I spent most of my childhood obsessed with weddings.
Before I moved to America, my only exposure to dresses and brides was what I could watch on Russian TV or read about in books.
My family never thought much of big weddings before immigrating to America.
Instead of getting dolled up for church, the bride and groom just headed to the local Town Hall to make it legal. Then, it was back home for a special feast prepared by a grandmother.
From an early age, it was clear to me that City Hall wouldn't cut it. I dreamed of princess weddings, like the ones I saw in the movies.
I just knew that after years of no frills, dresses or giant parties in my name, I wanted a chance to call all the shots.
I've been planning my wedding ever since I was a little girl, so it's my time to shine.
Pop culture dictates little girls should start thinking about weddings as early as they can.
We watched Disney princesses get married. Even our Barbie dolls came with wedding gowns.
We've been trained to see the wedding day as the “happiest day of our life” since before we even learned where babies come from.
With more than two decades' worth of anticipation under my belt, can you really blame me for wanting to make the day perfect?
As a girl, I didn't decide on flower arrangements or color scheme, but damn well knew what kind of dress I wanted.
I'm all about the princess poof. If I don't look like there are several ponies underneath my petticoat at all times, it's not the dress for me.
His family needs to stay out of it.
If his mom tells me I can't have precisely a thousand boat orchids at my wedding, his mom is not f*cking invited. No joke.
Coming up next: “How to get killed by your future in-laws." But, there's reason behind my madness.
I'm Jewish (heavy on the -ish). In my culture, the bride and her family pay for the ceremony and reception.
You know what the groom's family traditionally pays for? The bouquet, boutonnieres and several corsages. That's it.
If I'm paying for the food on everyone's plate, I'm the one picking out every detail.
Sorry, bridesmaids, but I don't feel sorry for you.
Weddings are expensive, and almost more so when you're a bridesmaid. I know, because I've been one many times over.
Most brides don't care how expensive their assigned dresses were, it was my responsibility to figure out a way to get it.
After years of servitude at other weddings, it will finally be my turn.
I get one day to be a psycho, raging b*tch.
It's your job to hold my hair when I hyperventilate, pour champagne when I start questioning myself and get Advil the morning after the bachelorette party.
It's only fair, because I already paid my dues.
His opinion matters, but only kind of.
If by some miracle a man (or a woman, I'm not picky) is stupid enough to want to put a ring on it, he gets a say. Sort of.
Don't get me wrong, I still want to call all the shots. I'm paying for the thing, right?
But, find me a man that gives more than half a sh*t about flower arrangements and I will propose to him myself.
If there's one family heirloom he absolutely needs to incorporate into the ceremony, by all means we'll go for it.
Unless it's ugly, that is.
Go big, or go to City Hall.
There are people who can get married in City Hall. Then, there are people who need streets shut down and a choir of angels sing newlywed praises.
Don't get me wrong, I understand low-key weddings. I even get the notion that it's really about the marriage, not the wedding.
But, I still theoretically get only one shot at this.
I want the New York Times to announce my wedding like Charlotte York in “Sex and the City.”
I want my dress to have layers of tulle so fluffy I'll feel like I'm walking on air with every step I take down the aisle.
I want my grandfather to give me away, and my little sister to be the flower girl.
I want my dog to be the ring bearer, to watch my husband break the glass, to be too drunk to care that we just pass out in our hotel room at the end of the night.
And he — whoever he is — will want those things, too. He just doesn't know it yet.