Bring On the Chiffon!
Well this is awkward. Just a couple of months ago I wrote two blog posts detailing every concern, worry, and gripe I had about marriage…and now I’m getting married. Too bad all those posts about wanting a book proposal haven’t spurned the same effect.
Ryan, my boyfriend (now fiance) of the past two years proposed three weeks ago at the main downtown library, while I was sitting and working on my book. He totally and completely surprised me, while I was in my favorite place in Jacksonville, doing what I love. It was perfect. I was so happy and surprised that the librarian yelled at me, which made it all even better. The past two weeks have been a blur of excitement, planning, budgeting, stress, and contemplating if my life would be more complete with a $200 juicer.
As ridiculously excited as it is to marry your best friend, it’s also kind of nerve wracking. Especially for someone as vocal about their opinions on marriage as me. What if people think I’m a hypocrite? What if my wedding is just like everyone else’s I’ve griped about? What if getting engaged suddenly transforms me into the exact type of bride I’ve decried? Am I going to start breathing fire and crushing buildings as soon as I put on a chiffon dress?
So far that hasn’t really happened. Having a ring on my finger didn’t instantly change my opinions on the ridiculousness of expensive floral centerpieces, matching shiny bridesmaids dresses that can be “shortened and worn again”, or the audacity of asking people to attend multiple showers for the sake of reeling in gifts. But at the same time, I now see exactly how easy it is for brides to totally and completely give into the monster that is the “wedding industry.” This monster is very alluring, and pretty, and charming, and promises you that you are unique, and special, and therefore deserve this ridiculous $250 chip & dip bowl, or your marriage will never succeed. (Yes, this is a real thing. From the same store that sells a floating beer cooler shaped like a fishing bob.)
I know all of this about the monster, because Ryan and I registered for gifts yesterday. I started the day like this:
“I love you so much, I am so excited, this is so exciting right? I can’t believe we’re getting married!”
and ended like this:
“WHY are you being so CHEAP!?! Who says I can’t have a $14.99 serving spoon!? It’s stainless steel, and matches our color scheme, I NEED it! Our friends will WANT to spend money on us!”
No dramatization included.
The fact that I was able to walk into Bed, Bath and Beyond feeling pretty content and happy with my life, and confident in Ryan and I’s future marriage, yet walked out convinced that if we didn’t get the $250 set of copper pots and pans, that we were doomed never to find happiness again, shows how powerful the wedding monster is.
After four, literally, four hours in two stores, both of our spirits were totally defeated. Ryan held up a poop brown tablecloth.
“How about this one?” He said. God help him, he was really trying, and being supportive.
I was slumped over, drool coming out of the corner of my mouth, eyes glazed over as if I had been taking a shot every time we scanned something.
“Humph. Don’t care. Want to go home.” Wedding shopping sometimes makes you forget how to use syllables.
When we were sitting in my living room last night, devouring the Five Guys lunch that we totally burned enough calories to justify, we debriefed. Ryan very lovingly and patiently helped me to see how insane I was being earlier. Once out of the bright fluorescent lighting and away from the salespeople who convinced me that I would regret for the rest of my life not registering for fine china, I agreed with him. We deleted the $14.99 sterling serving spoon. Kept the $50 ice cream maker though because that really would make our lives better.
Looking back, I can see that the thing I learned most from the entire experience wasn’t that getting engaged turned me into a materialistic hypocrite. It was that Ryan and I really are good together. He is one of the only people I have ever met who frequently tells me “no”, and points out when I am being ridiculous. Even crazier, I actually listen to him. While we definitely did squabble yesterday, we talked, compromised, disagreed, overcame disagreement, and ended the night feeling very much in love. Not trying to rub it in or anything.
Moral of the story? You can have a full, happy life without $14.99 serving spoons. But only if you have an ice cream maker.