Posts Tagged: weddings

So I Got Engaged Last Week

Remember that post from last Monday, where I talked about how much I hated it when people asked me when I was going to get married?

Well, when I said I would probably get engaged sooner rather than later, it turns out I had no idea how soon. On Wednesday evening, H. surprised me by popping the question. We’d talked about getting married, of course, but I had no idea he was going to propose then, on a Wednesday night, right after I got home from work, while I was still wearing my coat. So it was a complete and total shock, and all of a sudden I went from girlfriend to fiance. I’ll spare you the whole engagement story, but it involves H. building me a bookshelf with a special drawer where he hid the ring (that’s it in the picture at the top of the post). Yes, he built a bookshelf and proposed with it. It was the perfect proposal.

Since H. and I had been dating for so long, I assumed getting engaged wouldn’t change that much. As it turns out, I was very wrong. Getting engaged made me become ridiculously emotional. All of a sudden, the things that normally seemed like everyday activities now seem like sentimental traditions. Instead of going shopping, we’re shopping as a couple. Instead of just making dinner, I’m cooking dinner with my fiance. It actually does feel different, which makes me feel both lucky I have this opportunity in my life and sad that not everyone in our country is afforded the same liberty.

The other weird side effect of getting engaged is that I seem to be turning into another person.

It’s insane how quickly The Wedding Machine took over my life, and I am not a Wedding Person. I truly don’t care about weddings unless I’m close friends with the person getting married. I know nothing about rings–cuts and carats? It’s a foreign language to me. I’ve never imagined myself wearing a big dress and I’ve definitely never entertained any fantasies of being a princess. I’m ridiculously cheap and I hate people staring at me. And, yeah, this is a really buzz-kill, annoying thing to say, but I do find like half of wedding traditions to be really patriarchal and gross.

And yet, basically the second I had that ring on my finger, I found myself shouting “I’m engaged!” to everyone while holding out my hand, which is something I always said I wouldn’t do. For the past few days, I’ve barely slept because I’ve been spending my time thinking about what sorts of bridesmaids dresses I’ll choose. I’ve been visiting wedding blogs instead of writing. “You should try thinking about something else for awhile,” my mom suggested, and I think she’s right. It’s crazy how easy it was for me to get caught up in wedding frenzy, but I really need to step back and realize that it’s just one day. A fun and special day, hopefully, but one day just the same.

So, Welcome to Ladyville readers, I hope this is another fun thing we can go through together. Just like that time I was a maid of honor, I’m going pretty far out of my comfort zone. Hopefully the lessons I’ll be learning the hard way can help you out.

Here’s what my wedding goals are: to throw a fun party, with my family and close friends. To be surrounded by the people I love, and to cry a lot because I’m so happy. To have one of our best friends marry us, because you’d better believe we’re not getting married in a church (I’ve seen way too many ceremonies that involve a weird speech from the pastor about wives serving husbands. No thanks!). To spend time with my mom, mother-in-law, and BFF crafting cool, cheap wedding decorations. To not spend time or money on anything that’s unnecessary or just for show. To have a truly dirt-cheap wedding, not just a cheap-by-modern-standards wedding. To incorporate as many special keepsake projects into the ceremony as I can. To actually enjoy the process and use it as a chance to spend precious time with my loved ones, instead of it being a source of stress.

Oh, yeah, and to focus on this being the beginning of a caring, equal partnership with the love of my life. Well, not the beginning, really–we have been dating for 7 years! But a formal commitment, in front of everyone who loves us, that we’ll care about each other and help each other through happy times and shitty ones. Because that’s the point, right? I mean, the wedding is one measly day. I want it to be a great day, of course, but I plan on having a whole lot of other great days in my life, too. A marriage is a crazy commitment that lasts a whole lifetime, and I’m pretty sure when we’re 80, we won’t be thinking about what food we served at the wedding or whether or not the centerpieces looked good enough.

So that’s what I want to share with you guys! I hope you’ll be at least semi-interested in my weird wedding journey, and I promise to try to bring you some practical advice. Some not-totally-lame books and websites, some do-able craft projects, and tips for other ladies like me. Ladies who want to plan a cool, fun wedding but who don’t want to go crazy or go into debt or lose sight of their humanity in the process. And, most importantly, ladies who realize that weddings aren’t all that important in the long run, and that no one deserves to have some insane, magical day. I mean, I’m getting married, not winning the Nobel Peace Prize. I hope I can keep my sense of perspective throughout this process.

