Ask Team Practical: Embarassed to be a Bride

I’ve never been the type to “want to get married.” I don’t feel like I have a maternal bone in my body and have never had the desire to have my own children. You can imagine my/everyone’s surprise when I fell pregnant at 18 and decided to keep the baby. So fast forward 18 years. I’m pretty happy in my chosen career, my baby girl has grown into a beautiful, strong, capable, brilliant, clever, funny young woman and graduated high school with flying honours, and I am affianced to a fantastic guy that I’ve been with for 5 years. And want to marry. And schemed to marry, and cried in secret when he didn’t ask me on my birthday last year. (I read Manya’s story about that wanting to get married and laughed and laughed.) And then he asked, and that’s where the problems started.

I just feel so embarrassed and awkward all the time. I feel like I can’t talk about the wedding to anyone without playing its importance down. I have played the importance of my wedding down by keeping it as fuss free and cheap as possible. I felt embarrassed and awkward going into wedding dress shops (thank god for Ebay). I feel embarrassed saying I’m a bride. But at the same time I’m aware that awkwardness and embarrassment is seated in this terrible sense of loneliness. I’m not shy (I’m a singer and feel most comfortable on stage), but I hate the fuss and attention. I don’t feel I deserve it, and it should be directed at someone more worthy. I feel like other people must be thinking that I’m too old for this?

I want to be able to embrace this as other people do. Why can’t I embrace my inner bride? Where is she?? Why don’t I fit in anywhere? I love my partner so much and want this commitment with him. But I’m hating everything and just feel depressed and lonely.

Awkward in Adelaide

Wedding planning is never what you think it will be. Never. So stop adding excess stress by worrying about what you should be feeling. You’re gonna feel how you feel. Haven’t you been reading APW, lady?!? Remember how we’re throwing out all our shoulds and supposed tos? We’ve had brides who’ve had children before they were married, brides who’ve been married before, older brides (I’m not calling you out with a link, but I expect you to show yourselves in the comments, ladies…). Listen to these ladies and learn from them.

Or just listen to Meg from nearly two years ago today.

Ever worry that you don’t feel like a bride?

Here is why: you’re not one.

The bride gig lasts for eight to twelve hours. It may not feel the way you expected, but trust me, you’ll notice the feeling. And if you really pay attention, that one day of being a bride will be enough for a lifetime.

See? And know that however you feel during those eight to twelve hours? That is what a bride feels like. I can’t answer why you feel like you don’t deserve a wedding, but I can tell you that you are the only one who feels that way. Your partner is proud of you, your friends are happy for you and, hell, even strangers are happy for you. As they should be. What makes you a bride is the act of getting married. Cultural norms have made it seem like all brides are some fresh, dewy, young thing, but they are not. They come in all ages, shapes, sizes and personal backgrounds. You know this, I know you do. You wouldn’t begrudge a friend who’s your age the joy of being a giddy bride, so why are you doing it to yourself? How would you feel if your beautiful, strong, capable, brilliant, clever, funny daughter was making herself feel like you are?

I don’t know how to make you feel better about your age. So what if you’re not the average age of a bride in the US; would it help to know you fit in nicely at APW? (Our 30 to 40 year old readers are almost equal to our 18-24 year old readers, by the way.) You’re not too old to be a bride. You don’t want to help perpetuate the stereotype that brides are young and virginal, do you? Hold your head proudly when you say that you’re getting married. Be the example that you wish was set forth for you, so you didn’t feel this way during your planning process.

And perhaps consider some counseling. We here at APW are big fans, both personally and professionally, of seeking out counseling now and then. Not because you’re broken (you’re not), but because having someone experienced to help you sort out the pieces of what you’re going through can be really helpful. It seems like your anxiety might not just be wedding related, and there is lots of help for that (we know, the APW staff is an anxious one). Your partner, your family, and your friends can tell you all day and all night long that there is nothing wrong with being 36, with a daughter, and getting married, but until you truly learn it, it’s not going to stick. And I think a professional might help you work through what’s keeping it from sticking.

Also? You can’t see them, but you have a whole slew of ladies raising their virtual glasses to you and cheering you on. Relax, enjoy the rest of the ride and know that it’s going to be over pretty soon. Thank effing goodness.


Spill it, Team Practical. What helped you feel more like a “bride”?  Hell, did you even feel like a bride at all??

Photo of Amanda and Devon’s wedding from the APW Flickr stream by Megan Schley Photography.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh). We’re not kidding. It brings us joy. What, you don’t want to bring your editors JOY?!

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  • 36 is not old to be getting married! I know loads of ladies who have been married at this age.

    I know it’s hard when people say, ‘just enjoy it!’. If you don’t enjoy that kind of attention it’s hard. But don’t be embarrassed by getting married – there is nothing to be embarrassed by. You are a person, in love, and you’re celebrating that with a marriage. The wedding is a small part of that. Think of it more as a party to celebrate finding the love of your life, and whatever you do, don’t start reading any wedding magazines or blogs besides APW! Stay sane x

  • You have to be your own person, and not be afraid of it. From what you say, you are great, and have accomplished a lot, so embrace it. Your wedding (as this whole community proves) is not supposed to be anything and you, as a bride, are not supposed to look like anything in particular. You can wear red or green or blue or a painted dress, or normal clothes if you feel more comfortable than in a meringue-y puff (I remember a certain bride with a beautiful hand painted peacock dress here). What is important is that in the end you will be married to your partner. And age does not matter, after all there are some things in our lives that we do not have control of, and I believe meeting “the one”, and learning our lessons, and being ready for the hugeness of it is one of those. Also, maybe this beautiful love story can inspire you?
    Just do not beat yourself, and search withn yourself, and with your partner what it is that you would like the day where you start to be a family, to be.

    • YES!

