Friday, December 26, 2014


Well, that's it.  I've been engaged for eight months.  We have a wedding venue and date, a caterer and a photographer and a deejay and invitations.  We booked a honeymoon and a hair salon.  The wedding dress has arrived and it is the correct style, color, and size.  The wedding is in five months, and we are all finished planning it.

Ha ha ha.  That's a joke, of course, as you well know if you have ever yourself planned a wedding.  Of course we aren't finished planning.  Yes, we have all the major elements in place, without any major hiccups or newly-raised concerns.  But it turns out a wedding is a Mandelbrot event of infinite complexity, full of tiny niggling details that upon consideration turn out to be vast universes of decisions and errands and things to do and arrange and plan, and each of those things is its own universe of subthings that open out into their own subsubuniverse of insane recursive never-ending wedding craziness. 

Take, for example, the ketubah.  This is the Jewish wedding contract, and up until very recently it has itself been a subcategory of the "ceremony" component of the wedding.  But the ketubah does need to be ordered - in my case, from a relative who makes very lovely ones for a living - which entails a lot of back and forth about languages (English? Hebrew? Aramaic?) and wording (traditional or egalitarian?) and the spelling of Hebrew names.  And then it needs to be shipped, and we need to make sure that on the day there is a place the principals can go for the signing of it as well as an appropriate pen handy.  And after we sign it, the ketubah will need to be put in some sort of frame or case - something transparent and waterproof and hopefully sturdy - to be brought outside for the ceremony, and after the ceremony the officiant - who is also a friend of my parents' and therefore a guest at the reception - will have to make sure my parents or my fiance and I get ahold of it and put it somewhere safe.  So, that's a few things (about five things, give or take), none of them huge - but that's a few things for the one tiny element of the ketubah.  There are also a few things for the chuppah, and a few things for the glass (or the light bulb? a glass for each of us? a glass for him and a bulb for me? in cloth bags to prevent mess? should we keep the shards for a mezuzah?) traditionally broken to signify the bittersweetness of life, and a few things for the programs, and a few things for the vows (okay, one thing for the vows so far, which is that we need to write them)... and all of this is still just the stuff for the ceremony which is only half an hour out of about 24 hours of stuff.

My initial methodology of coping with the complexity was - okay, well, my initial methodology was blissful ignorance, combined with the firm belief that, as I am a straightforward, rational and down-to-earth person and my fiance is likewise, our wedding would be a simple affair that would require little planning and induce no stress.  I was a freaking idiot.

After I stopped being an idiot (or so much of an idiot, anyway), my initial methodology was to flatten task hierarchies.  I did this by combining several major published to-do lists from wedding websites and books and magazines into one vast calendar, on which - at the appropriate day, according to the lists - I would specify all the tasks.  This led to three issues:
1) Some tasks were specified more than once, if they were included in two different time slots in different calendars.  Not a big deal; I'd simply start dealing with the task the first time it came up and, if it wasn't yet finished, redouble my efforts each time it appeared on the master calendar.  More appearances = more important.
2) Some of the tasks were not fully expanded.  Like, "plan ceremony" might be a single item on one calendar, and on another it might be broken into "write vows" and "find an officiant" and "rent or build a chuppah if necessary" and on another it might be omitted entirely (on the grounds, presumably, that getting married is a trivial component of the modern wedding).  But, okay, I could deal with that too.  When a task came up in the calendar, I would expand it myself and place its subtasks at the correct date, and if I didn't know the subtasks, the first subtask would be research.
3) Some of the calendar dates became a bit... crowded.  Like, six months in advance of one's wedding is apparently a Very Important Milestone and there are a lot of tasks associated with it.  Of course, none of them have to be done on the exact date, so when the time gets closer I can just reallocate most of those tasks to other dates, right?
4) Which brings us to the final issue, not a member of the original tally because I had to be informed of it by my (brave, patient, long-suffering) fiance: my calendar was turning me into a crazy person.  There were just so many things on it, and yet somehow those things were not all the things, and every week a new wedding-related task appeared in my (metaphorical) inbox, and if I ignored it I'd just have two the next week, and what if by the time I went to buy the miniature buckets for the centerpieces they were sold out and it was too late to order more and everything would be ruined forever.

What was that I said about being a rational and down-to-earth person?

