DIY Wedding

As I’ve said about a million times on this blog, when you’re doing something right, the universe greases your wheels. But what about when you hamfist it? The universe basically throws gobs of bleh at you and makes you start over, refresh. Step away. Reevaluate. And you can’t have clarity until that clarity wants to wash over you like a blast from a fire hydrant in the summer on West 82nd Street in Manhattan in 1978, when you wore running shorts and tube socks and Stan Smiths and a shirt with maybe a rainbow on it.

We’re figuring out how to have the most meaningful wedding we can. What we need, what we don’t. One of my best girlfriends is a wedding photographer by trade, so that’s a no-brainer. Steve’s on it with the music, and has been the perfect partner in helping with joint brainstorming and intuitively leaving alone the decisions I want to own. Which bodes well for our lives together. We are all set with the place and the wine and maybe even the officiant. I’ve spotlighted about 15 women in my life who will walk me down the aisle, led by my mother. Friends are giving me hints about scoring the deal on the dress, or do I just want to wear theirs? Those seem like the easy parts.

Perusing invitations, however, is a labyrinthine exercise. I’m a writer. Paper and words and ink and how it reads and how one remembers is important. I went through a maze of paper and fonts and wording on the Internet, each selection leading to a slightly different variation … more casual. More formal. More Christian. More Hippie. And finally, I found The One. And it’s letterpress and charming and in our colors (dark teal, dove gray and white) and $800. For some paper with ink on it.

So I very liberally borrow the idea I like — a dove on a trellis with some fleur de lis thrown in — and we pour over fonts together, as if we are deciding our last meal, or the name of our child, or a move to the Wyoming mountains. And finally we plunk down $24 for our wedding font and I play and play and play for nights on end to get it just right. And then I have the design in mind all perfect. And the paper I want to use sucks and gets all mangled in my printer. And my trips to Michael’s and Staples result in a bag full of stickers and card stock and bits of ribbon and a Martha Stewart Fleur de Lis hole punch, and 100 blank invitation cards.

And I make a mess of my invitation. It is no longer beautiful to me. The font we have chosen now looks so amateur. Might as well use comic sans. My print looks gaudy and my paper looks plain. Is the bird tacky? Is the whole thing a bit too “Very Hungry Caterpillar”?

My very sweet neighbors arrived on my doorstep yesterday, 8-year-old Kaya with a basket of mandarins and a piece of baklava, her architect dad trailing along. They are a little listless, I think, as Mom is traveling India for a month gathering food stories. They have sort of adopted us. Or maybe we have adopted them. Sanjiv, who is also a Pisces, picks up on my design plight and offers to help out.

So I will put everything away for two days. And try to see the possibility that my new talented friend sees. And maybe we’ll make something beautiful.

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Vanessa McGradyDIY Wedding

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