      My mother’s friend from college has a similar love story to the link you posted. She was too young to marry when they met (being 17 and he 22 it was frowned upon by her parents). They moved apart, married their first spouses, and through dozens of years and the power of facebook, they were reunited after crappy divorces and many miles….yes, they were sixty-ish, reconnected on facebook, and admitted they were still in love with each other. It is a story that gives me chills. Now they are happily married.

      When it’s right, it’s right.

      • kayakgirl73

        NPR’s “Story Core” had a similar story on this morning.

      • Class of 1980

        My mother remarried at 45 and it’s been a ridiculously happy marriage.

    • Jennifer

      I love that. I still have the fondest memories of my grandfather’s wedding when I was 16. He was 72, she was 68. (His older brother was best man, her older sister was matron of honor. They had been married to each other for 49 years at that point.) Sadly, they’ve both since died, but they had 19 happy years together first.

  • Jo

    I could have written this post. I never once felt like a ‘bride’ and it made it very awkward for other people, because I kind of ran away from it. And shunned it. I regret doing that, because whatever I was feeling was totally legit and I didn’t need to be embarrassed of feeling it, whether it was wanting to talk about seating arrangements or not wanting to give a crap about flowers. (All of those things are totally legit, whether you feel obsessed or completely disinterested).

    I think I was mostly scared of the “bride” bit because I was SO terrified of coming across as a Bridezilla and the crazy woman that we’ve typed the bride into (thank you very much, ALL WEDDING TV SHOWS). I needed people to recognize that I was still me, just under a very isolating, very stressful pile of shit and drama and expectations, and to treat me accordingly.

    I did the exact same thing you’re doing. Guess what? You’re totally worthy, you’re totally deserving. Whether you invite no one or everyone, you deserve all of the beauty and the joy and the fuss that YOU want. (I can say that to you because you’re also Practical, and won’t think that you need some Sweet Sixteen shenanigans.) So if you can, relax into it. I never did, and I regret cheating myself of that. Fingers crossed!

    • KTH

      My one piece of advice to engaged ladies? DO NOT WATCH THE WEDDING SHOWS.

      Seriously, those people aren’t the only way to be “brides” the same way the folks on the Jersey Shore aren’t the only way to be from New Jersey. Those people are on a reality show, one that is edited to look a certain way. Do NOT let that influence how you view weddings, brides, or humanity in general.

      • Emily Elizabeth

        FOR SERIOUS about not watching all the wedding shows. I think that qualifies as a good advice for anyone. I saw some say yes to the dress recently at a friend’s house, and it immediately made me feel terrible about the wedding dress I already wore at our wedding, and so sad for all of those girls. I can only imagine what other shows are like!

        • It’s so true about “Bridezilla and the crazy woman that we’ve typed the bride into (thank you very much, ALL WEDDING TV SHOWS)”- I’ve been watching a show here in the UK called “Don’t Tell the Bride” where the groom sorts out everything, including the dress (she gets to see it when she goes for that one last fitting, I assume they measure her beforehand at some point). I first saw it by accident, because the ads for it were predictably awful (Oh no! A MAN planning A WEDDING!? THE HILARITY!) but I keep watching it because it is utterly charming and sweet- so many episodes include the bride crying her eyes out when she sees the decorations or her dress, or even finds out the plan for her hen night, because these guys are putting so much thought into making their ladies happy. The voiceover, however, keeps saying things like “Trouble ahead whenl bridezilla Katie sees what he did now!” talking about impending doom that NEVER HAPPENS. Even with the evidence on screen, they still try to sell the “bridezilla + moronman” story, no matter what’s actually going on.

    • Jen B

      “I think I was mostly scared of the “bride” bit because I was SO terrified of coming across as a Bridezilla.”

      Ugh, yes, that is it right there. That awful tug of war between “you’re supposed to make every decision, ever, because You’re The Bride” and “oh, you’re making all the decisions? Bridezilla!” Then add to that the feeling that your wedding is an imposition (and I know, I know, logically, it isn’t, but damned if I can’t help feeling like I’m inconveniencing everyone on the planet by getting married when and where we are) and it’s basically a shit-storm of shame.

      No advice to offer, sorry. Just commiseration.

      • Yes, exactly! And after all that, I never really felt like a bride. I wonder how much was my dress, which was as for from a white dress as you can get. I felt tired, and happy, and watchful, and very much myself, hosting a party for an occasion that drew a lot of people.

  • kayakgirl73

    I got married at 36. Enjoy it and have fun. The only place I really felt weird was at some Bridal shows near my rural home town. Folks were quite young at some of those. Bridal shows are kinda of weird anyhow. I never felt weird about my age with my vendors and they talked to me and my mom if she happened to be along.

  • As a 31 11/12 year old bride, I get what you’re saying, but it’s never too old to fall in love, or get married. Like I said in the letter I wrote to my husband on the morning of our wedding “I would have waited my whole life for this, for you….” I’m lucky to have found him at 32, but if it took until I was 82, I would still want to be his bride.

    Also, I pretty much avoided calling him my boyfriend when we dated, or my fiance’ when we were engaged. I felt like people would look at me and think “Wow, you have a boyfriend? Yeah, right.” or “Someone wants to marry you? Umm, okay.” But now that he’s my husband? I throw that term around like it’s no one’s business. I’m married, I’m a wife, I have a husband, and I deserve all of this just as much as the next person.

    (Side note: The day before our wedding, I was driving out to the venue with my mom and we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch since it was quick and easy and I wasn’t in the mood for anything but knew I needed some kind of food. She announced to the cashier that I was getting married the following day and I then had a 10 minute conversation with all of the staff about marriage and weddings and 35th anniversaries…I never wanted to crawl into a hole so much in my life. BUT, looking back, it’s really an awesome memory. So just enjoy this time and try not to worry about what everyone else might think. Odds are, they are all happy for you and excited to celebrate with you and yours on your wedding day!)

