“Weddings. Minus the insanity, plus the marriage”

26 May

I spent last weekend at a lakehouse in Georgia, jumping off docks and tossing Bocce balls. It was a great vacation.

The 25-guest house was the venue for a bachelor/bachelorette weekend getaway at the lake – designed to let the bridal party get to know each other a couple months before the wedding over sunshine, drinks, tons of food and lots of water sports. Needless to say, it was a blast.

One of the best parts of the weekend was hearing the group recount memories from the weddings of others in the group – simple, outdoor affairs with vegetarian meals and live music by this New Orleans brass band – vintage dresses and ring settings. It was all so romantic.

I’d like to say here that I am not a girl that has always dreamed about her wedding day. Sure, I’ve thought about it, but it is definitely not an aspect of life that I have obsessed over*. I know all about the wedding industrial complex and have talked it to death. That’s exactly why it was so refreshing to be amongst married and soon-to-be married couples talk about their weddings in a totally simple, romantic, practical, and smart way.

Enter A Practical Wedding.  

(I actually found this blog a few weeks ago when congratulating a friend on his recent engagement. I sent it as a little bit of a joke because I knew he was fretting about the money he’d be spending on engagement rings, etc) but IT IS AMAAAAZING.  With the tag line “Weddings. Minus the insanity, plus the marriage” – that’s just what it is. There are gorgeous pictures and stories from couples’ beautiful and simple weddings – links for photographers, caterers and DIY resources (which I love, and are super fun to browse through when you’re surfing the nets)

It’s about balancing feminism with weddings and married life; about wrestling with the cultural dialogue surrounding weddings and marriages; and about figuring out how to be a bride and a wife on your own terms.

So anyway, last night I was cycling through some of my favorite blogs and I was like “why not read the wedding blog.” I’m nowhere close to getting married, but I’m also not obsessed with weddings*, so I can browse, right? Right? Yes. The answer is absolutely yes. And I loved it. To emphasize the marriage component of weddings, A Practical Wedding has a section titled “Reclaiming Wife” (“because ‘reclaiming marriage’ just sounds homophobic” ** it does.)  I was fascinated by the stories I read. This post hit me particularly because I too have been pondering love/sex/relationships/existentialism/what is the meaning of life/what is my purpose type things.

I thought I was good enough for a fuck buddy, but not a wife.  How could I compare to the other girls he’s had?  Does he wish he was with them instead of me?  Did one of them do something that drove him insane that he wishes I would do? Where do you go to learn these things?

And the guitar part? Someone please stop me from gushing my organs out.  Just read this blog. Do it. I promise you love it, even if you’re a dude?

Anyway, there are two things I’d like to say about marriage*. (Hence the *)

*I know there is a stereotype out there that girls are obsessed with weddings. They want to be princesses, wear a huge dress, invite everyone they’ve ever known in their entire life just so that everyone can look at them on their day. We have several television shows on the very topic! I have some internal conflict with this. Partly because I reject that stereotype for myself, because I do not identify with women who obsess about these things, and sometimes I even find myself scoffing or judging these women (you do too, don’t deny) but wait! Isn’t that misogynistic of me? Isn’t it against my feminist ideals of loving and supporting other women to mock women whose seemingly only motivation in life is to have a wedding? I think, maybe. Maybe not, I haven’t decided yet. It’s kind of like how I want to reject a lot of really girly things because I want to be “one of the guys” or “low-maintenance” or whatever. Whatever. What I reject more about this Bridezilla stereotype (and the ensuing flood of “marriage media” and consumption) is the assumptions about marriage that it perpetuates and reinforces in our society. Particularly the absence of the husband-to-be. I have known so many dudes that bow out of wedding planning responsibilities with a shrug or a kiss on the cheek and a sweet whisper: “whatever you want, baby, this is your day.” That’s bullshit. Weddings, and marriage, are celebrations and public declarations of your love and commitment to each other and your community. Also, isn’t feminism about equality? About shared responsibility in relationships and society? Why wouldn’t you want your future husband to be involved, and future husband: why don’t you want a say? Are you lazy? I am lazy sometimes, but planning things is fun. Weddings are fancy! And being fancy is fun! I swears.

** The modern marriage formula, in the majority of our country, is homophobic, or at least in most cases extremely prohibitive for same-sex couples. As an LGBTQ ally, a part of me rejects the marriage industry on moral ground – because it is an exclusionary, privileged industry that is not socially just. And it is an industry, to be sure. (Think of the tax benefits!) No wonder more than 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce – the financial strain of traditional weddings alone is enough to drive a couple apart – being in debt is fucking stressful, and stress has a tendency to bring out the worst in people. Some on the more extreme end of the ally spectrum protest marriage altogether, in solidarity; others suggest their guests donate a monetary portion of their intended wedding gifts to organizations working toward marriage equality, which I think is a fine idea. (If you’re like me, you’ll have to be a little bit brave and stand up to your conservative family.) Anyway – look at these incredible photos! If those don’t solidify or sway your support for marriage equality, I’m not sure if I know what will.

This post brought to you by Tara, who would like (if and when) to be married in her parent’s backyard. 

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