Friday, August 3, 2012

Was It Worth It?

Our first anniversary is fast approaching, and as it does, I reflect upon the experience and upon a simple question that I have been asked.

Was it worth it?

As you've probably figured out from all of my complaining, this wedding was a pretty stressful experience for me.  I put a ton of work into it, and for the last two months, I didn't sleep, I lost weight, I was constantly thinking and worrying about it, trying to get it all together the way we envisioned it.  Several people have asked me whether it was all worth it, whether I'm glad I sacrificed all those hours to create the wedding I wanted, the wedding we wanted.  Well, now that it's been almost a year, I've had enough time to reflect and produce an answer.

The short answer is that nothing is ever worth putting yourself through that kind of stress.  But that's more of a problem with me than anything to do with the wedding.  I get stressed out easily and often for things that aren't really worth it.  I also get stressed out intensely for things that I care about, and for something that lasts as long as planning a wedding, it's even more brutal because the end is such a long time coming.  AND you have to enjoy it when it gets there which just adds to the pressure.

So you see the problem in the way that I think.  I've been fighting the stress monster for a long time, and no matter what kind of wedding we had, that was going to be an issue.  But if I was going to do it again--and I so dearly hope I'll never need to--I'd try to be more relaxed about it, both the planning process and our plans themselves.  Then again, I've already had the wedding I wanted, so it wouldn't be such a burden to do it again...and so lies the problem with weddings; they only happen once.

But my problems were always going to be my problems.  Whether I should have worked harder to abait them does not necessarily tell us whether the wedding we had was worth all that went into it because those problems would have been there for any wedding I had.  There is a greater question to answer here:  was the work I (and I say I instead of we not because we didn't put in a lot of work but because Daniel doesn't need to dwell on this question) put into the wedding worth the result?

That answer is much more complicated.  Obviously, stress is a pretty strong deterring factor here, but it's not the only factor.  I spent hours and hours planning and preparing this wedding, hours of research, hours of projects, hours that could have been spent on more enjoyable endeavors.  Then there's the money factor too.  We didn't spend a ton of our personal money on the wedding, but $5,000 is still a lot when you're not making much.  And of course we made our friends put in time and money as well.  Was it all really worth it?

I think most of my friends and family will be surprised to hear that I think it was.

Yes, it was stressful and time-consuming, but the result was the best party I've ever been to, and we loved it.  While it wasn't perfect, nothing went terribly wrong, and that was largely due to my strenuous logistical planning.  While there were things we didn't have and things we would have liked if we could afford them, I don't think there's any object or piece of decor that we felt was missing or inadequate.  The wedding looked and felt very much the way we wanted it to.  Everything ran fairly smoothly, and the things that did go wrong probably could never have been avoided.

When it comes down to it, we never could have had the wedding we wanted without all of the planning and time we put into it.  If I did have to do it again, I wouldn't feel like I was making up for anything significant because we couldn't afford it or didn't have time for it the first time around.  When I think back on my wedding day, I think of it as one of the best days of my life.  Not the best, but it's definitely up there.

That's important to me.  Being not only happy but also satisfied about the way it turned out, that makes it all worth it for me.

So the long, emotional, and complicated answer is "Yes, it was worth it."  The planning sucked at the end, the stress was awful, but at the end of the day, it was only bad for two months.  I will look happily upon my wedding day for the rest of my life.

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