    • Joanna

      Exactly! I hate calling my boyfriend “boyfriend” because it always sounds weird to me. I get self-conscious about it, and avoid it. Even thought I have no reason to! The more serious we get, the harder it is. After 4 years of being together, we’re talking engagement, and I have no idea how I’ll ever be able to call him my fiance.

      “Someone wants to marry you?!”

      That. It would never in a million years be said to me, but the creeping insecurity won’t go away regardless.

      • Noemi

        I have to say, I had a bit of the opposite reaction. I was reluctant at first, but over our two-year engagement, I grew to like using the word fiance, as if to say, “Yeah, that’s right, someone wants to marry me! I am worthy!” And now, husband? It’s such a comforting and warm feeling to hear or say husband in relation to my life partner, my love, Kevin. Being only about 6 months in, it still is a bit of a novelty! Ah, the power of words.

    • Ceebee

      Yes exactly bridehood is a state of mind, exciting as a helium balloon, revealing as layers of onions to be peeled. Bubble in it, be emotionally inebriated.

      On 82, My bazi reading (some fengshui reading thingy) says our stars align when I’m 72. That’s a long wait if it’s true but will be so worth it!

  • I think it’s easy to be embarrassed to be a bride no matter what your age/parental status/number of tattoos or kitten posters. Every bridal tv show or movie is about how getting married makes women shallow and selfish and crazy. (Thank the lord for APW!) When you say you’re getting married, it’s easy to assume that people think you must be shallow and selfish and crazy, too But for the most part, I think people are just happy for you. I know I felt weird telling people about wedding details, but now i love getting updates from other friends who are getting married because I’m so happy for them. And if people assume you are shallow/selfish/crazy, they probably aren’t the kind of people you’d want to share life details with anyway. There is no question of what kind of bride you should be or what kind of bride deserves love and attention. If you and your partner are in love and want to make that commitment, you deserve it.

    • Ceebee

      Oh yesyesyesyes those xrazyyyyyy people! But who watches those shows if there’s no drama, right? Maybe I would.

      The first time in my 20s I stayed in the US, I watched EVERY marathon for Whose Wedding Is It Anyway and Bridezillas. This year in my 30s I stayed just as long in another city which is a lot quiter and I didn’t watch a single episode of anything because those girls make me want to splash a bucket on them all. Hello, you’re getting married to the love of your life, be happy already!

  • I fussed and freaked out and actually threw the veil my friend handed me to try on because “IhavetwokidsIcan’twearaveilwhoareyoukidding???” Then one day I realized I was ruining this experience for myself. I thought hard about how lucky I was and how the beauty of my life deserved celebration and I committed to trying to “get over myself”.

    The issue of how much happiness and good fortune we deserve though….that’s another issue and one my therapist and I have battled over for years. Ever try and convince your therapist of your unworthiness? I wish someone had filmed it…God Bless that Woman.

    I don’t know you, but I understand you. Celebrate your lovely life with your daughter and your fiance. Allow the people in your life to celebrate you!

    • Yes, I regularly try to convince my therapist that I’m unworthy of a bunch of stuff. And that I’m selfish and ungrateful. We have these debates were she tries to make me see through that crap. I’m working on it a little bit by bit.

  • I’m 29, and our wedding is in three weeks (omg omg omg!). And it is literally only in the last week or so that I have felt giddy and squee about the whole being a bride thing. I’ve been excited the whole time to marry my guy, but I’ve been pretty DL on the wedding. But, now, things are coming together. Our living room is filled with things we’ll use to decorate. I have hair appointments and know when people’s planes are flying in and everything.

    There are still moments of nervous shyness about mentioning the wedding (and I am NOT a shy person). I’m not wearing a veil, mostly because of expense but a tiny bit because I feel like a poser (we are already legally married). And I am always bending over backward to make sure people know I’m not a bridezilla. But I am also trying to just enjoy these last few weeks where I can just enjoy this transition.

  • You’re in love! You’ve found the person you want to spend your life with, and luckily, he seems to feel the same way about you! Embrace it. There is not a ‘set age’ to get married, and I have a feeling that you’re giving yourself a way harder time about this than anyone else in your life would.

    As for not really ‘feeling like a bride’? I promise you’re not alone. Just do your best to be happy with your bride-dom, and in the end, you’ll be married to your man (which is really the most important thing, after all!)

    • So true. You’re only a bride for such a short amount of time. And on APW we talk all the time about how it how it’s the marriage that matters instead of the wedding…what matters is the type of wife you’re going to be and what your future looks like!

  • carrie

    My cousin’s 3 year old asked me the day before my wedding, “Are you a princess?” And me, still so worried about being crazy or acting like I was the queen of the world, said, “No, I’m not a princess!” She was confused and looked at her grandma/my aunt who said to me, “Jesus Christ, Carrie, just be a princess!”

    You are definitely not alone! The day I really embraced it was my wedding day, yanno, when you’re actually a bride. Before then, I was terrified and felt very uncomfortable b/c I’m a goddamn adult marrying the love of my life, not the lead in a fairy tale! The day of my wedding, everyone who asked what they could do for me, I went ahead and asked and didn’t worry about tempering it, I just said thank you so much and moved onto the next thing. That was best gift, knowing that I could just ask for help or a soda or whatever, and people were happily doing it. That’s still one of my favorite parts about my wedding day – it made me feel loved by my friends and family. So please know that you are worth it, because you are. Your friends and family think so to!

    • I love this image of you shouting “I am NOT a princess!!” So funny.

      One thing that haunted me was my mother passive aggressively telling me, “Well SOME people want to be a princess on their wedding day…” expressing at once that she disapproved of those people and worried that I would think I deserved such pomp and circumstance.