And, in case you wondered, I stand by every single thing I said in last Monday’s post! It’s lame when people butt into your life, especially your romantic life, and project their values on you. Now that I’m engaged and people can’t ask me about that anymore, I’m sure they’ll find new and inventive ways to judge my life decisions. That’s just the way of the world. I mean, several people have already mentioned children to me, so, you know.

So, you guys, I’m excited. It’s great to be engaged to a dude who proposes with a bookshelf, because woodworking is very “Bill Pullman in While You Were Sleeping,” and we all know how I feel about him. I promise to not turn WTLV into a wedding blog (I will be sharing another engagement story tomorrow, though. Sorry!), but hopefully you won’t be completely grossed out by a few wedding posts here and there.

The Quickest Way to Piss People Off Is to Not Get Married

In December, H. and I will have been together 7 years. And we are not married, a fact that every person I know reminds me of constantly.

I’m not saying we’re never going to get married. In fact, it will probably happen sooner rather than later. But people asking me when I’m going to get married bothers me, and it isn’t because I have problems with the institution of marriage itself (although that can be pretty problematic!) or the state of my relationship with my boyfriend (which is pretty swell!). Instead, my problem with people asking “When are you getting married?” is best summed up in two questions: “How is this your business?” and “Why do I have to get married?”

Growing up, I never dreamed of getting married. I assumed I would, because I grew up in a culture with a pretty traditional view of families, but it wasn’t something I daydreamed about. I never dressed up as a bride for Halloween. I didn’t “play house” much with other kids–mostly because because I rarely played with other children and preferred to hang out by myself, reading. Instead, I daydreamed about writing my first book (dorky but true).

Then, in high school, I became convinced I’d never get married. I simply could not imagine myself being happy as a married person. Let’s be real—I didn’t have any boyfriends (not even weird ones!) in high school, so it’s not like people were lining up to propose. But when I saw girls I knew getting married, like, right out of high school, I knew I would never do that. I saw myself as an adult living alone, being vaguely “artisitic,” probably wearing several jewel-toned scarves. I saw myself with a cat I named after a feminist writer, knowing things about wine, and entertaining many, many temperamental and volatile men who would inspire me to write the tempestuous prose and poetry I’d become known for. I saw myself being weird and alone and happy.

And then I met H. when I was 19, and we’ve been together ever since. You’d think this might be cause for celebration, and it is for me! But it’s not for almost literally every person I know, including but not limited to family, friends, and complete strangers.

I get asked what I’m waiting for, why I’m not married, why H. hasn’t proposed, why I haven’t forced him to propose, when I’m going to “just do it already,” and various other things. All of these questions are based around a few assumptions:

1. I have to get married.
2. I want to get married but H. will not ask me.
3. It’s normal for one person to force the other person to marry them.
4. Marriage is a box you need to check off your list.
5. If I’m not married it means I’m afraid of something.
6. I sit around all day and wait for H. to propose to me.
7. I am sad and pathetic.

Naturally, quite a few of these assumptions offend me, as a feminist and as a human being. For one, most of them put me in a passive role. Just sittin’ around waitin’ for the proposin’ to happen! Secondly, they assume that I need to complete this task in order to graduate to the next phase of my life. Simply put, this is people foisting their life values onto me, and I don’t appreciate it. A traditional life trajectory (marriage, house, babies) means a lot to some people, but it means very, very little to me. Do I want to have a house someday? Totally, but not anytime soon. Do I want kids? Yes, my biological clock reminds me of this every damn day, but not anytime even remotely soon. And do I want to get married? Sure, but it is not the end all, be all of my existence. There are a lot of things I want out of my life, and marriage is just one of the things on a long list that includes publishing a book, visiting a Scandinavian country, and finally successfully baking bread. And that’s where the assumption that offends me the most comes in. When people ask me these questions, what I hear from them is: Your achievements don’t matter to me. Your job, your friendships, your writing, your hopes, your dreams, your life that you’ve built yourself mean nothing, because you haven’t convinced someone to buy you jewelry and then spend many thousands of dollars on an expensive ceremony.