My second methodology for dealing, as proposed by my fiance - who is, remember, patient and brave, and who is accepting this entire wedding (distinct from the marriage) in large part as a favor to me - was to simply not do anything I found inconvenient, overwhelming, or too much work.  The idea was meant to be that if something was really important I wouldn't find it too much work, or someone else - e.g. our parents - would be inspired to do it, and if nobody felt like doing it then maybe it didn't need to get done.  Of course this sounded to me like a bad excuse for not doing homework and lasted all of about ten minutes, because the stress of even thinking about blatantly ignoring items on my to-do list was so much greater than the stress of doing them.

The third methodology was to power through my tasks in a rational way: each day I would assign myself one task, a small one if it was a weekday, a large one if it was a weekend.  Then, on each day, I would do the task.  Simple, right?  If the task could not be completed due to factors out of my control, I would double up the following day.  I would not allow myself to procrastinate or linger too long on any task; the sheer force of my to-do list would propel me through them.

I have to admit, this was a pretty good methodology.  I got a lot done over the course of the fall mostly according to this method, although there were still occasional meltdowns and rather frequently all of a week's tasks were piled up on the Sunday evening.  There's something to be said about limiting the amount of time you allow yourself to stew over the perfect beach-themed favor that is neither expensive nor visibly cheap, that is appropriate for all ages, that isn't breakable and won't clutter people's homes.  (The answer, of course, is that no such favor exists.  Fortunately, chocolate does exist, and while not beach-themed, it is very pleasant to consume while sitting on the beach.)  The primary problems with this methodology over the long term are:
1) Maintenance.  It is hard to do a wedding thing every day.  Some weeks it is hard to do any wedding thing at all.  It turns out that I have a whole other life that is not about getting married.
2) Task size.  Some tasks - such as finding a salon - can be done over a period of a couple of days by a determined person.  Others - such as selecting favors - require simply choosing between twenty million equally acceptable options for a trivial component of the event.  But a few tasks are large enough that they require more time and energy than can be devoted to them in one day or even one week.  In our case, the first dance is one of those.  We were able, after only a modest amount of haggling, to select a song, but it turns out the we (he) also need to learn how to dance to it (or at all).  So we are taking dance lessons.  Which is fun, actually, and maybe now I will have a husband who knows how to dance, but it is a thing that cannot be crossed off the list, and it is now generating its own tasklets (e.g. we have to arrange lessons, attend lessons, and practice).
3) Scalability.  Doing one task a day works - in the sense that, if I devote all spare time to wedding planning, I remain on schedule - at the six month mark.  But what about at the three month mark?  The one month mark?  The one week mark?  The task lists at those time scales are enormous; there is more like one task for every hour, and I wasn't actually planning to take a month off work to get married.

This has caused me to adjust the third methodology by adding to it a fourth: periodic controlled burns.  Every few weeks I go through the tasks on the wedding calendar and delete anything that I have miraculously done ahead of schedule (like, we already booked a cake bakery! yay!), we definitely won't need (no attendants means no need to select bridesmaids' dresses) or that clearly aren't going to happen.  As time passes, I think this last item - injecting reality into the process ahead of schedule - will be increasingly important.  If two weeks ahead of the wedding I look at my to-do list for the day and see that I am meant to write an individual hand-written note to every out-of-town guest welcoming them to the wedding, I will probably sigh, grumble, become immensely stressed out, and then do it.  But if I see that now, maybe I can deploy some of my remaining molecules of sanity to delete it before I become even more crazy.

Yes, I am pretty sure it's possible to become even more crazy.  Check back in a couple months for confirmation.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I have been consistently surprised by which elements of wedding planning are difficult and which are not.  Like, picking a venue was actually really easy.  I always wanted to get married at the beach, and my parents recently retired to the beach, and my parents were more excited about helping plan the wedding than my fiance.  So the town was all picked out, and it's not a big town.  They helped me make a list of location possibilities - I think there were nine - and then visited all of them and collected information.  (Yes, I owe this entire wedding to the unpaid labors of my awesome parents.  I will be giving them a very nice gift.)  After reviewing the information, I spent a weekend in town and visited each place, and at the end there was a clear first choice on which we all agreed.  And the date and time weren't a problem either, because apparently a year out is way too late to start planning your wedding, so the place we'd chosen had pretty much two dates left in the year 2015, one of which was in the dead of winter.

