Dress shopping, makeup consultations, selecting signature cocktails . . . there are a lot of beautiful, fun things that happen in preparation for your wedding. There are also quite a few scary, moderately unpleasant things I found myself tackling. Without further ado, here they are. (In list form... surprised? Didn't think so!)
1. Pre-marital counseling (#225)
Josh and I were getting married by a judge, so there was no mandatory “pre-marital” class. We decided to try it anyhow.
I found Amanda Nephew through a very thorough Googling. We signed up for her Rooted Together package—four hour-long classes where we took an in-depth look at our relationship, identifying our strengths and where there was room for improvement. Amanda talked us through ways to de-escalate arguments, best practices for conflict resolution, and even moderated a discussion about why I want my own checking account. It was super helpful. In fact, we actively used her methods the other day when we started bickering over something really, really stupid.
Regular readers of this blog know I don't have a huge issue airing my dirty laundry (Exhibit A), but airing our dirty laundry together was new for Josh and I. He's quite a bit more private than I am, but as it turns out, it wasn't weird. It was kind of fun and very helpful.
2. Saying No (#226)
I'm one of those people who hardly ever says no, even to my own detriment. Between wedding planning, work, and life commitments, I’d basically double booked myself every night from March through mid-May. The stuff I was doing was mostly “fun,” but I couldn’t even enjoy happy hour with friends because of my expansive to-do list.
A month before our wedding, I stopped making plans, aside from the essentials. I took it one day at a time, which meant I could still do an impromptu shopping trip or squeeze in a yoga class—I just had to decide day-of. My stress level was obliterated! One of the best wedding planning decisions I made.
3. Facial Peels (#227)
A light shoulder massage, gentle steam on the face, Enya playing softly in the background. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Well, that’s not the kind of facial I signed up for pre-wedding, and I don’t regret anything!
I made three skin treatment appointments with Anne Morrison at Physician Skin Services. She vacuumed my pores (great visual, right?), applied two mild peels (this was the part that scared me the most, but it was really more of an exfoliation . . . no dry, flaky skin whatsoever!), and did some light therapy to help kill and ward off bacteria. Aside from my years as an actual baby, my skin has never looked so good!
4. Dance Lessons (#228)
My dad really wanted to do a fancy dance number for the wedding. Initially, it was just one more item to stress over. However, if this was the one thing my dad really cared about, I was not going to complain. Plus, he said Josh could come with to practice our dance, too.
We took a lesson from Rob, a family friend who’s a choreographer/director at Ashland Productions. I was a bit skeptical at first—dancing in front of an audience of three (Rob brought a dance partner with him) is so awkward! Rob showed my dad and I a few ways to make it look like we know what we’re doing, but aren’t trying too hard.
Next, Josh and I danced. Josh isn't exactly the dancing type, a fact that didn't exactly elude Rob. Then Rob gave us what might be the BEST dance tip for men, ever:
Stand up straight, shoulders back!
Josh swapped out his slouching shoulders for a more confident stance. With that one minor tweak, the entire vibe changed. The dance now felt polished and put together. 100 percent worth the awkwardness!
5. Attend Three Bridal Showers Thrown in My Honor. (#229)
I am not complaining in any way about the three lovely showers that were thrown for me. Great food, drinks, decor and gifts! What I did have anxiety about was opening gifts (that I had picked out myself!) in front of people.
It turned out to not be that weird at all. And since I'd picked everything myself, I didn't even have to fake-like anything. Easy!
6. Wedding Dress Alterations. (#230)
Raise your hand if you've seen too many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress and thought your alterations would happen at the store where you purchased it. [I am raising my hand right now].
That's not true. Or at least not in my case.
When I discovered this fatal error, I immediately started Googling. This is a dress that roughly costs about the same as my mortgage, so I wasn't going to leave it to any Auntie Sew & Sew. I called six different seamstresses and they were ALL BOOKED. Cue the panic attack. And then my pal Liz introduced me to the ladies at A Stitch Above the Rest. The moment I met them, my terror disappeared faster than a box of Pixie Sticks in a kindergarden class. They did an excellent job making my dress fit like a glove.
7. Let Josh Plan the Honeymoon (#231)
Have I ever mentioned I can be a bit of a vacation-planning control freak (Exhibit B)?
I was really stressed about the wedding. Josh? Not as much. Hence, he offered to plan a mini-moon immediately after the wedding. We just needed somewhere along the north shore (aka Lake Superior) that allowed dogs.
So three months before the wedding, he had yet to book anything. Same at the two month mark... and the one. I tried not to get too passive aggressive about the situation, but c'mon! Three weeks before our wedding, I put the pressure on. I even sent the Josh some links to hotels that fit our criteria. Aside from that, I didn't meddle too much, and when he eventually booked the Inn on the Gitchee Gumee, I was relieved. Quaint and cozy (with one God Love You pancake breakfast included), it was perfect.
* * *
Of course, there were many other scary things I had to do pre-wedding (I am still suffering from a mild form of guest list PTSD... and a post about legally changing my name is on its way!), but finally marrying the beyonce was worth it!