You know how you get hitched...and everyone asks you if you feel different?
The short answer is yes.
The word "wife" makes you feel like more of a grown-up.
You go to seven different stores and walk 15 blocks to find focaccia because he loved it so much the night before.
You practice patience a little longer than usual.
You notice that your now-husband is somehow even hotter than before.
You buy an apron, because, what the hell? Might as well. Now that you don't have to spend 17 hours every day running through wedding planning like a hamster on a wheel, you suddenly feel like you have so much free time, and you commit to making a nice dinner at least once a week so that you don't feel like a lazy slob. I mean, you live in New York, and your kitchen is the size of a shoebox, and who knows what might pop up, but you can at least commit to one semi-gourmet home-cooked meal to eat over candlelight rather than on the couch watching his favorite evening news show.
You think, after typing the above: Well, shit. I am so incredibly married already.
At least these are some ways it feels different to me, two months in.
Donna Bride would be proud. She was my alter-ego around the age of four: Donna after my favorite babysitter, and Bride because I guess I fantasized about being a bride. Funny enough, I don't remember those fantasies at all. Other than dressing up my younger sister in white and throwing petals at her a few times, I don't remember anything wedding-related. I never planned mine, though I did get very into scrapbooking. Interesting that I lived in the past versus focusing on a future vision...which probably explains why I'm not always the best entrepreneur.
Yes, Donna Bride would be proud of my positive growth as a new wife, independent as all get-out, but thrilled to take care of her husband as part of a Duo--with a capital "D".
But not sure how Donna Bride would have felt about the whole wedding planning mindset. My sister helped me with the registry because I didn't want to create one. I could have cared less about things like bread baskets--yet got hung up on random things like optimally-spaced polka-dots on ribbon when the crazies took over. I committed the ultimate faux pax of bridesmaid attire: "Here's the color palette! Find a dress that makes you happy!" (I later learned that bridesmaids just want you to tell them what to buy.) I somehow completely forgot about the whole "people give you gifts" part of the equation.
After planning this wedding, I'm set for life. I never want to make any decisions ever again. When you're planning a wedding, people tell you to "enjoy the process". Sure. It's great. You get to talk to your parents a lot, which, in my case, I appreciated. You also get to do things like spend hours researching the cheapest and best place to bulk-order stemless wine glasses--and then spend more hours deciding on size, and more hours on the best place to put them and when you want people to use them and for which beverage. Which I didn't appreciate.
As a bride-to-be, your brain is so stuffed with rather insignificant (and significant) information, from your first morning pee to the time you wake up the following morning (because you also stew in your sleep), that you forget how to do things like walk without running into things. You. Can't. Turn. Off. And, to top it all off, you constantly repeat to every professional who contributes: "I mean...I don't know. How about this? Does that sound about right? I have never done this before."
Yes, that's right. You are somehow expected to orchestrate an event that you have never orchestrated before and which you, let's be honest, know very little about beyond the basics.
First-time parenting allows you some leeway: It's a process. Peed on during diaper-changing? You learn and nail that rapid "Open! Observe! Close! Open and wipe! Superwoman diaper exchange and close!" process soon enough. Now you know.
But there's no "Now you know" flexibility with first-time wedding planning: You have one shot. And you are not throwing away that shot. So you enjoy the process as much as possible, knowing that you will never forgive yourself if you screw it up somehow.
So, does marriage make you feel different? I think so. If nothing else, you organized how to commit to another person--whether by trekking down to City Hall, or by throwing a "country chic" wedding in your childhood backyard. You figured out how you wanted to make it official, and you took a giant leap. You essentially spent about $12000 worth of time getting paid absolutely nothing at all. And you pulled it off, with very likely no prior experience whatsoever.
In the end, I did Donna Bride proud. I got hitched, after all. And, more than that, I ended up with a pretty awesome dude who loves me like no one has ever loved me before.
Cheers to that, my friends.