The dress was also not as hard as I thought.  Yes, it was a saga, but it was a fun saga.  At pretty much any point I could have declared myself done, at at every store I went to I found at least one dress I could have happily worn down the aisle.  I had thought it would be a miserable saga, a tale of size-two dresses and a not-size-two bride.  White makes me look washed out and long dresses make me look like a salt shaker, but apparently wedding dresses have some kind of magic sewn into them - maybe that's why they're so expensive - because almost every single one I put on was beautiful.

The things that have been unexpectedly difficult include:
1) Registering.  Choosing your own presents should be easy, right?  Except when you're marrying the pickiest person on earth and you are maybe not Miss Easygoing yourself.  Also, the 70's have come back in style, so half the plates in the world depress me because they look like something my parents would have thrown out during our 1995 kitchen remodel for being too old-fashioned.

2) I already talked about save-the-dates, which were the hardest-to-choose postcards in the history of the world.  What I didn't realize was that save-the-dates were the tip of the iceberg, and there is a whole invitation suite that has to be selected and personalized, with wording that does not offend anybody.  Unless you edited a literary magazine with me in college, you would not believe the arguments it is possible to have about a comma.  
3)  Hair and makeup.  Obviously I need to have this professionally done, because if left to my own devices I will get married in a frizzy ponytail and chapstick.  What turns out to be hard is finding a hairstylist in a small town where you don't live and where most salons aren't open on Sunday, but they're happy to open specially for you and "your girls" (this is Wedding Speak for bridesmaids, because apparently all brides travel in packs.  I am not having attendants, but if I were, most of them would be married with multiple children, or male, so the term would still not be terribly apt.). 

Fortunately, all these things are under control.  We are 90% of the way through with registering, almost ready to buy makeup, and well on the way to locking down a salon.  So that just leaves finalizing the menu, planning the ceremony, writing our vows, planning flowers and centerpieces and favors, addressing that giant stack of aforementioned postcards... piece of cake, right?

Oh, and we have to pick a cake.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

the dress

I've been planning my wedding for about five months.  Everyone I talk to is interested in it - where is it?  when?  can they see my engagement ring?  And, most prominently, what is my dress like?

If I had my feminist hat on right now, I would go into detail about how the outsized importance assigned to the wedding dress - the thousands of dollars many brides spend (even brides whose wedding is, overall, not particularly pricey), the substantial fraction of wedding magazine advertising real estate devoted to them, and of course the sense that selecting the dress not only sets the tone of the wedding (this is what my mother, a typically very reasonable person not particularly interested in fashion, told me) but also says something fundamental about the bride.  

But - yes, that was me being brief - instead, I am going to focus on my own experience.

I knew pretty early on that I wanted something with a mermaid or trumpet cut.  I'd looked at some pictures online and those dresses seemed sleek and attractive and less fussy.  I started with a trip to David's with an old friend, where I tried on seven dresses in that silhouette.  I liked most of them - partly because it was pretty awesome to be trying on wedding dresses in the first place - and one in particular stood out (see it here).  The tight bodice flattered my curves, the tiered organza skirt felt appropriate for my beach ceremony, and I felt beautiful and bridal in it.  But I had other stores on my list, and I'd agreed with my mother that I'd wait until she came to town, a month later, to make the decision.

My next stop was Kleinfeld's, with two very opinionated friends.  I tried on many dresses - six?  eight?  - all with mermaid silhouettes.  I quickly found out that I wasn't particularly drawn to lacey bodices and in fact found them unflattering.  I loved what a corset back did for my figure.  A couple of the dresses, Monique Lhuillier styles with sculptural skirts, were promising - but none of them won the unanimous approval of my friends, who liked me in sophisticated, unfussy cuts, and myself, who liked me in something with a little bit of pizzazz.

Third, I went to Lovely Bride, a boutique in Tribeca, with my brother's girlfriend.  I tried on only two dresses there - because on the second dress we hit the jackpot.  It was a Hayley Paige mermaid with a very simple silk satin bodice, a sweetheart neckline and a low back with a tulle strap held together with a jeweled clip, and a puffy organza skirt (I don't remember the style name, but I on this page it - or a dress a lot like it - is the leftmost one on the second row).  The dress was a work of art, everything I had looking for, special and beautiful, and I almost bought it right then.

