Saturday, October 31, 2015

Disappointment and The Secret of the Chairs

Matt and I finally nailed down a date and venue for our wedding. But it wasn't our first choice. Our first choice was renting a giant beach house where we could have everything: the wedding, the rehearsal dinner, a honeymoon after the wedding, and a place for all of our bridal party stay. But one of the first things I've learned about wedding planning is that whatever you want, it's probably not going to happen the way you want it. This feeling, for me, can be overwhelming, and sometimes it makes me not want to plan a wedding at all. As I scan through photos on websites of perfect table settings, models wearing long lacey dresses that don't give them weird armpit fat at all, decorations that look like Martha Stewart personally came over and crafted herself, I know that not all of the things I might get excited about will turn out the way I want them. The house was one of them: in the end there were disputes over the contract with the owner (Personally I think asking the owner to put a line in the contract that the house, which was currently under construction, would actually be built by the time we stayed there, was not being unreasonable, but she seemed to think so.) and we didn't sign. But instead we booked a very nice place that is not a house, but I'm sure will be great. And like, guaranteed to not have any gaping holes between rooms or exposed ceiling beams.

We were glad, though, that we booked a place that did have some things included, which the beach house wouldn't have. For instance chairs and tables, which are beyond frustrating to try and rent. It's like this big secret how much chairs cost. Nobody will tell you. We looked at website after website (which all looked like they were made in 1997 on trying to figure out just a general cost for renting enough tables and chairs but the prices were never anywhere to be found. I've found that's how it is with wedding stuff in general: nobody lists their prices. I guess you're not supposed to care because its like your "big day" and all expenses shouldn't matter, but dear god, I've been trying for two weeks to get a caterer to reveal to me how much it would costs to feed 150 people pasta and I cannot get her to tell me. Unless you want to buy a "Wedding package", getting prices out of vendors is basically like trying to solve all of those booby traps Indiana Jones has to go through to get to the Holy Grail. Vendors love to list prices for their "Wedding packages" which usually include things you didn't even know you needed at your wedding: fondue fountains, valet parking, decorative chalkboards, chandeliers, someone to softly serenade you with "Bridge Over Troubled Water" while you get your make up done, etc. In general, planning a wedding is like jumping into a whole new insane world I never knew existed, full of people who insist your marriage will never last unless you purchase topiary shaped like your busts. My favorite vendor I've come across is a company that just rents out mismatched old fashioned plates, because every wedding I've ever been to I've been like "this wedding fine I guess but I can't believe I have to eat off this stupid plain white plate." I'm not sure how much the mismatched antique plates cost because of course there are no prices listed on their website, but I assume its an outrageous amount of money.

But for now, we've kind of put a hold on all planning. We have a place, we have a date, we just had our -1 year anniversary yesterday. (We decided peanut butter ice cream was the -1 year anniversary gift). The truth is, before I got engaged, I'd never spent too much time thinking about what I wanted for my wedding anyway, so any disappointments along the way are not really going to be that much of a let down.  Even though things will likely never be perfect, nor will we ever find out how much pasta costs, it's going to probably be okay.

Ok fine, I kind of want the mismatched plates.

Monday, October 19, 2015

F*ck Burlap

Have you ever imagined what you want adorning the tables at your wedding? Let me guess. It’s rustic. It’s brown. It’s scratchy and loosely woven and it is the same material used to make bags to carry large amounts of potatoes. That’s right: it’s burlap.

Burlap is everywhere in the world of wedding decorations. Burlap table runners. Burlap wraps around centerpieces. Burlap wall hangings. And I just want to say, and please pardon my language, but: fuck burlap. I have no intention of having anything that can also be used to carry children in sack races to the finish line at an elementary school field day in my wedding. Burlap is everything that’s wrong with weddings: it’s ugly, it should be incredibly cheap because it’s an actual packing material, and yet it’s everywhere and it’s super expensive. If you search for “table runners” on Etsy, 80% of what comes up with be burlap. Sometimes it will be straight up strips of burlap that some jerk is trying to sell you because they cut it into a rectangle and sometimes it’s fancy burlap that some jerk has sewed lace onto even though lacy potato bag as a decorating theme makes no sense whatsoever. If it were up to Etsy, entire weddings would just be 100 percent burlap. The bride would walk down the aisle on a burlap carpet. All weddings would be held in old potato packing plants around stacks and stacks of burlap. The guests would just be burlaps sacks with faces painted on them.

In general, “rustic” is the thing in weddings right now and I 100 percent don’t get it. Weddings are supposed to be fancy. You’re suppose to drink champagne and wear a dress for 4 and a half hours that costs more than your rent, not eat food in places where cows live and serve cake on cut up pieces of logs.

Look, I’m mostly joking. There are a million picture on Pinterest of barn weddings that are actually really pretty, but the main problem for me is that unless you happen to know someone who owns a picturesque barn big enough to hold 200 people, it doesn’t cost any less to have your wedding in a literal barn than it does to have your wedding in a fully enclosed, insulated indoor location with flushable toilets. And then there’s insane things like this, which is an actual table made of hay, which in case you've forgotten, is horse food:

If a single piece of hay touches me at my wedding, I’m going home.

Anyway, there will be no burlap at our wedding. Except my custom made burlap wedding dress, which I recently bought on Etsy.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

I Can't Wait to Construct the Perfect Facebook Post About Marrying my Very Close Acquaintance

It happened. After seven and a half years of dating my boyfriend I now have a bunch of shiny rocks adorning my left hand that signify our pending nuptials. I said yes and he said yes in a very complicated, unplanned double proposal that involved a secluded beach at sunset, a picnic, and red wine given to us by strangers that we drank directly from the bag. It’s what every girl dreams of. And it happened to me.

