Meet our newest guest blogger, Alicia Menendez, a television host and 10 years Brides* subscriber. Alicia is taking us through the ups and downs of planning her wedding to her boyfriend of five years. If you love what you read, be sure to check out Alicia's show, Alicia Menendez Tonight, every weeknight on Fusion; and follow her on Twitter @aliciamenendez and on Instagram @aliciamenendezxo.*
Plenty of brides relish the opportunity to be the center of attention. These tend to be the same women who eschew birthdays in favor of birthday weeks and birthday months. Meanwhile, I haven't celebrated the day of my birth since about 1989. I have a television show with my name on it. I get to be the center of attention for an hour every weekday. The rest of the time, I'd prefer to hide in a corner doing my work with minimal social interaction (unless you have amazing gossip, in which case please text or Gchat me).
Unfortunately, there is no hiding in a corner at your own wedding. My fiancé Carlos and I considered eloping, but after five years together, we wanted to say our vows out loud in front of the people who have borne witness to our relationship and will bear witness to our marriage. Instead, I lobbied to have the smallest wedding we possibly could in order to give myself the greatest possible shot at enjoying it.
I started by setting some ground rules.
Rule 1: At our wedding, I don't want to meet anyone for the first time.
Rule 2: At our wedding, I don't want to introduce anyone to Carlos for the first time.
*Rule 3: At our wedding, I don't want to catch up with anyone on how things have been in the two to three years since we last saw one another. *
My approach was great in theory. In practice, Carlos' dad is one of 10. All of those aunts and uncles are important to us. With just our families, our small wedding was already large. Then, there were people that neither Carlos nor I had ever met that were important to our families, and my dread over having too many people lost out to their disquiet over excluding people.
We controlled what we could. We didn't invite everyone who we would invite if we were people who did things like celebrate birthday weeks. We didn't invite everyone who we've ever considered a best friend but now mostly keep up with on Instagram. We invited the people who are close and in focus right now. And still, for me, the introverted bride, it's a lot of people and a lot of attention. The anxiety is only exacerbated by knowing how important it is to everyone that I am happy and the possibility of others reading my introversion as disinterest or ingratitude.
So yes, I will likely be hiding under the table at my own wedding, and yes, I will probably be the first person to leave, depleted by the reality of being "on" for five hours for 160 people. But then I will wake up the following day and be married to someone who lets me be alone as much as I need to be, who rarely asks me to socialize with more than two people at a time, and who will inevitably turn to me at some point during our goodbye brunch and suggest that we ghost. I may be too introverted for my wedding, but just enough for my marriage.