I am, if you’re to believe the Single Bridezilla piece in the February 2012 issue of Marie Claire, essentially a wedding-obsessed powder-keg just waiting to explode.
For the past year or so, I managed to channel (and thus repress) my inner wedding-planner tendencies through my friend Becky, who dances with the Lady Hoofers and got engaged to her longtime boyfriend Louis last summer.
I did this (the channeling/repressing) mainly by taking pictures of things I see while I was out shopping (museum gift shops, craft stores, thrift shops, florists, the Habitat for Humanity Restore and of course the clearance rack at Bed, Bath and Beyond) and sending them to her with helpful and tactfully-worded suggestions.
Because Becky is basically the epitome of a non-zilla (she does useful things with her time instead, like biking cross country to raise money for cancer research or studying for the GREs to go back to school for public health), I tried to restrain myself. For every three pictures I took, I sent, for example, only one, and even then, I was always careful to make it clear that I absolutely would not be offended if she didn’t take my suggestions.
It was, after all, her wedding.
This past winter, we got together with two other friends to start assembling decorations. Becky was on a paper flower kick at the time and because I’ve spent essentially my entire life on a paper flower kick, I was greatly looking forward to an afternoon of wine, cookies, the Justin Timberlake channel on Pandora and tissue paper. (Don’t judge.)
Only Becky didn’t want tissue paper flowers. She wanted coffee filter flowers.
I missed the official Pinterest tutorial (which the others had watched while I was on my way from a networking event for travel writers) so I arrived just in time to ask, “Coffee filters? Why are we using coffee filters? And do you really have to stab the filters with the wire stems one at time? Isn’t there a faster way? Maybe we should set up an assembly line, Henry Ford style? And did you get my text about the popcorn ceiling glitter on sale at the Habitat ReStore? It would give these flowers some depth because white on white isn’t going to “pop” in photographs…”
I didn’t shut up until Becky tossed a pile of cream colored tissue paper onto the table. (She may or may not have been aiming for my head.)
“Here,” she instructed, in the same tone that exasperated mothers use with whining toddlers. “Use this.”
I could barely contain my excitement. Tissue paper, you see, offers infinitely more possibilities than coffee filters. And the addition of cream to the color palette? A godsend.
“You can make then with pointy petals,” I demonstrated a few minutes later. “Or round ones, like this. And different sizes too. Small, or large. What do you think about this one? It’s a bit… avant-garde, because I combined the tissue paper with the coffee filters and used the scalloped scrapbooking scissors but I think it will go nicely with the others.”
After creating five or six prototypes (and holding up each one for Becky’s approval), she finally said, “Kat, how about you just make whatever you want to make and add them to pile?”
A moment later, being the supportive friend that I am, I assured her, once again, that I would not be offended if she chose not to use my “creations” at the wedding.
The truth of this statement was debated by all parties present, then there was a bit of a meltdown over floral tape (not, I’m proud to report, on my part), followed by a definite decrease in productivity when the chocolate chip cookies emerged from the oven.
The afternoon was saved by its abrupt conclusion, precipitated by an urgent phone call from PIC.
“Wherever you are,” he began, “stop what you are doing and come straight home. Please. The roads are terrible. Tell your friends to go home too.”
There was, I forgot to mention, a bit of a blizzard bearing down on the City of Brotherly love and even though we had considered postponing the flower making, who honestly cares about personal safety when there is a wedding to be had???
It took me 90 minutes to make what should have been a 20 minute drive, but that hour and a half of white-knuckled inching my way down Broad Street gave me plenty of time to think, Carrie Bradshaw style:
Why is it that we go so crazy about weddings?
Those of you who truly know me recognize (I hope) that all of that Single Bridezilla business was just a thing, and as a relatively new blogger looking to gain exposure, I went along with it. It is both who I am and not who I am.
As a professor of anthropology, I have plenty of theories about just why weddings turn even the most sane amongst into Pinterest addicts (which I will share with you all some other time once they’re a bit more coherent) but in the meantime, I want to hear yours. Why all the hullaballoo over what should be such a simple rite of passage?