And I mean that in all sense of the word “blind.”
A few weeks ago, one of my best friends, Joanna, got married. I was fortunate enough to return the favor of being a bridesmaid in her wedding as she was in mine. I saw her go through most of the wedding planning, and while their engagement period was a fractionof mine (8 vs. 12 months), it reminded me of how hectic the engagement period (thus, wedding planning period) can be. At the beginning of Jo’s and Danny’s, John (who had just exited the notorious engagement period) kept poking fun at Danny, saying it’s a painful rite of passage that every husband must go through. Sure enough, like all engagements, Jo’s and Danny’s were not without their share of bickering and tumultuous moments.
John and I never fought as much in our time we’d known each other until those sweet 12 months between proposal and ceremony. Men and women are programmed to function so differently, and the differences were inherent in our personalities: I was on top of things at all times, liked to be ahead of the game, had a massive Excel spreadsheet for everything, was “efficient” with all tasks, was the only bride I knew who ever followed the “to do” checklist on the Knot website all the way to game day. I put “efficient” in quotations because I understand now in hindsight that while at times I thought I was being efficient by starting on certain tasks early, I often took a long time to accomplish these tasks. Being the perfectionist, I may not have always used my time wisely, spending more time and energy on things that probably could’ve been achieved in half the time with pretty much the same result.
“Nobody will notice that anyway,” John would say. But of course, even though I (being the blind bride) wouldn’t notice, I would know.
John, on the other hand, seemed to like to wait till the last possible minute to start a task (e.g. our wedding invitations). He didn’t fret over the details, took weeks to check things off the list. In the end, I just remember breathing a humongous sigh of relief after our ceremony, knowing that on my wedding day, other people I had appointed would be taking care of all the details for me, and that as long as everyone was still alive and relatively healthy and safe through the end of our reception, then it was a success. I saw Joanna go through the whole thing, the whole wedding planning and all the spectrum of emotions that go along with the wedding planning from anxiety to excitement to annoyances to full-out tears. No doubt wedding planning is stressful for any bride, nonetheless a blind one.
Before I lost my eyesight, I was even more of a control freak than I already am. Yes, yes, I know. You find that incredibly hard to believe. But I was even more anal, even more of a perfectionist, wanting to do everything myself because, well, simply put, I just didn’t trust anybody else to do it. I liked being independent, and I deemed my own thoughts and opinions above others’. Then I lost my vision, and suddenly, I was thrown into the role of Depender. No longer could I drive myself, no longer could I see what things looked like without the aid of verbal descriptions, and even then, it was difficult. What it all taught me is that we–even the sighted people–cannot control everything in life. Sometimes, we just have to let go and let others handle it. And that’s exactly what I had to do with a lot of my wedding planning. I had to pick people I trusted (thanks, bridesmaids and house party!) who could make executive decisions for me. When we were gown shopping, I told them what I liked and didn’t like, and then I had to trust that they wouldn’t let me look ugly or stupid on my wedding day. Same thing went for hair, makeup, jewelry. Even things like cake decorations, flowers, ceremony and reception venues, bridesmaid attire, groom’s attire–all this I had to trust others like John, my bridesmaids and house party, my vendors to choose for me. In a strange way, it was liberating to plan the wedding as a blind person because I didn’t have to make a lot of decisions, deferring it to others whom I trusted. It seems as though the only decisions I really had to make were menu and music.
So I think the important thing about wedding planning (and this goes for all people but especially the sight-impaired) is to let go. Let others take care of it. Surround yourself with and choose people whom you trust to be making executive decisions on your behalf. And since it is your wedding after all, you will want to play a part in the planning process, so don’t be afraid to ask others to explain to you the visual effects of things in detail. Make sure they’re patient with this, and be patient with yourself too. Don’t be quick to frustrate both others and yourself. Remember that in the end, it’ll all come together and be fun. Enjoy your day. And last but not least, laugh.