Hitched 2.0: Wedding Planning Taught Me How To Ask For Help
I’m terrible at asking for help. I’m one of those people who will drive myself insane trying to do everything alone rather than dare reach out for assistance. And not just that: I also preemptively take on tasks and responsibilities, whether asked of me or not, to I don’t know, make life easier on everyone else? I do it at work, I do it at home, and I for sure do it with wedding planning.
I don’t know exactly why I struggle with asking for or accepting help (it’s only sometimes because I’m a control freak who likes things done my way), but I know it’s at least partially due to these crazy delusions I have about not disappointing people and more importantly, not showing weakness. For someone who is admittedly quite sensitive and fragile, I hate to show it and for the most part, I don’t. The only person who I expose all of my vulnerabilities to is my fiancé—which, unfortunately for him, means he’s often on the receiving end of some seriously bottled up emotions. It’s not fair to him, and I realize it’s not exactly healthy for me. But just because I recognize that, doesn’t mean I’ve ever really been able to change it.
Until now. Though I definitely didn’t expect it to be, planning a wedding is hard. I’ve gone the majority of our long engagement telling everyone who has asked that it’s going fine, I don’t need help with anything, I’ve got it under control. Plenty of people told me plenty of times that they wanted to help; they told me to reach out any time. But I didn’t (except to my fiancé; I of course asked him for plenty of help, because he already knows I’m a little weak). Instead, I silently let my stress build until I couldn’t take it anymore and I hired a month-of wedding coordinator, which I thought would solve everything. And though having that coordinator will definitely be a lifesaver in a couple months, it doesn’t much for me now. So even more recently, I caved even further, and started actually leaning on others.
It started with family: I asked my mom to gather information from the makeup artist. I let my sister make bachelorette party arrangements without taking over. Though I felt ridiculous guilt over “making” them do these things when they already have so much going on in their own lives, I fought the urge to just give in and do it myself. They wanted to help, and if I’m completely honest with myself, I needed them to. After realizing that leaning on them didn’t cause my world to implode, I took it a bit further. I gently suggested in a group email with my friends that I’d be cool with someone else taking over as organizer/captain of our summer beach volleyball team. And lo and behold, someone did. It may seem insignificant, but the relief I felt when my friend texted me confirming she signed our team up for the league was anything but. Being able to cross even that one thing off my to-do list; to erase it from the cloud of responsibilities constantly floating over my head, was seriously one of the best feelings in the world.
Many people view planning a wedding as trivial. To that, I say, bullshit. I’ve learned so much about myself in the past year and a half, not least of which is the fact that I am not invincible. No one can get through life without some help, myself included—and that doesn’t make me weak; it makes me human. Something about this process finally made that click with me.
Two nights ago, I brought a box of envelopes, stamps, and unassembled wedding invites to my sister’s place. My fiancé was out of town, and instead of trying to cross the daunting task of putting together invites off my list alone, I went over for some company and some help. My mom was there, too, and after a couple hours of dinner and hanging out, I still hadn’t taken the box out. For a second, I thought, “This is going to be annoying; maybe I won’t make them work on these with me.” But I gave that thought a swift kick in the ass, and started delegating. No one complained, the project proved to be no detriment to anyone’s evening, and I went to sleep that night with more thing erased from that cloud. Imagine that.
Hitched, our weekly column about getting married, is back! This time around, we’ll be walking down the aisle (well, in spirit) with writer Emma Sarran, who will be sharing her thoughts on long engagements, the institution of matrimony and that godforsaken wedding industrial complex every Thursday. Follow her on Twitter!