One Awkward Wedding: Liz Finally Loses Her Mind!

Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of my wedding planning. Did that make sense to you? No? Me either.

There is no time for sensemaking. NO TIME!!

Our wedding is in 39 days and counting and so much is happening. It’s starting to feel really real in a way that is at once exciting and a tad overwhelming.

And by a tad, I clearly mean a ton. A metric ton! Unless that’s less than a regular ton...I’ve never been one for math and science.

Someone recently commended me on my zen attitude towards wedding planning and I do (honestly!) think I have kept things pretty mellow which is kind of surprising, considering what  a stress monster I usually am. But I’m noticing that as the days slip by faster and faster even I, Zen Bride Extraordinaire, am beginning to lose my cool.

Last night I dreamt that we were in a chapel and they were performing back to back to back weddings and then, suddenly, it was our turn! But, wait! We weren’t ready! Some of the bridesmaids had their hair done. I did not. One bridesmaid had to leave to “go to another thing” and Brian’s parents were missing. I had spaghetti sauce on my wedding dress. There was no music.

Our #Hottwedding was a #Hottmess.

Now I know about as much about dream psychology as I do about metric tonnage (aka nothing) but if I were forced to dig deep and try to decode, I’d go right ahead and say it seems I’m just a pinch worried about getting everything done and not being ready.

For the wedding, at least. I’m totally ready to legally lock it down with Brian. I am going to marry the HELL out of that guy and I can’t wait. It’s going to be awesome! But the wedding is another story. Try as I might to avoid the pressure to make my One Special Day be perfect through and through, I’m turning into a little bit of a crazyperson!

Would anyone like to hear a very insane and long-winded example? No?

TOO BAD, BITCHES. KEEP READING.

Woo, forgive me. Got a little carried away there! But seriously sit back and allow me to regale you with a tale of madness, mayhem and paper products!

LIZ HO VS EMILY POST: ENVELOPES OF DOOM: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO

So! Like I said, must to the surprise of all parties involved, I’ve been pretty cool & calm on all fronts including getting along with mi madre which, if Say Yes to the Dress says anything about real life, is basically a miracle. At this point in the game we should have had about 15 knock-down-drag-out fights renouncing one another as family, her threatening not to come, me screaming back “GOOD, YOU’RE DISINVITED!", both of us in hysterics, but so far, we’ve managed to avoid major arguments.

Weeeeellll except that little tiny one over the invitations.

Not the actual invitations, mind you. Those I’m pleased as punch over. My pal Jamie who is a stellar graphic designer (and available for hire!) (SRSLY email me if you’re looking!) designed our “invitation suite,” as I would call it, if I were the sort of person who used fancy terms like that. They are everything I could have wanted: classy, simple, whimsical, gorgeous.

20140708_160032

 

AMAZING, RIGHT???!!!!

Oh, and, did I mention cheap? They were so cheap!

Everyone has their priorities in weddings, as in life, on what they think is worth a lot of money and for me, paper products was at the bottom of the list. I like looking at pretty paper and I respect your right to blow the bank on whatever the H you feel like but, the way I see it, that embossed, lined, monogrammed envelope stuffed with 12 different letterpressed cards all tied up in a satin bow and hand addressed by a professional calligrapher are going one place and one place only: the garbage can.

Rough stuff but it is true. I barely remember what most of my friends wedding invites looked like (or birthday invites or baby showers or anything) except in the cases where they were really fancy pants and then I only remember how guilty and horrible I felt when I inevitably chucked them because as much as I love my friends (SO MUCH!) and value their right to fancy invitations, ain’t nobody got space for all that fancy paper.

And YES I know every single aspect of wedding planning is a waste of time and money, duh, but we all pick and choose how to waste our time and money and for  me, this was just not it. Friends and countrymen, feel free to toss these in the garbage can guilt free!

