Preface: This is a hard post for me to put out there. I have immense guilt that I myself have these thoughts, and on top of that I worry about making others feel guilty if they somehow knew my thoughts about this. That said, I started this blog so I'd have an outlet for my wedding-related feelings that I didn't have anywhere else to share. So I'm sharing - warts and all.
Throughout this process of planning our wedding (which has officially been 9 months since the engagement, but has in reality been much longer than that), I've tried my best to emotionally balance two realities. Reality 1: For many reasons, this wedding is a really, really big deal to me and Mr. NM. Reality 2: This wedding will not be, and should not be, as big a deal to other people as it is to me and Mr. NM.
Sounds simple and reasonable enough to me. As I've said before, there aren't many people around me who've gotten married in my lifetime so I haven't been a close part of the "big deal-ness" of other people's weddings. I was always super happy for them, though almost entirely uninvolved in the planning process. That life experience is really where my two realities came from, and they worked together to set a pretty clear expectation of what this process would be like for me and Mr. NM. People will be happy for us, and it's up to us to plan the whole shebang.
And that's pretty much what it's looked like so far. The majority of the people around us seem to be really happy for us that we're getting married, and we've done a lot of planning and labor for this wedding just the two of us. This has been manageable so far, to the point that I don't even really question it. I understand that other people have really important things going on in their lives as well, and I don't expect them to sacrifice themselves for our wedding - either to help plan it or to attend it. I honestly believe that. So I often find myself saying things like, "No rush getting back to me. Although I really want to make this decision soon, technically we still have a lot of time," or, "The wedding's only one day. So no worries if you can't make it because of [finances, jobs, other responsibilities, travel, convenience, etc.]."
Now, I know I say those things partially because it's hard for me to ask things from other people. That's a real challenge for me, and one I know I have to work on. But I also say those things because I have really and truly believed that our wedding should not be that big of a deal to other people. Key word: believed (past tense). Because recently I had a change of heart. I had just talked with a friend about her plans to try and get pregnant, and my subsequent train of thought was, "Omg, that's such a big deal! I can't wait to plan the baby shower. And I hope she wants help decorating the nursery. And I will most definitely be offering babysitting services." It was so exciting, and I really wanted to be a part of it!
And then... I cried. I cried because I realized that I am a person who gets excited for other people and wants to be a part of big moments in their lives. I cried because I want that for myself. I want other people to be excited about our wedding. I want them to offer their help in planning for it. I want them to "sacrifice" themselves the way I sacrifice myself for them - by being excited, letting them talk a lot about it, and making time to help. I was flooded with all those stories and images from television, movies, blogs, books, and magazines of friends and family who are ecstatic about the engaged couple's wedding and they really want to be a part of it in any way possible.
In my experience, that just hasn't been my experience.
Maybe I have to give it time. Maybe I have to ask more specifically for the things I need. Maybe I have to realize that what I want is not a realistic expectation. Maybe I have to reevaluate the extent to which I think a wedding is a big deal. Maybe I need to understand it as karma because I did not play a larger part in other people's weddings. Or maybe some combination of all those things. Whatever it is, I know there will continue to be good days and bad days, and I'm lucky that the good always outweighs the bad. Many times the good days are truly amazing, and on those days I feel like I could take on the world! And then sometimes it hurts - a long, lonely hurt that's so deep my heart contracts in on itself and it seems my lungs refuse to fill with air. In those moments, I cry and I find my breath, and I keep crying and breathing until I can pull myself back together. In those moments, Mr. NM hugs me and loves me and validates how hard it is to feel like a lonely bride. Then he tells me that he's so excited for us - that he thinks our wedding is a really big deal. And that makes it a little better.
Have you ever struggled with knowing whether your wedding is a big deal or not? Have you ever felt like a lonely bride?