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Wedding daze

The plunge

My fiance, Keith, is about as clueless about wedding planning as I am about putting an engine together. Just last week, I found this wonderful site that lines out to guys exactly what they're expected to do for the wedding - and when - in words they can understand and relate to. Check it out - it's http://www.theplunge.com. If only I'd discovered it months ago, I might have had a little help!

If we’d have been smart, we’d have run away long ago.

In all fairness, Keith Balleck, my fiance, tried to convince me of such. But I was having none of it.

I needed the extravagant party with near strangers.

I needed the overly poofy gown that made me resemble a lopsided marshmallow.

I needed the grand entrance with paparazzi-esque flashes and endless “ooos” and “ahhs.”

And I’m getting it all – minus the marshmallow part – in 3 1/2 weeks, or 24 days, 9 hours, 27 minutes, depending on when you’re reading, of course.

All of it and more. I’m getting married.

Drama, drama, drama

I’m above the drama, I thought, soon after Keith and I became engaged last September. Now, just weeks from the “big day,” I’m not so sure. There must be plenty of women who can relate, right? Now, at the dawn of the “wedding season” – the months when most weddings nationwide take place – others must be feeling this way, too.

There are shows about Bridezillas and the men they annoy. I could never be like that. But I have been. Just ask my poor mom, 1,400 miles away, planning the wedding for me while I scream into the phone.

It might have helped if I’d had some vague concept of what I wanted my wedding to be like. Rewind to when I was 9 and tell me to dream about it more.

But after going through some possibilities that appealed more to my simple fiance’s taste – a barn wedding, a tent wedding in my parents’ backyard – I inadvertently fell in love with a marble-floored, chandelier-ceilinged historic hotel that recently had been renovated into a public library and banquet rental space. We were sunk.

Keith reluctantly agreed, and it’s been downhill ever since.

Tears, tears, tears

With a ceremony and reception site so lavish, you can’t skimp on anything. Not the food – we went with a green sauce-covered tilapia paired with a steak of some sort. Not the alcohol – we have a fully-stocked open bar that’s even open before the ceremony. Not the flowers – the estimate was more than $1,000, for flowers.

And certainly, most certainly, not the dress.

It didn’t really take me long to find my dress. And even less time to determine I didn’t want a marshmallowy ball gown, as noted earlier. I ended up choosing a lovely, simple ivory strapless pick-up-skirted gown. I couldn’t have been happier. Until it came in.

The zipper wouldn’t even make it halfway up my back and the fabric was stiff and get-it-off-of-me-now itchy. I spent that evening crying into Keith’s lap. I spent the next few days conversing with my mom and the dress shop ever so pleasantly over the phone. I was stuck with the dress.

Luckily, a skilled seamstress back home in Ohio – actually my 4-H leader who taught me how to sew – was able to fix it. I found a photo of a designer dress I could have never afforded otherwise, and like magic, she made it happen using the dress I already had. Crisis diverted. Onto the next one.

Details, details, details

I’ve started to find, now as the wedding nears, that I just don’t – rather, can’t – care any more. I’m just not able.

After spending hundreds of dollars on a stunning tuxedo for Keith – one that he’ll likely never get hundreds of dollars worth of wear out of – I feel numb to it all.

What song should play during the bouquet toss? We have to choose a song?

What color should the napkins be? Surprise me.

Where should the punch bowl be? Really? Really?

Other details I’ve become consumed by – programs, rehearsal dinners, morning-after brunches – are ones that seem rather foreign here in Craig America. As my soon-to-be mother-in-law informs me, those must be “back East” things. So are they really necessary? Depends on who you ask.

Keep it simple, stupid. I wish someone had bonked me on the head, like in the V8 commercials, and said this to me at the beginning of the engagement. Weddings can easily get out of hand, and brides can easily get overwhelmed.

And so it goes.

I’ve heard the advice that on your wedding day “to be yourself.” It’s good advice. Take it. It’s hard to avoid the intricacies of what a wedding is supposed to be, and we all get caught up in some of the fancy details that make for a good party or pretty pictures.

I’ve found solace in that Keith and I early on pinned down what matters most to us and made sure we stayed focused on those aspects of the wedding – having his longtime friend officiate the ceremony, including his son in the vows and truly focusing on our families and the family we are creating.

Even through the delicately iced cupcakes, multitudes of hair trials and late nights of printing, folding, stapling, licking and sticking invitations, I can still see what matters most. And when that day comes, he’ll be standing right next to me, holding my perfectly manicured hand.


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