And then I went home.  I talked to my mother.  I thought about it a bit.  The dress was pricey, and it would need a lot of alterations since the chest and hips were the same size and no human woman is shaped like that.  I'd have to have a bra sewn into it, and it wasn't very forgiving so I'd have to lose some tummy pudge to look good in it.  Also, I could only barely sit in it - maybe losing weight would help? - and, because it was a mermaid, I couldn't walk fast.  The sales associate and many of my friends assured me that it wasn't an issue: on my wedding day, I wouldn't be sitting, or eating, or walking much, or moving in any way.  Apparently I'd be in a body cast, looking beautiful.

Still, I loved the dress.

And then I started looking at photographers.  This entailed looking at a lot of pictures, in particular of beach weddings.  Lots of women seem to get married on the beach in very sophisticated dresses, and some of them look silly and some of them don't.  Others wear unstructured, vintagey, hippie styles - something I liked in theory, but that hadn't seemed to work on me at David's.  One picture in particular stuck with me - a bride and groom running along the waterline together, holding hands.  The groom's shirt was untucked and the bride held her skirt up with her free hand.  

It wasn't the bride's dress that stuck with me, or the groom's outfit, and I didn't end up hiring that photographer.  But I remembered the look on the bride's face - she was happy, and in love, and she was wearing her wedding dress, and she was running.  There was no way I could run, much less along the water, in the Hayley Paige dress.  I could walk in little, mincing steps; I could dance, a little bit; I could move my arms.  In that dress, I would have been beautiful - it's impossible to wear a garment that amazing and not be - but I would have been trapped.  I would have spent the day thinking about my dress, negotiating stairs and sand, checking the state of my tummy pooch in every mirror, worrying that sitting down too fast would split the seam.  That's not the way I live - I won't buy a garment if I can't walk briskly for half an hour while wearing it - and it's not the way I want to get married.

So, the hunt was still on.  I decided I should try shopping on my own - maybe fewer cooks would help me zero in on the dress that was right for me.  I took the bus to New Jersey and went to Nordstrom, where I found some nice dresses - more Monique Lhuillier - but nothing inspiring.  I went to the Nicole Miller boutique, where I tried on many very pretty silky dresses, all reasonably priced and reasonably flattering, that did absolutely nothing for me.  They just didn't feel wedding-y enough.  

And then, one day after work, I went to Macy's.  Right away I liked the consultant - she was stylish, of course, but also down-to-earth.  She wasn't a size two and didn't seem to think I should spend five thousand dollars on a dress.  After listening to my description of what I wanted, which hadn't changed very much, she pulled some dresses and I tried them on.  Eh, eh, eh.  I had tried on so many dresses at that point - I may have actually forgotten some stores in this telling - that none of them made an impression.  The consultant let me go out on the floor - the salon was pretty empty at that point - and choose some more dresses.  It was hard to tell what a dress would look like when it was on the hanger, and I ended up with some pretty weird styles.  I was having fun, but I was no closer to finding my dress.

The consultant was the one who pulled the dress I fell in love with.  It was from their Destination Romance collection, and it had a low-key ballroom silhouette.  It was strapless with a sweetheart neckline - I figured out early on that this works best for me - and a skirt with cascading layers of organza.  It was lightweight, simple, and very bridal.  It looked like me, like something I would pick and wear even if it didn't have a "wedding dress" label on it, and it was so easy to wear and made me so happy to have on that I could - and did - pick up my skirts and run.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


One of the problems of writing things down is that, to the extent anyone actually reads what you've written, it keeps you accountable.  From a conventional viewpoint that's probably a benefit, and it's one of the reasons people (including but not entirely limited to myself) make schedules and lists.  However, being accountable to one's later self is typically not why people write blog posts, and now I find myself feeling the need to answer for my many, varied, and highly certain statements about how I would never really grow to love New York.

