"No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize." - Julia Child

Monday, March 7, 2011

It takes two to wed

Weddings are women's work.


I'm not going to delve too deeply into all the implications behind society's assumption that the woman takes charge of planning all the details of "the most important day of her life" while the groom sits back, scratching himself, drinking beer, and showing up when he needs to, feigning interest when his bride shows him samples of stationery or centerpiece ideas. There is so much wrong with the assumption that this is the most important day of a woman's life--shouldn't it be the most important day of the COUPLE'S LIFE? Since they're in it together? There is also the implication that men are clueless and only women are intelligent enough to piece together the hundreds of insane details a wedding entails. There is also the implication that all these hundreds of insane details are important, nay essential, to a wedding. There is also the implication that every woman has a natural predilection to be OMG AMAZING at planning a wedding.

There is also a huge emphasis placed on the wedding, with scant attention paid to the fact that the wedding is only the first day of something more important: a MARRIAGE.

I am not one of those girls who grew up dreaming of her wedding. I always thought vaguely about it, like, Oh, I would like it to be a fun party, or Oh, I would like a dress I can walk in that doesn't have its own gravitational pull, or Oh, having different kinds of cake would be nice (in fact, in recent years, the only thing I've thought extensively about is the baked goods and other foods to feature at the wedding). But when it came time to start planning and people started asking me what I wanted to do (What's your color scheme? How many bridesmaids will you have? What kind of centerpieces? How will you wear your hair?), I answered with a resounding WTF. You mean people actually THINK about this stuff when they're not enmeshed in the actual process of planning a wedding? WTF indeed.

So I commenced planning with a slightly panicked, slightly worried, slightly fuck-you-wedding-industry-complex mentality: unsure of what I was getting myself into but hopeful that I'd come out on the other end still breathing, with my sanity mostly intact, and with a day that reflected who we are that people enjoyed. What came as a hugely pleasant surprise (and relief, and delight) is just how lucky I am to have a groom who actually gives a shit about his wedding.

Yes... my fiance not only gives a shit about his wedding, he's actually enthusiastic about it. He actually wants to help. He has actually taken ownership of the fact that this is a day about BOTH of us. He is excited to help put together a fun and special day that will signal the beginning of our marriage. I think part of the reason this feels like a fun thing and not a dreadful thing is that we're somewhat offbeat. We are planning to do things that feel right to us and are scrapping those that don't make sense to us as individuals and as a couple. Jeremy looks forward to writing a ceremony and vows together, assembling the AV equipment we'll need for our sound system, creating a music play list, shopping around for his threads, designing the invitation, adding things to our registries, helping with some of the DIY crafty stuff. I recently bought some clay so I can try making our cake toppers, and he wants to help. Re-read that: HE WANTS TO HELP ME MAKE CLAY PENGUINS, because he thinks it will be fun. OMFG! I even said that I was unsure if I wanted to go to the Running of the Brides event (later in the day, after the running), because I didn't know if there would be anyone to go with me and I couldn't stomach the thought of going alone, and he said that he would go with me. OMG! What groom WANTS to go clothes shopping for himself, let alone for his bride, given that he could be spending that afternoon having a beer and relaxing after work? And yet this wonderful, loving, patient man has offered to go to a giant room full of sample gowns in disarray and help me. I don't think that I'll take him up on that offer, simply because I think I might not go at all, but that right there to me is love, and just one of the many daily reminders I have of how fortunate I am to be in this kind of a partnership.

I suspect that there are actually more men out there who care about their own weddings that it appears, but because the wedding industry complex has shoved so much excess down our throats, and because it puts such pressure on us to have a perfect day, and because it has succeeded in targeting the bride, grooms have effectively been alienated to the point of being practically an afterthought. I suspect that most men out there don't give a rat's ass about a monogrammed napkin, and on further inspection, I'm sure most brides out there don't either. But they're pressured to think that they MUST have them by this giant, money-making beast that seems to justify exorbitant spending by offering the rather ridiculous "justification" that "This is YOUR special day, your most important day! Anything less than perfection is unacceptable!"

If couples sat down together at the beginning of the planning process and discussed what each person wants, and then brainstormed to find a creative, individualized way to bring that vision into reality, I have a feeling far more grooms would get really into planning the party. (Or at least some aspects of it.) If more couples focused on what THEY WANT, rather than what they are SUPPOSED to want, I think there would be a lot more unique, individualized, memorable weddings out there. And a lot more happy couples in the months leading up to the wedding.

During this whole process, I have never felt I was planning my wedding; we've been planning ours. I've gotten opinions on everything from Jeremy and we have come to decisions together. I've even scrapped some of the ideas I had because Jeremy didn't like them. I don't want to do anything on our day that will upset him, because why should I? It's not just my day, it's his day too. I have no right to turn into a raving bitch because I'm a bride. I am marrying one half of a whole, and I plan to keep it that way all during the planning process. And all the way through our marriage, every single day. In fact, even though I am looking forward to our wedding, I'm looking forward to the day after it even more, and each day after that even more, because I truly believe every day our marriage together will only get better and better.

"You are the butter to my bread. The breath of my life."
- Paul Child to Julia Child

1 comment:

Michelle Woe said...

Well put. I am pleased and proud to be similarly situated.