Your wedding is not a contest

I swear, I will start writing original content once I finish up this last paper. In the meantime, my fave wedding blogger, A Practical Wedding has led me to an older post by Offbeat Bride. Her book was the very first wedding item I purchased after being engaged. (now I have a bona fide bridal magazine problem).

I’ve run into this a lot in talking to people about their weddings — the dirty flip-side of “my wedding is too weird” is “my wedding isn’t weird enough.” Both sentiments make me sad because your wedding is not a contest.

There’s this bridal machismo that can sneak into your mind, and it’s not especially healthy. I’ve seen this happen with DIY/crafty brides, who get down on themselves for not hand-making every last piece of wedding detritus. I’ve seen this from feminist brides who feel like if they let someone walk them down the aisle, they need to defend their choice. I’ve seen it with green/eco-brides who agonize over the fact that they’re using a non-organic unity candle.

As your resident alt-lifestyle consultant, please allow me to state this clearly: brides do not need more ways to feel bad about our weddings.

I didn’t write Offbeat Bride as a judgment — I’ve gone to traditional weddings that were beautiful expressions of the couple’s backgrounds and beliefs. I wrote the book to act a cheerleader for those wrestling with making nontraditional decisions about their wedding — not as an admonishment of those who chose otherwise.

Engaged women don’t need another voice telling them they’re failing.

In this way, I guess maybe the book is mis-titled. Maybe it shouldn’t be Offbeat Bride, but Authentic Bride. I kept this in mind while I was working on the book: Engaged women don’t need another voice telling them they’re failing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a voice of tradition telling them they’re wrong for wanting to have their wedding in the round, or a voice of nontradition telling them they’re wrong for wanting to wear a white dress — brides need encouragement and support.

There’s nothing to prove here. Trying to have a nontraditional wedding just for the sake of making a statement is just as inauthentic as forcing yourself into a traditional ceremony to keep your parents happy. Your wedding should reflect the reality of you and your partner’s life together. If you’re using your wedding to prove a point about anything other than your commitment to each other, it’s worth step back a bit to reconsider your motivations.

Your wedding is not a race, and there’s no need to win — the only prize you need is the commitment of your partner (aww) and you get that regardless of how far you chose to walk off the beaten aisle.

I don’t think your wedding needs to be more offbeat. It just needs to be honest and authentic, and if what you want is a white dress and a more traditional ceremony, I think that’s fucking awesome.

Is it weird that I feel like these bloggers are my therapists? Anyway...

I'm having this same issue. Is my wedding normal? Is what I have envisioned too strange? Is it dull and obvious? Everyone has an opinion on what a wedding should be. It's hard to say to well-meaning friends or family, "well, you can always do that at your next wedding" - actually that might be what I say from now on. I'm hoping that the standard I end up using is the one that Groom and I like. So whether that means small and elegant or gigantic and friendly, I don't know yet. Likely it will be some spawn of the two. Until then I'm going to continue to read every blog and book I can (I'm in grad school - I like research) until I figure it out.