Let me tell you all a story that encompasses the last year and a half of my life, the story of my wedding, or rather the planning of my wedding.  In my experience, planning a wedding was like making a vase on a pottery wheel for the first time.

I started with an image in my head and a chunk of resources.  It would begin to take shape, then something unexpected would cause the whole thing to collapse, causing me to start over.  If you’ve ever taken a pottery class you know how I felt.  After a few serious setbacks, with nothing to show for all my time and effort but a shapeless lump of clay and a load of frustration, I felt like throwing the whole thing at the nearest wall.

I felt overwhelmed and defeated.  All the magazine clippings and lists I had thought would help me paper-mache the perfect flowers for my vase were not helping at all.  I had no vase.  Fortunately for my wedding, deposits had already been made.  Whether or not it was ever a beautiful piece of art, this lump of clay would be on display come September 4th, so I might as well keep at it and stop letting the frustration win.

What I did was a Type A Personality mortal sin worthy of the most harsh punishment any Post-it junkie could ever imagine.  I threw out the lists and references.  I stopped looking in books and making charts.  I started from scratch without columns or bullet points.

I would love to tell you all this was the last time my wedding had to undergo reinvention,  but life happens.  Jobs are lost.  Deadlines are missed.  Hidden fees pop up.  Vendors will take advantage of even the most well-read DIY bride.  DJ’s will show up high with no music, equipment, or shoes.  Cars will catch on fire…with Hubby catching a little fire, too.  Most of these things happened less than a week before the wedding, bur something else happened that week that saved my sanity at the last minute.

I was venting one afternoon to the praying mantis that showed up in our yard the day wedding week began and stayed until I finished unpacking from our honeymoon, when something in the sky caught my eye.  It was a single red hot air balloon.  Nothing extremely remarkable, but pausing my rant to look up at it gave me the power and capacity to do something inconceivable to me at the time.  I breathed.  Just a slight change in position made the rest of my tasks no longer seem insurmountable.  I was no longer fumbling; I was shaping.  I was still learning as I went, but I could see the transformation taking place, and as it did I noticed something else.

At the risk of conjuring some strange poly queer version of the pottery wheel scene from Ghost, I will give you this.  While I was the one seated at the wheel, there were many hands willing and available to help shape my vase, helping make it a very unique piece of artwork.  This wedding was made possible and special by all the personal touches from t hose around me, the most important being from Hubby.  While hands off through a good portion of the planning process, he was there when I really needed him.  He reminded me why I was doing this in the first place and that people were there to see us and share our day no matter what it looked like.

On the day of the wedding it all finally made sense.  Even without the lists and magazines it all came together, and all the trials leading up to it, like fires in a kiln, served to fortify and solidify the bond we were making.  The gorgeous day and brilliant landscape left a prismatic mark on our celebration, and the love and support of our nearest and dearest made the months of work worth every bit of it.

In the end, my vase was not perfect.  It was lumpy in spots and slightly lop-sided, but it was filled with love, and that made it beautiful. Throughout the process we learned volumes about ourselves, each other, the people around us, and life.  These are the markings that went into our clay.  These are the things that will stay with us forever.


Go now, throw away some lists and live!