On June 6, 2016 — one day after my 40th birthday — I got engaged.
For the first time.
I feel like I need to add that second part because, when I tell people I just got engaged, a lot of them hesitate, then ask, “Is this your first marriage?” So, apparently this whole “first at 40” thing is hard for some people to wrap their head around. Which I sort of understand — I come from a small town where girls marry their high school sweethearts and live happily ever after with three kids and a beautiful house on a hill.
But that was never me.
For the last 20 years, I’ve lived in a beach town where the population triples in the summer, but trickles back to a few thousand as September rolls into October and “tourists” roll out, giving us “locals” our home back. Everybody knows everybody here, and a lot of us have the same story — we spent the summer here once, working our butts off to help pay next year’s college tuition, but then decided to stay. The service industry money was too sweet to pass up, and living a stress-free lifestyle was just far more tantalizing than a 9 to 5.
A lot of my friends here have never been married, and none of us thinks that’s strange at all. I also have many friends who are getting married in their 30s, and that’s actually the norm — at least in this town.
My story is a smidge different. I’ve worked in the service industry every year that I’ve lived here, but only on a part-time basis — because I also had one of those 9 to 5s I mentioned. Since 1997, I’ve worked in the media — newspapers, magazines, online publications. The bad thing about that is, there’s little to no money in journalism, despite working a hell of a lot of hours. The great thing about that is, I learned a hell of a lot. I’ve been a reporter, a copy editor, a managing editor, a graphic designer, an online content creator and a social media coordinator. I’m super organized, super creative and I know a whole lot about a bunch of random stuff — I just don’t know a whole lot about any one thing.
But lucky for me, all of that is pretty damn ideal for someone who’s just getting engaged at 40.
Since June 6, I’ve been trying to plan my very first wedding and it’s been nothing short of comical. Only a part of me knows what I’m doing; the other part is asking stupid questions, doing things “out of order” and making mistakes. But my motto has always been “It’ll get done,” so I imagine this won’t be any different.
I’m going to write about this whole wedding planning thing as I go along because, let’s face it, everyone loves a good giggle. We can all laugh at my expense… and maybe we’ll learn some things along the way. Like, what NOT to do when planning a wedding at 40.