Wedding advice. Hmm, a bit of a touchy subject. Well, let’s raise a glass to jumping right in to the deep end.
The day after we got engaged, I was exciting to fully immerse myself in all things bridal and wedding. Lace! Centerpieces! Creative-totally-DIY-but-chic-and-timeless box for cards! Hoorah! I thought “immersed” would feel like being in a ball-pit*: fun and silly and fancy free with so so so many options. But it really felt like that scene in Dumbo where the poor little elephant gets accidentally drunk and has crazy nightmares of scary multi-colored and odd-shaped pachyderms**.
Making choices is hard enough, but lately I have really been battling advice. There is a huge part of me that feels just like poor little Dumbo– completely freaked out by the Parade of Pink Elephants of Choice and I dream of having someone- anyone- make all these decisions for me. But I also want our wedding to be uniquely “Kate & Aaron” and the best people to make those decisions are… Kate & Aaron.
Receiving (and then reacting to) wedding advice is very difficult. You could chart wedding advice into 4 quadrants along 2 axes: the Helpful axis and the Solicited axis. Like this:
And then you could plot where the advice you get falls on this graph:
This is math, kids.***
So here’s a little breakdown:
Quadrant 1/Upper Left/Unsolicited-Helpful. This is a mythical occurrence. In the wild, no bride has ever been given good advice that was not asked for . It has, however, been lab-created in settings such as Romantic Comedies, Wedding Blogs, and Pinterest.
Quadrant 2/Upper Right/Solicited-Helpful. A little scattered and all over the map, but generally when you ask for advice you get something that resembles a good idea. Some of it is super helpful and some of it isn’t. There is a little bit of, “Well, at MY wedding we…” at play and a lot of What-The-Hell-Am-I-Even-Asking-I-Don’t-Know-What-I-Want-When-Can-I-Elope? at play.
Quadrant 3/Lower Right/Solicited-Not Helpful. This is when you show a picture of your wedding dress that you already put a down payment on to your coworker and she says, “Oh my gosh!” and you think she will follow with “That is lovely!” but instead she says, “I have never seen a bride look good in that fabric.” [Insert dry-heaving over lunch.]
Quadrant 4/Lower Left/Unsolicited-Not Helpful. This is where most wedding advice lives, in the land of “I didn’t ask you and you aren’t making me feel better.” As a person who is independent to a fault, the “I didn’t ask you part” is hard enough. Combined with the fact that I am generally operating at a level best classified as Overly Emotional, the “You’re not making me feel better” part is the gunpowder I need for a Stage 4 Meltdown. Of which there has actually only been one, which was not really related to advice at all and was resolved with Kemp’s Joe Mauer Monster Cookie Ice Cream and a phone call.
To be fair (and to not start any riots amongst my friends and family), most of the offending unsolicited-not helpful advice comes from people who hardly know me, much less Aaron, and thus have no picture of what a Kate & Aaron Wedding might look like. But there is still something so jarring about hearing “Your bridesmaids will feel more special in matching dresses” right after deciding they won’t wear matching dresses.
The first few times I got advice I didn’t like/want/need, I thought, “How will I ever cope with months and months of this?” Answer: People do a lot of stupid things for love. They sell all their stuff and move. They change their names. They rearrange their schedules. They give wedding advice. Sometimes it makes me raise an eyebrow, sometimes it makes me laugh; sometimes it’s a great idea, sometimes it’s not. Wherever it falls on the graph, it is generally said with love and with the best intentions of wishing Aaron and I a happy marriage by way of a wonderful wedding day.
If wedded bliss is measured by the amount of advice you get as an engaged couple, I see things going very well for us indeed.
*But with fewer germ-laden kidlets.
**See also, the Heffalumps and Woozles song from Winnie the Pooh.
*** It’s not actually math. It’s a graphical representation of qualitative data. Also, get this girl another master’s degree!