During my wedding daydreaming and the early days of planning, I appear to have adopted a belief that some ethereal magic makes everything go right.
For example, if I consider having my make-up done by another person on any other day, I picture the very likely scenario of being dumb with remorse when handed the mirror. This comes from lived experience; I’ve tried a few times and have invariably come away in differing degrees of distress. I don’t know what it is about my face, but trowel slap on it and I resemble something from a 1980s catalogue for women a decade or two older than me. Heavy make-up ages me. On the flip side, not enough sees me rocking corpse chic, meaning I muddle on with my impatient, unsteady hand and try to achieve an acceptable medium.
However, ask me about wedding make-up and I seem to assume that on that day, it will make me beautiful. Of course it will – it’s my wedding day! Everything will pass in a breezy dream, just like it does in my internal imagined movie.
But…I’m still going to have the same face and the cosmetics will be applied by real people like those who have done it before, not by fairies…so why do I believe the result will be any different?
There is, it finally dawned on me, a very real probability that not everything will go swimmingly. My hair might have one of its off-days – which, let’s face it, occur more frequently than on-days – and be flat on top and either fluffy or straggly at the end, depending on what flavour its petulance it’s in the mood for. My attire might get dirty before I get to the ceremony – I’m satisfying my lifelong desire for a winter wedding, so the ground is likely to be slushy and dirty and I very much doubt I’ll gain the ability to levitate between then and now. Dad and I might walk too fast or too slow up the aisle, meaning we don’t match the perfect crescendo of the music.
All these things are, of course, the superficial incidentals that don’t matter; as long as we end the day married, we’ll have achieved our purpose. Moreover, these silly bride gripes are the things no-one else will notice anyway; I barely dare consider the genuinely important potential pitfalls, like guest/wedding party illness (it is flu season, after all) or severe weather preventing travel (was this winter wedding really the best idea…?)
Now I have identified the impossibility of my expectations, I can manage them. The images of the big day that flash through my excited little head have been shot through a rosy lens that isn’t available as a bridal accessory. I can modify my basic self in just about every other way for my wedding (if I really wanted to), from hair extensions to false nails to high heels, but I can’t change reality. There are some things in life that just can’t work perfectly. A wedding involves a lot of people, all of whom are human and susceptible to bad moods, viruses, errors in their work, forgetfulness, and so on.
So, I need to drag my internal vision away from the painfully adorable slideshow that my whimsical imagination has created, depicting me swishing my way through the most perfect day that anyone ever lived. Instead, I need to focus on working with what I’ve got – real people, real life, real British weather – and have contingencies to cover as many hiccups as I can. Beyond that, I need to let the perfectionism go. After all, a prominent characteristic of the relationship at the heart of this whole festivity is that we get through anything and everything together. We can also – and frequently find ourselves having to – turn any misfortune into a joke.
And given the journey we’ve been on so far, I’m pretty sure we can laugh our way through the odd wedding fail.