Sunday, September 15, 2013

The (Un)Veiled Bride

I think the best part about getting married in this day and age is that there are no rules.  Brides are no longer upheld to antiquated standards.  You don't want to get married in a church?  Don't.  You don't want to wear a white dress?  Don't.  You don't want to toss the bouquet?  Don't (and I promise all your single girlfriends will say a silent "Thank God").

You don't want to wear a veil?  Don't.

I was once told by a woman who had probably gotten married about three decades ago that I would surely regret it if I didn't wear a veil.  She said without a veil, I would never feel like a bride; I'd just feel like a girl in a really pretty dress.  I respectfully listened to her opinion, as I did throughout my entire wedding planning process when people offered me their not-at-all-requested opinions.  And then I cried.

I found the more I shared about my wedding plans, the more unwelcome advice I yielded from just about everyone.

Women, and especially bride-to-bes, are natural people pleasers.  We seek approval from our mothers, sisters, bridesmaids, future in-laws and the women we meet in line at the grocery store.  And maybe this just applies to me, but I was also extra sensitive while I was planning my wedding (hence why I cried about the innocuous veil comment).  I felt like every single day I had to make a wedding-related decision that might not be "approved" by each and every person involved in the wedding.  I agonized over this.  When someone, anyone, voiced their disapproval over one of my decisions, I let it eat at me.

I spent an absurd amount of time trying to keep everyone else happy during my 10-month engagement that at some points I was quite unhappy myself.  My wedding planning experience was a series of extremes - really high highs (starting with my fairy tale engagement) and really low lows (when we found out our venue was ruined during Hurricane Sandy).  Although I think every bride can relate at some level, if I could do it all over again, I'd ignore the critics and cynics. 

Luckily, I had a very supportive fianc√© whose mantra was basically, "It's OUR day.  All that matters is what WE want." 

Brian and I had many conversations during our engagement that went something like this:
Me: I don't really want to make a big thing out of cutting the cake.  I kind of want it to just be me and you.
Brian: Me too.
Me: But what if {fill-in-the-blank with either of our mother's names} gets upset?
Brian: Who cares?  It's OUR wedding.

I didn't wear a veil on my wedding day and I still very much felt like a bride.  I wore flowers in my hair instead - something that is very me.  A veil just isn't me.  And that's okay.  There are no rules.  Actually - there's just one rule that I want you to follow...

Follow Brian's advice (wow - never thought I'd say that on this blog).  Act like a man for once.  Do what you want.

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