Why wedding planning brings out my inner Andy Rooney

Guest post by Briennetheblue

Photo courtesy of time.com
Photo courtesy of time.com
There's a certain type of Offbeat Bride who is offbeat because she can look beyond the “typical bride stuff” into the tiny details most brides barely think twice about, like chair covers or napkin rings, and turn them into something innovative and suffused with meaning. She spins the traditional stuff into something entirely her own. Give her a glue gun and some sequins and suddenly there's not a square inch of that wedding that isn't stamped with the couple's deeply personal, self-actualized vision of their togetherness.

And then there's the Offbeat Bride whose beat rests on the other end of “off” — the kind for whom “typical bride stuff” is already too much to think about. In fact, it kind of turns her into a cranky old man. The world is turning too quickly for the likes of this bride, with its 250 shades of white and its 35 kinds of lace and its dye lots and seasonal greenery and hot glue guns and and and…

That bride is me. And in my head, that cranky old man is the late Andy Rooney, whose out-of-control eyebrows and ranty commentaries on modern life used to comprise the last five minutes of “60 Minutes” (and more importantly, at least at my house, signaled that there was just enough time to grab a snack before “The Amazing Race“).

Which isn't to say I have a problem with the other type of Offbeat Bride — to the contrary, I deeply envy their creativity and initiative in diving headfirst into something that absolutely petrifies me. It's probably why I managed to stay in a relationship for seven years without the subject of marriage coming up in any but the most abstract sense.

The week after my engagement became official, I hit up a local bookstore with my intended Maid of Awesome to do some very early preliminary research. Maid of Awesome recommended a few periodicals that had been helpful during her own wedding planning, and I was cautiously optimistic. After all, I had dim memories of my years working for a magazine publisher, when I'd casually flip through our flagship wedding publication to admire the frothy dresses and ornate centerpieces with the vague thought that yes, this is pretty, and someday, this will all matter to me on a more profound level. Surely now that I'm about to be involved in the actual planning of a wedding, I thought, that day has arrived.

Inner Andy Rooney just chuckled ruefully as I curled up with my newly purchased copies of “The Knot” and “Martha Stewart Weddings.” My journey into the heart of wedding-porn darkness yielded pages upon pages of text and pictures written in a seemingly foreign language. All of the “real weddings” featured clearly cost many times more than I felt comfortable pondering as my own bottom line. None of the models in the pictures looked the least bit happy or comfortable. Pages and pages of text were devoted to invitation typefaces, color schemes, thematic centerpieces, and registry items. (My view: if you need several paragraphs of text to explain to you what a particular gadget even is, chances are you don't need it, and you certainly don't need to be asking other people to buy it for you.) Also, memorably, there was some positively baffling mock-astonishment at the inclusion of tree peonies in an autumnal bouquet. I mean, PEONIES! Can you imagine?

Which isn't to cast aspersions on anybody who DOES understand what was shocking about the tree peonies, of course. It's just that I don't see myself ever understanding it or caring. (I guess I want flowers? And I guess they'll be… colors?) To be honest, nothing has ever, EVER brought out my inner cranky old man like wedding planning is already doing. And believe me, my inner cranky old man was not exactly the shy, retiring type up to this point. All I see at the moment is not a big party celebrating our love for one another, but a big project that I will eventually be judged on. If it's not frilly enough, not unique enough, not interesting enough, not traditional enough, not personal enough, not excited enough, not festive enough, not somber enough… someone's going to have a problem with it. Probably everyone is. Forgive me if that doesn't make me excited to muster an opinion on three thousand things I've never had to care about before.

As I get a little deeper into the planning process, I hope my curmudgeonly ways will calm down a little bit. I know my gooey center can still be accessed when the right venue, dress, or song hits it just so. While I probably won't ever be totally fluent in bride-ese, I'm sure it will begin to make some semblance of sense to me, and I'm sure I'll find my way. I'll at least try to get my eyebrows under control before the big day arrives.

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Comments on Why wedding planning brings out my inner Andy Rooney

  1. Ugh, I hear you. 🙁 Every time anyone asks me what color the tablecloths should be, or something silly like that, I’m just like “I don’t care. They’re tablecloths. Are they -really- going to impact my ability to marry the person I love?”

