Friday, January 18, 2013


I feel like it's been awhile since I've made any effort to be healthy (or home-y) and the reasons are twofold: one, I didn't truly feel like the foggy funk of the last week and a half had lifted until yesterday, and two, the interior landscape of my brain has consisted entirely of an incessant loop of a cymbal-banging monkey wearing a wedding dress.

Disclaimer: I am not, nor will I ever be (she says hopefully) a crazy, demanding bratbride. BUT. I am a bride with anxiety. So that's made for some obsessive researching over the last few weeks. Beginning in January, I've felt the compulsive need to GET ALL THE PLANNING DONE NOW! Because if ALL THE PLANNING IS DONE NOW! then I won't have to worry about it later (which, if history is any indicator, I will anyways).

I can't attribute this desire to get it all done exclusively to anxiety. Planning a wedding in Chicago is bananas. We are both born-and-raised Chicagoans (city proper, yo) and so right off the bat, that limited our options. We didn't want to do it anywhere but the city. And then we didn't want anywhere too stuffy or traditional, or insanely expensive (Note: it is ALL insanely expensive). We didn't want a Friday wedding or a Sunday wedding. And then when I found a venue we both liked, the soonest Saturday available was in 2014. So that is when our wedding will be.

But finding out how crazy-in-advance everything is done here, I've been on a manic search to nail down all of our vendors this month.  So that entails not only researching and comparing services and reviews, but crunching numbers and emailing back and forth with questions and information.

To be completely honest, we had NO idea how much a wedding would cost, let alone a wedding in Chicago. When I started out, I was like man, $10,000 is so much money, but it's once in a lifetime and maybe we can even manage to stay under that!

That is when the cymbal-clanging monkey paused momentarily to laugh at my ignorance.

If you're not familiar with wedding planning, apparently $10,000 will feed people, and that is all. And that's if you shave your guest list down and keep it under one hundred. We've tried to cut things down even more, keeping to immediate family and close friends, but it's still all bananas.

There are two polar extremes within me arguing both that to spend such an incredible amount of money on an event is indulgent and unnecessary and symptomatic of American culture gone awry, while also pointing out that this is something that's truly special and, yes, once in a lifetime, and that I would always feel sad about not doing if we eloped. (Though for some couples that's an awesome and viable option.)

Yes, the most important part is the lifelong commitment we are pledging to each other and all of the work we will do throughout our lives to maintain that commitment. But part of the joy is sharing it with the people you love. And as a design hobbyist, I would be straight-up lying if I didn't say it is a dream come true to design a large scale event and see my vision come alive, from the fashion and decor to the music and overall ambiance. I'm already up to my elbows in mood boards. Sneak peek-- here's one:

wedding mood board, Jenny Packham, bhldn, Rifle, Salvage One, Sarah Seven, Erin Fetherston
Clockwise from top left: Jenny Packham 2012 gowns, next two dresses by Fleur Wood and Anna Sui for bhldn, gold shirred strapless gown by Erin Fetherston, photo of the bridal suite at Salvage One (our venue!) by Orange 2 Photo, invitation design by Anna Bond at Rifle Paper Co., strapless dress by Sarah Seven

So I will have my hand in every single aspect of this wedding and how it looks and feels and that is endlessly exciting for me. I get to design a wedding! But, if you've been reading this blog for awhile, you may have a suspicion that such a task will entail endless worrying in this here girl. And you, my friend, would be right.

Apart from nailing down all of the vendors (sparked by the panic of realizing that in wedding-world January 2014 isn't actually far away), I have been tearing my hair out--literally, in the case of my left eyebrow--agonizing over a dress. I don't want to spend a crazy amount on a dress I will wear once, so I've been pouring over pages upon pages of department store evening gowns, which are unique and at a much lower price point than many of your standard bridal gowns. By day's end (waiting on one last shipment), I will have no fewer than 5 gowns hanging in my closet. And four of those are all variations on the same dress. This makes me feel a bit crazy. And embarrassed that I will walk into Nordstrom with arms full of sparkly pretty things to return. 

Living in Chicago, I'd be a fool not to get an appointment at bhldn, but now that just enters even more dresses into the mix, and many that are a good deal more expensive. What if I don't fall in love with any of them? What if I do fall in love with one and it's too expensive? What if I fall in love and it's too expensive and I buy it and then five months later I find something I like more? I'm terrified of making the wrong choice, a decision that I'll regret and be mad at myself for making because I didn't think hard enough and see into the future. I'm obsessed with making sure that I've see every option there is.

(I am fully aware that these are not real problems.)

Part of being anxious (for me, at least) is analyzing every possible scenario and its outcomes, and so as you can imagine, I've had some trouble tearing myself away from the internet wasteland of wedding prettiness and pulling myself back into the real world (aka this blog). Just kidding-- there's gotta be a real world out there somewhere, right? Ba-dum-CHING!

(The monkey just played that on his cymbals.)

And so for today, because awareness is meaningless without action, I pledge to not look through any more dresses, find any more mercury glass votives, or cull any more inspiration for a mind that's already filled to the brim.

I also pledge not to turn this into a wedding blog. You're welcome.