‘I’m getting married next year. Next June. Yes, next year. Uh huh, 2023.’ This is what I have been saying ever since we set the date in April 2022. That means I’ve said it quite a lot in the last nine months, because when you bag that ring on your left hand, everyone wants to know when, when, when. It was so easy to say that. It all felt very far away. Of course, the minute the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, it was no longer ‘next year,’ it was a very real, suddenly very imminent, six months away.
‘You’re getting married this year!’ My friend screeched this to me as we hugged and the fireworks went off and everyone started yelling ‘Happy New Year’ and I suddenly had a weight in the pit of my stomach that weighed about as much as the list of things we still have to do. The fireworks started sounding like alarm bells going off in my head.
The Wedding Fear has well and truly kicked in. This is a creeping, chilling sensation which comes over me every time I think about my impending nuptials. I can be doing something totally unrelated, and I will suddenly gasp worrying about the cake, the bridesmaids’ gifts, the loos… In fact, The Wedding Fear typically raises its veiled head and throws a metaphorical bouquet in my face when I am doing something utterly removed from wedding planning. Like having a drink with friends, walking to a meeting, doing my job. Because how dare I NOT be wedding planning.
My fiancé refers to wedding planning as a full-time job and it really is. We don’t have a wedding planner and, as gloriously helpful as so many people are being – especially our parents- the buck really does stop with us. Like any job, there is an insidious guilt which engulfs you when you are not doing it, as though you are bunking off school. I will sit down to relax after a long, stressful day at work and feel horribly remorseful that I am not tackling one of the many, many things we still have to do instead. Why are you watching Emily in Paris? The Wedding Fear wants to know. You still haven’t bought wine for the reception, or sent out the formal invites… Why are you looking at a woman running around Le Marais in platform sandals she can’t walk in when you haven’t booked your loos yet??
The main thrust of The Wedding Fear is a breathless feeling that you are running out of time. Everything seems like it’s moving so fast and I have this awful premonition that I will forget something. I have had two nightmares this month on this very subject. In one, I am getting ready with my bridesmaids and realise I have forgotten to book a hairdresser. Those of you who know me, and my hair, know how truly horrifying this prospect is.
To combat this, I do what I always do when I am feeling overwhelmed and need to feel…whelmed. I make lists. For the wedding, my military-trained fiancé had drawn up an action plan on a large white board we have in our kitchen. We have given it an operation name (yes, we’re genuinely that cool) and a colour code and timeline. Seeing it writ large is hugely helpful, and wiping tasks off the board is immensely satisfying. But for me, a compulsive list maker, this is not quite enough, and I also like to draw up mini weekly inventories of things we are determined to tackle in the next seven days. Last week it was invitations (they have finally been ordered) and a meeting with our priest, as well as finalising some honeymoon plans. Tick, tick, tick. I find breaking it into this bitesize pieces makes it all feel more achievable, and I can also plan ahead, knowing next week we are tackling the booze order and, yes, the portaloos.
Yet, honestly, one of the best things that has combated The Wedding Fear, is one of my best friends: Christina. We got engaged within three weeks of each other and we are getting married a month apart. We are in each other’s nuptials, she is one of my bridesmaids and I am the MC at her wedding, and are also both having destination events, in Greece and France respectively. One of the greatest comforts has been sharing this experience with her and knowing there is someone else going through it all too. We have liaised on guest lists, band vs DJ, wedding planners, catering, venues, itineraries and dresses. We have shared the highs and lows of wedding planning and, this New Year’s Day, had this exchange.
‘We’re getting married this year!’
‘You scared yet?’
‘Oh, GOD yes.’
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