    • Or even worse, what *fabric* the table cloths are going to be, and floor length or lap length, and omgwhothehellactuallycaresaboutthisshit. Exactly

      • Ours were slightly shorter than floor length by virtue of the fact that we didn’t know if my daddy would be in a wheel chair on the day or not. However, if you don’t have accommodations to make for someone that is physically disabled, it doesn’t really matter.

    • Wait, do people actually ask that? My head would explode. Aaaand that’s why I’m doing a package destination wedding with random sprinkles of DIY. I can’t imagine ever caring about table cloth fabric, but I can definitely imagine going postal on anyone who tried to make me do so. Yech.

  2. I also suffer from this. People ask me questions about tablecloths or centerpieces or floral arrangements and my response is always “er…. whatever is cheapest?”

  3. same here. i told a few people i didn’t want flowers all over the place… or ‘colors’… or dance music…. what a mistake that was!

  4. I was just talking about this last night to my fiance. Why is it suddenly we are all expected to become expert event planners for our wedding? I can’t find two shits to give about 99.9999% of wedding stuff.

    Themes? Bridal party? Fancy printed invitations? None of this makes a lick of sense to me. I’ve been engaged a year now and my wedding is about half a year away, and the closer it gets to the wedding date, the LESS I care about wedding stuff and, honestly, the grumpier I get about it. I really resent the social expectation that I, as a woman, am supposed to care about this completely inane bullshit.

    My fiance and I both just want the wedding day to be over with so we can just be a married couple.

    • Seriously. Our wedding is 2 weeks away and I still have no idea what’s happening for the most part. We made the mistake of letting our families talk us into having the wedding in our home town instead of where we live now… so… it just kind of ended up as “You guys do whatever you want because you obviously care sooo much more than we do.”

      • I have to keep reminding people that weddings ONE generation ago were basically meet at the ceremony place (according to your tradition or religion or whatnot) and then everybody meet at someone’s house or a local restaurant for a modest, simple dinner. Suddenly now we all need to be staging these crazy elaborate affairs with every possible detail nauseatingly attended to, meant to scream “OMG TRUE LOVE!!!!11” like some giant folksy pinterest orgasm.

  5. Hear hear!! I was the same way. I gave my “special designated people” samples of the colors I generally wanted them to follow, and said “go find a dress.” I got questions like “What are the bridesmaids dresses like?” and “you don’t know? You haven’t seen them?!? What if they don’t match?” so on and so forth. I didn’t see 2 of the dresses until my sisters in them showed up for pictures, and you know what? Everyone looked good! So do what you want, don’t listen to the nay-sayers.
    Great side note; not one of them spent more than $35 on their outfits, total.

    • I did this for my wedding to! I still havn’t seen the dresses. We shall find out Friday! I am sure everyone’s going to look great. And more importantly to me, they are all going to feel comfortable and look like themselves. All without spending a ridiculous amount of money.

      • I asked my four girls to get a dress they are happy with in blue….Only issue I have is one of my girls is still freaking out that the ‘four’ will not “match” and I spun her out completely when I told her the otherday when she asked about what the otherd have….not only are the dresses different styles, lengths, tones……and drum roll different fabric…….ahhhh the horror!!!!! Her eyes nearly popped out lol

  6. Cranky old man is the perfect way to describe how I felt about wedding ‘hooplah’. I wanted to just spend time with my new husband and our friends & family. I felt like all the decorations were taking away my vital brainspace/energy. Feeling so detached from the decorations/people’s attire/similar details was very conducive to letting my eager loved ones ‘take over’. Folks who asked to help coordinated things beautifully. The only things I paid real attention to were the food, my dress, the venue, and photos. Everything else was too trying on my patience. Oddly, I loved diving into the nitty gritty details for my best friend’s wedding about a year later!

  7. Thank you so much. I thought I was the only one getting pissed when asked about things I’ve never cared about

    • yes! i was starting to think i was a terrible person who didn’t believe in love!!

  8. Just wanted to say thank you for posting this. =) I knew I couldn’t be alone. For me it’s napkins. Why do I need to care about the color of the napkins?

    • I’m doing paper napkins! The color won’t make a bit of difference cuz they will be covered and stained with food lol

  9. I’m the same – with a little less grump (…I tell myself not fully believing it). What worked for me was being honest with people when I really didn’t care about something (people have a hard time accepting this though…), and picking a couple things that I DID care about (food, outdoor setting, casual atmosphere). Good luck!

