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3 Things I've Learned About Myself While Planning My Wedding

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ALEXANDRA ROSARIO
Mary Kelly Photography

In a smidge less than four months, I'll be a married lady. It's still surreal to think that, even though my fiance and I have been together for nearly seven years at this point (we started dating very young). Lately, my life has been consumed by selecting bridal attire, choosing a cocktail-style dinner menu, picking out just the right stoneware dishes to replace our mismatched hand-me-down plates, and deciding on modern-looking wedding invitation suites. I really wish that I could say that I was one of those brides who revels in all of this, but the truth is that I'm not. I actually find most of this highly stressful and not as enjoyable as the wedding industry has ingrained in me that it should be. So far, in the past year of planning my spring wedding, I've learned more than just what kind of flowers and colors I do or don't like -- I've learned a few things about myself along the way too.

1. I Just Don't Care That Much About the Tiny Details.
It's funny, because naturally, I'm kind of a control freak about most things in my life. I like consistent schedules, I'm not big on drastic change, I really like to make sure I know what's coming next at all times. I make lists for everything because they calm my naturally anxious state. So it was kind of shocking to realize I just don't care all that much about, say, my bridesmaids matching. I just want them to be comfortable, happy with what they're wearing, and standing up there with me because I love them all. They chose their dress colors and the dresses can all be individualized on top so each one can have a different look. I recently sent them all (them being my two sisters and my two future sisters-in-law) an email in which I stated that I forgot to mention anything about shoes, but I actually am not a stickler about it, so whatever you find that you like, kind of matches your dress and is comfortable works for me. At the end of the day, my sisters will be up there and that's good enough for me. Why waste energy on something so small and insignificant as bridesmaid shoes? They're just going to kick them off at the reception anyway.

2. Keeping My Maiden Name in Some Form Means More to Me Than I Thought.
When I first got engaged, I was kind of horrified by the idea of changing my name at all. I never thought I would feel that way -- wouldn't I naturally want to take my husband's name? Isn't that what I've been taught? Ladies, it's 2014. You can do whatever the heck you want. Which is what I realized I can do too. At first, I was pretty staunchly against changing my name... and then time went on and I started to warm up to the idea of adding my fiance's name onto my name. I like the idea of being a cohesive family unit and having that connection with him and our future children. However, I have not for one second entertained the notion of dropping my last name entirely -- I'm sorry, but it's my NAME, for Pete's sake. I can't just get rid of it, it's part of my identity. Luckily for me, my parents were trendsetters 25 years ago and didn't give me a middle name (try getting through elementary school when everyone is comparing middle names and you don't have one at all -- you just start to make stuff up, which I did to be "cool" or something. I don't know, why did we even compare middle names? What was that?). Currently, my plan is to keep my maiden name as my middle name, which will be a novelty for me after going 25 years middle name-less. For me, this feels right and this feels comfortable. I don't know who Alexandra Kelly is and she just feels foreign to me. But I can get behind Alexandra Rosario Kelly. There just has never been a question of letting go of "Rosario" entirely.

3. I Can't Wait For the Wedding to Be Over... Because I'm Excited to Start My Marriage.
If there's anything I've learned while being engaged it's that there is so much focus on this one day and not enough focus on what comes after. Isn't that exciting, too? Isn't that the whole reason for all this pageantry? Can't someone write an article on the 10 Things You Should Know In Your First Year Of Marriage so I know what the heck I'm getting myself into after all the hoopla of my "one perfect day" is over? This is not to say I'm not looking forward to my wedding -- I am, it's going to be a great day with all of our family and friends surrounding us with love. But it's why I'm unconcerned about matching bridesmaid attire for instance, and with having anything resembling a "traditional" type of wedding. (For background, our ceremony is outdoors and our reception is at our local brewery. We will be having passed food and a taco station, because, tacos. There will be no wedding cake because we're not really into wedding cake and our caterer has better dessert options. There will most likely be no favors because do you really want a champagne flute with my new monogrammed initials on it? No? I didn't think so.) You know what I want? I want to dance my ass off in celebration with my new husband and our families, wake up the next day and say, this is it -- we're on a new journey and I can't wait to see where it takes us. I'm looking forward to building a life with someone. The wedding is but one day in a series of days that I'm sure will, at some point, pale in comparison to some newer, better moment in the future. This is what I'm excited about -- stringing those moments together to create a life with a man who I love dearly.