      • Oh gross. Someone has already said something similar to me about being difficult and I know exactly how you feel about trying to express your wishes now…I feel like I need to check everything I say.

      • carrie

        I didn’t yell, but the other adults in the room were all shaking their head at me. I WASN’T A GD PRINCESS! hahaha

        This is for Contessa as well – I think being cognizant of what you’re saying is a good thing to an extent. But it’s sad that we have to be hyper-aware of it too. Because we’re (mostly) rational people, we’re not going to go complete batshit, right? Wait…;-)

        • Excatly! As soon as someone says something it sets off our Bridezilla alarms and we are forced to monitor our thoughts for signs of Crazycakes which were never going to appear anywhere anyway because we are smart, rational and lovely women. And now everytime someone reminds me that “It’s my day” I feel compelled to say, “No, it’s about John and me and our families coming together” when in my head…

          You know what? I’m just gonna say it.

          It’s My Day.

          No other day will ever be as me-centered as this day. Even the days I gave birth were only me-centered until the kid came out. After that people were just checking my pulse :)

          We can have a Day without being harpies to those around us, we can have a Day while we respect the life changing commitment we are making. Claiming our Day doesn’t mean we will start trying to match our shoes to the napkins or berating people for the green M&M’s in the candy dish.

          We are awesome women and we get just one Day to allow everyone to tell our partners how lucky they are to have us.

          • Granola

            I forget where I read this, but it was about the notion of women wanting to be a princess – a role which really doesn’t have any power or authority – as opposed to a queen, who has come into her own and has both. So on this journey, and when I’ve thought about my dress and how I’d like to feel and carry myself on that day, I’m shooting for queen – independent, powerful, and just as gorgeous as the princess, with (hopefully) a little bit of grace and wisdom thrown in, most likely along with more sensible shoes.

  • Lizzie

    My grandmother had a difficult life. She married young and had three children in succession, and then her husband started drinking and then started beating her. Her sisters saw what was happening and one evening came and took her and the children out of the house. Started a new life. Raised those children to the best of her abilities. Found jobs where she could. Many years later, shortly after my Mother (her youngest) graduated from college, she married again to a gentleman who had just retired from the air force. I think (if I did the math right) that she was 45 or so when she married my Grandpa.

    She’s now been happily married for over 25 years.

    Life is messy. But love is standing right next to you. Take it and cherish it.

    • There is not a lot on the internet that can make me cry (unlike real life), but this did it. Wow.
      What a beautiful, inspiring story. Thank you.

      • Rachel

        Agreed! I got teary because of this: “Life is messy. But love is standing right next to you. Take it and cherish it.” This is my favorite. I think it is my new love-motto.

        Take hold of your beauty and celebrate who you are, as a person and together as a family.

    • Jessica

      Vintage Reclaiming Wife post?

      • Lizzie

        I’ll have to talk to my Grandma about it.

  • Jennifer

    I probably could have written the second half of this letter while I was engaged. I was 37, and I didn’t just feel like other people must have thought I was too old for this, I had more than one person express such thoughts to me – that surely we’d just go the no-fuss city hall route since I was old enough to know better than to need a big princess party, etc. It was the sort of thing that was very easy to dismiss on the surface, but managed to a cast a shadow through much of the planning process nonetheless, because it fit so neatly with my natural aversion to being the center of attention and my deadly fear of being a Bridezilla – especially since I was sure most of my friends were “over” weddings. (Again, the age thing – that wouldn’t have crossed my mind ten years earlier, when most of my friends were getting married themselves.)

    My main wedding regret, honestly, is that I didn’t loosen up and allow myself to get a little giddier, and allow my friends to be giddy with me. I don’t have much I would have done differently about our actual wedding. Little details, sure, but we essentially had the wedding we wanted and needed, and any substantial changes would have required different circumstances than we had. I completely shot down my friends’ request to parade me around town with a tiara and veil and “bride to be” sash (which I don’t regret at all, for the record) but I really wish that instead I’d asked them if they had any ideas for a fun girls’ night that didn’t require plastic accessories, for example. I minimized wedding talk, even when friends were specifically asking about it, because I felt like younger brides could get away with being more wedding-obsessed than I was willing to admit to. We wouldn’t ever have had a big DIT-fest wedding for a number of reasons, but I wish I’d let people get more emotionally involved even if I wasn’t asking them to get logistically involved.

    Did I feel like a bride leading up to my wedding day? I felt like someone preparing for a major life change at the same time as being stressed out by planning the biggest party I’d ever organized. I think that’s probably a common way for someone who’s going to be a bride to feel, but that’s not quite the same thing as feeling like a bride, is it?

    Did I feel like a bride on my wedding day? Yes. Wearing the ritual garb helped in my case (an ivory gown with a train, and a veil – after my good friend finally convinced me I was not too old for either of those things and I looked pretty), though I’m not sure it’s a requirement for feeling bridal. I felt incredibly, amazingly happy, and very very present, for more hours in a row than I’d ever felt that way, though again, that’s me and not some universal feeling that all brides will or should have. Mostly, I can identify the way I felt that day in retrospect as Feeling Like a Bride, because I can’t remember having felt that way before or since, and since that was the one day I was a bride, it therefore follows.

    (But you know what I didn’t think about even once on my wedding day? Being 37.)

  • Hannah

    A lot of this post resonates with me–I’m 36 and am getting married for the first time next spring, and have struggled with “what’s appropriate” probably more than I should. (Which I blame partly on my background in sociology which makes me too aware of social norms, etc., and working as a college professor, and all the baggage that entails.) So I can relate to how hard it is.

    • 34, getting married for the second time and a sociology/psychology major – I think all the time now about the social rituals and norms of marriage. Mostly I think about the legitimate confusion of my friends and family when we make the non-traditional choices. I reject the idea that we have to do things any certain way, but I respect the discomfort it causes in people when they suddenly don’t know what to expect out of a situation that is generally well understood and comfortable. (Thinking this way helps to summon empathy and keeps me from wanting to kick people when they question my choices.)