  10. I’m really lucky I had such kick-ass family and friends. And I’m also glad my mother is a lot like me. At one point my mom offered to take over renting dishes. She called me with the options, and I was all “white is fine” and she was all “great”. Took us about five minutes. My mantra was “will anyone other than myself give a shit?”

  11. I spent much of the wedding planning stage thinking about what I remembered of weddings I’d been to. If I didn’t remember? It probably wasn’t worth bothering about. Thank goodness my mother had already seen my four siblings married, because she very quietly look care of important things I wasn’t going to worry about. (Example: the card box was a tray my best friend and I bought at the pound shop after brunch on our way back to the hotel to get ready for the ceremony.)

  12. Seriously – thank you for pointing out that this is one other way to be offbeat. Basically I AM Andy Rooney at this point. I’ve gone through a lot of anguish trying to care about the day being “perfect” or “unique” or just “pretty,” and I just don’t really care that much. Can we just be married now please? I’m thinking of just hiring a wedding planner to outsource all of the tedious details, because I just can’t.

  13. So my family is nuts like everyone’s and there is so much drama these days and a wedding seems just…too much. So my fiance and I were talking and we booked a venue in Scotland because we want to go there, that’s it. The people who matter will show up and the people that don’t obviously don’t matter (except if grandma can’t travel, I can understand that).But the best part is that I don’t have to DO anything, there is a planner at the hotel and she emails me questions once in a while and when I say, “I don’t care” she says, “ok, purple” or whatever fits and it’s done. Awesome!

  14. I basically came up with a few color schemes I wouldn’t mind and had my bridesmaids pick, and stuck with it. Its not that I *love* these colors or have always dreamed of these colors, I just needed to make a decision so we could narrow everything down. My venue owner got frustrated with me when my response to a lot of stuff was, “I don’t care, as long as it looks nice whatever is cheapest.” Urgh. If I don’t think it matters, why would I want anything other than the cheapest option? And why is that not a valid opinion to have? Lame.

  15. Thanks for this post. As an apathetic bride, I found this entry very reassuring.

  16. This is so me. Except, I’ve always tended towards Andy Rooney…”damn kids, get off my lawn!” I thought like that in 3rd grade. Although, as a little girl, weddings fascinated me and the more extravagant, the better, those days are 25 years past. In reality, I’m not detail oriented (don’t cross-reference my resume on that) and I just can’t muster a fuck to give about the details. Even stuff I do care about…one childhood fixation that stuck is floral bouquets (just bouquets, no centerpieces or anything), but even that I don’t care what kind of flowers (cheap, that works for me) as long as they exist. As somebody said, I remember few details from others’ weddings and, although I know everybody isn’t like me, I can’t justify much energy or money for things I wouldn’t remember. What I do remember is whether it was a fun party…that’s where I keep my eye on the prize. Booze, fun music, and awesome people will take care of that: ergo, I’m all set!

  17. I was the same way for my wedding. I got so overwhelmed that I postponed it multiple times because I didn’t want to plan it, which ended up sending the wrong message to people, even my family. In the end we had a spur of the moment (1 weeks notice) wedding that my uncles girlfriend and my mom planned. We just showed up, followed the directions we were given and got married. The wedding was great, but if I could do it over again, I would have had a much much smaller ceremony with nice dinner afterwards.

  18. I started to get really stressed because I *had* to care about everything, and caring that much is exhausting, stressful, and really not worth it for me. So, my and my FH’s new wedding planning mantra is, “fuck it.” If we don’t care about it, we’re not doing it! Huzzah! Also taco bar…we’re having a taco bar.

    • Omg! May just steal the taco bar idea! I’m dangerous with salsa but that is what bibs are for right?

      • I had on a big white dress and still used my napkin as a huge bib to eat my steak pie. I worried for a second about looking a bit daft, then figured I’d look much more daft with steak pie all over myself 🙂

  19. I’m pretty sure you’re inside my head. I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate wedding planning and just can’t wait until this whole thing is over.

  20. My boyfriend and I want to get engaged but the thought of having to plan a wedding makes us both nauseous so we are procrastinating. He’s more of the “let’s just go to the court house” ilk whereas I understand that a wedding is important to both of our families. I just can’t bring myself to want to care about planning one. Glad I’m not alone.

