Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wedding planning and other scary thoughts

And so wedding receptions were created. Some are simple and others elaborate. Some couples do away with it altogether, some brides find it offensive if it's not up to par. It's not uncommon for the woman to take charge of everything, other times the man pays more attention to the type of frosting on the cake. Tons of money are spent on these fleeting events. The tiered cake, the dress, the menu, the photographs, the long list of guests...have a band or don't have a band, to karaoke or not to karaoke...that is one of the many questions.

I revisit the root cause of weddings:

1. Boy meets girl

2. They fall in love

3. They dated for a bit

4. They decided to tie the knot

5. Parents are elated

6. Parents decide to celebrate and annouce their union to the world by sponsoring WEDDING RECEPTIONS

I used to wonder why women become bridezillas over weddings and now that I'm halfway to becoming one, I can relate to the self-imposed anxiety and gradual slide to insanity. It suddenly feels as though the wedding planning are the sole responsibility of the woman. True, women can generally multi-task and revel in the details of planning. True, it's supposed to be fun, doing all the girly-wirly things with your girlfriends and mother...sisters if you have them, or brothers if they tolerate this sort of thing. It would be really cool to have a gay friend as portrayed by Rupert Everett in 'My Best Friend's Wedding'.

In the past I had thought it amusing that so much pressure rested on this event when the more important thing is how the marriage would proceed, long after the guests have left and said their best wishes; the venues no longer have traces of your merry-making; and long after you come home from honeymoon and a huge mound of laundry is staring right back at you...

Now I'm a little bit obsessed about getting this hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event right. I guess I have always been one of those people who realize belatedly what certain things entail. And weddings are one of them. As I navigated assumptions, expectations, "assumed" expectations and realities of a budget, my stress level sky-rocketed. There were restless nights where I found myself staring at planning spreadsheets, mulling over guest lists, budgets and protocols.

What protocol? There is NO protocol. And the conflicting advice from well-meaning aunties...aren't all these things written down somewhere like a manual entitled, 'How to Carry Out a Malaysian Chinese Wedding for Dummies'? Both sets of parents established that the receptions won't be traditional but there must be some framework, some remnant structure to follow, right? Or do you just show up, eat your fill, then get up and leave? I realize as the dates draw closer, I wanted something more from the two receptions; some level of cohesiveness and a good flow...I want them to have soul...whatever that means.

I used to be proud of the fact that I didn't really concern myself with what other people might think. Now I do. Is it a sign of maturity or just an implosion of self-esteem?

Well, I probably am just stressing myself out for no apparent reason. I mean, the big things are pegged down: the venues are booked. Invites to the bridegroom's reception have been sent and many have RSVP-ed. We are looking into the invites for the bride reception this week. I selected a design for the tailor-made dress.

Maybe part of the problem is that I still view myself as a tomboy. I may have grown my hair long and seldom leave the house in some shapeless and baggy garb. But I actually dread trooping from bridal house to bridal house, looking for a decent dress that wouldn't make me look like a cupcake or burn a hole in the pocket so deep I can see the earth's magma.

Having rambled all the way down to this paragraph, the realization hit me like the monsoon rain at 4 in the afternoon: the biggest source of anxiety is that the wedding and all its intricated planning represent the beginnings of how two families will interact with each other. A precursor event that will be reflected and referenced upon, with your closest relatives, friends and colleagues as witnesses.

So now I take a deep breathe and although I am not Christian, I will murmur these soothing words of prayer: "Grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change; COURAGE to change the things I can; and the WISDOM to know the difference."


nsstaby said...

.... and that is why my dear there were only me, my groom and the Magistrate at our meager $25 wedding. I am proud to say that, after 10 years, it has outlasted some $25,000 weddings that I've been to. So, I will toast to you your wedding and offer you the same prayer, from another non Christian, "Grant my friend the SERENITY to accept the things She cannot change; COURAGE to change the things She can; and the WISDOM to know the difference."

I can't wait for the pictures and the blow by blow descriptions on the events! Maybe a girls spa weekend when you are back!

Lim said...

Thought of being alone in the world, welcome to the club girl. I am having the similar problems as you do but a year earlier. Really wish my wedding will be only me, my bride and the magistrate only but no can't do as I am tied to the century old tradition and the wishes of a mum to the only son in the family. Good luck and congratulation again.