All This Action, No Satisfaction

Last March, a week before Mr. WholeHog and I got engaged, my cousin had her first child, Andrew.

Because Mr. WholeHog and I had been together for so many years, I thought our engagement would be secondary to Andrew’s arrival, but one of my aunts response to our announcement made it clear that my family could handle more than one happy announcement: “First Andrew, and now this, ” she wrote.

This past weekend was Andrew’s 1st birthday party and with it came a reminder about how sweet this all felt a year ago.

In the past few months, I’ve  begun to understand the sighs I heard from my married friends and family members when they reflected on planning their weddings. “I’m just glad I don’t have to do that again,” my cousin said when her sister got engaged. Her sister, a few months before her wedding, told me that she was “really looking forward to the day after the wedding.”

At the time, these comments seemed sad to me. Shouldn’t this be a joyful time? I’d thought. But now that I’m in their shoes, I understand. The planning portion is a challenge, and not particularly joyful at this stage.

I even had a nightmare about the wedding last month. In my dream, the ceremony wasn’t planned, the guests were confused and Mr. WholeHog and I were there in front of everyone, feeling like a stand up comedians who aren’t getting any laughs. It’s stressful right now and the long wedding to-do list can feel overwhelming.

But at least during this trying time, there are pre-wedding celebrations that distract you briefly from the planning and the worry (can we truly pull this off?!). When you are full of self-loathing about putting so much off until the last minute, it helps to be surrounded by people who don’t care a bit that you’ve procrastinated on some fairly major elements of the wedding (like, say, the ceremony).

My wedding shower helped me remember what our wedding is all about: celebrating with friends and family. My family is always ready to party and they essentially create a party where ever they go. My sister planned my shower and she said her strategy was to “keep it simple because the family will fill in the rest.” And they did.

Over dinner and wine last month, my married friends became what Meg at A Practical Wedding calls ‘wedding graduates’ — people who’ve been through wedding planning and lived to tell about it. They told funny stories about their weddings (one friend was dropped on the dance floor by a clumsy dance partner who tried to ‘dip’ her during a swing dancing song) and they also gave sensible advice ranging from “I wish I hadn’t worried so much about what other people would think” to “Ask the photographer to get pictures of you with your friends”.

And during those times when I don’t have family and friends around to distract me and the number of things still left to do starts to weigh on me, I think about what a friend told be about child birth: that when you think you can’t labor anymore, that’s when you’re almost done.

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