  21. I’d like to offer some gleeful and terrifying comment like “it get’s so much worse, you have no idea” because on a certain level it does. The WIC drives towards “the bride must make all of the decisions” and “you must have a favorite shade of [colour]”.
    But the truth is that you can offload a ton of the decision making to: your fiance, your maid of awesome, your mother, the event manager at your venue, etc and your wedding will still be beautiful and awesome and entirely yours because its’ a wedding, and all weddings are beautiful and awesome, even if they happen in a 24 hour chapel in Vegas and fake Elvis is the officiant.

  22. Hahaha. Oh, man, I hear you. I have recently decided that I don’t want to spend any money on centerpieces. As in, I do not want to spend even 50 cents because the venue is super gorgeous, so it’s not really necessary.

    And every time I tell someone “Oh, yeah, I don’t care about centerpieces. We probably won’t even have them.” People get all excited (and think they are bonding with me) to talk about all the crafty, inexpensive centerpiece options. No one seems to be able to grasp that I just really, really do-not-care about them and do not want even the cheap crafty ones.

    • I feel you. My dad placed a pretty blue swirly ribbon down the center of each table at the last minute. It actually looked lovely.

    • I did have cheap crafty centerpieces, because I wanted something other than just a table number to let people know where to sit. We knew we were going to need table numbers because there was a dust up at tinman’s brother’s wedding where family felt left out because there weren’t assigned seats. We went with Warehouse 13 artifacts, and named the tables for the artifact.

  23. “It’s just that I don’t see myself ever understanding it or caring. (I guess I want flowers? And I guess they’ll be… colors?)” …

    Those were the tasks I gave away. I loved all the flowers & wouldn’t have been able to choose, so I gave the bouquet & non-flower centerpiece tasks to my Mother, & she took off running.

    Everything was beautiful in the end, & I was happy to be surprised by the things I didn’t handle.

  24. It’s like you crawled out of my head to write this post.

    Especially with things like flowers… I’m like… make them colours, no roses. Make it look nice. I’m not a florist. I don’t know. I don’t care. In the long run, it really doesn’t have any sort of impact on the wedding or the marriage.

    And the whole time, mom is bawking, “You’re the most un-bride-like bride ever!”

    • That’s because you are so uninterested in any planning at all. You did not even want to try on wedding dresses. All of that is OK, I have your back!

      • Haha. Thanks mom. <3 <3 I really do appreciate you taking the reins and just getting shit done. Because this wedding planning crap is so not for me.

        • I have actually had fun with it. For all you brides, that care about one or two aspects of your wedding and reception but really do not care about other aspects, find someone in your life who would like to help you put things together. Toni told me what sorts of things she wanted and I just helped her by making it happen. It helps that I am paying for the wedding so I could buy things without asking her for money. If you are paying for your own wedding you might want to make a joint account with your wedding helper.

    • D’aww you guys! This conversation is even cuter when you can see Toni’s mom’s email address (which I can see, but y’all can’t for privacy reasons).

      Lemme just say it’s something akin to [email protected] (but of course totally not that). ADORABLE!

  25. I’m kinda a mix between the two – I do care about everything and want to micromanage every detail, but I cannot possibly do it or get it how I want it, and that makes me cranky.

  26. Thanks for posting – I feel very much the same way except my inner oldie is a panicky old woman. I thought the first few months of engagement were meant to be a heady haze of joy and excitement, but on my first day back at work with the ring on my finger I found myself bombarded with ‘suggestions’ and was utterly confused about chair covers and their cost. One couldn’t possibly get married with bare chairs.

  27. I am so happy for this post! With 37 days (so my very bride-y website tells me!) until our wedding – I was beginning to succumb to the pressure that I should be overwhelmed and anxious over the details of the wedding. I think we’re not going to have centerpieces either…and all of my 11 (!!) bridesmaids are wearing their own dresses in any fabric, length, hue, style they want. our wedding will look like it was planned by 17 people who didn’t know each other, but I know it will also look like all the things my guy and I love. And only 1 of the 11 is horrified.



  28. This, so much. I may be projecting here, but I’ve always figured everybody has at least some wedding things they just don’t care about, or traditions that seem like a burden.

    For me, it is having to CATEGORIZE MY FRIENDS by designating specific ones to be a “wedding party” etc. Usually I’m pretty secure about my awesomeness as a friend, but the wedding party thing makes me feel so insecure. Like just when I finally made the leap to commit to a dude, now I have to go even further and make “friend proposals” to my “top” x number of friends? Definitely makes me feel like a cranky old man.

