Dear Dating Coach,
I am engaged and planning a wedding. I am the youngest in my family and my parents have made six weddings already so they are pretty familiar with the process. My chosson is a great guy and is completely not interested in the wedding details except for the music playlist which he is working on. I am VERY interested in the wedding details. I have a vision of what I hope the night will look like and it includes specific touches; like an all-white wedding cake, specific flowers, and the dress of my dreams. My parents are ok with the colors I picked but that’s basically it. They refuse to add the extras I care about so much because they are too expensive. They want me to go to a dress gemach, accept a basic floral arrangement, and forget about a cake at all. This is my special day and while I appreciate the expense, I still think they should make it work. How do I make them see how much this day means to me?
Options rule in our ever-demanding world. We recently planned a special dinner out. But the choices had us scratching out heads. Classic Mediterranean, Modern-Israeli, Chinese-Fusion, or Tex-Mex? Steakhouse, Fine-Dining, Fast-Casual, or Tapas? Did we want to share plates, have tiny plates, large plates, or have our food served only in bowls? And the vibe! This is a thing! Did we want a “fun” vibe, a “minimalist” vibe, or are we not the “vibe” because we have overused the word “vibe?” This was all so confusing. In the end, we ordered pizza and ate it over the box in what we have now dubbed, “Casual-Italian-Standing-Non-Plated-Vibeless” Cuisine. It’s a thing. Trust me.
Mazel tov on your engagement. It can be great fun to plan a wedding, especially if you have dreamed of yours for a long time. You know what you want and how you want it and you simply need the resources and the manpower to make it happen. This day and “how it looks” means a lot to you and you are frustrated that your parents don’t see this clearly. Surely, if they would understand how much the details mattered to you, they would find a way to make your dream a reality.
In the past few weeks, we have all seen joyous weddings on army bases, in empty fields, and in open courtyards. The weddings don’t showcase food or drink. We barely notice the bride’s dress, or the kind people playing guitar in the background. We are mesmerized instead by the joy emanating from the crowd, from the bride and groom, and from the very air that they breathe. It is infectious and we become transfixed by our screens, and laugh and cry at the weddings of strangers who understand so clearly that a wedding is about marriage, love, and the future.
Still, a wedding matters. It really does. It is a day that celebrates a gift bestowed on a couple by G-d; the chance to build a life together and to help build a future generation. We want the bride and groom to feel special in their chosen clothes, in the music that plays, and even in the centerpieces placed on the tables. But when a bride or groom become so enmeshed in the details that they become the details, they have lost focus of what really matters. Moreover, looking forward, it would be very difficult to live a life where perfection is the key to happiness. You might spend years angry and hurt that the “vision” you have cannot be fulfilled for a variety of reasons (money, practicality etc.). Your future simchas may be diminished by your need to curate them so specifically. Perhaps instead focus on the feeling you want you and your guest to have on your wedding day; one of beauty, happiness, and celebration. If you are able to refocus on the “feeling” versus the “look” you may find that your vision can still fall into place. Pick the dress of your dreams at the gemach, embrace the beauty of the flowers you are able to choose, and let go of any “options” that distract from your goal. Remember why we celebrate, focus inward on your chosson, your future, your joy, and the gift you have been given, and you will certainly walk down to the chuppah to the wedding of your dreams.