Engagement. Is. Hard.
Don’t let anyone tell you that it is just a season of roses and romance and presents and smiles and happy pre-wedded bliss. Oh, it is all those things…at times. But it is also a lot of other things.
Engagement can be busy and stressful. It is full of opinions and deadlines and new relationships and tactful navigation of so many different feelings and emotions. It comes with many decisions and about 1000 ways to do virtually everything. There are choices between “good” and “better” and “just right” and “who really gives a crap what color our napkins are”?
Some days it takes more out of me than I was prepared to give.
As I was thinking about just why it is so draining today, I start to pin point some of the main things swirling around inside my head. We will call this “this list of absurdity”. And get ready. This isn’t filtered or full of resolutions. Think of this as honey in the raw–unrefined and a little messy. But who doesn’t love honey, right? (hopefully you do if you’re a guest at my wedding, because–spoiler alert– you’ll be going home with some ;).
I’m hoping a little honesty will lead to freedom. So here goes…
Absurd thought #1: I have this irrational fear that if I don’t talk to each one of my bridesmaids, and pretty much anyone involved in my wedding, every single day, they will no longer want to be in my wedding. And probably stop being my friend altogether.
I tell myself constantly this isn’t true. We didn’t talk every day before, so why would that need to change now? Matter-of-fact, it would probably overwhelm them more than bless them.
Absurd thought #2: The more I obsess about losing weight, the more I eat. And the more I eat, the more unhappy I get. And the more unhappy I get, the more I think about losing weight….
It’s a circular battle waging war in my head. I have never felt so spotlight as I do right now with all the pictures and dresses and reasons to “tend” to my looks. And it turns out, I have about 37 different things I would like to change about the way I look. Which is stupid and frustrating.
Absurd thought #3: I’m pretty sure if my centerpieces aren’t perfect, my guests will get up and walk out of our reception.
That’s pretty sound logic. I have nothing to amend to that.
Absurd thought #4: I lose sleep thinking about if just the right things are on our wedding registry.
First world problems. It’s so embarrassing how much time I have spent thinking about presents. Because I don’t have enough stuff. Ugh.
For those who are overwhelmed with my lack of rationality, I’ve added a few thoughts that aren’t completely ridiculous…
Rational Thought #1. If one more person tells me that the wedding details don’t matter and all that matters is that Adam will be my husband at the end of the day, I will actually lose it.
I mean, I get what they are saying and I totally agree that the marriage covenant is the most important part of the day. But after I’ve spent hours hot gluing flowers to twigs to the point where I have probably burnt my fingerprints off, and made countless shopping trips hunting down antiques in every store in Northwest Ohio, I don’t want to hear about how pointless that was. Because truth is, we’re spending a lot of time and a lot of money on the most incredible celebration we will ever host. And while some details are a pain, some are actually really fun to plan.
So, no, flower arrangements don’t compare to the love that we share, but for this day, the details do matter. Rather than trivialize the small stuff, I would rather hear about how excited you are for us. Cuz we are pretty excited, too.
Rational Thought #2: I totally understand how they made an entire show out of Brides who have lost their minds.
There are plans upon plans and stress upon stress, and days with way more pressure and expectations than even make sense. The idea of “dreaming about this day for your entire life” is just a recipe for disaster. However, If I even slightly begin to resemble a spoiled Diva who thinks the sun and moon revolve around my wedding, someone do me a favor and slap me.
Rational Thought #3: When talking to someone planning a wedding, ask questions before firing off with opinions or advice.
Nothing is more bombarding than being given strong opinions and detailed advice when you didn’t ask for it. I think it’s fantastic that you hate cake and came up with a cheaper more efficient way to serve your guests dinner–however, unless I’ve asked for your thoughts on these topics, I don’t really know how to respond. The statements that start with “You can’t” “you shouldn’t” or “You HAVE to” can just be hard to take in.
Don’t get me wrong, I have received some awesome tips and learned things I never would have thought about from those who have gone before us. But it feels hard to get so many different thoughts and opinions and try to consider them all.
Rational Thought #4: I will never again delay or flake out on an RSVP.
I can honestly say I didn’t know how important they were until planning my own wedding. Guest list determines EVERYTHING…how much catering costs, how many centerpieces you need, how many favors to buy, and so on.
I have been known to RSVP at the last minute or change plans without telling the Bride or Groom (if you’re reading this and I’ve done this to you…I am SO sorry!). Never again. Not only is it polite to RSVP and do so early, it’s incredibly helpful and saves a lot of time and over or under planning. I vow to be that kind of a guest from now until the day I die.
I’m working on releasing myself from the need to be the perfect fiancee, perfect friend, perfect daughter, and communicate constantly and tenderly to each person I talk to. All the time. Because that’s exhausting.
And it’s not like life stops when you get engaged–although I’m sure this process would be a whole lot easier if it did. I’ve been finding myself having a lot less patience and a lot more anxiety lately. I don’t want to be someone who lives in an overwhelmed state no matter what is going on in my life.
I read this quote today in Lisa Terkeurst’s book Unglued…
“Instead of avoiding the reality that I come unglued, I’m tackling it head-on. I want to give myself every fighting chance to make wise choices in the midst of raw emotions. Have having a predetermined plan is a good thing to create and implement.”
So I am going to make plans. Truth to tell myself when the crazy starts to creep in. Ways to unwind when I feel pushed to my limits. Moments of quiet to remember to speak out of grace and time to let my frustration turn to calm.
I want to chose to act rather than react, and I want to live this season well.
We will recite our vows. We will commit to a lifetime of choosing each other. We will smile for 3958 pictures. We will eat cake. We will dance till our feet hurt. We will admire all of our plans coming together. We will spend time with the people we love.
We will go on an amazing vacation afterwards to celebrate all of our hard work and begin our new life together.
And it will be incredible.