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LJ9: Keep Calm and End this Meme
My bachelorette party was a fairly low key day; wine-tasting, a visit to a nail salon for mani-pedis, and a yummy dinner.  As an older bride I wasn’t really up for bar hopping or penis-shaped anything, and since several of the ladies had to be sure to get home to tuck their kids in we were all in agreement about the tone of the day.

Opening my gifts, I received a good combination of useful (new wine glasses) and classic gifts (two different nightgowns).  One friend got me a metal water bottle, white with pink writing on it.  The image at the top is of overlapping rings and under that it says “Keep Calm and Say I Do”.  Internally I rolled my eyes at yet another repurposing of the Keep Calm meme, but hey a water bottle is always handy.  I thanked the giver and added it to the pile of new things in our apartment.

When packing to travel to WI for the wedding I threw the water bottle in.  I wasn’t sure I’d use it, but at least on my wedding weekend it would be thematically appropriate.  Instead it quickly became indispensable.

Partially that was because of its actual function – a water bottle.  It went with me everywhere that weekend; putting up the archway in my parent’s yard, decorating the reception hall, and making a run to the grocery store.  Having my own water bottle handy helped me be the designated driver after our rehearsal dinner (and not be hung over while I was doing my hair and makeup for the ceremony the next morning).  And because it was distinctive, even when I left it somewhere briefly it was always brought back to me in short order.  It’s an incredibly simple but useful thing – drinking enough water – and having a special water bottle helped me do that.

But honestly that silly phrase helped too.  When you’re putting together a big event some things inevitably don’t go according to plan.  I found myself reading that bottle a few times every day as we prepared, reminding myself that the ultimate goal was to be married when the weekend was over.  So when my nephew really didn’t want to be in the wedding party but my sister-in-law really thought he should be, or when our wedding music wouldn’t play in the borrowed boom box, or when I woke up at 8a the day of my outdoor wedding to the sound of a massive thunderstorm and pouring rain I would remind myself – keep calm.  It’s a wedding, not brain surgery.  So many people I love are here, and J and I will say the words, and then we’ll eat and drink in celebration:  even if my nephew doesn’t walk down the aisle, even if we have to crank the volume on the smaller boom box, even if we get a little damp, or have to resort to the back-up indoors plan.

I did still fall into a tizzy a few times throughout the weekend, but managed to calm down before things got ugly each time.  And no, everything wasn’t perfect, but it also stopped raining at 11:30a and was dry but overcast for the ceremony at 3p (ideal for photos).

The Keep Calm meme is so elastic in part because it’s based on an honest bit of advice that everyone can use.  Staying calm is a good first step to nearly anything you’re trying to tackle.  I may still roll my eyes occasionally at some of the stranger variations out there, but I keep it to myself.  I haven’t used the water bottle since the wedding; it’s a bit odd to carry around now that I am married.  I may have to find another bride-to-be and pass it on with a little advice: use it for water, and take the message to heart.

***Here's mine for Idol this week, other thoughts on the Keep Calm meme are here.  Voting should open Monday evening, check the community for details.***

So, it ended up being a very sweet and useful gift!

It ended up being perfect, which I did mention to the giver during the weekend. Sometimes it's the little things that turn out to be the most useful.

Cool..and yeah any bride-to- be would agree to the adage...nice take on the prompt..loved it..:)

Thanks so much - this story popped into my head when I saw the prompt and stuck all week. I do think every bride should have something or someone reminding them to stay calm.

A perfect interpretation of the prompt!!

Aw, thank you. While the meme is annoying, keeping calm is something we could all do more of.

Pretty darn appropriate gift after all! No wedding is drama-free. The main thing, as you said, is getting/being married and hopefully happy memories of the day as well. AW

I'm really glad that friend was at the wedding, I was able to thank her again, and with more feeling, for the water bottle.

The day was wonderful, I thoroughly enjoyed my wedding, and everyone else seemed to have a great time as well, small hiccups aside it was a success.

Three things.

First, my wedding was the hardest part of our marriage. Compared with family-wrangling, location scouting, and finances, all of the for worsees and through sicknesses since then have simply been part of the honeymoon.

