So, you might ask... what about that wedding?
Well, after giving myself some time to acclimate myself to Valerie's life, I started in on that. Especially after a few weeks of Josh checking in on my planning and me having to brush it aside with a "Don't worry, I'm on it." There's a certain point where you can't just stall anymore. This wedding, Valerie is determined, is happening.
There are enough mental hoops to jump through in this life... cuts and bruises you take on your way to swallowing your pride and living someone else's life, that by the time I wind up trying to plan a wedding I can almost say fine, bring it on. Even at my most romantic, I'm not sure I ever saw myself getting married. (Well, maybe once but I blew it.) Generally I think weddings are kinda pointless, but they're important to a lot of people, and right now I'm expected to represent that, so what's one more challenge on my plate?
And it happens that, thanks to my experience as Judith, I know a thing or two about event-planning, so this whole affair is in decently capable hands.
Valerie, from a distance, is still trying to plan her dream wedding. Obviously, we agreed, "Anna" would be getting an invite, but I had my doubts as to how she would handle that. I mean... it must be a surreal, possibly even painful experience, to watch yourself walk down the aisle from a distance.
She sighed. Of course that would be tough, knowing I was in her place, wearing her dress, kissing her man. But she says, it's a well-known fact, Brides hardly even get to enjoy the wedding - they have to see everyone and partake in an array of traditions and demands and put up with being hostess and center of attention all at once. That just feeds my point, how one's "special" day somehow doesn't belong to them the way it should, makes you wonder what it's all for. She almost got dreamy when she really considered being able to actually relax and truly take it all in on her own wedding day.
We started dealing over Skype, but it's sadly not coming together as fast as I would like. She picks out a few different invitations, and tells me to get Josh's input - and of course being male, Josh wants to know which one I like, and sometimes what I like (not that anyone asked) isn't what Val likes -- of course there's a correct answer, but she still needs the validation. Around and around it goes for everything from photographers and DJ's to centerpieces and seat-covers.
I'm dealing with a very particular brand of wedding crazies here.
There's also a bit of disagreement over the Bridesmaids dresses, which display a considerable amount of cleavage, considering one of the five (!!)* bridesmaids is Val's 16-year-old cousin Celia. I'm inclined to agree with "Aunt Faye" that it's inappropriate, but Val and Celia agreed beforehand that she would be treated equal.
*The other four are Brigette (Pete, you recall), Val's 25-year-old sister Jennifer, her 20-year-old sister Kate, and Marie, the Maid of Honor.
Then there's the guest-list, because while Josh and Val know who they want to invite, there's also Josh's mom's friends and Valerie's dad's co-workers and all of this push-pull between the families that I'm not as equipped to handle as Val really is. I try to play peacemaker but you know, there are pressures from all over the place.
Like I said, all of this is really boring stuff to talk about, but it's a lot of what I've been dealing with for weeks, and again, even though it's not "my" wedding, at the end of the day I own a bit of it so it's on my mind at work, at home, when I try to fall asleep, no matter what.
The thing that concerns me most is the dress. As Marie has told (or "reminded") me, she had a hard time picking her "perfect" dress and isn't it great that - or only a few hundred more than she wanted to pay - she found her vision of a dream gown, after stressing out for months this year?
And I... hate it.
I went for Val's second fitting a few weeks ago and tried it on to prepare for alterations, and I took one look at it and almost gagged. Hey, I'm used to wearing ladies' clothes now. If I have to, I can wear a dress. But even if I self-identified as 100% female, even if I had no ex-male hangups about fashion, I would not choose to wear this dress. I'm sure it's perfectly lovely for a woman who has spent her life imagining walking down the aisle, but for me... not really. It's a big ruffly ballgown dress, with a long-ass train that just feels like I'm going to end up stepping all over it, and considering my height it makes me feel like a fat little marshmallow or something. I know, I sound so vain, but allow me the chance to feel some embarrassment about my appearance sometimes. The top part is a really Victorian-looking long-sleeve high-collar thing, which I guess makes sense given it's going to be November, but looks very old-fashioned and formless to me.
Of course, three months out from the wedding date there's no time to go shopping for a new dress, so that's what I'm stuck with. "Don't worry," she says, "It will look better when we make the alterations."