Actually, the truth is, the experience is different for everyone. We all have different ideas about what we want our wedding day to be like and different relationships with the key players who will make it happen.
So here is my real experience of wedding planning:
Stress? No, not really.
All you ever hear about is how stressful it is to plan a wedding. Perhaps it’s because I’m not detail oriented and I really focus on big picture in almost every aspect of my life, but I haven’t found it stressful at all yet. That may change as it gets closer. I imagine I’ll be a little bit worried about making sure all our stuff gets to the site (the mandap/canopy, the fire pit, etc.) and making sure the play button gets pressed on the ipod for the music.
Part of my lack of stress is that my family has been so helpful. My parents have offered help and advice but without pressure. We’ve been able to discuss and decide together on everything. They’ve been very willing to let the budget get bigger to accommodate more people, so we haven’t had to argue or stress over the guest list.
But while I haven’t felt physically stressed, there have been some emotions going on.
I have been waiting (not particularly patiently) for thirteen years to get married. I assumed I would marry young and so I was just waiting for 18 to hit and then I figured I would immediately find someone good enough and get started on the wife and mother portion of life. How wrong I was!
For someone who had been polishing her wife resume for years, it was a big blow to my self-esteem when friends and people I went to high school with started getting married and I was “unwanted.” Even a potential arranged marriage fell through, the guy deciding he didn’t want me. I hadn’t developed any other skills or directions in life as I had been completely focused on being a wife and mother.
So now here I am, well into “old maid” territory, and finally getting married. But being engaged has not been as exciting and awesome as I thought it would be.
At the same time, I’m struggling with a little bit of let down about the experience of being engaged. I wanted it so badly for so long that now having it isn’t happiness, rather it’s the absence of that misery! It’s a neutral state. It doesn’t really feel special like it did when it was something that “everyone else” had and I didn’t.
I’m also experiencing a lot of turmoil and anxiety around my job. I want to be relaxing and enjoying these months leading up to my wedding, but instead I’m struggling. This isn’t what I wanted to be feeling!
I worry too that being married won’t live up to my expectations. I think there’s going to be a let down after the fact. I’ll probably be feeling “This is nice but it’s still you and me just as before.”
For people who love weddings and watch every wedding show available (I’ve been watching them for YEARS), I think there is usually a mourning period after your wedding is over. Brad is a bit concerned too that I’m going to experience depression after our wedding is over. I need a new project to get working on.
So for me the dirty little secret of wedding planning is that the feeling of being engaged and getting married is not as magical as I thought it would be.