Wedding march

Bramhall Square
By CAITLIN SHETTERLY  |  July 18, 2007

My wedding is approaching with an alarming alacrity. I have three friends getting married this summer and we all seem to have the same unfocused, frantic, over-caffeinated, slightly yelly voices on the phone as if everything should make perfect sense to everyone else and we can’t figure out why people can’t RSVP with the card or read our wedding registries online and figure out from the site that what we really want but are afraid to ask for is cold hard cash. Bridezillas, anyone?

With a wedding, for some reason, given all the pressures and family involvement and conflicting notions of this and that, you want to scream, “Don’t fucking ask me anything.” Or, “When you get the invitation, even if it’s three days before the wedding, all will become clear!” But people have calendars and agendas and all they want to ask is when and where, which of course would be easy if any of us were sane, which we’re not because we’re getting married, and, frankly, is that a sane thing to do? These days given the price of weddings and the divorce rate, one might argue that it’s not. But, still, we soldier on to the big day like good infantrymen.

And yet. I may only do this once in my life, if I’m lucky, and I actually want to savor every little bit of it. Of course I say it’s stressful and irritating and I roll my eyes when people ask about it, but the truth is, this career girl is loving every little second of planning my white wedding. Even more, I want to make sure this all means something and is more than just spending money and getting gifts and throwing a huge lavish party. Because this is about something bigger. I think. And so, despite all my yelling and frantic messages and weird voices on the phone like someone is pinching my throat, I’m actually loving every second of this even when I’m hating it.

Last weekend I had a shower. Not the clean-me-off kind, which, given my time constraints, would be notable enough to mention, but the bridal kind. I wasn’t sure I wanted one. I mean I didn’t really, admittedly, know what one was beyond the gifts, which it seemed weird to be receiving when it’s not like I’d done anything in particular to be showered with gifts. I hadn’t won an Emmy or found a cure for America’s addiction to oil. Somehow, just getting married, which actually is a feat in itself, seems low on the scale of things I should be getting a gift for. But I had it all wrong. A shower is really a rehearsal for the celebration of you. It’s bizarre to be celebrated, something one has to learn to do, I’m learning, but once it begins and people are trying to love you and celebrate you, it’s really kind of wonderful.

I’m sure in more advanced cultures, when women get together and usher a new bride to her destiny or fate, depending on how you look at it, it’s not about gifts but about some special talisman, or about an offering to Mother Earth or the baby god who is invoked with dancing and straw hats. But in America, we give presents, which we’ve bought at the mall or off the registry. But that’s only a tiny part of it. Really it’s about the coming together and sharing and bonding around you before the big day so that your community is built from you outward in a circle as all these people come together. And that’s a beautiful thing. And it can soften the inner Bridezilla in all of us.

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