This is Sarah’s third guest post, my favorite so far (although the comments on her previous one are some of the funniest things I’ve ever read). Good news is that I finally get to write about what’s been going on over here, and I’ll have that ready tomorrow. You have no idea how good it is going to feel to get out all the gritty details, although when I sit down to write about it I might just throw up all over the keyboard. If that’s the case, I promise to do it in all caps.
I keep forgetting that I’m supposed to be planning a wedding. I got engaged last August to my hot English boyfriend, and then we both came to London to wait out the U.S. fiancé visa process, which can take anywhere from two to two thousand months. It is so great, waiting to see if the government is cool with you marrying the person you love! Remember when you were in ninth grade and you wanted to meet a boy at the movies but you weren’t allowed to date yet, but he was so nice and you begged your mom and she said, “I’ll talk to your dad and we’ll think about it”? It’s sort of like that, only imagine they think about it for a year, and then halfway through they ask for you to prove how nice he is in three different ways.
We get to do all kinds of fun things in order to get this visa, like prove that we’ve met and have an ongoing relationship, swear that neither of us have ever committed genocide or been involved in human trafficking, request a letter from the head of police in every city my fiancé has lived in since he was 16, and promise them we’ll name our firstborn child Ava or Jack. (If you go a bit further and promise to name them Ava Grace or Jack Henry, you actually get 20% off all children’s clothing at Old Navy until they hit 100 lbs or enter fifth grade, whichever comes first.) We also got to write a personal check for $455 to Department of Homeland Security. I’ll jump through whatever hoops they give me in order to marry the love of my life, but that one felt sort of dirty.
The upside of all this mind-numbing bureaucracy and complete lack of control over my own life is that it makes it virtually impossible to plan a wedding. Once our visa is approved (please god let our visa be approved), we have to get married within 90 days. So we’ll have a city hall wedding in Brooklyn, and then maybe plan a bigger party later, so friends and family from far away can come. This is awesome. I cannot recommend being engaged but not planning a wedding enough. People still smile at you and say “aww,” but then when they say, “When’s the wedding? Where will it be? Do you have a dress? What’s your color scheme?” you can just shrug and make that vaguely Scooby-Doo “uhanno” noise before getting back to your beer.
I learned early on that I’m not exactly bridal. This wasn’t exactly a surprise. In the past, I’ve accompanied many a friend to many a bridal boutique, and every time I was there, sitting on pastel silk underneath sparkling chandeliers, I had to suppress the urge to shout profanities, like some weird strain of wedding Tourette’s. I also kind of don’t like weddings? Which I realize isn’t cool to say; I’ve been to plenty of fun weddings, but on the whole, as an event, I’m just not that into them. I promise I’m not a Scrooge. I’m all for marrying the man I love, wearing a hot dress while doing so, having all my favorite people in the same place at the same time, and listening to some good music while we’re there. It’s just that the minute someone brings up what’s supposed to go in the center of the tables, my eyes glaze over and I’m thinking, “Back in the ’80s, they should have cast the guy who played Biff in Back to the Future to play Anthony Michael Hall’s dad in something.”
The extent of my own wedding planning has consisted of emailing my friends links to some dresses that aren’t wedding dresses, and one fun afternoon with my fiancé spent making our wedding playlist, which quickly devolved into us showing each other Def Leppard videos on YouTube. One day last winter, my friend Danielle and I were shopping at Liberty, a beautiful department store in a Tudor-revival building just off Carnaby Street. They have a fancy bridal salon on the third floor, where a very thin woman with painfully straight hair sits behind a desk with nothing on it and aims her shark eyes at anyone lingering near the entrance, daring you to speak. (Actually, I have no idea if it’s fancy. For all I know, once you get past the door, it’s all women in sweatpants eating meatball subs.) Danielle said, “We should go in there! That’d be fun!” And I said, “Are you crazy? They won’t let us in there! We’re not brides!” Danielle waited a beat for me to realize what I’d said. Then we laughed and left and had a meatball sub and saw Peter Serafinowicz on the street. AND I didn’t have to wear a white corset under fluorescent lights while a humorless stranger judged my choices! I should be so lucky if my actual wedding day features this many happy surprises.