It’s All in the Details, Right?

When it comes to people’s perception of details, I always think of a tree analogy. I think the metaphor is actually similar to one of one of the questions on the Myers Briggs test, and it’s probably the one question that really puts the “N” in my INFJ personality. The question is, when you see a tree, do you notice the leaves or the overall form of the tree? I look at the leaves, because without the leaves there would be no tree. Others look at the tree because it doesn’t matter what the leaves are like, since it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a tree in the end.

My fiancé is one of the latter. It’s not that he doesn’t care about the small details. I’m sure he recognizes that it’s the little things that make up the big picture, and because of that they’re probably important.

Our difference in perception usually just gives us more to talk about and interesting opportunities to see the world through each other’s eyes. But now that we’re planning a wedding, our tree metaphor is coming to life in a way that’s driving us both over the edge. I can’t help but drown in the tiny details that I think will make the day perfect. And he can’t help but brush off the “small stuff” because in the end there’s going to be a wedding no matter what and everything will work out fine, so don’t worry about it. I could go on and on about how much I hate the phrase “don’t worry about it,” but I think that’s a whole new topic in itself.  

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For a person who cares so deeply—almost obsessively—about details, this is such a frustrating thing to have pointed out to me. Being sensitive to details on an almost unhealthy level, it’s impossible for me to see past whatever small problem is standing in my way at the time. To me, something like picking out the weight of paper to have our invites printed on is an all-consuming task that eclipses everything else in life – like the fact that nobody in either of our families is going to receive their invite and be like “Ugh, this paper is too thin. I’m not going.”  

In trying to get to the bottom of this and move past the fact that I can’t actually get anything accomplished because I’m so worried about the small stuff, I’ve done some thinking. I’ve come to the conclusion that the root of my problem is actually the fact that I care way too much about what everyone thinks. Being totally on top of details is the only coping mechanism I have to combat the negative things I worry (wrongly) that everyone is going to think or say about my wedding. Because in my mind, if I get all the details perfect, then there will be nothing to criticize and I can come out clean on the other side of this event. It’s crazy, I know. And I know I need to move past this personal hang up if I want to get anywhere.

How do I get over this? Probably by actually listening to the two pieces of advice my fiancé keeps trying to give me to no avail:

1: In the end, people only remember the food and what the bride looked like (eek!). As much as I hate the fact that people aren’t going to remember all the details we painstakingly put into this thing, it’s the truth and I need to accept that!

2: The point is that we’re getting married. It doesn’t matter if the envelopes don’t match the paper on our invites, if the cake arrives late, or even if my divorced parents accidentally bump into each other and it’s super awkward. The only thing that truly matters is that we’re in love and we’ll be spending the rest of our lives together, and everyone we love is there to cheer us on.

Changing the core of my personality isn’t going to happen overnight, and I’m sure the inevitable arguments we’ll have over details in weeks to come will only get worse. But I just have to keep reminding myself that I’ve already gotten over so many details I had to let go of since we got engaged. Even big things like our initial reception venue closing 4 months before our wedding and telling us that we can’t have our event there anymore.

Letting things go is a huge challenge because coming to a decision about details takes me so long that I form an emotional attachment to every decision I make. But I just have to keep reminding myself that weddings aren’t supposed to be about who has the best reception or the most expensive dress, or champagne at every table. In fact, focusing only on the material aspects of a wedding, in my mind, is probably one of the reasons so many marriages don’t last in the long run. Details do matter, but only for a moment.

Robin Pletzer

Robin lives in Hopkins, MN and works at a local nonprofit. She has a BS in English from UW-River Falls where she met her husband in a creative writing class. In her spare time, she can be found exploring state parks, drawing up blueprints for her dream teardrop camper, writing, and knitting (follow her projects on Instagram @knitwander).