weddings

KELLY MCCARREN: 'It's the one-year anniversary of my disaster wedding. And I can't get over it.'

Regardless of whether you want to admit it, and regardless of the values we instil in young girls, many women dream of their wedding day from a young age. 

Why are wedding movies so popular? Why do so many of us have a wedding Pinterest board when we aren't even dating someone? 

Please keep in mind this is just my hetero experience, but not one of my boyfriends ever gave two hoots about anything wedding related. 

Watch: Things people never say at weddings. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

I always pretended not to care and rolled my eyes when my girlfriends would invite me to collaborate on their secret Pinterest boards. But that was just me trying to be a 'cool girl'; I had a board for years, that's how I always had so many great pins at the ready! 

I was 29 when I got engaged, and at that point had helped plan about eight weddings, attending many more along the way. I knew what I was doing, and I knew what I wanted. 

Planning a wedding, in my experience, consumed me. I had nightmares about things not going right, I was controlling and pedantic about every tiny little detail, and I was incapable of delegating anything for help. 

The wedding consumed my time and my money for a solid 18 months of my life. 

And it was a disaster. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. Mostly completely out of my hands, but also, just some shocking choices I made along the way. 

For one, the venue was on fire the week prior; then the rehearsal dinner was taken over by a wake; then the catering didn't show up until 11pm; then the band cancelled; then the bar and wait staff cancelled; then the best man gave the worst/most inappropriate speech of all time... It goes on. 

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The venue surrounds. Image: Supplied. It's hard to talk about a failed wedding (not marriage, wedding) to people. It's such a privileged, entitled luxury. How dare I then spend my energy complaining about it? The world has literally been destroyed by a pandemic this year, and here I am, still moping about a bloody WEDDING. 

If I say anything negative to my family, the hurt in their eyes kills me. They put so much time, effort and money into the day.

If I say anything negative to my husband Luke, he looks wounded, saying it was 'the best day ever'. Then he tells me to 'get over it'. 

Without understanding when something you've worked towards for so long fails so miserably, you can't. And you can't just 'try again'. It's your lone attempt!

Kelly and Luke. Image: Supplied. If I say anything negative to my friends, they make me laugh. Which is actually the best of the bunch. We lol at what a disaster it was, and then they remind me of how much fun it was. I'm glad they had fun; I am. But it wasn't and isn't fun for me.

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But this isn't about my disaster wedding (I say 'my' because my husband had nothing to do with the planning and thought it was a fantastic day), it's about how I feel about it now. 

To hear all the details about the wedding, listen to this podcast, then keep reading below.

I've listened to the podcast since and it should be noted I recorded it two days post-wedding, I wasn't in a good place. And on reflection (given how bad the bushfires got), I do sound incredibly spoiled. 

After I recorded the podcast, I got more DMs and emails than I'd ever received before from any piece of content. And amongst the 99 per cent of beautiful words of support, or messages thanking me for sharing because their wedding also hadn't been great, were a few cross people. As I said, I do sound spoiled, and I can completely understand why I got a bit of backlash. 

But like with everything in life, the one per cent stayed with me, and it's been with me as I've struggled with my feelings towards the wedding over the past year.

Until my anniversary this week, I'd never watched any of the video footage. I can't look at the photos, and I feel irrationally jealous when I see people post about their magical day (or anniversary) on social media.

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My emotional struggle with such a frivolous and privileged day has been really hard to reconcile with myself and with others. Especially in a year like 2020 when every single person is struggling with something far more important than 'just a wedding'.

But for anyone who has planned one, you get the toll it takes on you emotionally, financially and even physically in many instances (it's not a lie that many brides lose weight from stress, not diet). 

When I was dealing with the one per cent of backlash, someone (I wish I remember who) told me some sage words I've kept close to my heart all year. I've also repeated them countless times to people who feel like they can't complain about anything in 2020 because people have lost their jobs or loved ones, and everything else COVID-19 has thrown our way. 

This person told me that if I were sitting in a hospital with a broken leg, and someone was sitting next to me who had broken every bone in their body, would that mean my broken leg didn't hurt? Of course it bloody hurts! 

I think this analogy is really important to keep in mind, for anyone who might be struggling with their feelings towards things in this s**t-show of a year. Two things can be true at the same time, as long as you have perspective. 

I have a friend who lost a loved one this year and wasn't able to attend the funeral due to border closures. I have a friend who got stuck in another country's lockdown for six months while her dreams of living and working overseas were completely shot. I have many friends who have lost their jobs or lost a lot of money. I have a friend who has had to postpone her wedding three times. 

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All of these special people in my life have gone through far worse over the past 12 months than a s**tty wedding, but as long as I can recognise that, I am still allowed to feel my own grief. I may have friends with several broken bones, but my one lone bone is still hurting. And so is yours. 

People say time heals and while I'm not there yet, I'm hoping my 'post-wedding funk' lifts. I want to be able to look at the photos without seeing my anguished, tired face and horse tail hair. I want to watch the videos without being reminded of how anxious and then how drunk I was. I want to be able to celebrate with Luke. 

In our first year of marriage, we've both been (sort of) unemployed. We've dealt with a sick cat, many a small misfortune, and we didn't kill each other in lockdown. 

So here's to (hopefully) a better second year of marriage. And maybe one day, my broken bone will heal. 

Feature image: Supplied.


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