  29. Maybe you’ll all hate me, but my sister just turned me onto this site (I’m getting married in June), and so far (so far…) there’s been no drama or pain or stress. It’s all just been fun. I bounced venues (and cities, states, and countries) around in my head until I realized that with our friends scattered all over the globe, we might as well have the wedding close to my (large) extended family in rural Oklahoma. (Plus the thought of organizing a New York wedding made me want to commit seppuku.)

    Since then we’ve had a ball putting together a lavish and gorgeous outdoor ceremony and reception with free (family-owned) venues and local vendors and help (and homemade booze, and leftover favors and decorations from far more lavish weddings) from friends and neighbors. Even flying in several friends, the wedding will cost about 10% of what a chintzy wedding would cost in New York.

    As they say, the important people will show up, and we can have separate parties for our NY and California and Turkish friends and family (my fiance is Turkish) who can’t make it. Nobody stresses and nobody goes crazy, the budget doesn’t get wild, and it’s still fun, beautiful, and memorable.

    Then again, talk to me in about five and a half months… We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

  30. Thank goodness! As a young girl I never dreamed of being married as I spent most of my time digging mud pits and climbing trees. However, once I met my now fiancée the idea came up and I liked it. I just never knew that this meant crap like colors and this and that ppl ask all the time and tell me ohhh you must spend money on this and that such as a photographer. In my mind all it is is a celebration of out love. Period. My aunt takes great photos for free and if they don’t turn out, soooo what! I will still wake up and love my soon to be husband! 🙂

  31. This pretty much sums up how I feel. I live in Los Angeles where the price of anything wedding is an arm and a leg…and me and my fiance are paying for the wedding. The first week of trying to find a wedding venue caused so much more stress then I could have imagined. I wanted something pretty and outside but didn’t really care where. I wanted pictures that brought fond memories and didn’t remind me that I was too cheap and stressed to care. After tentatively picking a venue and retro peacock theme I scratched it all almost entirely for a Vegas wedding. I found a pretty outdoor gazebo for a reasonable price. Since it’s pretty much a set package the ceremony was done as simple as that. We plan to go to a buffet with our 25 or so guests for the reception. I kept my love of vintage by asking the guests to dress era 1920’s-1950’s. For me this seemed the perfect combo of fun and stress free and I’ve been so much happier and relaxed ever since. The old man inside me is smiling a toothless smile.

    • Totally playing my song here with this post. What’s worse is that my fiancee is a very family oriented guy, his mom is trying to plan the whole thing, and I just want it to be a backyard gathering with friends. Since she is financing the whole thing it’s obviously going to be a big production – which brings out my inner Andy Rooney (btdubs my last name is Rooney and ive been called this before while being grumpy).

      The details that do matter to me – having an outdoor wedding, friends only in the wedding party, and an eclectic menu – are not options at all. Then people are annoyed at me for being apathetic about the whole thing. Marrying a mommas boy is giving me Andy syndrome.

  32. Thank you so so much for this, so that I don’t feel alone in feeling like anything wedding-related makes me a grumpy old man. I’ve been with my guy over 7 years and I always have to get all jokey when people bring up whether we’re going to get married, mostly because people were taken aback whenever I said I didn’t like weddings. And while drunk at a wedding my boyfriend tried to start a debate at our table about whether weddings are for you (aka do whatever you want) or for the family (and just something you have to do). I’ll just say we’re on different sides of that issue…

    Then again, I have a very close friend who’s in the beginning stages of her career (hopefully) as an event planner and she has offered to plan an entire wedding for me. And I’m very seriously considering that offer, when the time comes…

  33. I love this so much because I was the same way when wedding planning, and my husband calls me Andy Rooney all the time. Apparently it’s endearing?

  34. I’m not even grumpy about it, I’m just sort of meh. Like, I’m EXCITED for the wedding, and to be married, but I’m rather apathetic about the whole planning bit. I refuse to be stressed about it. I’ll end up married no matter what, so the rest of it is just gravy.

  35. I think the panic over wedding planning is just NOT ENOUGH PARTIES in general. A wedding does not have to be the only fun event EVAR. I just proposed to my sister that we throw a seasonal tea & dragons party for some occasion we have yet to make up. Because most of the fuss is the reception, and that’s a big flipping party. There will be other parties – truly I sincerely hope your wedding is not the last time anyone takes a picture of you, you eat cake, say I love you, hug your family, or get smashed with friends.

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