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I hate wedding planning. There, I said it. I’ve been mumbling those words incessantly under my breath over the past six months while gritting my teeth and smiling through every hug and congratulatory remark I’ve received, and been craving the moment when I could wipe the grin off my face and scream the horrible truth from the rooftop of my Arlington apartment.

But for the sake of professionalism (and my need to maintain a roof over my head), I’ve decided to climb down from the ledge and type every expletive of an emotion that I’ve experienced throughout the wedding planning process into this blog. Most could probably care less, but I need an outlet to express all this pent-up fear and frustration, and quite frankly, I think it may help some of my other brides out there to know that they aren’t alone in their desire to stick their wedding bouquet up the rear end of the next person who tells them how excited they should be to partake in this wonderful process called wedding planning.

Don’t get me wrong … I’m thrilled to be engaged to my amazing fiance, Michael, and I can’t wait to share the rest of my life with him. But the stress associated with paying for and planning our nuptials ourselves is enough to send me running back up the apartment staircase with the intention of more than just screaming from the rooftop.

Wedding planning is hard, dammit, especially when you’re a young professional trying to build a life and establish a career in Washington, D.C., one of the most expensive and cut-throat environments in the United States. We both have good jobs, make good money, and have supportive families, but we’ve had to scrape together almost our entire savings in order to fund this over-the-top production they call a wedding, and we’re still crossing our fingers that we can continue putting away enough until the big day to pay every bill associated with it on time. I’ve never dished out $15,000 on anything before, much less food for 150 people, and the thought of it makes me choke on every rainbow, butterfly, and ray of sunshine that well wishers have crammed down my throat during what they call “the most happy and exciting time of my life.”

So I propose a toast to my brides, if you will, for the simple fact that I’ll take any excuse I can find right now to down a glass or two of champagne (make that tequila, please):

Here’s to you. May you not only survive this bittersweet process, but have the courage to experience it openly and honestly, and enjoy it to the best of your ability. May you brush off every wedding countdown reminder from your co-worker, weight loss tip suggested by your mother, and passive-aggressive insult hurled from your future in-laws. Dig deep to find the inner strength to lay out your fiance next time he complains that you’re wasting ‘his’ college football Saturday by dragging him along to look at wedding invitations, and may you have the restraint needed to stop at only words if he teases you with the dreaded term we don’t speak of: Bridezilla.

And most of all, remember this time in your life — the good and the bad — and when you’re an old married broad (or homeless cat lady who was sent spiraling out of control from an  inevitable broken engagement), think twice before exclaiming ‘you must be so happy’ at another bride to be. Perhaps offer her some kind, sympathetic words and a drink instead.