Second, that hand-me-down water bottle is the best gift, and I mean that sincerely.

And finally: penis-shaped anything...

The bachlorette party was at our house, and when we moved four years later, I was still finding penis glitter in the carpet.

First- I think any couple that can survive planning and executing a wedding is ready to be married. Our wedding was pretty low-key but then there are the things you had no idea that you'd care about that have to be just perfect.

Second, aw thanks. Now I just need to find a bride to hand it off to, at my age (ahem) most ladies I know are already married.

Third - that it was glitter is your problem. Seriously, glitter is the STD of arts and crafts: if one person has it everyone does, surprisingly difficult to clean up, and just when you think it's done you find more. The props department at the theater company I used to work for finally banned it from all shows for just that reason.

Use it for water, and take the message to heart.

Hahahaha, that's really sweet. And yea, it's just really good, well-meaning advice, and if it happens to help you at your wedding, then it doesn't matter that it's part of an annoying meme, right?

Sometimes you need a reminder to step back from the crazy. And yup, that it was part of an oft-annoying meme didn't bother me at all on the wedding weekend when I needed it. Carrying it around now however, would be odd.

This is a really sweet piece! I know you've been working on structure, and it's really solid here. You set up the thesis ("I got this kinda dumb gift") disprove it, then assign some nice meaning to give the story a strong resolution, and a sense that the storyline continues even though we have read a satisfying ending. Nicely done! And this might well be worth a few revisions and sending it to a women's magazine, or a site like Skirt! or Real Simple.

Thank you so much! I was a little nervous that this idea was too - slight, I suppose, but it was the story that kept bouncing in my brain so I went with it. And yes, I've been working on making sure everything has a beginning, middle, and end.

I've never sent anything out, but as I know more and more people who manage to get pieces published here and there (thanks Gary!) I'm becoming more tempted to try. Hrmmm....

A lovely interpretation of the prompt

Thank you, it also gave me a chance to start telling wedding stories which I haven't done at all on LJ yet.

As an older bride I wasn’t really up for bar hopping or penis-shaped anything
I'm suddenly immensely grateful never to have been invited to a bachlorette party. Yikes.

It's nice that the gift came in handy, and also that its message turned out to be very worthwhile during what usually becomes an unexpectedly stressful time for most people.

I remember a friend baking a penis-shaped cake for one, and trying to decide how to frost it and no thank you. I liked my quieter ladies day out.

I was using every trick I know during the lead up to the wedding to keep my cool, so finding a brand new one was awesome.

This was great!

There are so many publications out there for brides. I bet you could get this story published.

I second the bridal publication attempt!

Such a sweet story! You should definitely pass on the water bottle and the message. =)

Thank you! I will need to find another bride, I do have a friend getting married this summer, but it's her second time and she's so laid back this time they're taking the honeymoon beforehand - heh.

I love this! Reminds me of my own wedding and makes me want to write about it. I bet you could get it published!

Thank you. I've been married for just over six months now, and finally feel like I can talk about it in a logical fashion.

I would love to hear about your wedding, having now survived my own I better understand everyone else.

That's really nice -- definitely a situation in which reminders to keep calm are apt! I'm glad it went well. :)

Thanks. Yeah, I was so sure I'd be a laid back bride, and was for the most part, but some things were hard. Remembering that it was just a day helped a lot.

Stainless steel water bottles are the bomb*! I could totally do with one of those wedding ones too. Planning a transatlantic wedding? Check. Involved mother of the bride thinking all the bride's ideas are crazy? Check. People claiming the wedding is getting "too American" (when the GROOM is American!!)? Check. Doing all of the above without a date yet? Check! Family feuds? Check, check, check! ;-) Still, as long as we end up married by the end of it, right?

*Unless it involves spending lots of money on a water bottle from the Olympics, because, like, it's gotta be a good quality one if all those athletes are using it, right? It was ok, and lasted a year but then I dropped it and... it got a puncture! :-D

Sorry, I didn't mean to turn this into the "All about Katie" show. Your tone here is really relatable and engaging, that's why ;-)

Hydration is important! I'm glad the water bottle turned out useful.

It really is - and it would have been so easy to accidentally have multiple beers if I hadn't had something in my hands already.