to promise some things to this man that I love in front of the people that love me and then celebrate a little. By all accounts, marriage is hard. Why can't the wedding be simple and easy without the food costing $18,000 dollars?

I get that figure from a small article in Chicago Magazine this morning that described a first-person account of a wedding that sounded exactly like what I envision our wedding will be like, including interfaith dietary needs and some of the venues we have considered. This was in the first 3 paragraphs. Then, she started throwing around the cost of a couple quarters of grad school around as a "steal" for appetizers and a non-traditional cake (savings of $750) and I began to despair.

I absolutely know that perseverance and creativity will overcome this particular adversity but DAMN GINA, can one little wedding really be this hard to sort out?

I have spent seven years cultivating a balance and a peace that relies upon looking at my life and asking myself deeply, "Is this hard work exciting enough to keep it from being a chore?" It's a question that kept me from going to grad school before I was ready, that allowed me to move to an island for healing, that kept me from staying too long on that island, that allowed me to say "yes" when Jacob asked me to do the hard work of considering his needs in all of the rest of my decisions.

All of the options we have found so far have seemed exhausting. One venue would require wrapping every available railing in tulle and lights to counteract the dark red carpeting or to pay a professional "fabric and lights" designer to make it look like a high school prom. Another has a $15,000 food minimum. A third sounds great when a friend who works there described it but has a full voice mail box and won't respond to my emails.

Oh, and I lost my phone.

And I moved last Tuesday and all my stuff is still in boxes piled around me.

And finals are in two weeks.

It's possible that everything else in my life is a chore, which affects my ability to discern my available energy for this whole wedding thing.

Jacob and I continue to spend our days giggling on the couch so I guess that until that is affected, I can keep going.

But planning a wedding still kind of sucks.


Helen said...

Rebecca, that was a great whine :)

I'm just going to throw a thought out there...

Maybe your friends and family are absolutely thrilled you're getting married. Maybe they'd love the opportunity to help in a way that involves elbow grease. Maybe it feels like an imposition to you but maybe it's exactly what they want.

Maybe not, but, maybe.

PrincessMax said...

Thanks, Helen. I guess that deep down I feel like I already asked them once to help me when I got married ten years ago. It wouldn't be fair to ask them again.

Well, that will be something I bring up with my therapist. :-)

Helen said...

But hopefully they didn't help you the first time just because it was 'fair'. Hopefully they did it because they wanted your wedding to be as happy an event as possible for you. So maybe 'fair' isn't the right measuring stick for this?

Anyway, it always helps me to talk things through with my therapist so I think that's a great idea.

Rachel said...

Allow me to help plan:

p.s. potluck reception! BYOB!

Emily DeWan Photography said...

Clearly you need to hire Rachel to plan your wedding.

I know you're stressed, but just remember that no matter what happens between now and your wedding, in the end you'll still end up married to an amazing and wonderful man who loves you.

And if you want to bounce any wedding-planning ideas off one who has been part of hundreds of weddings, you know where to find me :)

Jake and Jess said...

first off - we we're even in your life 10 years ago so go ahead and ask us to help!

secondly - holy crap! it's possible. giggle, have a potluck, provide wine, dance and who the hell cares about the rest! okay - maybe you do - but still... enjoy it my love... enjoy it!

PrincessMax said...

Thank you, Rachel, Emily, Jess and Jake for your offers of help (both helpful and rediculous).

Jess, the problem with your plan (which I love) is that none of the dance halls that are available will let you bring in potluck or your own alcohol. You must use their preferred vendors with a minimum spending amount.

The email from the park district read "All of the locations that you would want to have a wedding at are already booked."

So, the laidback version is less of an option if I want to ahve more than 75 people.


Christy said...

"Is this hard work exciting enough to keep it from being a chore?" - what a nice rule of thumb. I am adding it to my bag of tricks.

Something beautiful will work out for your wedding. I just don't see how it could not.

I'm wondering if you could find some kind of art gallery, music venue, college campus space, non-profit org. or house of worship through your network of folks that would suit your space needs.