Perhaps I will document the story of our double proposal in a later post, but for now I want to talk about the most important part of getting engaged: the engagement Facebook post.

The first thing my mother told my boyfriend when he told her he was going to propose to me was “Don’t let Lucy post it on Facebook right away”. Of course, she knows me too well, there’s nothing I crave more than innumerable likes on clever Facebook statuses, and the engagement post is the ultimate like-generating machine. The engagement post produces obligatory likes from people you forgot existed: that guy a few grades below you in high school you were in a Midsummer Night’s Dream with, that French guy who lived in your dorm when you studied abroad and was always stealing your pasta and then pretending he didn’t speak English when you confronted him about it, a girl you went to camp with who now seems to be way more successful than you and you probably shouldn’t have clicked on her profile at all,  does she seriously have four horses and is a professional ballerina, ugh what are you doing with your life? The point is, unlike birthdays which happen every year, or graduations which can happen multiple times in your life, or engagements are ideally a one-time deal which means pretty much everyone you know is generally obligated to at the very least press “like” on your engagement post. Besides the “I’ve produced a baby” post, they are probably the most attention a normal-non celebrity person can get on social media. For a few days you, just a dumb nobody who tricked someone into thinking they want to live with you for eternity, get to feel like Taylor Swift feels every time she posts anything on Twitter.

Since I’m almost 28 years old, 40-60% of my Facebook newsfeed at any given time is proposal announcements. I’ve boiled them down into a several categories that I could choose from.

  1. Playing it safe

The most common type of Facebook engagement announcement. We’ve all seen this one before, the close up of the ring on the finger. The text usually reads something like “I said yes!” or “She said yes!” Then, of course, there must be mention of “marrying your best friend.” God forbid anyone this day and age marries just someone they are in love with. It’s not enough. The truth is my fiance Matt is my friend that I probably like the best, which is one thing I like about our relationship. We watch the same shows, we gossip about everyone we know (probably you), we are really good at picking out snacks for road trips. But he’s not my best friend, he’s a dude I love and live with and get along with super well. If we weren’t doing all these things, we shouldn’t be getting married in the first place. A best friend is the person you go to to complain about your relationship and they nod approvingly and buy you wine. No fiance in the history of the world nods approvingly while you complain about them. It’s just a totally different title. I like to think of Matt as my fiance, my roommate, and like, a very close acquaintance. But I am very excited to be marrying my very close acquaintance!

The ring pic, while cliche, does serve a purpose. It’s proof. You did it! You have a hand! And plus, Matt and I double proposed on the same day by accident, so we both had rings to show off which felt fair and feminist and most importantly, corroborated our story.

2. The Extremist

This post is more rare, but documented: the photo of the actual proposal. Full disclosure, I was absolutely terrified of two things happening if Matt proposed, which contributed to my wanting to be the one who proposed in the first place: 1. He would get down on one knee. 2. There would be other people around. Luckily for me, neither of these things occurred so this type of post was not an option. For me, I didn’t want Matt to get down on one knee because it felt weird. It’s not like Matt regularly asks me things while on bended knee, he’s never gotten on the floor of our kitchen and been like, “Would you like me to buy more milk while I’m at the grocery store today?”  and I wanted the proposal to feel like our real life. I’m sure most people disagree and are more traditional, but the idea of a bended knee proposal felt fake and archaic and it did not reflect our much more modern-feeling relationship (I don’t want to brag about subverting gender roles but like, we both cook and clean in this house) and I really, really didn’t want it.
As for there being other people around, I once went to this play, a Shakespeare in the park kind of thing, and one of the guys running it proposed to his girlfriend while on stage at intermission. In movies, when people propose in public there’s clapping and cheering and tears, but in real life, everyone was mostly confused. What was happening? We couldn’t really hear what he was saying. She looked mad. He looked embarrassed. Some people clapped purely out of either politeness or just to move the whole thing along so we could get back to the Merry Wives of Windsor and pretend this never happened. I never wanted this to happen to me.
I certainly did not want a candid photo of the event: I have enough trouble making human-looking faces in photos I'm ready for, I definitely did not want my double-chinned surprised face documented for the world to see.

3. The Fun Minimalist

Some proposal posts are so brief, you can blink and miss them. Was it even a proposal post at all? Just a brief mention of marriage and a flash of two happy faces. These posts are subtle and tasteful. Sometimes they are even funny and enjoyable to read. The people who post these kinds of posts are usually people who actually like each other a lot and don’t really care about how many people like their posts, they’re just excited that they are engaged to someone they love. These posts do not rack up the kind of likes I needed to effectively use the internet as a way to feel a sense of worth and importance as a person, so obviously this was out.

In the end, we settled on a ring pic of both of our rings, a lovely shot of the sun setting over the lake and a brief description of what happened. We respectfully told our family and close friends over the phone first and posted it a few days after the proposal itself, but that was mostly because we were camping and had no access to internet. It was a great success. We got like, 500 likes. We did not accept them gracefully, we sat on the couch watching them pour in and fought over who had more friends represented. We speculated on if we were getting more likes than other engaged couples. We basked in the glow of internet fame for a few days, clicking those little red bubbles as soon as they appeared and collecting name after name. It felt good. Also, we were excited about being engaged and spending the rest of our lives together. But oh, those sweet, sweet likes.