Some of my reluctance to embrace New York is attributable to the simple matter of its being an acquired taste, and to the fact that when you come to the city alone, with not much money and nowhere to live, and with no real desire for an adventure, it's not an easy place to love.  It's not really an easy place to survive.  It took me weeks to stop being scared of the subway (some people might contend that I am still warier of certain lines and stops than is warranted, and it's true I have a suspicion of any train that does not run at least every ten minutes or that does not pass through my home borough).  It took months to feel really comfortable in the city, to lose (or, if I'm being honest, much of the time to mask) the wide-eyed looking-around quality of tourists.  And while I might have been more of a country mouse than most, I think there are others to whom embracing city life has been as intentional, gradual, and ambivalent.

But the other problem with New York is nothing to do with its inconvenience or its cost, its smells or its insects or its insane freakish thunderstorms that come out of nowhere.  The other problem is, for lack of a better term, its personality.

 I am not the first, or the dozenth, or the hundredth person to write - to think - about New York City as if it is a person.  To be more specific, I am not the first or the dozenth or the hundredth woman to think of New York City as her boyfriend.  Carrie Bradshaw popularized the idea long before I came to the city, and I'm sure her creators were mimicking Holly Golightly, whom I just realized she is an awful lot like.  But probably half the single women from here to the Brooklyn Bridge think of the city as their great love.  New York is a passion, a muse, a pounding pulse that will swallow you up.

And, like most of the passionate lovers of literature, New York City is a very bad boyfriend.  It is not reliable.  The subway frequently does not run on time.  It does not care for you the way you care for it.  Your rent can rise twenty percent in one year.  New York does not make sacrifices to help you realize your dreams.  It does not make a place for you in its life.  It does not introduce you to its friends.  Sometimes it seems not to know you exist.

It is not an accident that these sentences apply also to the types of men women in New York often find themselves dating.

But New York is fun!  Sure, it may be gritty, and crowded, and scary.  There may be piles of trash accumulating on the street and people shouting curses at you on the corner.  But behind the piles of trash you can find an Afghan restaurant - Afghan food!  There's such a thing! - where you can eat pumpkin fritters and lamb and rice and leek dumplings on a table with a carpet as a tablecloth.  Along the block are other restaurants: Indonesian, Hipster (also a cuisine, it appears), and Thai; and around the corner Alan Cumming is starring in Cabaret.  A few blocks in every direction are fashionable clothing stores, farmer's markets, museums, a giant park where people train for marathons year-round.  There's a new adventure on every block, and you can do a different interesting thing every day for probably your entire life.

What changed, for me, was being able to appreciate that fun.  What changed was that I found a stable job, an apartment of my own that I felt comfortable in, a few good friends, and enough comfort in the city to not be worried about losing my way.  What changed was that I found - in a figurative sense - a boyfriend.  I stopped needing New York to be my great love, my best friend, my caretaker.  Now, when the trains aren't running on time, I know another way to get where I'm going.  I don't need the city to be a stabilizer, a comfort, a home, which is good, because it's no good for that.  What it's good at is providing fun and adventure and novelty, in its own way and on its own schedule, often at what seems to be the exact wrong time.

New York is a very bad boyfriend.  Generation after generation of starry-eyed lovers have realized that, and left it.  But New York is a truly incredible wing-man.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


It has become de rigueur for couples to insist, on their wedding website, that the best gift invitees can give them is their presence at the wedding and that no material gift is necessary, and then to list one or more stores at which the couple has compiled a list of desirable material gifts.  So of course this is exactly what we will do.

It took us a bit of angst to get here.  We really don't need anything and we really would never want our guests to feel obliged to spend money on us.  We are inviting them because we want them to be present on the day and we want to celebrate with them, and we know that most of them will have to spend money and time to attend in the first place, so it seems almost unfair to suggest that they should spend even more of either resource on a gift.  But I have been informed by a number of people and resources (some of them members of the Wedding Insanity Complex and therefore hardly disinterested) that not registering is actually rude, because then guests not only feel impelled to buy you a gift, but must spend additional energy trying to figure out what you would like.

