Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The rant that started it all......

When I was engaged, I got really sick of all the nitpicking crap that goes on during a wedding. The pressure and stress of it all made me blow up and write the article you see below. The article spiraled into several as I kept finding more and more wedding injustices, until it became a book. I thought you'd be tickled to see what started it all. This was published on the Baylor Information Network student website in April 2006.

Diary of the Reluctant Bride

First you must understand, I am not reluctant to get married. I’m actually very excited about getting married. I love my fiancé; he’s the best thing in my life, my best friend, my everything. I love this time in our lives, as we search for a house, graduate college and get married, all within four months. It’s fun to plan our future together.

However, what I has been bothering me lately is when people call me a bride. I never knew I could be so offended by a five letter word. It’s just for the past four months my entire identity has been as a bride. All my friends and family ask me about is the wedding, bringing it up several times a day. My future in-laws constantly ask me if I have any reservations about marriage, as if I’m going to turn around and run before ever getting down the aisle. Everyone is full of advice and things I absolutely must do in the wedding, “because it’s tradition darling.”

Where did I go? Am I simply supposed to disappear in a vacuum of tulle and chair bows for eight months and emerge from my cationic state when I say “I do”? Am I supposed to ignore my fiancé and school work and focus on the vital decision of white or cow print tablecloths? I am making a shocking statement: No. It doesn’t have to be this way.

I am not an untraditional, radical person. I am actually very traditional in most ways. However, I am very independent and stubborn, a dangerous combination. If I find something dull, stupid, or simply not for me, I refuse to do it. It has been my experience that when dealing with weddings, people will threaten to disown you for not wanting a wedding cake and opting for tiered wedding pies instead. Much to my dismay, my family was not very amused at what I thought was a bright idea. I found it very original and delicious, and three apple pies sound simply heavenly (maybe it’s just me).

And it’s not just me. I’d be selfish if I just said it was. For the past year, I’ve watched several close friends morph from sweet, laid back girls into detail- obsessed, wedding etiquette book wielding fiends. Every conversation revolves around dish patterns and bridesmaid dresses; every weekend is filled with cake tasting and boutique appointments in a different city. Soon you only talk to your friends through email, as they fill you in on their wedding plans and your role in the affairs. They apologize for being so busy, but there’s much to do. After all, one only has one year at maximum to find THE dress, in which their fiancé will fall to pieces and have that image forever imprinted in his mind at the time you were at utter perfection and loveliness. If that isn’t a depressing thought, I don’t know what is.

As I sit there glumly on Friday night, listening to my fiancé and his friends watch car videos and wondering where my girlfriends have gone; I think to myself, “Has it always been this way?” Have women always been so obsessed with weddings that they forget that marriage is a celebration of love, not a way to one-up the cheerleader in high school who stole your boyfriend? When did weddings become about expensive dresses and extravagant themes, and not about falling in love with your husband all over again?

Historically, weddings have always been small affairs. Bridal showers began as a way to help newlywed couples start a home, and weddings were essentially a big town celebration. As cities started to grow, things slowly began elaborating over the years, though nothing quite as big as we see today. My own parents got married in a small church in the town my mom grew up in, and had their honeymoon at an amusement park. Today that would be shocking.

If women are going to put this much time and energy into their weddings, will they put this much time and energy into their marriage? Will they spend hours pouring their hearts out to their husband, or simply turn to another hobby and begin to grow apart? With the divorce rate hovering around 50%, I can only hope many choose to spend their time with their husband and not being depressed over not having an enormous event to plan. But of course darling, you only get married once.

Since I only get to be married once, I choose to marry the man I love in a small, individual wedding with our closest friends and family. I choose to laugh with my friends, cry with happiness and the realization I am truly separate from my parents. I choose to fall in love all over again, and to start a new chapter in my life. Then I will be happy to be called a bride.