Everybody complains about how hard it is to plan a wedding. I know I did. You know what’s harder? Planning a life.
Right now Husband and I are tentatively testing the apartment rental waters. And we’re running into the same problems we did while wedding planning:
Money: Rents in Chicago are high. A one year lease is going to cost us at least four times what our wedding cost. Yes, our wedding was cheap, and yes we are willing to pay more than we should to live in a trendy neighborhood. That’s still a daunting amount of money and it necessitates compromise. It’s easier to give up some pretty thing you’d love to have at your big party than it is to give up some useful thing you hate to think of living without for the next year (like a parking space), but it still has to happen.
Priorities: Husband and I value different things. During wedding planning, Husband agonized and slaved over our paper goods (half of which didn’t make it onto the tables at the reception) and I scrambled about to get our board game table together (I was worried people would need games to be entertained, but the games ended up untouched on a table in the corner all night). We both half-thought the other person was wasting their time. We also disagreed momentarily about what kind of boots Husband should wear, work boots or cowboy boots, until I remembered that he is allowed to choose his own footwear, in life and in weddings. I actually can’t think of any subjects we totally clashed on*, but I know that can’t be right, because I remember arguing. When it comes to apartment-hunting, our preferences aren’t mutually exclusive, but it is hard to find an apartment that satisfies every last one of them. He hates carpet, even in the bedroom. I won’t give up in-unit laundry. He recently added the absence of a balcony to his list of deal breakers, which is obviously crazy. Unless one of us caves, we are going to end up in one pricey pad.
Reality: In our heads, our wedding was going to be the quintessential low-key shindig, with a family-style dinner that we’d both eat and a chance to chat with each and every one of our less than 50 guests. In reality, our wedding was a bit of an overwhelming mess, with a family-style dinner that we both scarfed down and not nearly enough time to take in our nearest and dearest, let alone every guest. In our heads, our new apartment is well-lit with an impossibly modern kitchen for a 100-year-old building. In reality, it’s. Well, we’re not sure, but judging from past experience and from what looks to be available, it will be small and old and we’ll be putting in a lot of effort to make it look as good as we think it will. At least there will be a balcony. Apparently.
Moving On: I won’t even waste space talking the transcendence that comes with planning a wedding and, um, having a wedding. I will talk for a minute about what it will be like to leave the apartment that welcomed us home the day after we got married. I’m not particularly attached to our current apartment, not like Husband is. It’s beautiful, but it’s expensive, and I welcome the opportunity to move on. However, leaving our first home feels a bit like leaving Tucson, and a bit like the day we left Arizona for good. I’m such a sucker for nostalgia that a brief thought about our Christmas tree in the dining room last winter sets me off thinking about mortgages and down-payments and career plans and, hey, maybe we should just buy this place, never mind that it would be a completely foolish financial decision. It helps to think about the wedding, and about every move I’ve ever made, which reminds me that it never feels as good as you think it will, hanging on too long.
*I mean, I guess we disagree about the whole religion thing, but once we decided to marry each other anyway, it became kind of a non-issue. For those who are curious, the Bishop of my home ward married us, using the language from the Bishop’s handbook, which, I’m told, parallels the language used in a temple ceremony. We also asked my sister to read a poem by Pablo Neruda and wrote our own vows. Husband was worried it might end up too religious for his comfort, but we agree now that it was lovely.