Sometimes the smallest things in life are the ones worth remembering. At your graduation, it’s not necessarily walking across the stage to get your diploma that you want to remember: it’s the jokes you told with your friends backstage moments before, as you all breathlessly tried to freeze in memory the last four…or five…or six…years. At work, it’s not the big project launch that means the most: it’s the coworkers who powered through it together.
I’m learning that planning a wedding is a lot like that. Everyone wants to know about The Dress and The Cake and The Flowers. But the moments that really mean the most to me are the least impressive ones to talk about.
It’s not being able to sleep the night he proposes; not being able to stop grinning stupidly at your hand.
It’s announcing your engagement to your coworkers in your morning meeting by keeping your hand in your pocket until it’s your turn to speak, then casually throwing out, “Oh, and this happened this weekend,” as you hold your hand up. And other coworkers’ reactions, including but not limited to speedwalking past your desk, grinding to a halt, and yelling, “Get the fuck out!” in disbelief. (Only in journalism would that be a congratulatory statement.)
It’s sitting down on your first Valentine’s together to try to figure out how to start planning your wedding (and then, when you decide to start with the guest list, drawing crazy doodles around the guest totals as you go out of sheer boredom with list-making).
It’s flying 2,000 miles to try on wedding dresses with your mom and your best friends, and having every store hand you dresses six sizes too big because that’s all they have. Your poor best friend takes this in stride, and helps you dive head-first into mound after mound of gathered, blinged-out satiny death traps. But she doesn’t care: in fact, she keeps whispering that you need to try more of them on, because you only get to do this once so you might as well.
It’s writing “Will you be my bridesmaid?” notes in the bathroom and stuffing them into lockets (trying desperately to remember which name you put in which locket), because you didn’t have time to do it before your friends came over and you won’t see them again for weeks. And your matron of honor not being able to get her locket open at all.
It’s your mom planting hundreds of flower seeds, fingers crossed they bloom in time for you to carry.
It’s your dad so determined to find a good place for the rehearsal dinner that he doesn’t care it’s not the bride’s parents’ responsibility. Maybe, you suspect, he just wants to go sample barbecue.
It’s the determination you and he have to pound out the registry. So you each grab a computer, and focus like hell until he starts playing old Joe Diffie songs and you can’t help singing to them, exclaiming at each one, “I didn’t realize this was Joe Diffie!” And at the end of the night, you have some bedding and some curtains and some kitchen utensils and John Deere Green stuck in your head.
It’s spending nearly two hours in DSW, trying on every pair of heels that *might* work with your dress (which you saw once, for fifteen minutes, a month ago). When you finally decide on the pair that is the comfiest, prettiest, and least expensive, you realize as you’re buying them that they are in fact Disney Princess “Glass Slipper Collection” heels. Your prince is coming whether you freaking like it or not.
It’s getting your invitations from the printer, opening them with him, and reading them together, sensing him smiling ear-to-ear behind you. “They look fantastic, Heather Jay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Keith,” he says, hand on your shoulder.
No, I don’t know who’s baking the cake or where the flowers are coming from, or even where I’m staying the night before. None of that *really* matters. What really matters is how much I make of each of these moments, because these are the moments that life itself is made of. The wedding? It will be a pretty awesome day. But it’s just a day; just a few hours. It changes everything and yet also very little. What is meaningful to me now will still be meaningful to me afterward, and if I let those small, lovely moments pass as insignificant, then I probably will continue to miss the little beautiful moments life holds for me in years to come.