And as much as I’d like to be a super cool lady who can shrug off the narrow-mindedness of others, I’m just not that self-assured. It does not make me feel good when, unsolicited and on a regular basis, people let me know that my life is not measuring up to a standard I don’t even subscribe to. It’s weird, it’s patriarchal, it’s sexist, it’s dumb, and it’s just plain mean.

And you know what else it is? Really, really rude. In general, I think two questions should always be off limits except between very good friends: “When are you getting married?” and “When are you two having kids?” Both of those questions have the potential to be extremely upsetting! I mean, you guys, you don’t know if the couple you’re talking to had a fight that very morning about getting married. You don’t know if the couple you’re talking to recently found out they can’t have kids. You don’t know if they recently had a miscarriage—I mean, 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, you know? These are just rude, invasive, and nosy questions we should all stop asking.

Luckily for me, my close friends totally understand all of this. They’re a mix of married, single, engaged, and divorced people (divorced people are especially cool about not pressuring others to get married) who don’t see marriage as a just another box to check off on the list of life goals. That’s because my friends are awesome.

But, unfortunately, not everyone’s as cool, so I’ll just have to keep answering “So when are you getting married?” with a mixture of flip responses (“Whenever Drake asks me!”), frustrated answers (“When I feel like it.”), vague pleasantries (“Hahaha, someday!”), and subject changes (“Tell me more about your kids!”). It turns out that lecturing people about how their question offends me is not the best tactic to take when I’m talking to someone I’m probably going to have to see on a regular basis (like my grandma).

I love love. I love romance. I love romantic comedies, even (especially) the ones starring Katherine Heigl. I love reading the 50th anniversary announcements in the newspaper. I love seeing my friends get married! And, when I get married (someday!), you’d better believe I’m going to cry uncontrollably. But there’s a lot more to my life than that. I guess the good thing is that eventually, once I do get married, people will stop asking me about this. Then they’ll move on to asking me when I’m having kids. Something to look forward to!

Lady Film: Bachelorette

I’d heard a lot of things about Bachelorette before I saw it. Like how it was so dark and edgy, and the characters were unlikable, and there was rampant drug use. And of course it stars a whole slew of great, funny people, including Lizzy Kaplan, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Adam Scott, and Kirsten Dunst. You may remember that I have very intense feelings for Kirsten Dunst. I don’t know why; I just love her. Also, from now on, we will only refer to her as Kiki on WTLV. No looking back.

What I expected, after all those reviews that focused on how caustic it was, was a film like Young Adult. Charlize Theron’s character in that movie is such a monster of selfishness, and we see her a) admit why she became that way, b) get her comeuppance and c) refuse to change at all. But Bachelorette was totally not that kind of movie.

Was there drug use? Sure, but the film made it look extremely unappealing. Were three brittle-thin characters making mean fat jokes about their friend? Yes, but it was very obvious they were being shitty people trying to mask their own extreme unhappiness. Was James Marsden a totally date rape-y douche? Yes, but he wasn’t supposed to be a good character.

What Bachelorette had was semi-realistic characters making terrible decisions repeatedly, and I enjoyed every second of it. I think this movie was pretty great, and it’s far different from any other Crazy Wedding movie it’s been compared to. It all takes place the night before the wedding like The Hangover, but that’s where the similarities end. Whereas in The Hangover their problems are wedding-related and fixed by morning, the problems in Bachelorette go a lot deeper. It’s clear that these women aren’t going to get over their addictions, despair, self-loathing, and traumas overnight.

That being said, this is no Young Adult. It has a happy ending, for God’s sake! It was funny and it had a fairly conventional plot structure. So why did so many reviews focus on how “dark” and “edgy” and “unlikable” it was? Honestly, I really think most people don’t know how to handle a female character that acts like a human being.