    • Tamara Van Horn

      Shu. Killing me softly. I was 36 124 days ago, when I said “I do” in a city-hall ceremony with 22 folk, because I a)HAD to get married during a school break (doc program in Soc.), b)had very little liquid income, c) didn’t think that as a feminist sociologist who was 36 and never thought I would want to get married, that I didn’t need a big thing, d)HATE being the center of attention [like OP, and ex-singer/actress/performance poet], and d) have very binary standards (yes, still!) about weddings- I wanted to elope, or have MY thing. And I still struggle. Not helpful to OP at all, but wanted the others to know that I am happily married despite living all this crap simultaneously, and appreciative that I am married even though I still have constant yearnings to have a “do over,” and dreams where David Tutera and I get into fights about developing an over-the-top, sustainable feminist-queer-interracial wedding that looks traditional but is so subversive that white supremacist-capitalist-HETERONORMATIVE-patriarchy (see bell hooks), quakes in their boots. And all my friends would be there, and there’d be a parade. And pinwheels. And my first look.

      And oh yeah- I’m bigger-than-average. And far away from my family and friends. No.Help.Planning (nor interest).

      I didn’t have ANY of that, and yet, I’m still married to my best friend. And that’s still a sociological mind-fu&^, but it’s OK.

      To OP; live it. Revel in it. Not the “bride” thing so much, ‘cuz who knows what that “should” feel like? But enjoy the run-up to being “on” in a different way- a loving, joyous, unified way with your honey.

      • Traci

        I LOVE your post! I am going to be a month shy of 41 when I get married in October (first time for both of us) and am in the midst of planning an age-appropriate-yet-busting-traditional-expectations–yet-simple-yet-inviting-150-guests type of event. I am also my mom’s only child so of course she is wanting the full on Save-the-Date magnets, champagne toasts, and white linens thing. Uff.

  • I wish there was a wedding time machine where we could give brides who think they don’t deserve it (like I used to be) a look into the future at the wedding, where your guests will act like they are thrilled to be there and are so happy for you, and where you don’t freak out at being the center of attention. Despite Meg’s famous post on how your wedding is not an imposition, I didn’t really get that until I saw the looks on the guests’ faces. The guests are not comparing you to a magazine wedding or an average bride – they are just happy to be experiencing your wedding in real-time.

    My wedding planning brought up a ton of issues from my childhood of feeling like I didn’t deserve this or that and that it was not proper to draw attention to myself (the phrase “don’t act too big for your britches” comes to mind). Ultimately it was empowering to claim this one damn thing for myself (though some therapy wouldn’t have hurt). [I’ll be honest – it was also extremely painful to face this.]

    You don’t deserve this IF you are this or that… You just DO deserve it, because you are getting married, a sacred commitment important enough for a bit of hoopla. That’s how it works, so try to separate it from your own self-worth (though of course I will root for your self-worth as well).

    You deserve this, and it is proper to mark this symbolic transition in your life through ceremony and with your loved ones around you. Don’t worry over embracing your inner bride, whatever that even is — instead, do your part to honor this transition, which is bigger than you or a dress or a party. Ceremony and archetypal life transitions are more meaningful than you expect. Let love in – allow your community to celebrate with you.

    One last thing – while of course Meg’s book will be amazing, one book that really helped me is A Conscious Bride.

    • Class of 1980

      “You just DO deserve it, because you are getting married, a sacred commitment important enough for a bit of hoopla. That’s how it works, so try to separate it from your own self-worth (though of course I will root for your self-worth as well).

      You deserve this, and it is proper to mark this symbolic transition in your life through ceremony and with your loved ones around you.”


    • amysee

      I don’t know if it’s a midwest thing (my mom’s from the midwest) or a universal expectations imposed on women [by other women] thing, but I feel like I grew up with so much “don’t draw attention to yourself” stuff and it’s hard to squish it back down inside while planning a wedding. Like, if you’re brought up to believe that your very existence is an imposition, you are definitely going to feel like your wedding is an imposition.

      • Obviously I sympathize with you a lot, Amysee. This calls for a link to Meg’s famous Your Wedding is Not an Imposition post that I have attempted to tattoo on my brain and apply to many other situations in life: (Thanks Meg.)

      • sarah

        I’m from the Midwest, and this is exactly how I feel. GAH, I’m getting married, and I’m supposed to make decisions!? I’ve been studiously avoiding having to make any decisions/express any serious opinions (I talk shit with the best of them) FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE. But now, everyone’s all, “What do you think? What do you want?” and I feel like as soon as I say it, BOOM! Bridezilla. Driving everyone crazy with my self-centered-ness and neediness. Or, I’m the other extreme, asking everyone what they think about every single decision I have to make, and making everyone crazy because I can’t just make up my effing mind.
        Thank God for APW: I’m glad to know that I’m not alone here.

  • Elisa

    Hey there!

    I wasn’t a 36 year old bride, but I was a chubby bride. And believe me, that made me feel as an undeserving bride. In fact, I would say the whole wedding planning process was about getting away from that feeling. I regret not having been shopping for a dress with my mother, sister, etc. because I thought nothing would fit me and I would feel fat. I instead ordered a dress on the internet that was pretty but that didn’t quite fit. I had it refitted but it still was too big and it was cut way too low. If I had gone dress shopping, I would have checked all of this before buying with the help of my girls.

    So, please stop beating yourself up about being older than average. I now regret beating myself up about being chubby because not only did my dress didn’t fit correctly but I lost a lot of time being sad in a moment (the engagement) that was supposed to be this very exciting thing.

