Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why did I think this would be easy? (or, the reality of choosing your wedding party)

Have you ever seen happy dreamy pictures like these: 

and mused about how choosing people to stand up with you on your wedding day would be one of the most effortless, joyous parts of the whole planning process?  I certainly did. In pictures of other wedding parties it looks like everyone's relationships are so perfect and easy. I know, I know... pictures don't tell the whole story. If I'd really thought critically about it perhaps it would've occured to me that couples don't necessarily automatically know who they want to have in their party from the moment they get engaged. But at first I didn't think that.

So, being an overly-obsessive-researcher-bride-to-be, I went looking for some words of wisdom on this whole wedding party thing.  And then I found this post on A Practical Wedding.  You truly must go read it right now.  No, really - I mean it.  Look, I'm even giving you the link again right...  here!  Click it! 

Alrighty then, now that you're back, here's my favorite part:

But we, over in indie-wedding-world, have made it even more complicated. Since the myth of matching dresses on matching size-two blond friends doesn’t work for all of us, we’ve created our own indie wedding party myth. We’ve looked at the outsides of other peoples blogg-y weddings, and come up with a story of what the inside of our wedding should feel like. We should all have friends in mismatched outfits that reflect their different, but equally hip personalities. We should have a band of quirky and arty friends, who know each other, and love us exactly the way we are. These friends should be talented (so they can help with the wedding) and generous (they are excited to help with the wedding).

Agh - you got me!!  Yes, yes yes!  I thought I was totally going to have that whole indie wedding thing because I'd seen it done in blogland and I knew I didn't care about matching outfits or equal numbers or same-gender bridal/groomal parties.  Having had a cadre of fabulous gay boys as some of my closest friends in college, I'd always assumed I'd have a mixed-gender wedding party. Mr. NM is less extroverted than I am, so maybe I'd have more people stand on my side.  And why would I want to pick someone else's clothes for them when I have a hard enough time picking my own?  It all seemed so easy-peasy.

What I didn't account for in this blissfully happy bubble world was... the reality of my actual relationships.

For starters, many of my friends are unmarried (for personal, political, and logistical reasons).

Unmarried friends, out on the bay

Back when everyone in the picture was actually single.

Of those who are married, most were married before I knew them. I've only been a bridesmaid once and I haven't been to that many weddings. To sum that all up - I don't have a wedding crazy friend group, and let me just say *wow* how that has changed the way I approach my wedding party.

And then there are the family matters. Mr. NM has possibly the best brother and sister on the planet, and there was never any doubt that they'd stand on his side on our wedding day.

Mr. NM, Sister S, Brother S

But my siblings and I are not as close.  We love each other the way family should, but it's not a... friendly love.  Does that make sense?  My youngest brother and I work really hard at our relationship, but my relationship with our other brother is complicated, which in turn takes it toll on my relationship with my other brother.  I worried that if I didn't ask them to stand on my side, that they'd feel bad being in the crowd and seeing Mr. NM's sibs up there.  Then I worried that, if they did stand on my side, they'd only be there out of obligation.  And I sure as hell don't want anyone - friend, family, or otherwise - feeling obligated to participate on our wedding day.

What to do, what to do...  The agony and the ecstasy of the wedding party, to be continued.  How did you choose your wedding party?

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