Wedding countdown: My own kind of bride

I’ve been thinking about what it means for me to be a bride. I’ll start with a few stereotypes and impressions that I’ve read or taken in throughout the years:

  • A bride is like a hostess.
  • A bride is center of attention. The universe of the wedding revolves around her.
  • Everyone congratulates the bride first.
  • Brides who get too focused, demanding, stressed out, particular, overbearing, etc. about their weddings are sometimes called “bridezillas.”
One of floral designers we interviewed addressed all of her comments to me until I told her that my fiance and I were making these decisions together – and that sometimes he had stronger preferences than I did about the flowers. As we make decisions about the details of our wedding, we are collaborating.

The event of a wedding seems very bride-focused, even though it’s a ceremony united and celebrating two people. I wonder if that pattern is turned on its head in weddings between two women or two men, if the bride-focused part may be part of a heteronormative and potentially patriarchal practice, going back to when women had dowries and were basically moving to new households and families. There’s also the beauty part, and society may expect a woman to be concerned about the details of creating beautiful event, as well as emphasizing her own beauty through her dress, hair, and makeup.

I’m not sure what it means to me to be a bride, other than I am the female spouse-to-be. I’m keeping some traditions and throwing out others.

I’m not wearing a white dress, or even off-white or champagne. Still, I sometimes look at the white dresses and there’s some small part of me that wants part of that. I don’t want to diminish any bride who desires to wear white – it’s a personal decision. I love the vivid dark blue of my dress, with its gold embroidered accents.

I’m not wearing a veil; my face and hair will be uncovered. I’m wearing my hair in an updo,  with flowers: baby’s breath, white roses, and delphinium (a purple/blue). I had a wedding hair trial with my stylist last week. There, I watched as she combed, curled and pinned my hair, braiding pieces and creating a vision that began with a Pinterest post.

I don’t have a bridal party – it would add extra details and potentially extra overwhelm. That being said, I do have a good friend playing a role in the wedding and my mom and mother-in-law-to-be have been amazing in helping me pull things together, and we are delegating various tasks to friends and family members.

Sitting at my beautiful bridal shower last Monday, surrounded by people who love me, I felt blessed. I also felt overwhelmed. Afterward, I spent some quality time with my weighted blanket. It was a very low-key shower and it still felt like a lot. I have a hard time having that much attention on me at once.

I seem to be fine being the center of attention when I have a specific role in certain settings. I’m fine facilitating a class, teaching Nia, giving a public speech. But it’s like I can diffuse the attention in those situations and maintain my energy and the energy of the space around me. But when it’s that focused on me, as it was at the bridal shower and I’m sure will be at most of the wedding, I felt very on the spot. It’s somewhat like being called on in class or a group situation, except for an extended amount of time. Am I supposed to perform, play a part, sit there and smile?

Any pressure aside, in the end, I need to do what feels natural to me. I’ll create space and breaks to relax and renew. I’ll do my best to be present. I’ll take in the love around me. I’ll create boundaries and space when I need to. I’ll be my own kind of bride at my wedding.
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One response to this post.

  1. Ok, I have some totally unsolicited advice, but it is very, very, very, very, very, very, very important. And most brides don’t do it. The place that we had our wedding assured us that they would see to it and they did — EAT! You will be busy, and as you said the center of attention, but, please, take time to eat. It will help you get through it all. You will feel better. I would tell you to have fun, but hopefully that is a given.

    Good luck!

    Reply

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