Danielle Down the Aisle: Week 13

A writer writing about her wedding.

I’m getting married in a year. I’m writing weekly posts about the process.What could go wrong?

Wedding registries are making me doubt all my life decisions.

Robert and I have been together for 10 years. Plus. And, that was intentional. I wanted to finish college before committing to anyone — I mean, I believed all the hype about self-discovery and radical transformation — so I didn’t want my wagon to be tethered to some schmuck if I decided to go dig dinosaur bones or join a commune or congress.

As it turns out, I’m pretty much who I always was, which is probably pretty true of most folks — but that’s a life lesson for another time.

After my college years, Robert started college, so financially getting married didn’t make much sense. He, too, I think, wanted to be a real-live grown-up with an actual degree before becoming an adult in other ways. We’d seen a lot of our friends get married very young and come to regret it (not all, but many), so we were more than happy to take our time.

I always thought, too, that if I were going to get married I might as well wait until I could actually afford the wedding and the honeymoon I wanted. Practical is as practical does. And, we were happy — nobody was itching for a diamond ring or a penguin suit. Maybe our families, but we always thought marriage was our decision, not theirs, and that patience is a virtue everyone could practice having a little more of.

But now, after my eyes have glazed over while paging every nook and cranny of Crate and Barrel, Williams and Sonoma and Target webpages, I have come to understand that all that rationale was hooey.

The towering house of cards that was my life plan and associated rationale just collapsed and fluttered to the floor because of wedding registries.

You see, if Robert and I were just building a life together for the first time, I’d be so excited about shitty spatulas and scratchy beige towels. I’d be over the moon about that salad spinner and those green square plates that clash with my red kitchen. Ugh, square plates. We’d be floating in a cloud of goofy, horny, newlywed hormones and if all of our housekeeping goodies came from the Dollar Tree, we wouldn’t notice.

But, now I want fancy shit. We’ve been together for 10 years, five of which we spent together under the same roof(s). Between the his and hers solo living collections, we’ve put together a pretty solid smattering of objects. Then, Robert spent the last five years finding all of the crap that I actually did buy at the 99-cent store, or on super-duper clearance, or rescued from some garage sale, friend’s going-away party or my parents’ garage and unceremoniously informing me that this crap actually was crap and tossing it in the bin. I had a really nice set of teal industrial strength plastic salad tossers (they were a gift from my first ever apartment complex — the beige one with the hoards of mini cockroaches) that he insisted had to go. He’d then go out and buy a version of that object that didn’t fall apart when you picked it up, used it or breathed near it. He’s swell.

Secretly, I’m still hanging on to my yellow spatula, my college spatula. The spatula bit falls off the handle every time you pick it up, but it’s got character! So, before you think Robert is a cretin who throws all my things away — he’s overlooked the yellow spatula that lives in the jar next to the fancy, black, high quality, non-crap spatula with the hefty handle.

Anyway, all this to say, I’m done with crap — mostly. Don’t fret, crappy yellow spatula. Now I want quality kitchen bits, that match.

I want a fancy All-Clad d5 Stainless-Steel 15-Piece Cookware Set.

Price? A steal at $1,299.95

Or, what about a Dyson Ball Multi-Floor Upright Vacuum!

Price? $399.99

What if I told you, that what I really wanted was the fancy Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal+ Allergy Upright Vacuum…

…but when I saw that it was $699.99, I immediately began to drown in shame and knew that all my wedding guests would instantly judge me for being so materialistic and greedy. Mostly greedy.

Or, what about <insert fancy household item that I’ve been getting along just fine without>

Price? <Horrifyingly high>

The fact is, registering for gifts was fun for about 22 minutes. We huddled over the laptop screen and eagerly added all kinds of goodies we haven’t been able to justify spending extra dollars on — you know, wafflemakers and the like. We also registered for some stuff we desperately needed — like knives that will not just mash a tomato, but actually, you know, slice one. We hemmed and hawed over plates and giggled while trying to imagine ourselves throwing a dinner party for more than two people and two pups.

But, minute 23 came around and it stopped being fun.

That’s when I realized that I wasn’t making a list for Santa, but for all my wedding guests, who, after looking at my outrageous list would wonder if they really know the people getting married after all.

So, after having registered for all the overpriced, fancy, adult household accoutrement, we went back and looked for “reasonably priced” items. You know, the kind of things that I would/will/continue to buy for my friends as they tie the knot. Things more in the affordable category, and not the $700 vacuum category. Robert even let me register for a cast iron garlic roaster against his will. See? Not a cretin.

I scrolled through lamps and picture frames and bedroom accessories, bathroom accessories and kitchen accessories. By the time I got to decorative pillows I was grinding my teeth. I growled at Robert, “I can buy my own goddamn decorative pillows.”

I’ve worked really, really hard to get to a place in life where if I see a $12 tchochky at Target, I can toss it in the cart without much guilt. So, putting my metaphorical hand out to my friends to buy me little stuff seems extra greedy because I can absolutely afford any one item under $25 on my list. I can’t afford all of them — which is probably why this whole registry situation is a cultural norm in the first place — but the act of adding each one individually to the cart feels so icky.

(And yes, I know that all of my friends and family reading this have now decided, “Well, that brat isn’t getting a damn thing.” Fair, totally fair.)

The fact is though, if I pay the astronomical photographer fee that I can’t afford but am strongly considering anyway, then I really can’t buy my own goddamn decorative pillows. So, unlike 007 who got diamonds, I’ll be stuck with the white on blue crab and seashells forever.

I’d always thought waiting was the right idea. That way I could go into this lifetime commitment with eyes wide open — I’d already know about his stinky farts, his many bicycles and his tendency to make purchases for quality regardless of price. He’d know that I tend to get shout-y, like to shower every morning (even if I’m about to go get sweaty or dirty), and am all too comfortable with dirty dishes in the sink. There’d be no enormous earth-shattering surprise during the honey moon, no unexpected smells or secret habits. I had a plan.

Clearly, I was wrong.

I should’ve put a ring on it at the first signs of twitterpation. Popped the question during puppy love. Swooned and signed the marriage license. I, for one, could sure use the energy and ignorance of youth to get through this registry business.

Disclaimer: Jokes are funny, but on a serious note, if you are coming to our wedding, you should know that our favorite gifts involve decoupage, popsicle sticks and glitter. We have fancy, fancy taste.

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