“What are your wedding colors?” the wedding coordinator asked, gesticulating to the reception room.
“Huh?” I responded.
“Your wedding colors,” she repeated. Her tone was a little TOO impatient considering I was about to fork over an ungodly amount of money to have my wedding at her venue.
“I was going to wear white?” I stammered, not understanding the question. She did a bad job of hiding the urge to roll her eyes and tried again, “What is the color palette of your wedding?”
Oh great, I thought. Add that to the ever-growing checklist of “things I didn’t know I needed to give a shit about that I now need to give a shit about.”
I had been engaged for about a month. I was still wrapping my head around the idea that I was getting married. But I was quickly discovering that everyone thought that by placing an engagement ring on my finger, my fiancé had activated some dormant gene that would turn me into a wedding planning expert, the kind of person who could tell you what chateaubriand was, or the difference between tulle and taffeta. I get stressed inviting a bunch of people to a bar for birthday drinks. A wedding planning expert I was not.
I struggled with literally every decision: my dress, the bridesmaids’ dresses (ended up bunting that quagmire to them), the guest list (still gives me stress acne to think about), the menu, the invitations, the table decor, the honeymoon, the bachelorette party, the ceremony music. The list of relatively unimportant decisions was seemingly endless. But each of these decisions felt really important, and I was totally overwhelmed. I wasn’t born a Bridezilla, but I was becoming one. And instead of being bitten by a radioactive spider, I had been bitten by the Pinterest Bug, with equally devastating results. I started to believe that if my wedding didn’t have the perfect number of whimsical sayings written on chalkboards, then I might as well throw myself off the cliff where we were taking engagement photos.
I probably don’t have to tell you that no one expected a thing from my fiancé, who happens to be male, because of previously stated maleness. Luckily, I didn’t marry a Neanderthal, so he helped me with a lot of the planning. But the fact remains that preparing for the biggest day of our lives is so much more work for the bride. Why is this still the case in 2017? I don’t know, but probably sexism? And the fact that weddings are by definition suuuuper traditional. Like, we still wear virginal white wedding dresses. Who do we think we’re kidding?
Sure, I know I didn’t have to have a wedding (or wear a white dress). But the truth is, I’ve always been very into the idea of marriage. I can make this hot, funny Italian guy sign a contract stating he has to love me forever? Hell yes, sign me up! Also, I love weddings! I wanted to have one. But I had never given much thought to what exactly that would entail until it was happening. And I was terrified of letting everyone — and myself — down by planning a subpar wedding.
I really started to lose my mind when it came down to choosing a florist. Here’s the thing about flowers: They’re inherently pretty. So why I obsessed over choosing the right florist who would make the perfect bouquets is beyond me. (See the above paragraph where I blame Pinterest.)
I attacked the internet like a Russian hacker on the DNC website (topical!) trying to find my dream florist. Finally, I found her: Her bouquets were rustic, decidedly unpolished, yet gorgeous. My wedding would suck without them. I emailed her immediately, asking for her prices. A very un-eager-for-my-business 48 hours later, I got her reply:
“Hi Laura, so our minimum flower budget is $15,000. We just find it’s not really worth our time for anything less than that.”
Oh yes, my friend. That was not a typo. This florist wouldn’t even DREAM of decorating my little wedding with flowers for anything less than FIFTEEN THOUSAND U.S. AMERICAN DOLLARS!
When I read the email, I realized two things:
1. I should have been a wedding florist because I’d be RICH!
2. The wedding industry is absolutely insane and I had fallen victim to it.
It was the proverbial slap in the face I needed to remember that I’m just planning a party, it’s not life or death. It was the marriage part that really mattered.
And I gotta tell you — once I shifted my focus, I was able to spend a lot more time talking with my fiancé about our hopes and fears for our new married life and why we had chosen to do this together, and a lot less time talking about what color tablecloths our guests would spill food on. And that was a much better use of my time and energy.
Also, I did end up having flowers at my wedding, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what the centerpieces even looked like. Safe to assume they were beautiful, though.
Laura Willcox is the author of the new satirical wedding guide book I Am Bride: How To Take the "We" Out of Wedding (and Other Useful Advice). She performs regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and has appeared on FX's You're The Worst, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, and UCB’s Trying, and has written for Girl Code, Cosmopolitan, and more.