    Also, please consider counseling. If there is one thing I am not not shy about telling people is that I have reached out for help more than once. I wasn’t broken; I was just feeling emotions I didn’t want to be feeling and my therapist helped me make them go away. Simple as that.

    Please let yourself enjoy this moment.


  • Jean

    Here’s to being a 36-year-old bride! Me too… I’ve had all of your thoughts and worries.

    And then.. I realized the best part about being an older bride-to-be, other than the obvious fact that you’ll be marrying someone you want to spend your life with. Many friends have already had weddings. They know how fun (and not fun) the wedding planning process is. They know that guest lists are difficult, family drama happens, and wedding dress shopping can be fun or horrible or routine. It’s wonderful to have my friends understand what I’m going through in ways that I didn’t understand what they were going through when they got married. (I’ve also had to, um, apologize for past actions- being a bad bride’s maid, having strong views on ceremonies, not understanding when I was supposed to *just* listen, getting upset when I didn’t get an invitation, etc etc etc.)

  • Kess

    I think this can be a feeling for all people getting married – no matter the age!

    While my BF and I are still in the pre-engaged gray area (isn’t waiting to graduate and find jobs a wonderful time!?) I know that when we actually do get officially engaged, I will be a bit embarrassed to tell people, and I’ll probably be 22 at that time!

    I have NEVER been a ‘girly girl’ and I know it will be difficult to (A) show people that not everything needs to be girly to be in a wedding and (B) to admit to myself and others that I’m actually more girly than I often show the world.

    Finally, I think I’ll also be embarrassed simply because marriage has this connotation of the wife losing her freedom and following her husband. As someone who has always achieved highly in school, I’ve been told time and time again to not let a ‘man’ get in the way and waste my potential (oh thanks, no pressure there…). Obviously it doesn’t have to be that way, but I feel like I’ll have to justify my choice again and again, so I will be embarrassed.

    • Class of 1980

      You don’t have to justify your life to anyone. The older you get, the less people will expect you to.

      • Anon

        I’m 23 and getting married next year, in a country where the average age for the bride is 30, and people usually get married just before having children. When we announced our engagement everyone was happy for us (some even expected it – we’ve been living together for several years now), but I’ve had more than a few friends ask me “how come” we’re getting married next year. I still don’t know how to respond to that!

  • Jesseline

    “I feel like I can’t talk about the wedding to anyone without playing its importance down”.
    My gosh, I can relate! I’m getting married in January, and I play the importance down all the time. I’ll say things like “my fiance and I have started a workout routine because, you know, we have a wedding to go to in January.” And the bridal shower? Sooo awkward. I rarely talk about the wedding to anyone for fear of coming across as self centered or obsessed. I’m secretly relishing in the fact that so many brides say the actual day goes by in seconds. And I’m waaay more excited for the honeymoon.
    I’m not sure why I feel this way. I know that for a while, it was because I didn’t feel I deserved all the attention (I still feel that way honestly), but after reading APW, I’m hoping I’ll be able to let the love and support and attention flow through and fill me with happiness like a balloon, instead of hiding from it.

    • I tend to hide from attention too (having to open presents in front of people at the shower: awkward), but I actually really liked the wedding day. Beforehand, it was hard to think of it as a day of individual people I knew and loved as opposed to just a crowd. Having my husband with me was obviously a huge help as well (people aren’t staring at just you). I really hope you end up enjoying the day and aren’t overwhelmed by the “you-ness” of it. Because I think it’s less “you-ness” than a room full of happiness and love.

    • awkward


      YES!!!!! that is EXACTLY how i was feeling when i emailed Alyssa.

      I just want to say – that the actual day was fun :) much more fun then i could have hoped for. i just wanted to giggle and spin around a lot.

      i was not prepared for that.

      thank you for your comment :)

      xxxx A

  • mecmec

    As a 27 year old affianced person, I can relate to this. I’m not embarrassed to be getting married, but the whole BRIDE thing gets a little silly. I bought a wedding dress and had to do all this paperwork in case of returns etc — BRIDE’S name. BRIDE’s phone number. I would prefer to just be a normal person purchasing a good, is that OK? The way the word is used as a replacement for your identity for the entire length of the engagement just irks me. Maybe people in the WIC thinks it will make us feel special, princessy, et cetera. But I’m with Meg, I just want to be a bride on my wedding day, and my regular self for the 10 months leading up to that day. My advice to the poster would just be to think of yourself as a woman who is planning a wonderful party for your friends and family, and oh there’s this ceremonial aspect involved, too. No one would ever think you don’t deserve to throw a party, right?

    • DanEllie

      Yes! This exactly “I just want to be a bride on my wedding day, and my regular self for the 10 months leading up to that day.”

      My regular self, but planning a bigger gathering than I ever have in my life!

    • “Maybe people in the WIC thinks it will make us feel special, princessy, et cetera.”

      I think that’s a good point. A lot of it comes from a fairly well-intentioned place, that people like to feel princess and be showered with attention. (Speaking of showers…) But a lot of people also don’t like that–myself included. And it can be hard for the princess-y people/industry to understand why someone wouldn’t want to feel princess-y.

      • Class of 1980

        All brides deserve emotional support and attention from their family and friends. They are going through a major life event that will impact a great deal of their future.

        But I have never understood what the connection was supposed to be between princesses and brides. Why does a person getting married need to feel like a member of a royal family?

        Especially in America!

        The shocking thing in this day and age is that I hear it so much more NOW than when I was in my twenties. I never heard it back then. It’s very strange considering what women have accomplished.

        I suspect it’s not about marriage at all. I suspect it’s the entitlement mentality at work seeking even more attention than just being a regular person having a major life event. Our society doesn’t value dignity over self-promotion. When I hear someone say they want to feel like a princess, I think maybe that person has never felt valued before.

