Image: One Love Photo


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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

#8: Bridal Bipolar Disorder

                                              Image: Marije Weterings

It's more than just mood swings; it's highs and lows that make Lindsay Lohan seem like a perfectly stable young lady. It's the endless u-turns in a bride's perspective, attitude, and behavior. It's called Bridal Bipolar Disorder.

To demonstrate the weight of this serious illness, read the following 2 unpublished posts about my wedding budget, both written within the same week. I did not feel moved to share them on the blog because they seemed so contradictory. But now I realize that this is PRECISELY why I must share them; their significance is highlighted when they sit side by side. Right now I'm seeking ways to reconcile these two sides of me, but for now they are just 2 blog posts at war with each other. 

Which one can you relate to?

Written Thursday, May 13:

Working with a super tight budget for our wedding has been a blessing in disguise. Why? Enter bullet points:

Being thrifty has...
  • challenged me to be creative (e.g., I designed my dress when I couldn't afford the, ahem, $9k gown I wanted.)
  • summoned my strengths. My super reflective, sentimental, and spiritual side has helped fight off the attack of the Big Bad Wedding Industry, which seeks to suck brides dry of their cash, integrity, and sanity.
  • brought out the best in my relationship with Brian. Turns out we work great as a team.  (I'm all ideas, he's the execution; I'm about the charming details, he's about the big picture.) 
  • strengthened my relationship with Brian. We had to do lots and lots of talking about our goals and needs in order to whittle our creative vision down to something affordable. As a result we became better listeners and closer friends.
  • forced me to identify my values, and plan our celebration with integrity according to these values. (Do I value relationships more than aesthetics? If yes, do the ceremony and reception reflect this? Or did my pursuit of a "perfect" wedding day create more unresolved friction with the people who matter most to me?)
Ahh...budget bliss. It's priceless. (Har-har.)

Written Sunday, May 16:

I feel like an absolute turd right now.

It was probably just wishful thinking when I posted about Operation $10,000 wedding. Well, okay - I think I will only need to spend an extra $200 or so in order to bring my dream wedding into fruition, which isn't too bad. But still, I feel like a failure.

Why? One word: guilt. Guilt over the fact that I have been so seduced by pretty little material things that I am willing to give up on a financial promise I had made to myself, to my partner, and to strangers in cyberspace on this here blog.

I've been putting pressure on myself to be the perfect "indie bride" -- you know, a woman who can harness her mad craft skillz to create a unique, non-traditional, and fabulously charming budget wedding. But no matter how unique or casual I consider myself to be, and no matter how unimpressed I am with the luxurious perks of platinum weddings, when it comes down to it I feel exactly the way many other brides feel when they've been brainwashed by the wedding industry-- out of breath, not good enough, and stressed the heck out! And the root of it all? The irrational fear that our wedding won't be as beautiful as the images that I see on OnceWed. (Hey traditional brides: the equivalent would be The Knot.)

I've found some comfort in the always wise and witty words of Meg over at A Practical Wedding, who would probably advise me to stay focused on having an honest wedding, not one that is tied to some idealized price tag. And fiance Brian keeps reminding me that it's not a bad thing to spend a tiny bit more (within reason) if that's what it takes to make our little hearts soar on July 31st.

My mind keeps rewinding back to when I stumbled upon a blog about a bride's budget wedding that happened to have cost WAY less than our $10,000 cap. Only thing is I didn't feel inspired by her thriftiness or down-to-earth vibe -- I felt inferior. I felt like I was a material girl living in material world (only NOT proud of it like Madonna was in her song). How did that happen, people?? Someone please tell me!

Am I not smart, thrifty, creative, or disciplined enough to keep to our budget?? Am I not wise, spiritually mature, or grounded enough to forgo the charming yet costly aesthetic details???

Yes, everyone...I know I'm being too hard on myself. And yet I can't help but feel like I've fallen short.

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