Of Wedding Plans, Pinterest and Parameters

Long-distance wedding planning, we try to match a possible bridesmaid dress with possible groomsmen pants.

Long-distance wedding planning, we try to match a possible bridesmaid dress with possible groomsmen pants.

Pinterest, that cyber-hybrid of down-home wisdom and commercial temptation,  has garnered passionate disciples among the expatriate missionaries of Black Forest Academy. I’m more a reluctant convert, drawn in almost a year ago because I suspected I’d be planning a wedding in the near future. A real one. My own.

According to my scientific research (i.e. talking to my friends and browsing on Pinterest), women and girls spend a long time dreaming up the details of their weddings. I used to do this, too, back when I was five and thought I’d be a ballerina when I grew up.  Then I went to some weddings. It started small–flower girl gig here, a tag-along-while-Dad-perfoms-the-ceremony there–but by the time I graduated from high school I was regularly attending two to five weddings a year.

I’ve gone to dozens now, or maybe fifty, and they all blend together, a swirl of tulle and twinkle lights, of vows written and recited, this mélange of traditional and alternative. It’s a stunning montage of love and hope, filled with faces and memories that I continue to cherish. Still, between this sea of creative examples and a self-imposed moratorium on wedding daydreaming for the last fifteen years, I found myself somewhat at a loss when I considered planning Timmy’s and mine. So I rejoined Pinterest, hoping to come up with something to say when people asked me what I wanted for our wedding, something better than, “Oh, to get married. With, you know, people around.”

Flash forward several months and shift one continent to the left, and here I am in Seattle, summer-break teacher bride, planning a wedding for December. I’m beyond abstract pinning now; we’re making actual Decisions, like genuine Adults. Will you have live music? Yes. Do you want to do a bouquet toss? NO. What color looks good with grey? All of them!

Through this process, I’m learning about plans again, how they shift and present themselves as I move forward. It reminds me of the creative writing projects I set to my students. There are always parameters, and all but the most free-thinking of them appreciate the boundaries, in the end. A blank page can be a terrifying foe, but when that page must contain a metaphor, or a villain, or some kind of interesting accent, a story begins to take shape, as if by magic. On that scaffolding of requirement, they discover the most bizarre and brilliant of ideas.

Whatever five-year-old ballerina Kristi once thought, no wedding is planned on a blank page of endless possibilities, at least no wedding in my tax bracket. There are parameters of budget or season, personality or location or logic. Like any road in life, one decision precipitates another, and making this day rich and meaningful, both for us and for those with whom we’d like to share it, means listening, adapting and exploring. Wedding planning, for me, has been far less the precise execution of an executive vision–bound to disappoint–than the serendipitous discovery of new ideas along the way.

At a "garden party croquet shower" thrown by ladies in my church. Another unexpected delight!

At a “garden party croquet shower” thrown by ladies in my church. Another unexpected delight!

And how appropriate, because this is our story, too. Timmy and I met somewhere far from both our homes, met along the road to plans we’d made. If either of us had once insisted on earlier plans–to stay in Seattle forever, to keep working in Korea for a few more years–where would we be now? Not planning a wedding. But we kept listening, willing to be diverted to a school in Germany, to serving students we love and eventually, to meeting one another. In following Christ, I’ve found the most beautiful gifts have often been the most surprising.

So, ask friends and family and Pinterest, what will our wedding be like? The truth is, no one knows yet. I’ll wear a white dress. Timmy will wear green pants. We’ll get married. We have more exploring yet to do.

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