Girls, young ladies, women … you've been lied to. Lied to by society, maybe by family members, definitely by shows like "Four Weddings" and "Say Yes to the Dress," by ridiculous Pinterest boards, and by a million wedding websites.
Your wedding is NOT the most important day of your life, and it is not singularly “your” day.
My kids hold me hostage in front of an occasional reality TV show, and on the last (never ending, unbelievably long) snow day we watched a few wedding reality shows.
It's been mentioned in previous columns that I dislike reality TV as much as a normal person dislikes a root canal, but this was a new low for me. Countless shows full of horrible, bratty, repulsive human beings, and the people that profit from them. Entire families fly in to specific bridal wedding stores (shops, boutiques? FYI: my wedding dress was from Dillard's.) and watch their perfect princess try on gowns that cost more than, in one case, my house, and in another, my car. For a dress that will be worn once.
Occasionally you get a glimpse of the father of the bride to be, looking fairly miserable, squirming in his seat, but he buckles to the pressure of his entire extended family including his wife, other children, assorted cousins, his daughter the princess and the scary salespeople.
"Are you going to say yes to the dress?" says the snooty sales gal, as the princess squeals, "Yes!", and then mumbles something about it only being $8,000 over their dress budget, like they really scored a DEAL. Have any idea what I could do with eight grand? Wonder if at any point, when the happily wed couple hit a miserable economy, lose a job, and have a handful of kids to feed, THEY wonder what they could have done with eight grand?
Brides! Yes, all eyes will be on you. You will be beautiful. You do not need a dress that costs more than a car to be beautiful. What is beautiful about a bride has absolutely nothing to do with the dress they are wearing. I've seen brides in borrowed dresses, in dresses that were bought in lovely, NORMAL bridal boutiques, or in their mothers dress, walk down the aisle, looking towards their husband to be, just glowing with happiness and love, and trust me - there is no lovelier sight.
So, you think your wedding day is going to be the most important day of your life, huh? Sure, it's an important day, a wonderful day. But most important? I promise you, it is not. It is one day in, hopefully, a hundred wonderful milestone days.
I have a girlfriend that said her wedding paled in comparison to the day in which she bought her first home. Your life will be full of amazing days. You may get your dream job. You may welcome a baby into your life. Quit micromanaging which color your bridesmaids will wear (some of whom, I'm sorry to say, you won't like much later), or what wedding favor you will be handing out to guests (this is silly - we go because we love you, not because we want seeds to plant in our garden), or the centerpieces on every single table (that your guests will either ignore, or move, so that they can see the person they are speaking to across the table), or the endless menu choices (unless it's meatloaf - yes, that happened, and it's never OK).
I run into brides who are sweating every last detail, and I always ask them why. The answer is always the same - they want it to be perfect. Surprise! It's not going to be. A button will pop off of your dress. A drunk family member will embarrass you at the reception. Your Dad's socks won't match (true story). Your Mom will have overprocessed her hair, and will wear a wig (yep, but she still looked adorable). Those moments don't dull the sparkle of that day … they add to it.
Now the biggest wedding fallacy of all. It's YOUR day? What, are you getting married to yourself? Is there no one else involved in this? There is, after all, someone else you are marrying. Forget about him? You know, the GROOM? Your husband-to-be? The person that you are going to spend the rest of your life with, that will be your backbone, your partner in everything that you do, the person that will be with you through sickness and health. Are you driving him nutty with ridiculous details, or are you showing him how truly excited you are to be starting a life together? It's HIS day, too. He has a family that he loves. One of my friends sons told me recently that not only was his bride to be making him insane "Will my whole life be like THIS?" but also that her mother was driving him to drink. I'm thinking that's not a great start to a long, happy marriage.
I guess for some of you I'm spoiling the magic here. But this is the honest truth, I've been to weddings that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars that were miserable, and I've been to weddings on a tiny budget, with relaxed brides, and it was beyond beautiful.
Or, just save your money. Elope. Because it's not the wedding that makes the marriage. Say no to the stress, say yes to the fun.