I realize that’s not a new point. But it comes up over and over, whenever I see a review of a movie or television show with a female lead character who happens to be a little zany or annoying or anything other than Patricia-Heaton-on-Everybody-Loves-Raymond levels of accommodating. For example, I was reading an Entertainment Weekly article about the cancellation of Best Friends Forever (RIP, one of my favorite shows that was only 6 episodes long!) and a commentor mentioned that Jessica St. Clair’s character was too “annoying.” Well, yeah. That was kind of the point. What the hell sort of show would it be if everyone got along really well and never had any disagreements? I like to see movies and TV shows where weirdos rub up against each other and cause some drama. Otherwise, what’s the point?

So this is just to say that Bachelorette is a great movie. It’s a film that’s somewhat conventionally structured while still being different from other comedies. I enjoyed it, and not even just because of Kiki’s luminosity. Most of the credit goes to writer/director Leslye Headland. She presents women as flawed, messy beings, and not in the “I just can’t seem to stop running into things and I have frizzy hair!” way. Not that I don’t love that kind of movie, but I like watching things that show all different kinds of women. Headland’s characters are messed up in a very real, very serious way that either we or some of our friends probably are. I like her vision, and I can’t wait to see what else she does. Here’s something great she said in HuffPo:

“Women are much more under the microscope about moral behavior versus material success. Men can be assholes. We love Don Draper. We love the fact that he’s good at his job and he makes lots of money and he fucks women who aren’t his wife, and he gets drunk every day. We are so happy for him! He is living the American dream, as far as we’re concerned. And it’s not that I’m really complaining about that, it’s just that I want to know why this is the case. And I don’t think I really answered it with my film. I think I just may have started the beginning of a really long conversation.”

Welcome to Ladyville gives this one a SEE IT. I’m just kidding, you guys. Ugh. I will never start talking about movies like that. God knows it would be way too concise and readable. Instead I prefer to ramble on for several paragraphs about how much I love Kiki. Really, though, see this movie. It’s a fun lady cast, there’s Adam Scott (whom we all love), Glorious Kiki, and some really silly and funny musical choices. I’m giving Bachelorette the Welcome to Ladyville stamp of approval! Note to self: get stamp made.

My Dream Wedding

The wedding happens on Thanksgiving day. Oh, did you have a “family thing?” No, it’s cool. I guess only the friends who really care about us will be there. It’s fine.

I walk down the aisle to “Dude Looks Like a Lady.” This should give people a nice moment of “Wait, is she…yeah, she’s serious, I guess?”

The wedding is officiated by Kelsey Grammar IF he’s available. If not (like if he’s filming his hit show Bosses or whatever it’s called, I don’t know, I don’t have HBO), then we can Skype him in. There will be no substitutes. It’s either Grammar or nothing for this broad.

My dress is alternately described as “a stunning display of the grotesque” and “a touchingly macabre tribute to the works of Clay Aiken.”

Vows are taken from Bruce Vilanch’s autobiography, Bruce!.

Reception is held in a high school gymnasium.

Our first dance is the entirety of David Lynch’s Crazy Clown Time. Whenever anyone attempts to leave, the Hells Angels I hired for security herd them back to their seats. No one questions them because remember that Rolling Stones show?

For cocktails I have a bottle of vodka. Did you bring a mixer? No? Then sorry, you’re drinking straight vodka. Listen, I just got married, I can’t be worrying about what you’re going to drink.

Instead of cake I have a giant bucket of whipped cream. Everybody help yourselves, or don’t. I don’t care. It’s not my job to feed you.

I guess I’ll order some pizzas if you guys are still hungry.

The rest of the night we dance to the Mulan soundtrack. Anyone who isn’t dancing is forcibly convinced to dance by the Hells Angels, who grow increasingly angry as the night wears on.

I only reserved this gymnasium until 11:30, so I’m gonna need you guys to help me clean. Pick up the pace. We’re low on time here.

Wedding Weekend and This Week on HelloGiggles!

I didn’t get a chance to post about this week’s Young Adult Education because I was busy attending a wedding par-tay in lovely Bloomington, Indiana all weekend. My college friends Liz and Chris got hitched, which meant I got to hang out with a bunch of wonderful old and new friends for a couple of days. Here are couple of pictures, courtesy of Christine and Carrie:

It was a really special weekend! While I was gone, my post about Caddie Woodlawn went up on HG. I wrote about a particularly embarassing childhood moment caused by Caddie herself. Check it out here!