Thursday, September 30, 2010

Keeping it my own

So I have a long-awaited wedding update for you (translation: I’ve been slacking).

I’ve started collecting glass milk bottles from one of our local dairy farms. These are going to hold the flowers for our centerpieces. Which I did a trial run of last week. I decided I want sunflowers and they looked so amazing at the farmer’s market that I picked up a bunch to try my hand at arranging them. Here’s what I came up with.

A couple things... First, I don’t think I need quite so many in there, which is good because the farm I found to provide the flowers charges by the stem. Second, I tried this tip I read in a DIY wedding book about putting a drop of bleach into the water to keep everything looking fresh and nice. I don’t think it works. It didn’t keep the water from getting scummy and after a couple days, the flowers weren’t wilty but they looked like paper and the centers were bulging out like crazy. I’m thinking I’ll stick with my original idea of picking them up the day before and not arranging them till the morning of the wedding. Also, it may or may not end up being sunflowers, since I'm thinking of growing them myself so I'm still deciding.

In other news, I finally settled on a dress design (I think) and I’ve started working on a mock up of it, to make sure I like it on me.

But honestly, I didn’t really want to talk about any of that today. And none of that is why I started writing this post. I’ve been struggling a little bit with the wedding planning... and honestly, I’ve mostly boycotted it for a while now. And it’s not because I’m having doubts or am thinking I don’t want to get married (dear god no!).

I think it’s more the wedding itself. Wedding planning is hard business. I thought I knew what I was in for, since I’ve done this once before. But not even close. See, the problem is I’m older now. And I know more clearly what it is I want. And I’m more stubborn. Which is to say I’m not afraid to insist on what I want. The first time I got married, I was young. I had no idea what I was doing and I wasn’t paying for it (not even for the pretty frilly underwear under that way too poofy white dress).

But now, well, I’m a bit older and a bit (I hope!) wiser... and for sure more set in my ways. And Fiance is too. He knows what he wants, too. Correction. WE know what WE want. But other people still know what they think we SHOULD want.

Oh, and then there’s the cultural geography issue. I was born and raised an East Coast girl. A Jersey Girl, to be more specific. Go ahead, I know you’ve all got a picture in your head now. But guess what? That’s not me. Never has been.

Which is (part of) why I jumped at the chance to move to the Midwest to be closer to my betrothed. And now, we’re working hella hard to plan a wedding that fits who we are. But that also means we’ll have about 50-75 Jerseyans flying in for the event. Which, if you’re used to Jersey weddings, might be something of a non-event.

And this is where the problems start. Because every time I make a decision, or come up with an idea, it gets met with... “well you can’t do that...” and when I ask why, my mother usually says something like “well that’s just not how it’s done.”

And by the end of one of those circular conversations I’m so frustrated I’m begging to go to Vegas or get married at a Phish concert!

The thing is, I don’t really want to elope. Our wedding is important to me. And the kind of wedding we have is also important to me.

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with A Practical Wedding. Meg is awesome. And between her posts and the graduate and undergraduate posts she runs, I get tons of insight that, I hope is helping me to navigate this whole mess.

And here’s what I think I’ve figured out. People look at a wedding as a right of passage, which it totally is. But, a lot of people also look at it as this huge affair filled with obligations that you have to adhere to because “it’s always been done that way,” which it’s totally not.

The way I see a wedding is that it’s the first time you’re starting to build what Meg refers to as your baby family. So many people look at having a child as the start of your family. And when people get pregnant, they generally sit down and discuss what values they plan to instill in their children. But a baby family’s values are established from the moment that baby family is born (which, in many cases, is waaaaaaaaaaaaay before an actual baby comes along).

To me, your wedding is your first opportunity to really figure out and establish your baby family’s values, and let the whole world know what they are. In my case, it’s my chance to say that extravagant, fancy, super expensive parties are not my style. And I personally don’t believe they’re necessary. And that my baby family does not believe in going into debt over unnecessary things like rented tables and chairs when the lake house we’re having the party at has more patio furniture than a Home Depot garden center.

Even using a hodgepodge of patio furniture, my crafty self would make it beautiful and amazing. And really, it’s impossible for a wedding to not be beautiful and amazing. No matter what the decorations are, when two people are looking at each other all like, dear god I can’t believe I get to spend the rest of my life with you and that starts today, like, right now.... well, who the hell cares what they’re sitting on??

Which is the point I was trying to get across when the pizza fight happened. Apparently I didn’t do such a good job. Fiance is a very picky eater. He doesn’t like A LOT of things. I don’t want my new husband starving at our wedding. So the one thing we both love is pizza. We decided to use Streetza pizza to cater our wedding... out of their lunch truck. I think it’s an adorable idea. Our friends think it’s super cool. My mom thinks it’s tacky.

“You can’t have relatives flying in from a thousand miles away and then feed them pizza,” she says.

My response: “really mom, because I thought they were flying in to celebrate with me because they love me and want to see me happy, not because they were craving filet mignon. I’m pretty sure they can get that in New Jersey.”

The circle continues... she has started to back off a little bit, but every once in a while, she just can’t help herself. But I’m not giving in this time. Tradition can be a great thing... and I’m sure we’ll incorporate some in ways that feel right to us. But this wedding will be a reflection of our personalities. And traditional isn’t really in the description for either of us.

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