Thursday, January 13, 2011

Words of Wisdom

Today, I celebrate 21 whole days of being engaged. I've made lots of decisions: locked down a venue, a date, my side of the bridal party, and we're closing in on a color theme. I have my wedding binder perfectly constructed and filled with lots of inspiration for the reception and outfits. There are eight tabs in there, each with their own purpose: vendor contracts, bridal style, groomsmen & bridesmaids, budget, food, etc.

I realize now that I should probably start a new tab in the binder. I'll call it "What to expect," and write down all the, er, "lovely" trinkets of advice for the brides that will come after me. Because every time someone notices a little sparkler on your finger, they are ready not only to congratulate you, but to give you their two cents. Here are some of my favorites to date:

1. "Oh, that's so...cute!"
2. "September of THIS year? Wow--that's so fast!"
3. "How old are you?"
4. "His name is Carl, right? Ellen and Carl--that sounds lovely."

I'm sure the comments will continue to stack up as time moves along. Honestly, I can take them, but I've just been a little bit taken aback by how many people find nine months to be an insignificant amount of time to be engaged. I try to explain: "Well, Kyle and I want to get married in the fall, but we didn't want to wait two years, so we settled on this fall," only to be met with a furrowed brow and reluctant nod. Thanks for inspiring confidence, there.

I have a lot of opinions about marriage. During college, as a tool for survival, I essentially blocked any possible dream about getting married before 30, let alone even finding a stable boyfriend. Ideals of accomplishments, travel, independence--that's what I clung to. When it came to others, I'll be frank: I was judgmental. Getting married before 25? You must be straight outta your mind. Why not go out and learn more about yourself first? Experience what you won't be able to experience after you're married! I saw marriage as some sort of giant door--one that, once closed, locked out a slew of possibilities.

So imagine my surprise now. To find someone who is not only exceptionally normal, but shares in my goals--the same ones I thought impossible after that proverbial door closed. I think the cosmos wanted me to realize how unnecessary my judgment was by placing me precisely in the shoes of those I judged. And that's what I needed: to be forced to face my own judgments and realize that they are based in nothing but stubbornness; in a tool I needed at one time but is no longer necessary to keep in my toolbox.

It's not a clean and dry process. There are days when I wonder if the people who are so concerned about a September wedding date are right--maybe it is too soon. And when I read about other people's weddings in magazines, I can't help but notice that the majority of the couples are in their late 20s or early 30s. But what are we waiting for? Maybe it's a little bit of a leap of faith, but I think that's good for me. Being grounded is important, but I don't want to be so grounded that I get stuck.

Did I go all mushy on you there? Sorry.

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