On Feeling Competitive

In case you live under a rock are not sports-minded, yesterday was the Super Bowl.  My team didn’t make it, but you could say I am a closet Saints fan this year after they beat the Vikings (the team I love to hate because of a certain quarterback), so I was happy to see them win it all.  Watching the game, though, got me thinking about competition. 

Do you ever feel like your wedding is a competition?  I never used to, but lately, I have to admit that I have been feeling this way.  We will be invited to/attend 5 weddings this year, all before our own wedding in October.  I don’t feel any sort of competition with those weddings, though, because all of them are so completely different than our own.  There’s an outdoor wedding in the North Woods of Wisconsin, a country club wedding, a hotel wedding, a wedding at a history museum, and a big ol’ fashioned family wedding.  Each wedding and its venue, style, and formality is very fitting for each respective couple.  Another important distinction?  Each wedding has its own set of guests, with very little overlap, and thus, no comparison.

Recently, one of my closest friends, B, got engaged.  Before her engagement, Dr. Groomy and I were the first  in our set of friends to take the plunge into engagement waters.  While I have enjoyed being the first one to go through this process, going first does have its own double-edged sword.  I’m learning as I go—as no one in our tight-knit little group has gotten married yet, no one really knows the ins and outs of planning a wedding.  When we started planning, I prioritized the things Dr. Groomy and I wanted most, and went from there.   However, since B’s engagement, I’m struggling to remember that there is no right or wrong way to plan your wedding.    Even though we have our own set of priorities, those priorities are not going to match everyone else’s.  We wanted a fancy venue, yummy food, and great photography.  Photography is not high on B’s list, but a live band is.  While I would normally celebrate these differences (Hello, live band?!  Awesome!), lately I’ve been worried that everyone will compare our weddings, because we have really similar guest lists and there will be a lot of people who attend both weddings.  Though it’s hard for me to admit, I have felt myself questioning our choices based on what B has been deciding lately.  (Example thought that ran through my head recently:  “OMG she is booking her transportation already?!  Holy crap!  Oh no!  They want a trolley too?!  What if she thinks I am copying her?!” )

Honestly, I don’t know why I am feeling like this.  B is not a competitive person, and we are not competitive friends—in fact, we’re far from it…more of the “two peas in a pod” variety of friends, if you get my drift.  I am absolutely THRILLED for her and cannot wait to be there, with her, when she marries the love of her life.  And I know she feels the same about me…yet lately I can’t help feeling tense and worried that people aren’t going to like my wedding but are going to love hers.  Or they’re going to think our drinks are expensive because hers are priced differently.  Or they’re going to think we’re pretentious and they’re not.  Stupid, right? 

Fact:  Every venue prices things differently.   
Fact:  We are a laid-back couple but we really wanted a fancy party, so that’s what we’re doing.  That doesn’t make us pretentious. 
Fact:  We are having two completely different weddings…so why am I feeling like this? 

I think part of the reason is because we, as brides, put so much time and effort into planning this ONE day, and there’s this huge complex about weddings out there—you know, the whole “it is the most important day in your life and if it gets screwed up you are a failure at being a bride” attitude.  So not true, but sometimes, that’s the perception the wedding industry seems to be throwing in our faces (I’m talking to you, WeTV!).  Because I was the first one to start planning, I only knew one way of doing things.  B is planning now too and she’s doing things in her own way.  That’s as it should be…and even though it’s completely illogical, it leads me to feel like I’m doing something incorrectly.

There isn’t a neat way to wrap up this post except to say that it was really difficult for me to write.  Admitting to feeling inadequate or competitive is no easy feat, but I feel like I can’t be the only one who’s in need of reassurance.  So tell me, ladies…how do you fight off feelings of inadequacy and competition when it comes to planning your weddings?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “On Feeling Competitive

  1. Your wedding isn’t the most important day of your life. It may feel like it right now but in the end, it’s just another day. A special day. But, if you are marrying the love of your life, every single plan could go horribly wrong and it would still be a beautiful day because you’re getting married to the love of your life AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS.

    I understand the competitive thing. I am extremely competitive but just remember, it’s about getting married, not about the day. 🙂

  2. Everyone naturally compares all the weddings they’ve attended, the same way you compare beach resorts you’ve visited or your favorite stores. But I don’t think you have to worry about the copying thing, because most weddings are very similar (vows, music, cake.) Look at it another way: Now you have someone to talk to about the wedding process who understands because they are going through the same thing. I was the fourth of my friends to get engaged, and I was so grateful that I could lean on the other brides for advice and empathy.

  3. Stephanie

    ok, maybe I’m weird, but I didn’t feel competitive about my wedding at all. one thing that I did to avoid this feeling was (well, you might not like this, because as a wedding blogger, it’s kind of the world you are plugged into) I just nixed all bridal magazines and wedding blogs entirely. I chose my stuff, I made it as fancy as I wanted to make it, and then I left it well alone. I figured it wasn’t going to look like something in Martha Stewart weddings (I wasn’t willing to put in the work! ) but it was going to look nice enough. I think one of the best things I did for myself was leave off wedding media after making the big decisions (sorry. It’s true.) There was no basis for comparison/reasons to feel inadequate.

    I also don’t tend to compare my friends’ weddings. I go, I eat the cake, I have some drinks, I dance all night to whatever music they’re providing. Frankly, they’re all more or less the same to me. It’s always a great time. People won’t be analyzing the details! your wedding will be gorgeous!

  4. -E

    Try to chilax! It’s not easy to do, but no worries! Your day, is truly your day; that’s the whole meaning of a wedding. If people were to compare (which they won’t) then they truly weren’t there to celebrate your union (and aren’t truly friends). Your great peeps and I know you only have awesome friends who care more about you than about your wedding (don’t get me wrong, it will be a magical day no matter what you plan). Your wedding by far is going to be the most glamorous and meaningful I’ve ever attended!

  5. I am having SUCH a hard time responding to this!! What you’re feeling is completely normal…and I don’t know if it is really ‘competition’ as in ‘may the best wedding win’ — as much as you don’t want to have the ‘2nd best’ wedding. — Just remember, just as priorities are different among brides, the same is true among guests – so the experience for them is individualized too. And you can’t please everyone. You girls have SO much more to worry about these days than I did 15 years ago…I don’t even HAVE digital pictures of my wedding(!) — so, truly, make the day about you & groomy and sit back and relax when that day comes. My wish for you is that 15 years from now, you sit back and say, Groomy, what WAS all that fuss about….we’ve had SO many more best days of our lives since then.

  6. I am still trying to figure this out as well. It’s hard not to compare, and feel that way sometimes.

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