weddings

'I was so excited to get engaged. But the lead up to my wedding has been... disappointing.'

When I got engaged six months ago, I was so excited. It was possibly one of the happiest moments of my life.

But if I’m being honest, the months leading up to the wedding have been… a letdown.

That’s not to say things didn’t start off amazing. The proposal was exactly how I had hoped: private, meaningful and dripping with the gooey romance usually reserved for The Bachelor. It was perfect.

I’m aware this kind of dream-scenario-comes-true thing doesn’t happen all the time, and I didn’t expect the rest of my engagement to play out as well as it had in the beginning.

Having added that disclaimer so I don’t seem like a world-class ass, I can now admit that all the wedding planning milestones I was excitedly anticipating (dress shopping, asking friends to be bridesmaids, choosing a location) turned out to be… disappointing.  And I feel like I can’t admit this to anyone because they’ll say “just be happy you’ve found your special person”.

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Not to mention, who wants to hear that a future bride wishes the lead up to her wedding was more… cared about? Is this the biggest, wankiest complaint to have ever been uttered? Quite possibly. And I get that, I’d be annoyed at me, too.

When happy and joyful things happen in your life, I think it’s a silent rule that you can’t admit things aren’t perfect without being thought of as completely insufferable, because you’re lucky to have had something good happen in the first place.

But behind the guise of anonymity, I’d like to share why the lead up to my wedding has been a letdown – surely I can’t be the only one?

WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING:

You know how in the movies the bride rounds up the troops, they all head to a bridal store, drink champagne and laugh merrily while the bride tries on dresses? Yeah, my experience wasn’t like that.

It was… merry-less.

My mother insisted the first time I try on dresses should be with just her, my best friend and younger sister, which I was initially irked about, but turned out to be a godsend. The next time my four bridesmaids, mother, two sisters and niece came, what I had anticipated being a time filled with laughter and happy tears, was awkward AF.

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I felt like a one-woman stand-up routine. Like I was being a really poor host that couldn’t get her guests talking. It was SO QUIET. And I was working my butt off to try and get anyone to comment.

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“Soooo… what do you think?” I’d ask everyone. And I’d be met with crickets. It was awkward. It’s not that the dresses were sh*t, but rather, everyone was so shy to say something. Maybe they were expecting someone else to give feedback? They didn’t know each other well but come on guys, to quote Dr Evil, “Throw me a fr*ckin’ bone here”.

And when they did speak up they’d say a few words like, “you look really nice.” Which is lovely to hear, but is kind of in the same vein as “good”, which is not really what I was going for on my wedding day.

At the end of it, I got my dress – and I love it – but the experience itself was the emotional equivalent of giving a class presentation and lordy am I glad to be done with those.

WHY ARE PEOPLE SO… CHILL?

Guys, I’m getting married! Like, an adult! I did the thing where you find a great partner and it miraculously sticks!

As my partner and I were overseas when we got engaged, we Skyped people to tell them the happy news – and most people were delighted for us. But when we returned, I had kind of anticipated what I’m going to call a ‘squealing-ohmygod-yay’ moment with friends and family. One person gave me that satisfaction.

Some people said, “oh yeah, show me the ring,” once they had remembered. Others didn’t say anything until it casually came up in conversation, like it was a workplace cooler chat conversation (“So you got engaged”, “yeah, yeah, I did”, “very nice.”)

But the worst interaction? When I messaged a friend to ask if they would be able to make the wedding if it was held overseas.

Their response was fine, something along the lines of, “I’ll see what I can do, I probably wouldn’t come without my partner,” but it hurt that this person never congratulated me on my engagement. Not by message, not by calling and not even in response to my message about the wedding.

My immediate circle have proven they are very loving and loyal friends and do ask how wedding planning is going, so I’m letting go of the people that aren’t interested in being happy for me.

WHEN YOUR FRIEND IS ENGAGED AT THE SAME TIME:

This is… tricky. My friend got engaged a couple months before me, but my partner and I have been together quite a bit longer. And I try to downplay my wedding when my friend and I are out in social situations together so I don’t step on her toes.

It’s not that we are feuding a la Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, but I love her, and I don’t want to take away from her special day – especially as she is getting married first.

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Another part of me would love a bit more attention though. Or a dog to talk at incessantly about the wedding. Either is good.

My friend and I are getting better at sharing our engagement journeys, but I was really hoping it would be fun to be engaged at the same time.

We can totally be engaged at the same time!

And the things that have gone so right...

My partner:

When I was younger, I wrote a list of all the qualities I was looking for in a future husband, and my fiance ticks all these boxes and some I didn't know I needed. Like helping me blowdry my hair at the back because I can't reach very well and it looks very stupid to have half-straight and half-curly hair, even though I used to tell people that it was definitely on purpose and the look I was going for.

It's brought me closer to my sister:

There's a bit of an age gap between my sister and I - 21 years, to be exact - and I've always felt a certain distance between her and I. Not because she isn't the most wonderful human on the planet, but because she has always held a more guardian angel kind-of position in my life. But now that I am speaking to her about the wedding, that gap is closing and our relationship is becoming more equal. It's real and she's sharing with me details about her life, too, that she may have shielded from me when I was younger.

Getting engaged has been a wild ride with many ups and downs but I'm enjoying it immensely - despite the not-so-magic moments. If I've learned anything from this, it's that I should never expect things to be as magical as they are in heavily-edited films. Duh.

On that note, bring on the wedding!

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