Blythe's Wedding Diary, Part I

The first time I remember planning a wedding in my head, I was in fourth grade. I could see the entire ceremony: six bridesmaids were wearing pink, my then-best friend was the maid of honor, and my groom was tall, blond, and blue-eyed. It was like a Barbie Dream Wedding. Over the years, I swapped out pink dresses for blue, then green, then black. I had two bridesmaids, then none, then just my brother and my imaginary groom’s sister as attendants. There was one on the beach, one in the woods, one under a tent, even one in Tuscany. I imagined a Fourth of July barbecue for 300 and a New Year’s Eve black-tie dessert reception—both of which, were capped off by an incredible fireworks display, while my Ken-doll groom and I watched with our friends and family.


Then my friend Alicia introduced me to her friend Mike. She’d been trying to set us up since the beginning of college, but it wasn’t until three months before graduation that we finally met up at a biker-bar/barbecue joint in Syracuse, NY. At 6-foot-5 he’s plenty tall, but he’s Italian and Greek—not a blond hair or blue eye in the whole family. I got over that: he was funny and sweet and genuine, and better than any other guy I’d ever dated.

We spent two and a half years in a long distance relationship that had one or the other of us living, at various times, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Guam, before he joined me in Boston. After a year of living in the same city he proposed to me on the jetty by the lighthouse near my family’s summer home with a photo album that told our story and a three-stone ring he designed himself. I was totally shocked. It turns out he’d been planning it for months, and had even asked my dad.

While the planning has been fairly easy, it’s not nearly as much fun as the daydream. It turns out that Fireworks are expensive, girls who don’t get asked to be a bridesmaid are hurt, guest lists are huge, and even outside the city, the minimums that caterers charge for a Saturday night are painfully high. We toyed with the idea of a wedding attended by only our parents and brothers—then realized that we’d really miss our friends on such a big day.

We didn’t want to hit the tail end of wedding season (we already have six this year, not including ours, between March and October) and so we chose December 22 as our date, hoping to hit the holiday-season happiness rush and give everyone an extra day to travel. I’m trying to embrace the fact that we have well over 200 people who we’d like to have celebrate with us, and balance that out with the fact that the room only holds 180. We’re less interested in all the things the wedding magazines said we needed—like personalized cocktail napkins, a monogrammed aisle runner, and scent machines that will make the room with the dessert buffet smell like chocolate, the cocktail room smell like peppermint, and the ballroom smell like pine trees.

We just want it to be fun, and easy, and as un-stressful as possible, which, when I think about it, is how I really imagined my wedding day all along. Plus, I know that if I made a fuss, Mike would go blond—but I’m actually pretty fond of him just as he is.