Weddings, Parties, Anything*: The Intensity of Planning

First published in Onya Magazine on February the 4th, 2010.

Planning a wedding is intense.

Made more intense when you pair that with trying to get a small business and publication off the ground and running well, and renovating a house. All three of which I’m currently doing. How successfully I’m travelling, I’m not sure.

With three months left until my wedding day, there’s something important I’ve realised; there will never be any pressure greater than the pressure a bride places upon herself.

Suffice it to say whenever I am doing or planning one project, I am still thinking about the other. So if I start writing about plumbing or wiring or decorating, I do apologise, but scattered is something I have become. Unwillingly.

Let me paint you an honest picture of my life right now, of my thoughts in this moment, without craving sympathy in any form, and with the pure intention of being honest:

· I have Post-it notes and pieces of paper scribbled with appointments and ideas and thoughts all over my desk. And floor. And bookshelf. And kitchen table. I literally do not know where to start in deciphering them, let alone organising them or attending to them.

· I switched off the voicemail feature on my phone because having to retrieve the constant stream of messages started making me act a little too much like John McEnroe on a bad day.

· I envy people who have the time to wash their car. Or even vacuum the interior of it.

· I have woken up, on more than one occasion, in the middle of the night, bolt upright, with an idea that then gets listed in my BlackBerry memo pad and someday transferred onto a teeny tiny bit of paper and added to the pile on my desk. Or floor. Or bookshelf. Or kitchen table.

· On some occasions, during some days, I have forgotten to eat lunch. And I’m all about the food, so that’s saying something.

· I have 114 unopened and unanswered emails in my inbox. And about another 100 opened emails to attend to.

· On any given car trip I am collecting items as varied as shower bases, shoes, toilets, jewellery, light fittings, beauty products and wine.

· I could go on, but I do fear you’d judge me, and some of the actions I’ve taken.

So when I, like today, stand in a newsagency and flip through bridal magazines and skim articles related to weddings and stress and magic and wonder, and how it’s all roses and butterflies and sugarplums on clouds, I have a very real and intense feeling of pure and unbridled anger.

Because I’d like to meet the people that plan a wedding, and renovate a house, and run a business, thathaven’t washed their hair twice in the morning because whilst in the shower they were thinking about something else, and then couldn’t remember whether they had in fact washed their hair, so they washed it again. Or shaved their already smooth legs for a second time because they were planning their Order of Service in their head.

And I’d also like to know when we’re going to stop being fed utter rubbish from magazines and websites and sales assistants? Because so far, in all of my research, I’m yet to discover some ‘REAL LIFE WEDDING TIPS’ that are actually useful. Or good. Or real. Brides to be, here’s a tip – whenever a magazine suggests a ‘budget’ idea, drop the magazine and run. It will most likely be something horribly ugly and cheap. Hence the budget aspect of it. My suggestion is to be inventive and create your own tips. Or chat to other ‘REAL LIFE BRIDES’ that you know.

And I’m yet to miss out on purchasing or ordering what I need. Despite some sales assistants insisting that if I don’t “buy it nowwwwwww,” or “order it immediatelyyyyyyyyyy,” the entire world may just run out of them.

When you’re planning a wedding and renovating a house at the same time, it’s a wonderful exercise in reality. Because you know there’s something wrong in the world when a single rose crafted for your wedding cake is quoted at the same price as your entire bathroom vanity unit. Which wasn’t cheap.

All I wish is that someone would just write the truth; that planning a wedding is intense. Sometimes stressful, sometimes overwhelming, sometimes confusing, sometimes filled with too much information to process at any one time. I wish people would realise it’s okay to say that, and doing so does not take away from the process of it being exciting, or enjoyable.

Quite seriously, Post-it note overload and voicemail deletion aside, I’m actually enjoying the entire planning process. It’s the only time in my life I’ll be planning a wedding and I’m making every moment count. And in doing so have somehow decided that means documenting the process through photographs and journals and keepsakes. Because I didn’t already have enough to do.

And there’s that issue about pressure. It’s all through my own doing. I’m not even planning all of the wedding or the renovation alone, but for some reason I’m acting as though all of it is balancing on my shoulders. Which is entirely untrue and completely self-inflicted. Brides, I’m afraid, are their own worst enemies.

My intention for this column was to document how easy, or hard, it was to plan a wedding by utilising Australian businesses, and it still is, but I think I’ve found my other focus; to be honest, really honest, about the wedding planning process. All everyone ever seems to focus on is having the perfect day. No one bothers with having the perfect lead up. I’m going to try.

Let me just write that on a Post-it.

*Weddings, Parties, Anything were an Australian indie folk rock band formed in 1984 in Melbourne, that continued rocking until 1998. Their name came from The Clash song Revolution Rock. I’ve decided to use it as the name for this weekly column because I was born in Melbourne in 1984 and love Australian indie folk rock. And I’m having a Wedding, Party, Anything in 2010.

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