Sunday, April 1, 2012

"our wedding shall be small"

I'm quite sure that anybody who has ever planned a wedding (or attempted to plan a wedding?) already knows everything I am about to carry on about. Turns out this is one thing that gay or not, is likely to come up pretty early on in the wedding planning. Months and months ago when we started discussing the topic of marriage more seriously, I put a single stake in the ground...

"our wedding shall be small"

Honestly, in my happy go-lucky little mind I was thinking maybe 30-40 people, certainly no more than 50. Whew, 50. This decision didn't stem from my severe social anxiety or anything related to my psychological imbalances (OK, I'm sure we could trace it there - but in general...). I simply had been to several weddings in the past three or four years and took careful notice of every detail (that's what I do after all - meticulously memorize and absorb the details of everything around me). The number one thing I took away was a feeling of stress from the bride (and usually the groom) around making sure they got a chance to mingle with everyone at their big ol' party. This is totally natural - of course you need to mingle with everyone - they are there just for you (and likely bringing you gifts or traveling long distances... neither of which is *cheap*). The stress is understandable and I think it's perfectly fair  and appropriate to say that the wrong solution to this would be to simply not mingle with all of your guests (aka rude).

My solution is/was to have a small wedding. Well, that was my ideal solution. Ha.

Turns out that unless you are planning to invite only immediate family and like your two BFFs, 30 to 40 people is a joke. The night before we went up (to the place) to buy our rings I was sitting, lost in thought, at the end of a bustling table of friends at the Roo Bar and got caught up in a whim of inspiration (that was sparked by the big white napkin - an empty canvas, if you will - in front of me) and started listing out the people we would invite as guests to our "small" and what I had up until that moment possibly even ventured to coin - naively - as "intimiate."

I do things like this all the time so everyone just let me be while I sipped my beer and furiously wrote names out on the napkin. I started with the closest friends we would want to have in the wedding, in some capacity (not sure what our titles are yet for those people - "chicas and chicos of awesomeness"? No.), and carried on to immediate and close extended family, and then with the rest of our closest friends who we also consider family. And then I counted up the names...


I was like "damn, Ashley, you're good." Then I remembered that people have significant others...


Uh oh... What about that great Aunt always-so-nice and Uncle so-and-so who we just couldn't bear to not invite?! Oh, and that one person you used to work with a few years ago that was such a huge fan of ours that we don't see a ton but would just feel awful to not invite them?


I think (I hope) my point is clear. 30 to 40 people was downright naive. Under 50 was dreamy. Under 75 is optimistic but definitely feasible (if I go over 100 I will call the whole thing off). Ambitious and feasible, just the way Teach For America raised me. I should point out that my partner (or my lady - which she finds downright hilarious that I insist on referring to her as such) nor I have a massive family - we are also not entirely sure that all of our family members even want to attend. We both are one of two siblings and we each have one parent with one sibling and one parent with three siblings. This doesn't create an excessively huge amount of people... I can't even wrap my head around trying to have a small wedding as a child in a large extended family. So our family takes up about 50 of those 75 slots. I feel great about that. Better yet, I am confident the world understands... we want a small wedding which translates to very close friends and family. It doesn't mean I have a vendetta against or dislike for anyone that is left off, I just really want to enjoy my day and weekend of wedding-ness. And let's be real, inviting guests to a wedding who are not super to moderately close with the bride and bride is really (or really can be) just inconsiderate - especially when we are talking about a wedding that is in neither of our home states. The travel alone is expensive, let alone attire, extra expenses, etc.

I'm looking forward to the wedding weekend as a three to four day incredibly festive and celebratory jubilation where I get genuinely enjoy the company of those that have come to kick up their heels with us. I want to cherish every minute of it and not be anxious, stressed, or sad for a single moment (again, optimistic and ambitious!). In planning backwards from that weekend, when I see myself walking down the aisle with a face of sheer joy, I know that part of what will create such a beautiful day/moment is a small enough group of people that I can interact in a very genuine way with each and every single one. I feel as though it is borderline selfish, but I hope not (or as the woman on pinterest the other day who commented on my post of my Tigers flip flops that said, "You can do what ever you want. It's your day!" ... thanks Cindy). 

What's the moral of this?
So why drone on about this if I appear to be in such a good place about it? Well, it's not always that easy. Again, something that anyone who has planned a wedding likely already knows. My lady has had some serious anxiety around even spilling the great news that we are getting married because of this size conundrum (??), in fact. So, the other day, I explained my thoughts on this conundrum of hers. 

I started by first saying that people get that a wedding is something very personal and just because you say, "hi" to someone everyday or may have shared a drink at a work Christmas party three years ago doesn't mean that an invite is assumed. People get it. Even I get it and I have pretty much maxed out on the social anxiety side of things (I did, admittedly, have to take some time to figure this out). Just because you might not be planning to invite all 50+ of your co-workers to your wedding doesn't mean you can't share the news and have some bonding-time giddiness with them. It's fun (which is what this is all about, after all) and people want to be happy for you and genuinely share in your news - regardless of if they know your dog's middle name. 

Of course, with us both being teachers, I then felt the need to go on and model how I shared the news with friends and co-workers. Explaining immediately to people (once the "oohs" and "aahhhs" about the rings die down) that we want to have small wedding is really understandable and something everyone can sympathize with and sometimes likely even empathize with if they have been in the wedding planning shoes before. So we were good to go. You can have a small wedding and people will be understanding as long as you explain it to them... right? 

Wrong. I mean, mostly right. Honestly though, you can't count on everyone. No more than 48 hours after we had this chat last week we were out with some close and not as close friends (or even acquaintances-of-my-lady-and-me might be a much better label). One of the more distant friends had not yet had their moment with my partner to hear the story and get excited for her - clearly one of the best parts of getting engaged is all of these moments (I mean, and of course a billion other things too - like knowing lifelong happiness is in your future, yadda yadda yadda). It was no sooner than the moment this person saw the rings and I heard it...

"well, I mean, I'd like to think I'd be invited, right?" 

Geronimoooo.

I swooped in and immediately started talking, "haha! wow, what a whirlwind... do you know how hard it is to plan a wedding? whew! just getting our family on the list was almost 50 people - and to think I wanted it under 50 people! Ha, silly me. Well we are definitely sticking with under 75... yep, not going to be easy but we know people will understand..."

Not sure it saved the day... but I tried. Chalk it up to me learning another lesson about people and how you just can't bank on any kind of reactions.

Honestly, if I could invite 200 people and still enjoy myself and feel like I really got to interact and celebrate with all 200 people, I would. I really really would. I would love to celebrate our marriage with as as many people as possible... who wouldn't? It's just not that easy, turns out. 

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