  • Wow. As I was reading the bride’s letter, it was if I had written it. I also had never pictured myself being married, I also have zero maternal instinct. Dress shopping was awful (after going to 6 bridal salons, I found my dress at the thrift shop.) But I’m excited to have found my perfect partner and spend my life with him, even if I had to wait 32 years to find him.

    With 5 months to go, what I’ve been trying to do is really sit back and enjoy the planning process, whatever that means to me. Yes, I get a lot of push from a lot of people about what we “should” be doing on our wedding day, and we do our best to smile and nod, and carry on.

    There’s no right or wrong. The only thing you are required to be excited about is spending the rest of your life with your love. The rest is fluff. Have the wedding day that feels right for you.

  • k

    Ooh, ooh, older bride here!

    I just got married in August (first marriage) at 44. My man was 46 and he hasn’t been married before either. One of the main reasons it took us four years to get around to getting married (besides the crap economy) was because the idea of spending my time planning a wedding instead of going skiing and climbing was just incredibly unappealing, so I’m not exactly the “bridal type” either. In fact my goal was to do all my wedding planning on weeknights so I could get outdoors every weekend during my engagement, and in general that’s what I did. Hurray!

    I found it incredibly freeing to be an older bride. People assumed I knew what I wanted and knew what I was doing and didn’t tell me constantly what I just HAD to do/have/be/wear/buy. When I said we weren’t having attendants or music and dancing or favors or this or that, no one blinked an eye. Also, there was essentially no family drama – my husband and I had both been adults for a couple of decades before marrying, so unlike many brides and grooms, our wedding was not part of asserting our adulthood and independence from our parents. We already did all that years and years ago.

    You think that other people are thinking you’re too old. Here’s the thing: you don’t and can’t know what other people are thinking. My best friend from high school, who has now been married for half her life, gave me a most excellent piece of marriage advice that I have already put into practice, and that works with people other than my husband as well: “Always assume positive intent.” Maybe this doesn’t apply so much to random strangers, but for those who matter in my life, this is a pretty safe way to approach interacting with them. If they love you, you’re probably safe assuming they are nothing but over the moon for you, and if they’re random strangers, odds are at least as good that they’re not snidely thinking about your age, but thinking that if you found love, then wow, maybe they will too.

    Also: love at any age is a friggin’ miracle, and the thing about it is that it comes to us without us deserving it. That’s what makes it so wonderful. You can’t earn it, you just get it for free. This should be a relaxing thought: all you have to do it be grateful for it, not engage in endless striving to make yourself into someone who “deserves” to have people care about her.

    • “Always assume positive intent.” – I love that! My new mantra.

    • Class of 1980

      “I found it incredibly freeing to be an older bride. People assumed I knew what I wanted and knew what I was doing and didn’t tell me constantly what I just HAD to do/have/be/wear/buy.”

      And that’s the upside of being an older bride. Heck, you can wear your favorite color in the whole wide world and no one is going to die.

    • I was a 32 year old bride, and one thing I have to say was GREAT about being an older bride — I had way, way, more confidence than I did in my twenties, and I had spent almost a decade working with big egos and difficult personalities in Hollywood. So I knew how to thread the needle between bossy bride (sorry, I am bossy) who is assertive about what she wants and gracious bride who is able to give other people what they want.

      When you are in your twenties, people walk all over you because they think they can (sometimes wrongly, sometimes rightly.) When you are older, people back off a little I think.

  • Alli

    Lady, I don’t think it is an age issue! I’m 25, getting married next year, and still have the STOP LOOKING AT ME reaction anytime anyone brings up weddings. Discussing it with people I know makes me sweat. I am not a shy person, I just don’t know how to be this bride/princess/center of attention version of myself. So listen to all these smart and sassy ladies, but also know you aren’t alone in your pre-wedding discomfort!

  • Class of 1980

    Awkward in Adelaide,

    Brace yourself. Here comes the views of a 53-year-old.

    The first time I got married, I was 37-years-old. Evidently, I was far too young, because it ended in divorce. ;)

    I am happily single right now, but still don’t rule out marriage. What is a bride, exactly? A bride is nothing more than a female person entering into a contractual relationship. How can anyone be “too old” for that?

    A lot of the trappings of a “traditional” wedding reflect a bride that is only a few years away from being a minor. Those details are authentic for a novice in life.

    The only thing that changes with increasing age at marriage, is that the wedding style should reflect increasing sophistication … however you define that. Being authentic is one key to feeling comfortable with your plans.

    And honestly, it isn’t that unusual for a 36-year-old to be a first-time bride.

    For some perspective, I leave you with this link of a couple in their SEVENTIES getting married.


    • Elisa

      Isn’t that bride the most elegant! Lessons to be learned : your wedding attire doesn’t have to be a dress and come from a wedding dress shop!

      • Class of 1980

        Yeah, and she got married in HER OWN stunning garden.

      • Class of 1980

        Oh heck. That’s even better. They look like they’re having a blast.

  • “Be the example that you wish was set forth for you” — what a great philosophy, in general.

  • Hugs & support to you! You deserve to be a Bride & have a beautiful wedding to celebrate your marriage~

  • I got married at a few months under 25 and I was so embarrassed to tell people I was engaged. So it’s not just an age thing. All the attention and curiosity was just so awkward to me. I had spent the first 23 years of my life prancing around denouncing the institution of marriage and then here I was preparing to get married. And I as so embarrassed that I cared… about silly little details. And even on my wedding day, it felt a bit awkward being the center of attention. I felt beyond absurd before walking down the aisle and I was so afraid the ceremony would be meaningless and I ended up so nervous I nearly fainted. But once the it got going, I forgot about that and it turned out incredibly special and touching. I don’t think I ever embraced my inner bride. But I think I sort of forgot I was one and that made me able to just enjoy the day.

