Friday I had a phone meeting with my wedding planner. This wedding has been so far in the back of my mind that even though I put two pop up screeching alarms in my phone to remind me of her phone call, I still managed to get stuck in the middle of the grocery store when she called exactly on time. It went something like this:
Planner: "So have you thought about flowers?"
Me: "No, I don't really care about flowers."
Planner: "What kind do you like?"
Me: "I don't know."
Planner: "What kinds of colors were you thinking for your decor?"
Me: "Do we really need decor?"
Planner: "Ok. What about your wedding dress, have you started looking?"
Me: "Um. No. should I?"
Planner: "It can take up to 6 months once you've ordered it. So I'd say yes."
Me: "Ok I'll get right on that"
Planner: "Cake? Lighting? Officiant? Have you thought about any of this?"
Me: "I'm thinking about it now."
Planner: "You know, I have this giant binder for you that is supposed to be filled with pictures and pages of things you are looking for, and it is completely empty."
I then stopped the conversation and had to explain to her why in 3 months of having hired her, I've only decided on the location of the venue. I explained to her what I've told all of you here. The wedding freaks me out a bit. I've done this before and I'm petrified to do it again. It feels like I know the end to this story because I've lived it before, and it's taking everything in me to tell myself that this one ends differently. Every effort, every stitch of hope and faith that I have inside.
Lucky for me, the wedding planner then admits that she too has been married twice and totally understands how I am feeling. Phew.
I promise her that I am beginning therapy on it this week and that I will concentrate on looking for the dress. I tell my friends the story and one of them takes charge and sets a date of 2/12 to go try on dresses with my mom, sister-in-law, future mother-in-law, and my 4 best friends (to provide Xanax and hold the paper bag when I hypervenilate).
I do hang up the phone and start feeling like I'd better tackle these things. Once home, I decided to google wedding dresses. The images popped up on the screen and for a second I pictured myself in one, and then for some reason remember the old Sex and The City episode where Carrie tries on a wedding dress and instantly breaks out in a rash and can't breathe. Ugh.
I started looking through bridal blogs and online magazines that before, had my stomach in knots and made me feel overwhelmed. And then something clicked and I became OBSESSED. I researched the different wedding boutiques in town, and this lead me to researching the different designers and price points, and then before you know it I see a dress that I think might be THE DRESS:
It couldn't be more different than my "other one". It's stylish, it's short, it's ivory, perfect for a west coast destination wedding and for what Mr. Wonderful is planning on wearing. I can wear it out to party after the wedding and dinner, and I can wear it again to the wedding reception two weeks later back home. And it's $1100 cheaper than my budget ($395!)
Did I just do this? Did I just find a dress and not break out in a rash and hyperventilate? Well, we have yet to see really, I still have to try it on and look in the mirror and see *me* as a bride again.
And that's what it boils down to. I have to see me as a bride again. After my mom asked to go bridal gown shopping with me I started thinking about how it must feel as a mother to take your daughter wedding dress shopping twice. Will she cry this time too, overwhelmed with emotion at the sight of me as a bride, or is that old hat by now? I remember finding the "perfect" dress last go around with her, and how we both were overwhelmed with emotions...so different than what I will be feeling this time I'm sure. Last time I felt as though I were riding off into the sunset. I had found my Prince Charming and life would finally be easy. Now I have absolutely no delusions of what marriage is, what it entails, and how fragile it can be. What emotions will I have as I slip the dress on and peer into the mirror at a 34 year old bride and mother of three? I'm almost afraid of what might come up. This is the closest one can get to literally "trying on" marriage again.
Through my researching I heard about the TLC show "Say Yes to the Dress". I decided to watch a couple of episodes on my ipad while I worked out and within a day I was completely hooked. Last night I watched it on Netflix until 2am. Every single episode I cry. When I first separated from my husband and would go out with friends we'd occasionally come across bachelorette parties. If I'd had enough to drink I might warn the poor, unsuspecting girl "DON'T DO IT!" I'd see tv shows like Say Yes to the Dress and think to myself "pigs running to a slaughter house". I convinced myself that marriage itself was the problem.
I've been hurt so badly. I don't want to get hurt again. I don't want to be abandoned again.
But I have chosen to face all these fears and make the conscious effort to move forward and try. And when I think of *after* the wedding, I am ok. I know that Mr. W and I will work anything out that comes up because we do have a love and respect for each other that I know many marriages and couples do not have. It's just the act of getting there, the touchstone that I've touched before.
But this one *will* be different in so many ways, including the man who will be waiting for me at the end of the aisle. I've got to keep my eye on that prize...him.