Monday, September 29, 2014

Matrimony Monday: I Am Not a Bride

I’m over 9 months into this wedding planning business, and things are moving along. A few logistical kerfuffle’s here and there, but overall things are barrelling ahead. But at some point in the past few weeks I’ve realized something. I don’t think I am a bride.

Hold on, don’t panic Mike, parents, or future inlaws, I am totally and 100% ready to be Mike’s wife. But this whole bride stage is freaking me out. I know by definition my role in all this is to be a bride, but in the traditional way of looking at weddings, being the bride doesn’t quite suit me.

Lets back up a bit. As a kid, I remember planning a school “wedding” in grade 1. Did anyone else do this? Basically the boy would get pestered enough to “marry” the girl (my mom will tell you that my “wedding” got out of hand, and there may have been a “minister”, dresses and suits and rings and flowers involved. I’m sure in some cultures, I may actually be married to that guy haha). And the funny thing is, I’m sure little 6 year old me felt more like a bride than I do now, as an actual bride-to-be.

The wedding industry complex has put a certain pedestal around being a bride. The whole 86 Billion Dollar industry is built on it, in fact if you look at 95% of wedding marketing, the groom doesn’t even have to exist, and to me that is ridiculous. But advertisers play this up. The minute Mike and I got engaged my facebook was filled with “you are engaged, come look at this wedding related thing”, whereas Mike’s was still filled with advertisements based on his occupation and interests.

To the “industry”, I stopped being “Kaylee: Civil Engineering Grad, Full Time Engineering worker, Math Tutorer, Triathlon and Hot Yoga Doer, Part time blogger, Bike Commuter, Veggie Eater, Toronto Liver, Cat owner, Candle Stick maker” to being “Kaylee: Bride.” Along with the other 25K+ brides each year. Thanks wedding industry, I am now part of the collective. And even for alternative, unique wedding websites/planning etc. you are still “Bride”. You may be “Hipster Bride” or “Traditional Bride” or “City Hall Bride”, but deep down, you are “a bride”. Poor Barbie, now I know how she feels.
Ironically, I actually do really like this dress! Source

And with this label, comes an expectation of ways to feel. You (and only you, not the groom), are expected to decide every little detail of the wedding, and not with logic, but with EMOTION! (Fun fact, I do not care AT ALL how my bridesmaids do their hair, but this is something I "should" care about). You are expected to get bridal privileges of making requests/demands because it is “your day” (not to be confused with Bridezillas, but one step below that is still considered completely acceptable, which can still fall in the range of acting like a princess). And you are supposed to invest (time and money) every waking minute into picking, and falling in love with your dress.

And this brings us back to the reason of this post. I am in the middle of dress shopping, and I feel that no matter what dress I try on I will feel like I am playing dress up….because I don’t feel like a bride! I don’t think I will ever have that emotional reaction to a dress, but the industry has made us believe, thanks to the tv shows, that the moment has to happen. When in reality most of the people I have talked to have said it doesn’t.

I don’t feel like a bride, I feel like a girly, who is trying to plan a function (and that part I love), to sign a legal document to marry Mike, commit in our families’ religion(s), and then have a big party. As another friend of mine said “all I want is for my wedding to be surrounded by people I love and who love me, being happy for me that I'm marrying someone I love”.

And technically that could be done wearing a paper bag.

Dragon's are totally invited to my wedding. Source
Post Script: If when you got engaged, or when you do get engaged, you are the most excited about being part of all the “bride” glory…that is totally ok!! You are the normal one, I am the weird one, and I don’t want this to come across as me saying my opinion is better/worse…it’s just how I feel! In fact I’m jealous!! It would make this whole wedding planning thing a lot easier if I could just dive fully into being a bride!

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