For anyone who has ever been in a decade long relationship, has kids together, shares bills, ducks family functions together, and has had no hope of ever being asked to make it actually "legal and binding" by their significant other, I have some advice for you.
Step 1. Have friends and family members constantly barrage you with inquiries about a wedding date on every holiday that's coming up, or anytime you go to a restaurant in which the Maitre D isn't wearing a plushy mouse costume, until one day you snap.
Step 2. After your nervous breakdown, inform your "life partner" that you are planning a wedding, with a for seeable date, and say that you hope they can make it.
Step 3. Put it on facebook to make it official.
Step 4. Wait for it... you are about to be hit with a tidal wave of messages ranging from "Congratulations!!!" to "Is this a joke?"
Such is my life. To my surprise, John was not immediately adverse to this news, so I ran with it. It was late November a few days before Thanksgiving. I wanted to keep the wedding date as close as possible to the anniversary we've been using for the past 12 years, and as it were, 2011 had October 21st on a Friday night. I jumped at that. I had no idea how much a problem it would be to plan a wedding in 11 months. I still don't quite understand. But I was pretty determined to make it work.
First things first, I went looking for colors and a theme, I scoured hundreds of google images. Then I assembled my bridesmaids. Problem number 1. I have so many ladies in my life that are important to me. John... not so much. And it's not as much as he has a lack of guys in his life as much as it is that everyone will be expecting to be asked to be a groomsman and John doesn't feel that close with a whole lot of people. It would have been infinitely easier for him if I didn't have 8 bridesmaids including MOH. Now he doesn't know if he'll have enough friends, which he won't so he'll have cousins instead, which means he won't have enough places for his friends... He asked me to cut my list. I said over my dead body will I unask a cherished friend/cousin to be in the wedding. So this is stress.
To take my mind off of stress, I start my wedding registry. Stress number 2. Firstly, I feel weird making one I don't want people to think we're finally getting married just to rack up gifts; secondly, I never know what are right or wrong items to go on a registry; thirdly, my family is all just gonna buy me random crap I don't want anyway because no one understands how registries work. I'm getting myself excited for stuff I know we're not gonna get.
Then I start dress shopping which I thought would be awesome, but it's so not. What you see in movies is not what really goes on. It's boring and tedious. Stress number 3.
Now it's around January and the question on everyone's minds was: where are we having this wedding. Hello Stress number 4. I had no idea how far in advance you need to book stuff like this. Because here's the thing, almost all the places I was looking into had the date I wanted. "yes, we surely have this date available." This is what I would read in countless emails... but they all want huge deposits 9 months before the wedding day. So, how does that work? I know I wasn't going to be able to put anything down until after we got our tax return.
Now, if you know me you know I'm totally into Spectacle. I'm a performer, I want choreography, I want to sing, I want to design, I want to create. My brain was brimming with ideas but to get all that accomplished I need time and energy and as much as I was in denial about this, I was running low on both. I'm lucky that I have people in my life that are willing participants on my occasional trips to crazytown, but my creative genius is sometimes hard to articulate and to my displeasure, there has not been a scientific device invented to beam my thoughts into other people's consciousnesses. I need to start making decisions and let other people know what those decisions are.
I was losing sleep. I'd lay awake at night envisioning exactly what I wanted from the big day, and then feeling nauseous over the fact that I probably wasn't going to be able to make that happen. And all I could hear in my head was the unrelenting ticking of a clock. I started referring to my own wedding as The Suck. I avoided checking my email because I couldn't bear to delete one more wedding e-minder. It occurred to me that you shouldn't hate your own wedding. It had crossed my mind to scrap the whole thing; but then I would have a monsoon of familial opposition. I can't deprive my loved ones of the momentous occasion that was 12 years in the making. Not to mention since November I've been talking up this magical not-to-be-missed wedding as if it were the final season of lost.
So the final straw came one evening when John's brother called up and announced that he also would have a wedding this year. I congratulated him. But I was seething. I ran to my wedding book rules and there it was in black and white, 'Don't you dare have a wedding the same year as one of your siblings'. One could argue that he has more claim to an earlier wedding because he actually did things in proper order: He flew to Thailand, where his bride is from and proposed with this whole tea serving engagement ritual. And then they came home and got married on paper, and are now planning a ceremony. I should be so happy for them. But I've waited 12 long years, so for an hour straight I thought about his wedding and how much more awesome it was going to be than ours because unlike us, he doesn't have 2 kids and a dog, but he does have barrels full of disposable income. I kept thinking about how John's family would be attending both weddings in the same year, and comparing them. Not that they are judgy favorites players... Buuuuuut, how could you help it? Their wedding will be quiet and relaxed. There isn't a whole lot of family on John's side, and I'm sure only important family members will be flying out from another continent. The wedding will be smaller, and thus the guests will get an amazing meal, be amazingly entertained, and be amazingly dazzled by the extravagance they can afford. I thought about my wedding guest list and the hundreds (literally) of first cousins I would want to invite. And so I pouted, then I paced, then I looked at all the overdue points on my online wedding checklist, and I called my best friend, and we decided to postpone for an additional year. Her and I, that is, decided and then we told John who was pretty happy that he gets to skirt this event for another year. It's a good thing October 21st 2012 is on a Sunday. It changes things a little, but it works.
I'm gonna do this wedding, and I'm gonna do it the way I want it done. And if next year comes and I don't think I'm ready enough, I'll make up a new date.