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Why Every Girl Deserves Exclamation Points

November 1, 2010

There are times in life where enthusiasm is necessary.  Take the news of getting into college, for example.  No matter what crap is going on in life, a letter telling you that you have worked your butt off for a reason and you have a future is something to be celebrated.  Or perhaps when you get your first job, your first apartment… anything big in life.

I think the most important one is when a person becomes engaged and is planning a wedding.  There is, in many cases, a flurry of well wishes, smiles, hugs (if you are that kind of person), and squeals of joy when two people make their decision to marry official.  But after the initial excitement has worn off, many people only pop their heads in when they have two cents to throw into the pot.  Nice or not, these comments typically fall onto the overwhelmed bride who is desperately trying to keep everyone and everything together without rocking the metaphoric wedding boat.  “You should wear this type of dress!”  “Oh, you’re not invite Aunt Edna?  But she’s your third cousin twice removed!  You HAVE to invite her!”  “Have you thought of your color scheme?  I’m thinking red and orange for you!  Wouldn’t that be lovely?!”  “You’re wearing a veil, right?  You MUST wear a veil!  Anything else wouldn’t be bridal.”

Where did all of the positive excitement go?

Yes, many people will argue that those who pop into the planning process must only mean well, and they are saying something because they care.  Okay, I’ll take that into consideration.  But what has happened to the people who only want the best for the bride and groom, the people who will lend an ear to listen to plans without criticism or personal egos?  Where did they go?

In the past year, I have faced two weddings where the mothers were not as supportive as I believe they should have been.  As a disclaimer, the two brides also believed the same thing, so I am not totally off base by saying such things.  Thankfully, my wedding wasn’t one of them.  I was lucky.  My mom had her opinions to be sure, but she would listen to me blather on and on about my wedding excitement and ideas for hours.  She didn’t demand that I wear white shoes when I had my heart set on blue (which ended up being blue with a floral print… even more outrageous!).  The two ladies I speak of are facing a different beast, the one where you have to check yourself before you wreck yourself – and your family relationships.

Weddings bring out the weird in people.  These two mothers seem to have turned inward instead of sharing their joy with the bride and groom.  Instead of smiles and fun shopping trips, they asked critical questions and second-guessed arrangements that had been made.  One mom did in fact come around in the end and was fantastic when the wedding day arrived, but we shall have to see about the other one.

With both of my friends, I feel a sense of loss for them.  A wedding is a process; it’s a process that deserves as many exclamation points as possible.  Their moms weren’t there to provide such a thing.  While most people believe that weddings are all butterflies and unicorns, it’s not.  Far from it, actually.  I cried during the planning process more times than I remember because of the stress to please everyone.  I needed someone there to be my exclamation point.  When the wedding train gets going, it’s a long track filled with bumps.  Even family members get bored with it and throw their hands up.  Someone else needs to provide that enthusiasm.  It’s a role that the fiance cannot fill.  It needs to be filled by an outsider.

In these cases, it needs to be filled by me.  A friend.  A co-conspirator.  An enthusiastic face and smile.  A listening ear with some ideas at the ready if needed.  Whether its picking out napkins, a wedding dress, the photographer, or just talking about the stress of it all, I want to be the exclamation point cheerleader.  A girl deserves exclamation points throughout the planning process.

So please, if you have friends who are getting married, be the exclamation point cheerleader.  Be positive.  Be enthusiastic.  Be ready to love.

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