Honest Advice The Wedding Industry Isn't Telling You

Photographed by Anna Alexia Basile.
by Jennifer Tomscha

Our apartment overlooks the Qipu mall, a shopping complex famous with the fashionista set here in Shanghai. At night, the shipping trucks filled with tons of clothing roar into the docks below our windows. In the mall’s labyrinth of stalls, I can buy silk scarves, dragon-print bodysuits, and sweaters populated with tigers. But I can’t buy a single pair of shoes at the Qipu mall; I’m gently waved out of stores when I ask for something in my size.

There aren’t shoes for my giant feet in all of China. So our trips home to the States inevitably have to contain afternoons of shopping. This is unfortunate, as my fiancé Dan and I are ridiculously indecisive. Last summer, we wandered around an outlet mall for 20 minutes while I agonized over two lace Ann Taylor tank tops. Would I wear them? Were they flattering? Were they worth the money? Meanwhile, Dan staged his own drama surrounding a pair of work shoes. “We’re terrible shoppers,” I declared when we got back to the car. “You are,” my future sister-in-law said, newly convinced.

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Parts of our wedding have been equally ridiculous. I wish I could get back the hours I’ve spent on the Internet looking — again — for the perfect shoes (because did I mention, no shoes in China?). I scrolled through the same websites day after day. I learned all about ballet flats. I settled on a pair of sandals (but I’m not completely settled yet). The search for my rehearsal-dinner dress proved equally time-consuming, and I knew the flower girls will look cute no matter what they wear, but that didn’t stop me from hunting on Etsy for several Saturday afternoons.

Our indecision seeps into other parts of our lives. We pay too much for airplane tickets because we don’t book trips far enough in advance. Sometimes I’ll start writing an email, then leave it. I’ve remained quiet in faculty meetings because I’ve worried over an exact phrase, and the conversation has moved on. I think about calling friends more than I call them. In the dreamy space that is novel-writing, my characters stand frozen while I wonder about moving them here or there, fret over the piece as a whole, or rework that chapter’s first sentence again, thinking of a thousand reasons my project might end up a failure. Indecision and self-doubt are co-conspirators.

"Fuck it" says stop choosing, and simply make a choice.

But as the wedding looms, we’ve adopted a new motto: "Fuck it. Nail it."

Related: 5 Important Things To Discuss Before Getting Married

Here’s an example from last night. I’m in pajamas at the dining room table. “Should we order these thank you cards?” I ask, pointing to a reasonable and reasonably priced set. Dan glances over my shoulder at my computer screen. Three months ago, he might have shrugged and asked me to keep looking. Last night he surveyed the cards, nodded, and replied with our new go-to: “Fuck it. Nail it.” Because we’re running out of time before the wedding, we’ve just had to choose. We’ve given up on agony, and are acting like go-getters.

Our "fuck" is not an angry fuck, just a carefree, careless, slightly exasperated fuck, a recognition that there’s only so much thinking to be done. "Fuck it" says stop choosing, and simply make a choice. The second half of our new motto — "Nail it"affirms our understanding that not all choices are equal. Carefree does not mean shoddy. Make the best choice at the time you’re choosing. Nail that thing, knowing full well that, in the end, it doesn’t matter so much.

Photographed by Anna Alexia Basile.

In wedding-planning, as in life, we should pay attention to our instincts. The best decisions Dan and I have made for the wedding thus far have been those we’ve made immediately, on instinct. On a road trip last summer, we’d stopped at Wall Drug, walked into a gaudy tourist store called Gold Diggers, and emerged with my Black Hills gold engagement ring, Dan’s wallet only $50 lighter. Two days later, I bought my dress. It was one of the first I tried on, and I didn’t even want to look at any other dresses afterward.

And if we don’t have a strong instinctual feeling about a decision — if nothing moves us to choose navy-blue bridesmaid dresses over black ones — perhaps this lack of instinct also tells us something. The color doesn’t really matter to us. But our time does matter. Navy blue versus black is a "fuck it, nail it" moment. Choose the color, and rejoice in having made a choice. There just isn’t enough time for anything else.

Dan and I are going to whip through these next six weeks of our unmarried lives with this mantra in mind. We’ll nail our menu, nail the 100 matchbox cars we’re going to paint gold (or maybe we’ll just fuck that and scrap the gold cars, because really? Gold cars?). Then, we’ll be married. At least I am quite confident in how I fared in my choice of life partner: Nailed it.

Next: What Makes A Wedding A Wedding

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