One of the advantages to having your fiancé’s brother get married first is that you can watch how their very difficult mother handles it and plan accordingly for your own wedding.

It didn’t take long for us to figure out one of the things we were gonna have to do was be selective with how much we told her. It’s how I’ve learned to handle her normally–answer her questions and don’t say too much, because it’s way too easy to step over the line into saying something that pisses her off. I remember once when some story about Katie and Jacob’s wedding planning got back to me, I said, “Oh, they’re telling her too much.” As we’ve been going through planning ourselves, my goal has been to get as close to the wedding as possible with her knowing only the basics. We used to joke about doing as much as possible while Katie and Jacob were doing their planning so that we could kind of fly under the radar. People don’t ask too many questions about your wedding when someone else’s is much sooner, so we used that to our advantage.

I knew she’d want to be included, and I get that, but it’s tough to be open to that when she’s spent the bulk of our relationship being rude to me, for one, and when I know wedding planning for her means acting like it’s her day, too, and she gets a major stake in the decisions. That’s why we’ve done almost everything alone–that and it’s our wedding, not our parents’. Shit, even when I was wedding-dress shopping and trying to get honest opinions out of my mother, I heard a lot of, “It’s your decision.” Plus my parents don’t feel the need to be involved every step of the way. They offer up occasional thoughts and I’ve updated them more frequently than we have Paul’s family, but they’ve been very hands-off. It’s an interesting contrast, although one I can’t help but thing exists because they’ve heard the stories before.

Strangely, as we get down to less than two months to go, there’s not a whole hell of a lot to do. Cookies have been delegated to basically whoever is willing and able to make some. The rental company sets up all the tables, dinnerware, etc. The florist is taking care of centerpieces. Leading up to the day won’t require a lot of work, with everyone banding together like they did for Jacob and Katie’s. So we’re kind of limited in ways to include Paul’s mom, but the one place I did see an opportunity was sending invitations. I asked my parents first, then suggested we all go to their place to get invitations ready, even though six people doing wedding invitations seemed like overkill.

It’s the one time in wedding planning where I was grateful something wasn’t super simple. Our invitations included cards for not just RSVPs but hotel info, directions, and reception information, and everything came wrapped separately in plastic. Great! That meant everything had to be taken out, folded, put into the invitations, and then we’d have to put stamps and labels on things, and I wanted to follow the advice I’d seen of numbering them to keep track of guests. That way, it would feel a little less like too many cooks in the kitchen, as they saying goes.

On the whole, it went well. I mean, mission accomplished–she loved our invitations, and she was excited to be included in something. But it wasn’t without some frustration. It took way longer than it needed to to do everything, and it would’ve been faster and easier had it just been my mom and I doing it on our own, with a little help from Paul. Even though more needed done than I thought, it still wasn’t enough to be a six-person job, and it was hard to get everyone to focus on actually getting it done. We ended up not getting home that night until midnight, although part of me must’ve known it wasn’t gonna be quick and easy because I arranged all this specifically on a Friday night.

But still, we made it out unscathed. I expect it’s gonna be all downhill from here, in terms of hearing a whole hell of a lot about what someone else wants out of a wedding that isn’t their own. Rehearsal dinner is shaping up to be an adventure.

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