March 12, 2001
Wedding Anxiety Dream #1


The minister has just pronounced us husband and wife.

David and I are both weeping as we exchange our first marital kiss ... his right hand tenderly cupping my chin, my left arm encircling his neck. It is the sweetest, most significant moment of our lives. When we finally break apart, we smile at each other through tears and joyously turn around to face our assembled families and guests ...

... at which point I realize that the room is filled with total strangers. I don't recognize a single fudking person there.

Furthermore, nobody in the room is paying the slightest bit of attention to the wedding ceremony. One couple is playing cards. Another guy is typing on a laptop: it looks like he's in a chat room. I look around me and realize that we aren't standing in a church, or in a chapel, or in my sister's backyard in TicTac ... but in a cavernous, fluorescent-lit cafeteria. Cheesy Muzak is being piped in over the tinny PA system. On a nearby table sits half a lopsided chocolate cake: somebody has stuck a plastic corsage into the top of it, as "decoration."

Suddenly my mother comes running into the room, her arms filled with flowers. "Sorry I'm late!" she shouts merrily. And she runs around the cafeteria, handing out wedding bouquets to disinterested strangers ... while I stand at the altar and weep some more.

End of incredibly stoopid and upsetting dream.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

I know what's going on here, of course: I've just had my very first Wedding Anxiety Dream.

The Wedding Anxiety Dream is one of those exciting, gobs-of-fun wedding traditions -- like vomiting Champale all over the male stripper, or driving off for the honeymoon with $300 worth of Trojans glued to hood of the Buick -- that I missed out on, the first time around. And while I can probably live without experiencing some of the more puerile "traditions" attached to planning a wedding/throwing a wedding/surviving a wedding -- no toilet-paper-wedding-veils at the bridal shower, thankyouverymuch -- there is probably no escaping the "tradition" of the Wedding Anxiety Dream.

In fact, I'm sure there will be plenty more dreams just like this one, between now and July 21st.

I'm also pretty sure I know what is prompting the dream (and the subconscious distress behind it), and that's the fact that most of the preparations for our wedding are being handled from a distance of 680 miles ... and they're mostly being handled by other people.

So this is one of those stoopid "loss-of-control dreams."

It's pretty much unavoidable, under the circumstances. David and I have made all of the significant decisions, of course: the *when* (summer wedding), and the *who* (my brother-in-law officiating, the TotGrrls standing up with me as my attendants) and the *what* (small informal family-and-friends ceremony/fun party afterwards/leisurely honeymoon). But the instant we decided on the *where*  --  TicTac instead of California  --  we automatically forfeited a huge chunk of control over the planning and preparation. And unless you're royalty  --  or Catherine Zeta-Jones-Douglas  --  that's pretty much the way it is when you're putting together a wedding long-distance.

And I'm mostly OK with this. I really truly am. There are only three things over which I intend to exert absolute, non-negotiable, *do-it-my-way-or- I'm-taking-my-Barbies-and-going-home* control. They are:

  • The invitations.
  • The music.
  • My dress.

These are the things that are important to me on a visceral level ... things I have strong, if not-yet-fully-articulated feelings about. This is also stuff I can probably take care of here in California.

But the rest of the wedding planning duties have fallen into the loving and extremely capable hands of my mother and my sister in TicTac. And the fact is,  stoopid Wedding Anxiety Dreams nothwithstanding, that I am THRILLED TO PIECESto surrender control of the wedding preparations to the two of them. Not only because I don't have the *time/energy/resource molecules* to oversee everything from 1,410 Zip Codes away ... or because I completely trust their tastes/abilities/instincts/resources ...

... but also because I suck at most of this stuff.

Flowers, for instance. Flowers are an example of something that I should be good at: a *chick-skill* that I should possess at least a smattering of knowledge about  ...  but don't. I don't even have an informed opinion, frankly.  To me, a flower is a flower is a flower ... an attitude my poor mother probably finds totally exasperating, since she has volunteered to take care of the flowers for the ceremony. (She created the floral arrangements for my sister's wedding, six years ago, and they were a thing of unsurpassed beauty. So I was thrilled when she offered to do mine.)  Before she left for home, two weeks ago, Mom ordered me to go to the nearest grocery store and buy every bridal magazine on the newstand. "Look through them and see if anything catches your eye," she said. So I did exactly that  --  David and I stopped at Long's Drugs in Alameda on our way home from the airport  --  and I forked over a month's worth of Maybelline money to purchase the latest issues of "Brides," "California Bride," "Elegant Bride" and "Bride Redux" magazines. I dutifully leafed through them for the next several days, seeking divine floral inspiration. Unfortunately, most of the floral arrangements pictured in those magazines,  like everything else they advertise, most especially the bridal gowns, are self-consciously trendy, exorbitantly expensive and almost painfully goofy. (Does anyone REALLY walk down the aisle carrying a bouquet of pussy willows and fresh asparagus?)  Finally I tossed the bridal magazines onto the floor in disgust and fired off an e-mail to my mom. "Just make my flowers similar to Debi's, OK?" I wrote. With my mother in charge, I already know that our flowers are going to be a bazillion times better-looking -- if slightly less-edible -- than anything I saw in those stoopid magazines.

And that's one less thing to feel anxious about.

And speaking of things edible ... food is another good example. If *I* am left in control of the buffet table at our wedding, we'll all be blotting KFC Honey BBQ sauce off our expensive formalwear all evening. Fortunately, my gifted and resourceful younger sister has offered to take over all of the food planning and preparation ... which pretty much guarantees that things will be done with good taste. When asked, I voiced a preference in wedding cakes (vanilla cake/lemon filling/sugar-intensive frosting) ... and we'll probably be asked to contribute an opinion or two about the other food and drink choices, somewhere along the way (fortunately I know more about FOOD than I do about FLOWERS) ... but again, Debi taking over this responsibility for us means that this is just one less thing to feel anxious about.

Plus there is the fact that we're getting married at Debi and Tim's house -- outdoors if the sun is shining, indoors if it isn't -- which considerably lessens both the expense and the anxiety factors. All things considered, this might turn out to be one of the least-complicated weddings in the history of the SecraTerri Family.

So why  --  if all of the plans are coming together so smoothly, with so little effort on my part  --  am I having Wedding Anxiety Dreams?

Because I'm female, maybe. Or because I'm human. (Or because I'm female AND human, at the same time.)

Or because I had pastrami for dinner last night.

Or because I'm generally more comfortable when things are *my* idea.

Or because I already know that this is going to be the most important day of my life ... and that even if I didn't really care about things one way or the other the first time I got married, I care about them this time ... and I want things this time to be, if not perfect, then at least not fudked-up in any SERIOUS way, or in any way that won't easily translate into a humorous anecdote in the re-telling (like the belt of my dress coming unfastened in the middle of the ceremony, twenty years ago) ... and that if, god fobid, something does go wrong this time, I would infinitely prefer to blame myself for the screw-up, even if it's something completely beyond my control, like rain or bees or gallbladder failure or earthquakes, than to blame anyone who worked hard to help put the wedding together in the first place.

Or because, deep down inside, I'm actually really REALLY nervous about this getting-married-again stuff. And in this regard, at least, I'm probably not much different than any other bride-to-be on the face of the planet.

Even one of those self-consciously trendy brides, marching down the aisle holding her asparagus bouquet.

throw a rock