We've been engaged since January and that first night was great. The first week was pretty good even. But since then it's been rough. "Being engaged" has been the roughest, suckiest part of the Em & H relationship. Which says a lot about all the crap that being engaged stirs up around a couple and a little about our relationship, too, I suppose. We'd been skipping along happily for nearly two years being generally awesome so all the drama that brews around impending nuptials was a big disappointment and a really big stressor in an already stressful time. I thought being engaged meant we were supposed to be even happier - not yelling, crying, moping, unhappy Mr. & Mrs. Grumpy Pants.
Okay, mostly Mrs. Grumpy Pants.
I present to you, the Interwebs, leading causes of the general State of Stress that has been our engagement:
- The Ring. Which I really could've cared less about at the time because I was too busy crying. But it's become An Issue, much to my sadness. We'll get back to this at a later date.
- Parents. They've got their own ideas about how things should be done. And they're not afraid to guilt you about them.
- Family Expectations. This is a separate category because it needs to include people other than parents.
- Tradition. You don't think it matters until you're having a fight on the phone at work where everyone can overhear you acting like a lunatic.
- Money. Which is tied into a lot of the above. Assume nothing.
- Wedding Magazines/Blogs/Shows. Otherwise known as the Wedding Industrial Complex.
- Happily Engaged Friends. I hate and resent them for their rings and their money and their wedding planning ease. Even if they're only pretending.
Wedding planning sped out of control quickly for us. Our family's have very different expectations of what our wedding should be and what is an acceptable amount to spend and who should be responsible for things and blahblahblah. Turns out H & I had different ideas, too. I think our number one mistake was not taking more time to stop and think and talk before announcing the engagement, before jumping into setting a date and planning.
We set a date. We started planning. The clashes began. The situation deteriorated. I put a stop to the whole process.
Stop the engagement--I want to get off!
No, no - we're still engaged. I just told everyone that all wedding talk would be nixed until further notice. I told all my prospective vendors/venues that they didn't need to worry about keeping our January date because the wedding's been put on hold. There is an official Moratorium on Weddings. Because our wedding was making me cry and not in a good way.
And this, dear interwebs, has brought me here. Because my story is different than the fairy tales they tell you on the wedding blogs and in the magazines. Because reality has been such a big let down. Because either everyone else is lying or there's something wrong with me and I'm going to set the record right. And even though I've started to find some good, down-to-earth wedding advice out there I haven't heard from anyone who's had the time I've had. It seems so easy for other people but I'm not convinced that that's true. I think it is difficult, it's just that we're expected to make it look easy and happy and fun and marvelous.
So here's my story: engaged but engaged otherwise. Planning a wedding or maybe not. Getting married in style or maybe not. I've got a dress and fiance. All the rest is just clutter. Or maybe not.