We thought we’d close out “Beginnings” month with a post that goes straight to the heart of what starting the planning process can feel like (read: frustrating). There are so many ways our culture goads us into feeling like we’re terrible people for asking for things, or worse, that somehow if we play by all the (totally contradictory) rules, we can obtain the elusive status of being a Good Bride. And it sucks. And there is no way to win. And sometimes I just want to run around engaged folks and shout, “It’s a trap!“ Which is why today I’m delighted to have Kristin Bond calling BS on the whole thing.
After years of being a quiet observer of the bridal industry, I had ideas about the type of bride I wanted to be when the time came. I wouldn’t separate the wedding party from their dates at the reception. And I was totally going to write thank you notes right away. Above all, I would never make my bridesmaids wear matching dresses that they hated. I was going to be gracious, laid-back, elegant, and calm—the complete opposite of a “Bad Bride.” As I read message boards on that wedding-site-that-must-not-be-named, I smugly basked in my superiority of knowing that I would never ask my best friends to cover a tattoo or dye their hair for our wedding.
Then people started asking about our wedding plans, and I said that I was (gasp!) letting my bridesmaids wear different dresses. My bridesmaids don’t need to be clones, because I am not. A. Bad. Bride. And one of my bridesmaids would actually be my brother, and my fiancé’s sister would stand on the groom’s side. We weren’t trying to be different or shocking. It’s just what we wanted. Why should my sister get to stand with me, but not my brother? But other people seemed to have a hard time with it. There were multiple times when, in the same breath, I was told, “Well, it’s just not DONE that way. WHAT ABOUT THE PICTURES?!? DEAR GOD, THINK OF THE PICTURES!!!” and, “Remember, it’s YOUR day. Do what you want.”
So I defended my plans. I defended the shit out of them, for weeks. It became my giant act of rebellion against the wedding industry and anyone who even had the audacity to try telling me what my wedding should be. It’s my day, right? None of these ideas are new or groundbreaking, yet I still felt like I had to justify them to every single person who saw the diamond on my finger and felt that it was okay to question and criticize my choices.
I asked my two siblings and three close friends to stand by my side on my wedding day, and told them they could wear whatever they wanted; the only guideline was that it had to be peacock colors. I sent them peacock feathers and some paint swatches that had colors I liked, but left everything else up to them. I thought that would leave room for all kinds of interesting options, and no one would get stuck with something they didn’t like. I made a shared board on Pinterest, and we had a very fun time pinning lots of cute dresses. Since we were spread across the country, and everyone hadn’t met each other, I scheduled a group video chat for us to talk about everything.
I opened the chat with, “OMG! I’m so excited about this! Easiest bridesmaid gig ever! I don’t want a shower or bachelorette party, and you get to wear whatever you want! WOOH! Let’s drink champagne all day for the wedding!” Even as I was saying it, I felt like the cool mom from Mean Girls (“I’m a cool bride! There are NO RULES at this wedding! Want some alcohol?”). Unfortunately, that’s pretty much how I came across to the bridal party. Continue reading Good Bride/Bad Bride