So, we are registering.  We compiled a list of things to register for, which basically fall into three categories:

1) Things we should probably already have.  For example, a blender or a food processor.  We don't have either, somehow, and we have survived, but it's an inconvenience.  Also, a proper mixing bowl or bowls.  In fact we have one mixing bowl, given to me by a former roommate on the occasion of her marriage (I think it was a wedding gift to her that she didn't want?).  This was in about 2003.  And there were originally three bowls, but only one has survived the five moves since it entered my possession, and while it is nice enough, it is not what I would have picked out for myself, and why at the age of almost 35 am I using a mixing bowl that was a graduate student's castoff?
2) Things we have, but that we should have better (or matching) of.  Both of us have long been in the habit of acquiring 2 or 4 of things, which means we have 6 or 8 of most things, but not 6 or 8 matching things.  Fortunately we have not-too-dissimilar and fairly simple tastes; it isn't really that weird to serve Thanksgiving on two white plates and four blue ones with wine glasses of two different sizes, particularly when all parties are impressed that the turkey didn't explode and that the hosts have actually managed to rustle up six chairs.  But it would be good to have six identical plates, and cups, and wineglasses, and forks, and so on.  This presents the problem of what we will do with our bachelor and bachelorette dishes, which there are not room for in our big-for-NYC-but-not-actually-big kitchen, and some of which we are attached to (I am particularly fond of some bowls given to me a decade ago by possibly the same marrying friend, and my intended loves his discontinued cereal bowls; there are two of each so maybe we can just agree to be a household of mismatched bowls).  

Also in this category: towels.  When we moved in together a year ago we decided to store our towels separately.  This was not a completely insane decision because we have separate bathrooms, so there's no real reason our towels need to match.  But it doesn't really make sense to maintain two towel repositories indefinitely, although I can't actually think what efficiency is derived from combining them.  I have the vague sense, however, that being married will entail becoming more integrated over time, and towels seem like a harmless way to start that.  Anyway, both of our towel situations are moderately bleak, so maybe marriage is a time to scrap them all and start over.

In fact, most of our stuff is in this category: pots and pans, steak knives, sheets.  We have survived for many years with the stuff we have, purchased at Walmart and Canadian Walmart and gifted by friends and parents when they moved or married, but at some point we should give it all to Goodwill and commit to an actual kitchen of our own.

3) Things that seem like they will be fun to have.  I have convinced my intended that we should register for salt and pepper grinders, even though neither of us likes pepper and we don't know where to buy the rocks for the salt grinder.  But, so cool.  Also, we registered for a casserole, on the assumption that sometime in our marriage one of us will learn to cook.  There are some other things we think would be great to have (a bread maker, a griddle) but that we wouldn't use all that much and aren't practical to store.

So, today we started the process.  I say "started the process" because, after two hours of wandering around Crate and Barrel with our Registry Gun, it seems that - and this will surprise nobody who has ever met me, or him, or any other human being who manages to remain single past the age of thirty - getting two people to agree on how they want their kitchen table to look, even if they are very devoted to each other, is completely impossible.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


There are a lot of decisions to make when planning a wedding.  Like, a lot.  That's probably the thing I understood least before starting.  And the decisions are of all sizes, from the truly monumental (should you get married at all?  to whom?) to the fairly big (should you invite friends and family to witness your ceremony and attend a reception afterwards, or get married on your own at City Hall?) to the medium-small (what should you do about food? music? a rehearsal dinner?) to the truly trivial (centerpieces, flowers, and everything to do with clothing).

Of course - and this is probably obvious to anyone who has ever been in any kind of proximity to a wedding - the importance of all these decisions is not only exaggerated by the Wedding Girlification Industry, the relative importance of each decision is completely blown askew from anything a reasonable person might believe.  I was actually asked, when I purchased my dress - which is a reasonably-priced (on the scale of wedding dresses, which means that it is possible but not likely that I may someday own another garment as expensive), fairly traditional, thoroughly innocuous selection - if I was certain it was The One.  Yes, really.  Now, to the extent that I believe in a The One, I believe my fiance is it, but nobody has asked me if I was really one hundred percent certain about him.  Because he's just the man I'm marrying; there's no reason I need to be certain of him.  A few yards of organza and lace, on the other hand - that's what's really important to get right about my wedding.

Other elements of my wedding that have been blown way out of proportion have included - so far, and keep in mind we're still months and months out from the actual day - the photographer (which I think is actually a semi-important decision, in that we certainly want to have one, but you would not believe the amount of time I have spent looking at pictures of strangers' weddings on the internet in an attempt to determine which set of photos-not-of-my-wedding best represents how I want my wedding to look in photos); the save-the-dates (you would think, if you had never planned a wedding, that there would not be many conversations you could have about a postcard.  You would be wrong.); and - most recently - colors.