That said, I didn't want the invites to look like actual garbage. Luckily for me, two of my best friends, Jamie and the World Wide Web teamed up to create magic and bring us something that is hella fabulous for UNDER BUDGET. Boomshackalacka. In case you are curious, which you are surely not, but I’ve already started telling this story there’s NO STOPPING ME NOW, we used a Gilt Group coupon for the website Wedding Paper Divas to print our invites, hand designed as a generous gift by Jamie. I would probably never have used this website were it not for the coupon - I cringe at the word “diva,” as it is usually used in a derogatory manner towards women considered to be “difficult,” in a way that is very rarely flipped back on men (am I right, Nicki, or am I right?) BUT sometimes my frugality gets in the way of my morality (I know, I'm the worst) so I couldn't say no to this coupon. And I’m super glad I didn’t. Silly name aside, WPD was beyond professional. They send complimentary samples of their stationery, their customer service was quick and helpful and the quality was A+++.

And our designer was A+++, too! Y'all should hire her. The best way to get a good deal  is to become her friend, because then you get free graphic design and you get to hang out with her and she’s the bomb.com, so it’s kind of like you’re getting paid in the end, really, but if you can’t find a way to worm your way into her life/heart, you could certainly email me for an intro and I bet she’d offer you a fair deal. Just sayinnnn’!

Ok so now we have learned that a) I didn't care much for invites to begin with and b) loved the ones we ended up with so why did c) they lead to the d) most intense melt down of Liz Ho’s Wedding Planning Extravaganza Extraordinaire?

‘Twas not what was inside the envelopes (plain white, came free with the order!) that upset me, you see, ‘twas what was written outside of them.

As I’m sure you can surmise, I was not about to pay for someone to calligraphy (caligraph? is there a verb for this word?) these bad boys, I would have been happy printing them out on a laserjet printer like an uncouth monster but we did still want them to look nice, so my dearest Schmoopster offered to hand-write all 101 addresses. She was very cute about it, sending us samples with different pens and practicing a little bit each night and all was right with the world until we experienced what I am now calling a minor communication breakdown. Others might call it a major meltdown. I'll let you be the judge.

My one and only request with these invitations what that none sent to married couples be addressed in the so-called “traditional” manner, to Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirstname Lastname because that makes my skin crawl. Like, what is that even about? It’s not enough for a woman to take a man’s last name? AND change from a Ms. to a Mrs. when he gets to keep Mr. all along? She also don’t even get her own first name anymore?

I know this is the “proper” way and how Emily Post would do it but I think it’s sexist and stupid, Emily. That bitch is like, 700 years old and not even invited to our wedding so who even cares what she thinks.

Apparently a whole lot of people!

Somewhere in this whole process this point was not made clear and it came to my attention after about ⅓ of the invitations were already addressed that they were, in fact, going out in this traditional manner. My mom and I had a huffy, mildly dramatic phone conversation but managed to end on a civil note, with me agreeing that the already written invites could go out as-is, and Schmoops agreeing that any going forward would at least mention the woman’s name on their somewhere, Emily Post be damned, and we hung up, end of story.

J to the K. One of us, I won’t mention any names (women don’t get names, remember?!) (calm down, Liz) could not … ok...would not… let it go. This person was me, obviously. I hung up and stormed around the apartment, fuming, getting more and more upset.I am a feminist! And now I’m sending these misogynistic envelopes all over America! HOW WOULD THAT LOOK?! What would people think?! Just as paper crushes rock, so will these paper envelopes crush my sterling, powerful reputation! This could not go on!

So I took the mature route, called my mom back and oh, the doody hit the fan. I started weeping - and I don’t mean like, gently crying or sniffling, I mean like, tears down my cheeks, hyperventilating, weeping -- about feminism and individuality and last names and choice and envelopes and women and identities and demanded that my mom re-do all of the invitations,even the ones she had already written.  I could NOT have my return address associated with a Mr. and Mrs. HisFirstname situation. At one point I actually shrieked “THIS IS MY BRIDEZILLA MOMENT! I AM THROWING DOWN MY BRIDEZILLA CARD AND YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME!”

Oy yoy yoy.

(Spoiler alert: I did start my period the next day so I blame my hysteria on the hormones. But I stand by the subject of my hysteria!)

