March 27   Bridal tug of war

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Oh look, here’s another topic I have been struggling to pull into a coherent piece. We’re getting married. And I’m over the moon that I am going to marry C. I’m really excited about our wedding day and the life we are planning together. But I have to admit that the planning of the wedding, for me, is an internal struggle between two parts. And as we get deeper into this, it gets more uncomfortable and as such I am getting less and less decisive on things. Which means, I am embarrassed to admit, C is doing much more of the coordination of details than me.

Here’s the thing. There is 12 year old me aka the Hollywood stereotype thinker and there’s 36 year old me – independent woman, feminist, etc. They actually agree far less often than you might think.

12 year old me has always dreamed of the white dress, the veil, being walked down the aisle. The whole kit and caboodle. And in some ways, this would be the really easy option. Open up the Hollywood recipe of how to plan a wedding, follow steps A through W and bazinga you have yourself the white wedding we all dreamed of.

The thing is … I’m 36. And I’m not the wide-eyed innocent swapping her parents’ home for her husband’s, to be wife and mother. I’m really struggling with a lot of the symbology of weddings. And I think it would be really easy to just not think about them and I spose a lot of people don’t. But I started to think about what things mean, as people ask do I want this or that, and I don’t want to be an automaton. I don’t want to do things just because that’s what is expected or because everyone else does. But as soon as you start to think about deeper meanings and symbolism of rituals, it really starts to hurt your brain. So for example, I’m not something “to be given away” – I’m not property and noone owns me and more than that, I already left home some time ago and earn my own keep. I’m not really comfortable with a veil – what’s that about, hiding the bride’s face and all that? And then there’s the dress itself. Can I really, with a straight face, saunter down the aisle in a big white meringue and not look completely over the top? Except, some little part of me still says, in a very tiny voice, but I want to wear the dress! And .. it’s not often you have an occasion to wear a ball gown, so why not? And … but veils are so pretty! And this is a one time chance to wear one. Picking wedding colours, styles and a theme feels so defined, such a statement of “this is who I am/who we are” when really it might just be one aspect of who we are. On the other hand, we’re planning a wedding here and decisions need to be made and things booked and deposits paid. It’s all rather overwhelming.

I blogged before about this: I want our wedding to be meaningful to us and represent who we are and what kind of life we plan to make together. It very much needs to be a blend of the two of us. And for my part, throwing out a lot of the traditions feels right and wrong at the same time – I am a person who loves ritual but at the same time, cannot go along with things that have always been just because they have always been so when they let women down. Which means we have the chance to start from the foundations and build upwards. But I have no idea what that means or what that will eventually look like. Or where to start thinking about that.

That all makes it sound so much more tortured than it is! We had a lot of fun going wedding cake tasting which I might confess I took inspiration from the Gilmore Girls. Oddly though, I got over cake much quicker than I thought I would. We didn’t even eat all the cakes here in this wedding cake taster box! And in the end, it only took a morning of doing the wedding cake circuit to find the cake I wanted and lock it in. Though I maintain I will find an event to plan so I can order and serve the light green cake with Japanese orange blossoms

PS. After I wrote this post, I realised that I want to change the theme of our wedding. C just rolled his eyes. Though it has meant that I spent the weekend creating picture boards of my ideas for the theme and I’m much more excited and feel much more focused and clear on what I think I want.


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  • By Helen on 27 March 2012 at 12:36 pm

    We’ve just had two weddings in our family. Both were casual and informal outdoor weddings but each was distinct. One was fairly traditional including an elaborate cake.
    The other involved Kombis as the wedding cars, three year old ring bearer wearing a straw hat, sunflowers for the bouquets and a Mexican themed reception. Turns out adults have a lot of fun with pinatas and like taking photos involving long droopy moustaches – and that was just the women. The bride’s gown was long, simple and flattering and she did wear a veil but only for sentimental reasons. It was forty years old and passed down to her although she modified it, putting her own twist on it.
    I guess what I’m saying is it’s your wedding. Incorporate what ritual is important to you and forget the rest. Most of all let it reflect both of you so when you look back on it you think ‘that was a great day’.

  • By Melina on 27 March 2012 at 3:48 pm

    One way to marry (hee) the two sides of you might be to adapt the traditional. I had the white (ivory) ball dress, but it had pretty pink highlights at the top, bottom and back. I also had a veil, but it never came forward over my face, just hung off my hair (I made my veil and mum embroidered it with little flowers). My friend who got married recently managed to make both purple and blue her theme colours at different times – and made it work :) Another friend couldn’t find a white, ivory or cream dress that suited her but wore a beautiful shimmery pale pink that was just perfect.

    I’m sure you’re wedding will be perfect. My only advice – if you make your own invitations, don’t use lots of thin ribbon and thin double sided tape – so, very, very difficult!

  • By Ka'ela Ja'el on 27 March 2012 at 5:38 pm

    You know, many brides now will wear a veil, but not actually have their faces covered.
    Ultimately though, it’s good that you’re breaking each tradition down and taking what you want and need from it.

  • By Thoraiya on 27 March 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Yeah. What Helen said. Good luck!

    I figured that any time I wore a fabulous white formal dress in public, people would assume I was a bride. And I didn’t want them to assume that, unless I actually was, and so my one good chance to wear one was when I WAS a bride, and I decided I could wear as many red and green and blue dresses as I wanted later.

    If that made sense?

    I had a veil, but not one to cover my face. It dangled behind and was strategically placed to cover that bit of my hair that sticks out in all directions, bwahahaha!

    As for my father giving me away, I figured it was only fair he held onto me as we walked down the “aisle” (we were outside and the white orchids crunched under my feet!) because he was crying and clearly needed someone to hold him up ;)

  • By Thoraiya on 27 March 2012 at 8:43 pm


    *goes to look at wedding photos to remind self how nice I look with a waist*

  • By Ju on 27 March 2012 at 9:37 pm

    I had a comment and I realised that it didn’t make a significant contribution to your post and the confusion and thoughtfulness you’re experiencing and so I’ll take it to a post of my own instead. But what I will say here is oh… I hear you about making it about the both of you, the child-self who dreamt lots, the feminism and queerness and polyness colliding with the rituals and symbolism and the legal set up and the way I can’t resolve it.. which is likely why I’m still engaged and am not actively planning the wedding at this point. And yet… I love being engaged.

    I am absolutely certain that what you and C come up with for your celebration will be perfect for you and be a day to remember, shared with the people you both care about the most. And I will happily drink to that.


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