Of course, I knew wedding colors were a thing.  But I figured they weren't particularly important for us, since we're not having a wedding party (the bridesmaids' dresses being typically the main sample of the wedding colors), and our venue has some pretty spectacular natural decorations, which means our flowers and centerpieces and whatever other aesthetic bits are mandatory for a wedding but about which I've forgotten will be pretty minimal.  I figured when we got around to planning this stuff - in the distant future, when important stuff like food and the ceremony itself are nailed down - we'd see what sort of decorations - flowers, table linens, centerpiece-y stuff - were available, and pick a couple colors which look good together and are easy to get.

Of course I was wrong.  We've been having very preliminary conversations with florists, and apparently it isn't even possible to get an idea of what is available without specifying two or three colors.  I have tried asking what is typically in season in May, what looks good together, and what most brides do (all of which is an invitation for them to present me some very expensive ideas as a starting point, so you'd think they'd love it) but mostly I get reactions of shock and horror.  Apparently, in order to make a deep and lifelong commitment to my significant other, I need to also have deep-commitment-level feelings about a couple of very particular wavelengths of visible light.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Act Two ... Three? Four?

When we last left left our heroine - that's me! - she was poised on the brink of a transition, and emphatically ambivalent about it.  Having met a man whom she could not find any problems with, and who - for some reason probably having to do with an ill-advised vow to laugh at all of his jokes for the remainder of their relationship (yes, he reminds of that at least once a week) - had tolerated her company for the past two years, she was about to move in with him, and she was worried.  What if she became boring and settled?  What if she didn't like having another person around all the time?  What if - horror of horrors - she had to learn to cook?

Now it is sixteen months later, and none of my worst fears have come to pass.  We chose to devote our rental budget to size rather than amenities, which means we have enough space to close a door between us when one of us wants solitude or quiet.  We learned to spend time in the same room without talking, and we got used to talking every day.  And - while I have lately taken to mixing spiralized zucchini with angel hair - I have not, so far, learned to cook.

Also, I am getting married.

This will come as no surprise to most of the remaining readers of this blog, who consist of approximately two people with whom I am friends in real life and who have already heard the news.  But it - still, months after the bestowal of a pretty topaz, well into the photographers-and-florists stage of wedding planning - surprises me.  I found him!  My lobster!  My other shoe!  The elusive Prince Pocket Protector!  And - this will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone except me - he was exactly where, and who, everyone expected all along.  It turns out that the guy for me is not a stoner, criminal, or dropout; he does not live in Australia or Siberia; he has never been married and has no scandalous backstory; he is not cruel or inconsiderate or distasteful in a way that can only be excused by vast depths of perfection imperceptible to everyone but me.  No, he is exactly whom everyone who has ever met me would expect: a mild-mannered ex-physicist, taciturn but funny, dependable and highly intelligent, with a large reservoir of patience and, at this moment, a book about machine learning on his nightstand.

So, that's actually pretty awesome.  I mean, it is awesome in a sarcastic way that my mother and everyone else was right and that all that time I spent looking under metaphorical dating-world rocks and dating the metaphorical slugs I found there in the hopes that one of them would magically metamorphose into PPP was more or less wasted, except that maybe I got some good blog posts out of it.  But also, it is actually really awesome to find someone you're excited about seeing every morning and night for the next - hopefully - fifty years.  You people probably mostly already know that.

Anyway, after that long preamble - which as always, takes up the entire blog post - I will explain why I am (possibly) back: like I said before, I am getting married.  Now, getting married is a very serious thing to do, and most of the issues it raises are too personal to be aired here.  But I am not just getting married, I am having a wedding.  More to the point, I am planning a wedding.  A planning a wedding is... well, it's a lot.  It's exciting and a lot of fun, but it's also occasionally emotional or stressful.  And it's definitely hilarious.  

So - assuming anybody's stuck around this long, and assuming I stick around to write more posts - my little Thesis Blog, which I started eight years ago to chronicle the writing of my thesis and has since then recorded - with varying intensity - the earning of my PhD, new cities and three new jobs, one thousand dates and a handful of relationships, two marathons, and any number of sarcastic remarks, is now, for a few months, going to be a wedding-planning blog.  

Amazingly, the ceiling did not fall in when I typed that.