My mom fired back that it was a silly thing to waste my bridezilla card on, some people like to be addressed in such a manner, that she likes cares about adhering to certain types of tradition, she is helping to fund this wedding so her reputation is on the line too and maaaayyybe, just maybe, I should think about other people’s values as much as I think about my own.

Game, set, match: Bernie.

Loathe as I am to admit it. And oh, I am so loathe. She's totally right, guys.

And lo, we managed to reach a conclusion. All envelopes already written would remain “proper” as well as those to anyone who might like to be addressed in such a manner, because some people do like tradition and that is ok (it is!), but all others would be a little more progressive.

My sweet  mom, trying so hard to prevent another meltdown took it to the furthest level, addressing married women as Ms. instead of Mrs. or in some cases, completely omitting gendered pronouns at all.

I loved it!

Of course, after all this, I will bet you all a haypenny and a half that not one single solitary person even noticed how they were addressed. And if they did and they were offended, oh well. Please trust that we were just two ladies doing the best we could under the pressures of tradition, the patriarchy, the Wedding Industrial Complex and the most stressful situation in all the land: mothers and daughters planning a wedding together.

We tried! We really, really tried.

I still maintain it was a worthy cause for throwing down my Bridezilla Card. Flowers, playlists, party favors - these things are silly details about one day which will eventually fade into memories in a photo album and therefore not worth truly stressing over. But my anxieties re: the traditional manner of addressing couples reflect something actually life-altering. I have gradually come around to the idea of possibly (probably) (ok, more than likely) taking Brian’s last name, a saga I’ll delve into another time, but I still can’t shake the fear that marriage means sacrificing my personal feminine identity. Elizabeth Scott is one thing. Ms. Scott? I’m still on board. Mrs. Scott, less so. Mrs. Brian Scott?

No way, Jose.

And by Jose, I could mean Jose OR his wife because married ladies don’t get their own first names!

Enough, Liz. ENOUGH!

Like my pal Elsa, I’m letting it go. I understand that women have different ideas of what feels right for them and it is important to honor their decisions and that you can still be married and be a badass individual feminist lady, and names are just names and all that other good stuff and perhaps I need not take everything so seriously all the damn time. And maybe stop reading Jezebel. But I still reserve my right to throw occasional temper tantrums on my road to self enlightenment.

I’ll be sure to send you my mailing address when I get there. Just don’t send any correspondence to Mrs. Brian Scott ;).

And that, my friends, is my tale. What a mess, right? I'm a nutjob.

But other than this, and the dreams, and the nail biting, and the various Google rabbit holes I keep falling into, I'm doing pretty a-ok. I might just survive the next 39 days with my sanity (and relationships!) in tact.

Wish me luck! JK wish my mom luck. And Brian. That poor guy is stuck with this nutjob for LIFE.

Sucks to be himmmm!

The end.

Liz

PS: I am very sorry, I realize this whole post this is probably insanely rude and awkward to talk about/show off wedding invitations because not everyone who reads this is invited.  Believe me, I would have liked to invite the whole wide world but that’s just not a possibility...a post for another time. I’m still too busy barfing with guilt over guest list cuts to discuss it.

Some Awkward, Unsolicited Advice on Coping with Anxiety

Apropos of not much, except that I was feeling anxious this week and figured other people might also go through this from time to time, here is some unsolicited, highly unscientific, borderline insane advice on coping with stress, anxiety and life's more disastrous circumstances. You're welcome in advance! I tend to be, let’s say, an extreme worry wart. Highly neurotic. Deeply anxious. This actually is something I should probably discuss with a therapist but I don’t have one and I don’t know where to find one and therapists cost money and money, or lack thereof, is one of the top causes of my anxiety and so forth. Plus, who needs a therapist when you can just blog about your problems, right?

Anyway, whatever is going on in my life I fear the worst: work problem? I’m about to be fired. Boyfriend hasn’t responded to a text in a few hours? He’s dead...or cheating on me, depending on what sort of a mood I’m in. Feeling ill? Only two possibilities: fatal cancer or I’m pregnant.

