It always begins as a conversation starter, “so, when’s the big day?”
When you’re engaged, anyone and just about everyone use it as a time-filler. It seems harmless enough, and I’m sure most brides are more than willing to gush over every last detail they have planned for their wedding. Me? Not so much. I am that odd-ball bride that has been engaged six months with no plans. The one who responds, “I don’t know.” And I can’t be alone.
Nearly two years ago, I lost my father. And with him, any urge I had for a fairytale wedding. My dad can’t walk me down the aisle. Something changes when the wedding you had planned in your head your entire life is no longer a reality. At that point, I knew when my “big day” came, I’d be happy to elope. But when you are your mother’s only child, no such luck. That is, if you want to keep the peace.
Since I got engaged last August, I’ve learned just how expensive those fairytale weddings really are. I now know the countless hours my friends must have spent toiling over the cost of chairs for both a ceremony and a reception. The extra cash that had to be forked out for the luxe card stock. The ‘ouch’ noise made for each plus-one. The more I begin to think about the wedding planning process, the more I wonder to myself “how did they afford that?”
Admittedly, I have planned next-to-nothing for our wedding. Which is fine with Kirk. (I call my fiancé by his last name. It’s very confusing to some. I’ll follow up in a future blog post. Just know, hereafter, Kirk is my fiancé.) But when I do think about the cost, the stress he and I, my mother, his, will have to go through to pull off the wedding of my dreams, it honestly gives me the shakes. Is it worth it to save up for months, years? To call on parents to spend thousands of dollars for a day’s worth of memories and pretty pictures? The more I look at these couples who get married on a mountain top in a wedding/honeymoon trip abroad, the more I think they may be on to something. The day is about the bride and groom, right? Not how many folks from back home can ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over your pretty dress and overpriced floral arrangements. It’s also worth noting, at least twice a week, people tell me “just elope” and “it’s not worth it.”
Something that shouldn’t come as a shock; I’m a busy person. When I’m not working, I’m sleeping. When I’m not sleeping, I’m eating. When I’m not eating, I’m typically at the gym, so I can continue eating without having to be rolled in a wheel barrow. (That’s a real thing. A photo at the Rome Area History Museum, of a man rolling his stomach tumor around in a wheel barrow, has haunted me since childhood, and likely the only reason I’m not totally obese.) The point is, my weekend to-do lists are a mile long. And they’re not even ambitious goals. When I get a moment to myself, I’m usually doing one of the aforementioned three things. So even the thought of coming from a hard day’s work, mentally exhausted by whatever energy-draining story I’ve been covering that day, and stressing over whether the ribbon on the reception hors d’oeuvres list matches the ribbon on the table runner makes me want to avoid the topic all together.
It’s for these reasons, and many more, I’ve got to ask. Can we drop the ‘ole “When’s the big day” question? You know I’m engaged. I know I’m engaged. If you are invited, you probably already know that too. Spare me, and the other grieving/broke/busy brides the hassle of having to tell you “oh, we don’t really have anything lined up yet.” Because when you gasp, and ask “why????” (Yes, with four question marks), you just remind us that society isn’t quite ready for the bride that 1. can’t have, 2. can’t afford, 3. doesn’t want a fairytale wedding.
Being engaged is great. It’s so great, in fact, that I could stay like this a longggg while. (See what I did there?) I’m busy. I’m still sad. I’ve got stuff going on. I’ll get around to it when I get around to it. In the mean time, please don’t make me, and the other procrastibrides explain ourselves. We’ve got too much to do.
In the mean time, let’s all agree that “when’s the big day” is an unnecessary conversation starter. It’s about as old-fashioned as putting a six-pence in the bride’s shoe. Ask me what I had to eat this week. Ask me how my dogs like this weather. Ask me what stories I’m working on. But for God’s sake, don’t ask, “when’s the big day?”