As far as I can tell, wedding planning goes in stages. The first stage: panic. About 3 and a half hours after we got engaged I had the realization that I’d never planned anything bigger than a fourth of July barbecue where we decided to buy a keg for about twenty people and then drank maybe a quarter of it and Matt, his roommate and I spent the next two weeks drinking VERY warm beer with every meal. So this gives you an idea of my planning abilities. But suddenly, I realized we had to plan an entire night with food, dancing, speeches, a legally binding ceremony, and intricate floral design and this led to the aforementioned panic. It didn’t matter that the wedding was likely over a year away, we had to know every single thing now. Who will put on the tablecloths? How does a sound system work? Is it possible to grow our own flowers because like they just grow in the ground from seeds and why doesn’t Matt think it’s important that we discuss napkin color and oh my god, my arms are looking kind of chubby, should I be doing push ups right now, I’ll just do push ups right now while I Google “Where do you get a marriage certificate?” The panic was overwhelming. It led to a lot of frustrating phone calls with my parents (who assumed parental panic mode, in which they panicked about all the things I forgot to panic about and then we yelled at each other for not properly allocating our respective panics.) and fighting with Matt who clearly had no idea about anything wedding related at all like had he even ever been to a wedding how could we get married if he once mentioned offhand that he might not even need to buy a new suit for the wedding and didn’t realize there were different types of lilies?
The panic subsided, though, after we booked a venue and picked a date. It disappeared like a magicians rabbit, for all accounts gone except we knew it was still somewhere, out of sight, to be dealt with later. But for a little while we were impressed with the trick, so we happily moved on to the next stage: completely forgetting that a wedding was occurring altogether. For the next few weeks/maybe months we spent zero effort or time planning the wedding and kind of just assumed things would work out eventually. This was a much more fun stage than planning. We barely talked about the wedding except in imagining it was a fun event we’d get to attend sometime in the future: who would give a speech, could we do karaoke afterwards, would it still be warm enough to walk outside on the beach the day before? It was a blissful stage, when people asked about our wedding plans and I’d respond as if they were asking if I was planning to go to the farmer’s market later to pick up plums: “Oh, we aren’t sure yet, we’ll just see what happens”. But all good things must come to an end.
The denial stage ended with actual wedding dress shopping in which I could not deny that everything lacy and long and white looks almost nothing like it does online on my actual body and with that the wedding seemed real again.
We’ve now entered what I’ll call the “plum pudding” stage. Remember when you took biology in high school and you had to learn about all the models of an atom scientists had proposed over time and there was that one model called the plum pudding model and you were like A. What is plum pudding? This is America, can we please use a term relevant to our own cultural desserts? And then you were told that a plum pudding model of an atom is atom that has electrons scattered around it like the plums of a plum pudding which, by the way, is a cake and not pudding at all and can we just call it a chocolate chip cookie model here in America where pudding is a gloppy, viscous liquid dessert incapable of supporting plums? Anyway, that’s where we are now, in a plum pudding of panic. Tiny negatively charged pockets of freaking out are surrounded by a positively charged background of assuming everything will be okay. Things will be perfectly fine until I suddenly realize it’s extremely important we figure out a wedding hashtag right now, loudly, in front of this coffee shop where we happen to be standing or the wedding will implode immediately.
But actually when I say “we” are in this stage, I mean me. (Ugh, I’m already doing the annoying thing where a married person refers to themselves and their spouse as “we” like they’ve symbiotically attached to each other and are now sharing blood and essential nutrients and opinions about window treatments. Kill me now.) Matt is in his own stage, a stage more like the regular model of an atom: he’s the nucleus, calm, balanced, neutral. Thoughts about the wedding are swirling around him like electrons, never touching him but are still there, orbiting around, ready to form covalent bonds with my wedding thoughts if only I could get those electrons out of my nucleus.
But we’re not even halfway through all this wedding stuff and who know how many stages there are ahead. I don’t know which will come next, hopefully one where we get around to hiring a caterer. Or at least finally think of the perfect hashtag. (Suggestions welcome.) But either way, time keeps moving on and despite the new blanket of snow we just got this morning, next October is starting to feel menacingly close. Hold on to your potatoes, Dr. Jones.