I then obsess about these worst case scenarios for hours upon end until I’m nearly sick with anxiety. It’s…not great. But I’ve found a really weird, totally foolproof way to calm myself down. I don’t take calming breaths or go for a walk or drink tea or anything a health magazine might suggest to calm stress. Instead I think about the situation I’m in and how it actually could be worse…and worse and worse and worse (can you say that more than once in a row? I’m doing it.) until I’ve come to the actual Worst Thing Possible in my head and then I realize: whatever I’m going through is not that big of a deal. And just like that, I’m calm as a kitty laying in a patch of sun.

Take, for example, this week. I was having some really strange stomach cramps, so instead of contributing them to PMS or my already well documented IBS (so many acronyms!), I decided that, of course, it had finally happened: I was pregnant. Despite being hyper vigilant about birth control and safe sex, I’m usually pregnant about every three months or so. Which is to say that I’ve never been pregnant (and don’t worry mom slash Brian slash world: I’m still not!) but because, like I said, I’m a neurotic maniac, every few months I freak out and read into every weird intrauterine twinge or slight breast tenderness as a sure sign that I’ve been knocked up and now I’ll have to decide what to do about that and how can I afford a baby and this really isn’t fair, I know so many sluts who don’t even USE protection and now I’m the one who’s pregnant and I’m so not ready but I don’t know how I feel about abortion personally at this stage in my life and I am getting pretty old and what if my boyfriend decides he’s not ready and leaves me and I end up like Fantine in Les Mis, a desperate single mother who has to sell her hair and her body and hide her kid in a crazy roadside inn.

Like I said, I’m nuts.

So I let myself freak out for a while and then I think to myself: Ok, self, this is NOT the worst. If (and god, please don’t let this happen, but IFFFFF) you found yourself unexpectedly embarassada, you would figure it out. What would actually be the worst, is if these cramps were fatal ovarian cancer. And you died.

But then I think, no, Liz, no. What would be worse if your mom got fatal ovarian cancer and she died and you had to cope with that…and at the same time your sister and brother also died of fatal cancers…and so did all of your friends and other loved ones and you were the only one left and had to bury everyone and live with the grief. But actually, horrific as that would be, you’d probably get through it.

And then I just escalate. I ride this wave of insane thinking until I can bring myself to imagine what the WORST possible scenario could be. For a while I was thinking Zombie Apocalypse but now zombies are really trendy and that show The Waking Dead is really popular so a zombie apocalypse actually looks sort of fun and exciting so I had to rule that out. I decided that the very worst possible scenario, for me anyway, is that I’m flying in a plane with all of my friends and all of my family and everyone that I love (Beyonce included) and there’s a huge explosion and the plane crashes on an island. Half of the people have already died in a firey inferno and their bodies are strewn about the island. Of those left alive, half are immediately pounced upon by gigantic alligators and the rest of us have to watch them be eaten alive. While we’re hiding from the alligators we are apprehended by a band of evil cannibals who tie us up and barbecue each of us one by one – and I’m the very last one. I’ve just had to watch everyone that I love die gruesome deaths right in front of me and now I’m being covered in teriyaki sauce and tossed on a fire pit. THAT, I would say, is the worst thing that could possibly happen to me. Anything else, yeah, I can take it.

And then I calm myself down, stop obsessing and face my problems head on. It works like a charm. Every single time. Some trained professionals might say that fixating on the negative will only make things worse, and other people might say I have a hyperactive imagination, which would be true, but I say do whatever makes you feel good. And cray-cray as it sounds, this works for me.

So, just a friendly word of advice from one basketcase to the whole world: whatever you’re dealing with in life, you will get through it! I know this. Unless you’re being held hostage by island cannibals watching half of your loved ones (the half that didn’t just die in the plane crash) be ripped apart by alligators with the same vigor that Man V. Food’s Adam Richman might apply to a plate of Nuclear Buffalo Wings well, you’re probably going to be okay. Whatever it is you’re facing, you can handle it.

Trust me. I’m an expert.