Sunday, September 26, 2010

In which I try to find a planning book but am almost reduced to tears

One thing to know about me: I love lists. I have lists detailing things I need to do at work, things I need to do at home, errands to run, and books to read. My lists sometimes spawn baby lists. It’s a sickness. I know.

So, because lists are my equivalent of kittens and candy canes, I figured it would behoove me to find a book filled with planning and logistics checklists for the wedding. I’m determined to not make this a complicated event, but I do need a place to write everything down. Since these wedding planner books have already listed the things one needs to accomplish in order to have a wedding, it seemed like a decent idea to procure one.

With this in mind, I went to my local Barnes and Noble and casually meandered over to the signs that said “Weddings.”

This was the first hint that bad things were afoot: signs. Plural. Multiple shelves, all filled with books about weddings. FML.

Shortly after I got there, I started getting that overwhelmed, queasy, this-is-totally-NOT-the-equivalent-of-kittens feeling. There were more books on weddings than could possibly be necessary on planet Earth, and possibly in the entire universe.

I made the grave mistake of grabbing a random book off the shelf to see what it was about. This was a bad life decision, because it was an entire book about choosing the right flowers for the wedding party, ceremony, and reception. An entire book! About flowers! And not even the kind that you plant and get to look at year after year when they happily bloom in your back yard!

Furthermore, this book had a detailed list, so I should have loved it – but instead, I wanted to cry because it all seemed so overwhelmingly complicated. I have to sit down and plot out what flowers to have at the damn place card table? You mean to tell me that a bouquet out of the florist’s bin at the local Safeway won’t do the trick? (Don’t laugh. I’m serious.) To borrow from Talladega Nights, I had only one discernible thought at that moment: Oh, sweet Jesus. Sweet 8-pound, 6-ounce, newborn baby Jesus.

Because I tend to make brilliant choices while under stress, I followed the first bad life decision with a second one by grabbing another random book off the shelf. This one was an entire tome on bridal shower ideas. Like I was saying: bad life decisions.

At this point, I was both overwhelmed and confused. Flowers and bridal showers strike me as being relatively straightforward: we’ll need flowers, so why not just pick ones that my Betrothed and I like and go with it? If I’m going to have a bridal shower, why not get my friends and family together, pick up some wine and a few party platters from Costco, and have a grand old time? Do flowers and bridal showers really require months of research, strategy, and coordination?

The queasy, anti-kitten feeling wasn’t improving. I’d say I had butterflies in my stomach, but it was far worse than that. I was starting to feel like there were scary creatures – quite possibly in the form of baby velociraptors on meth – running wild in there.

I took a deep breath and looked specifically at the wedding planners. This couldn’t be too bad, right? I mean, it’s basically a big party. I just need a place to write down what we’ve booked and what we still need to do. What more could a girl possibly need?

Apparently, a girl needs massive three-ring binders designed to be filled with every last detail of The Most Important and Super Special Day of Your Entire Life. These aren’t small binders, either. These fuckers are huge. I had binders like this in grad school, but I used those to house the 80 million pages of required reading I had to do.

I saw one from Bride’s magazine that I figured would be comprehensive. But then I saw that not only was it enormous, but there was a sticker on the front that read “Thousands of new ideas!” Thousands?! Is this a joke? How am I supposed to consider thousands of new ideas? At that point I nearly started hyperventilating, so I decided it was time to leave that planner behind.

However, this was immediately followed by a planner that, in addition to being gargantuan, was shocking pink. Now, I’m pretty girly, so I like pink. But I don’t think I could take myself seriously if I wandered around lugging a bright pink binder the size of a sofa. I suspect that even my beloved lists would protest. The real deal-breaker on this, however, was inside.

It comes with a complimentary tote bag. The book is so big, and is designed to get so heavy with expectations paper, that it requires a tote bag to be transported any further than one’s living room. To make matters worse, the aforementioned tote bag is also shocking pink, and comes replete with polka dots and a giant BRIDE written on it. Oy gevault. Do I need to broadcast to the entire world that I’m getting married? (Doesn’t the engagement ring already make that fairly evident?) This seems rather gratuitous. Couldn’t I just get the message out via Jumbotron at a major sporting event? Or, alternatively, a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times?

Needless to say, I left that one alone.

I was pressed for time, so I decided that it’d be worth a return trip to scope out all the options. Since cash is obviously a key factor for me, I want to make strategic choices about what I buy.

Given the glut of schmaltzy books, though, I started to worry: am I the only sarcastic and generally foul-mouthed woman to ever get married?

Once the ring was on my finger, was I supposed to morph from my wise-ass, mildly cynical, and low-budget self into a wholesome, sweet, and wedding-obsessed version of Lillian that I never knew existed?

Surely I can’t be the first person like this to get married, right?



  1. 1. Don't mess with the store binders. Make your own using tabs, plastic sheets, and a three-ring binder.
    2. There are millions of low-budget and snarky brides also rolling their collective eyes at the puppies and rainbows spiel the wedding industry vomits. If you haven't already, check out forums (you don't have to post -- just lurk) on The Knot, Wedding Bee, Offbeat Bride.
    3. If you ever have a question about planning, just shoot me a message. I have more info in my head than I know what to do with. :)

  2. What made me equally nauseous was that in the rows and rows of books on marriage and how to plan a wedding at B&N, Borders, and a few other book stores I visited, I found a whopping total of ONE book on pre-marital counseling. It just feeds the MIC agenda that this ONE day is the most important of your life and nothing else (including the actual marriage part) matters!