Monday, July 21, 2014

Coming Together or Falling Apart

I need to be real for a second. Planning a wedding is stressful. Not just to the couple, to the family. Not just to the family, to the friends. It's a cluster of confusion and tension. The trick is figuring that out before you let your troubled mind get the best of you and strain relationships.

Let me make the case in a simple point.

I have the sweetest mother any imagination can conjure. She gives to the point where it interferes with her own life. She constantly considers a situation from the point of view of the other person involved. You couldn't imagine a more genuinely tender-hearted person. But she is still a first born child. And, if you don't know, there's a whole theory on the traits associated with first-born children.

My Mom wants me to have it all. And I appreciate that, but I cannot -- in good conscience -- be that level of a diva. The problem seems to be that she raised me to be a decent person. Decent people don't take their parents for all their worth. They just don't.

This has led to my Mom and I disagreeing on several wedding-related things. She would love for me to have this cake:

For reference, I believe that's a photo someone took of Prince William's wedding cake.

I would love to have this cake:

To me, simple cakes that don't cost a fortune are precious. I actually want a Kroger wedding cake, which my Mom is, well, shocked imagining. But what's the point in spending $800+ on a cake? No one remembers the cake, as long as it tastes about average and feeds everyone.

So there's a little misunderstanding when Mom and I talk about wedding planning. She wants to give me the world. I just want simplicity. (Ok, except that time we went wedding dress shopping. I was happy to let her pour on the spoiling that time.) And I know, and remind myself, that this is her only chance to throw a wedding (only child thing). I know she's doing all of this out of love and the desire to make me happy. So I can't freak out about it. Because she's too incredible and her intensions are too pure to warrant that. I have to stay mindful.

That's one relationship example. There are so many other stresses. I seem to be having three main issues in terms of relationship tension.

Inviting People Ahead of Time

I am very free spirited. My version of planning often involves throwing something together two days in advance. It can be a problem.

It's going to be especially challenging to plan things since, well, my future mother in law is four hours away, my parents and MOH are over two hours away, and one of my bridesmaids is a stay at home Mom (read: no babysitter). So I'm dealing with a lot of people who need time to sort out how they're going to attend showers and all those other events.

I don't think there's a calendar big enough to stay in my face about all of that.

Explaining Not Defending

As an only child, I have certain personality traits myself. I definitely have a strong will and tend to get defensive when a decision I am entitled to make on my own is questioned. I have to remember that, yes, it is our wedding; however, I can be nice about saying no. I don't need to jump on the defensive when someone tries to provide other options to me after hearing what I plan on doing. It's ok to hear them out. It's better to keep the relationship positive, knowing you get to make the ultimate decision anyway. (Too blunt?)

Honestly, aside from our parents, there aren't a lot of people who have much pull on wedding planning. It doesn't mean I haven't picked up great tips from people. I have. It just means I try not to stress when people start dishing out unsolicited advice. Some of it is really helpful. The rest is harmless; it can be discarded after respectfully hearing a person out. Again, when a person has good intensions, it's best to honor that and let them have your ear.

Attitude of Love

This kind of goes along with everything I've been saying. When you know someone loves you and wants the best for you, you've got to cut them some slack. I once knew a girl who hung up on her mother because they couldn't agree on the right font for disposable reception napkins. I realize she was probably reacting to other pressures and stresses, but that really spoke to me. It let me know how vulnerable we all are when it comes to being in a bad position and having other people chime in with solutions. We can flip a lid pretty easily, because we're human. But there's another way.

Ultimately, I really want to have good relationships with family and friends once we get home from the honeymoon. Translation: I realize I'll have to take one for the team now and then. That doesn't mean roll over. That means decide what matters and what doesn't and make it a point to keep a loving attitude through the process. (I feel that I have actually stepped outside my body, pulled up a chair across from myself, and made that point. It's so important. And so hard when emotions are stirred.)

Through the process, I am aware that one of two things will happen. Either the joy of our pending wedding will draw me closer to my people, or the stress of planning the wedding will create tension between us. I want to support the first option. This wedding is not going to be perfect. There will be no television special noting all of our vendors and guests. It's just going to be a reason to be happy and be with loved ones. I hope that I can find ways to make decisions that are kind to the people I love. That doesn't mean I'm caving to every request, but I hope it does mean that I show respect and kindness when I disagree. God help me. I really want to come out of this thing with good memories.

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