Wishing I were a Soviet bride
The above slogan is from a t-shirt (available here). Funny enough, but lately the idea of limited choice has become seriously appealing. We're having a small wedding, but even with only 10 guests, I am faced with limitless choice as I plan the event. I can have any color scheme I choose, any theme (whatever the heck that means!), any flowers, any cake. You get the idea. Google images sounds like a bride's best friend, but after sorting through page after page of options, I longed to be a bride in the pre-Internet age.
Camera shopping was nearly as bad. Like a wedding, it's a big investment, so I wanted to do it "right" and make choices that would work for me over time. Once again, my ol' friend Google was there with pages of data, reviews, and forum discussions. I'm thinking the Big G is the passive-aggressive friend I never wanted.
The whole thing, particularly the wedding, reminded me of the book The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. His premise is that trying to optimize your choices in a culture of limitless options is a recipe for stress and depression. He advocates "satisficing" which means setting a standard for yourself, taking the first option that meets it, and not looking back. I'm usually good at this, but somehow the pressure of the wedding got me in full on maximizing mode.
Thankfully, the big choices are made, and my job this week is to sit back, handle some minor details, and look forward to the big day. Because it's not really about the flowers or the cake anyway, it's about being excited to marry my best friend and one of the greatest people I've ever met. I just had to step away from the Big G for a moment to remember that.
My advice to brides: Hire a wedding planner or strongarm a friend into presenting you with a small subset of options based on your basic likes. Maybe 10 bouquets or cakes or whatever else you need. Choose one, and get on with your life. You will save time, feel more relaxed, and enjoy the process infinitely more. Plus, no one cares about the details as much as you think they do. They do, however, care if you become a raving nutjob. Just sayin'.