10/27/2013 02:21 pm ET Updated Dec 27, 2013

A Wedding Professional Tackles the 'Post-ring' Experience

Twice a year, since 2005, I am consumed by the weddings world. Before you roll your eyes, this is due to a profession I am passionate about, not a personal fantasy about my own, in which the last detail and only snag was identifying the groom. Also, my interest was in the loot, or more elegantly, the registry and gifts. As an editor at Town & Country Magazine, I helped produce the twice-annual Weddings issue, sourcing new designs for the home from china to fabric, furniture and accessories, invitations and paper products, and favors for guests and the bridal party. Three years ago, I took that experience with me as I started my own interiors and registry venture, eventually partnering with Maxwell Silver NY, the original boutique registry site.
Less than a month ago, I got engaged, and yes, it was a true surprise. My fiancé said he wanted to "beat" the inevitable "girl questioning" that eventually comes to those in a serious relationship. Ours only started this January, and I deny that I would have been one of those girls, but still, I'll gladly take it! And though I've certainly been guilty of it myself, I've been surprised by the prevalence, immediacy and sincerity of the "when's the wedding?" question. It seems I might be a rare case who hasn't dreamt up a venue, dress, color palette and theme before being given the rock.

Don't get me wrong, I love being a part of weddings. I love the anticipation of them, but I've never once not suffered what I call wedding withdrawal. I spend many months admiring the cute save the dates and beautiful invitations for these events on my corkboard, advising on what they should include on their registry, selecting a perfect gifts for each couple, coordinating an outfit and travel plans with friends. And then, in a matter of hours, after lots of fun, it's over (for me; thankfully all of the couples' weddings I've attended are still happily married).

I'm not a girlie-girl (my fiancé joked that I'd be wearing LuluLemon for at least one of my life milestones; in fact, we were engaged while hiking and guess what I was wearing?) and I can't remember the last time I wore a long dress. So I'm looking for something just right for possibly (hopefully?) the best party we'll ever throw. If that happens to be white, great, but I can promise it won't resemble a meringue confection. For as many magazines, blogs and websites as I've skimmed devoted to the subject, it seems at least 75 percent of brides must be totally focused on the dress, apparently something full and ornate. For all the talk of "it's your day, make it what you want", doing something less traditional, dare I say a bit more creative, is like swimming upstream. The thing is, for as many awesome events -- many of them "professional" -- as I've been to in my entire lifetime as a New Yorker, I'm learning that planning a wedding (or a celebration, as I've been calling it to the venues we've been researching) isn't a straightforward process. Each one seems to have a different payment structure: I've been quoted both per guest and flat fees for a space, with ranges that vary according to day of the week and season. Don't forget the various menu selections intended to seduce, but remember you'll pay extra (per plate? Or is it a flat fee upgrade?) for lamb! Starting with a raw space might start to look appealing, but you may be tied to a catering or floral partner. One place added in fine print that they didn't have a liquor license! And this is before the inevitable guest list politics! Perhaps this is why all the wedding magazines, with their supposedly helpful timelines, start as far ahead as 18 months!

We are hoping for a late winter or early spring 2014 date, which is roughly six months of engagement. Although we originally didn't feel any wedding pressure and were just looking to enjoy the process, we're now approaching the month mark as an engaged couple, and have neither set a date or confirmed a location! I'm still confident we can have the terrific night we both imagine, with our family and friends and great food and lots of Champagne, without the now typical year of planning and coordinating. Besides, I've always liked a challenge!

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