I’ve never been the type of girl that dreamed of her wedding, planning out each and every detail, from the time she was five years old. I was more the type that looked forward to it…you know, if it ever happened. I didn’t know where I wanted it to happen, what kind of flowers I would carry, or what the dress would look like. I had my own life to live and if I found someone, great—if not, I had a standing agreement with a best friend to tie the knot at 40. There was only one time, almost ten years ago, when I was young and certain that he was the one and started to do some of that serious envisioning, but none of those details have held up over the years. I imagine if you put me in the kind of dress I had been picturing at sixteen today, I’d die at the ridiculousness of it.
When I met Chris almost four years ago, I knew right away that he was going to be my husband. We both knew. It was one of those unavoidable things in life where it was immediately clear that it couldn’t happen any other way. Like when you walk into your favorite restaurant, knowing what you’re going to order, because it’s what you always order. You could try something new. Sometimes you even look over the menu, trying to pick anything else because it seems so silly that you never do. But the universe won’t let you. That menu item has chosen you.
Apologies for the food analogy; I haven’t had breakfast yet.
So, we knew. But back then the only thing I was picturing about that day was us and the things we would say to each other. None of the details mattered. I just wanted to marry this man.
Two and a half years later, after a lot of waiting and far too many of those misinterpreted moments where something seems off and you think Could this be it? and then it’s not and you use every bit of your strength to hide your disappointment and the fact that you now feel completely lame for being such a female stereotype, I started doing some secret searching. I found dresses that I loved, and one that I even thought might be it. Of course, it’s a very different thing to see a dress on the internets than it is to see it in person, on your body—especially when your body is dissimilar to the waif-thin Spanish model that was wearing it when you first fell in love.
After we got engaged, that was my very first dress-shopping experience: crushing disappointment. I tried on a dozen heavily-constructed gowns, in European sample sizes, and nothing looked good. I didn’t know any different, though. I just assumed that all wedding dresses were built a certain way and that they didn’t look good on my body. I left determined to starve myself for the next 11 months. (Heh, yeahright.)
Shell-shocked, I waited several months, up until the point where it was imperative that I get my butt in gear, to look at dresses again. I had no idea what I wanted. I made appointments at a few stores, and, being in New York, it seemed I should at least stop by Kleinfeld’s.
Chris and I will be getting married in less than two months.
For a while, I was trying to publish a sort of “countdown” post each month. I thought it would be interesting to be able to look back and see how I felt as each month went by leading up to the wedding. The last time I posted one was at five, and I think that’s about right. Five…and then holy crap it’s less than two months away. It was unintentional, but I think I managed to accurately capture the feeling of these past three months.
I’m definitely feeling the crunch. There are still so many things to decide and finalize, and now that we’re down to the wire I’m starting to doubt some of the decisions I’ve already made. Is the dress really the dress? What about dahlias instead of calla lilies? Fondant or buttercream? Veil or no veil? Is Vegas still an option?
Having lived these past six years as a New Yorker, I've remembered and contemplated the tragedy that took place nine years ago more often than I ever knew I would. Less than a month after I moved here, I followed the beams of light that shine into the sky each year where the towers once stood from Washington Square Park all the way down to Ground Zero. I wasn't yet familiar enough with the city to really know where I was going, but I kept my eyes up and I walked. I remember very distinctly the feelings I had when I first saw the emptiness there. I remember picking up my phone and leaving weakly-spoken voicemails for my loved ones. I remember searching for my breath.
There's something so amazingly alive about this place. When something important is happening somewhere, you can almost feel it everywhere else. Even though I didn't know the city before, being inside and a part of it now, there's a real sense that a limb is missing from this beautiful concrete creature. Finally, it's been just long enough since that sometimes days or months will pass without feeling the immediacy of that loss, but every so often that phantom sensation comes creeping in.
Today is one of those days when we all feel it, when we all remember where we were and when we knew. Even the City takes a moment of pause. The Chrysler Building dims her lights, the Empire State Building beams red, white, and blue, and those two towering beacons gleam into the clouds.
This past weekend Chris and I took a trip. It was a trip filled with family and friends and so many kinds of true and honest love that it was overwhelming. When we returned on Sunday night, I felt that familiar sense of home that has been a part of me since I first moved to this city, but I’ve also been carrying with me a deep and unrelenting loneliness. Sometimes you forget how much certain people mean to you when you haven’t seen them for years. Sometimes you don’t realize how much time you could have made for someone until they move away.
Everything about today was gray and lingering feelings from a difficult night made all those longings even more intense. And then, when the day was almost gone, I looked up and saw this. I know there’s a reason why I’m here in this city. I’m not so sure I could ever really be anywhere else. But oh how there are times that I wish I could reach out, gather up all those people scattered to the west of me, and pull them here. I think every one of them would enjoy this view.