    • Class of 1980

      “I had spent the first 23 years of my life prancing around denouncing the institution of marriage and then here I was preparing to get married. And I was so embarrassed that I cared… about silly little details.”

      EVERYONE holds a few opinions in their twenties that are destined to be blown out of the water. ;)

  • I absolutely felt like this through the entire process of our engagement. Hell, I felt like it right up to the moment of walking down the aisle.

    I was miserable, absolutely miserable, dress shopping. I (honestly) just gave up, bought an evening dress and called it done, and I hated my dress. HATED it. I still do. We didn’t ask anyone to give speeches. I felt uncomfortable asking anyone to pitch in in any way. It was a lonely, lonely way to plan a wedding. I felt unsupported by my family and friends through the whole process. I ended up blogging just to find friends I could be HAPPY about the wedding with/to, and I leaned heavily on the friends I made through my wedding blog to get me through the experience.

    DON’T let that happen to you. Seriously. Whatever it is that is making you feel down and embarrassed about your wedding, look it right in the eye and get over it. Allow yourself to feel happy. Buy a wedding dress if that’s what you want. Enjoy the experience. If anyone says anything rude to you, tell them to piss off. Lonely, embarrassed wedding planning is a miserable experience.

    • Class of 1980

      Oh, Sarah. It shouldn’t be this way because it’s silly.

      But thank goodness a marriage to Tony came out of it. The best revenge is a happy life. ;)

    • Tamara Van Horn

      Selfishly, Sarah, your misery brought us together. And I’m so glad!!!

      Sometimes life gives us what we didn’t expect inside what we *still* don’t want.

  • Amy March

    I think this feeling ties into the documented muddle show put down- she thinks she’s all that. Confident men are rewarded, and confident women face more of a risk of being labeled sluts and bitches. Being afraid of people thinking you don’t deserve a wedding is, one the one hand, unnecessary (beach of course you totally do; but on the other hand is tied to a broader social reality where some people do, in fact, pass judgment on women who own their own happiness.

  • Shannon

    I haven’t had time to read through all the comments, but it seems like there’s a nice supportive discussion going on here… Just wanted to chime in and say that I’m 35 now, and won’t be married until I’m 37.

    The feelings you are describing in your post are all about shame… Having spent the past 6 months working through some of my own shame, I really recognize a lot of what you are saying. You feel unworthy of being a bride, probably for a whole host of complex reasons. I have had (and still have) a lot of shame around being a bride and getting married. A lot of it is connected to what I’ve come to refer to as my “woman shame,” i.e. all the complex shame around being female in this culture.

    I’ve gotta run off to work now, but I heartily second Alyssa’s counselling recommendation… But before you find yourself a counsellor, buy Brene Brown’s book called I Thought It Was Just Me (it’s a book on shame and how to deal with it). Take that book to your counsellor, and ask them to work through it with you. It’s a scary but super amazing process. I’ve been totally loving the results, and am now in a process of letting go of a ton of nasty lies that my brain tells me about myself. Sooooooo liberating!

    Love you all, Practical Women, have a lovely day!

    • RJ

      Perhaps there’s also some grief here?

      I’m never married, 41, hope to be married, and though I wouldn’t say I feel undeserving, part of me feels like I shouldn’t be expecting a white dress/father down the aisle type of wedding because I’ve missed that boat.

      It’s added to by comments of my parents around my younger sisters weddings.When my first younger sister got married I was 30 and (it turned out, nearing the end of) a five year relationship, and they talked about what they’d do for my wedding.

      When my second younger sister got married I was 40, newly dating and and their comments indicated that they didn’t expect to be funding a wedding for me, given that I was old enough to do it myself.

      So yeah for me there’s a ton of grief involved in marrying for the first time in middle age. It’s like it highlights that on some level I failed to be good enough to get married earlier – not so much becuase it was when I was “supposed to”, but because I really really wanted to and missed out.

      So for me in your situation, there’d be a lot of grieving for the dreams that didn’t come true.

      But having said that, Meg’s advice from yesterday is so, so apt. You need to be able to fail forward with all your might – to be willing to countenance full failure and reach out anyway and throw yourself into it.

      • Holy Crap, you’re completely right! She could be grieving over the loss of a dream of what she thought was going to happen and while we all know “it’ll be ok” and “the marriage and current happiness is what matters”, it still hurts when dreams die.

        • RJ

          Yes, and sometimes making a choice or passing a milestone means we can’t any more pretend that “perfect” is still somewhere possible.

      • Shannon

        Yes yes yes! There’s a good book about the grieving part of getting married, and about how much of an emotional transition marriage is… The Conscious Bride is the book, can’t remember the author.

  • Hoppy Bunny

    I just turned 30 yesterday and am getting married in 6 months, and I have also felt too old to be a bride, so that should tell you how screwed up the whole WIC is right there.

    I have also played down getting married–at first because of embarrassment and cash flow issues, but now it’s just the cash flow issues. I’m not embarrassed to be engaged at my age anymore, in part thanks to APW, and in part thanks to a few things that have happened since I got engaged:

    1. Almost right away, a coworker told me she hopes her daughter will grow up to be the kind of woman who proposes to her special person, like I did, which immediately made me feel better (and proud) to be pursuing my own happiness. I had been dealing with some guilt over proposing instead of waiting, but I’d also been waiting for going on a decade. So. Yeah.

    2. Finding a wedding dress. I know that sounds terrible, but after trying on lots of dresses *by myself* because my friends and family live no where near me, I was feeling down. Then by blind coincidence I found the perfect dress at the mall while getting someone a birthday present. And finding something that made me look like a bride made me really excited to be one on my wedding day.

    3. Time! I’ve been engaged 18 months and have just 6 to go, and the closer it gets to the date, the more real it feels, and the happier I get. And sometimes I’ve wanted to elope, and sometimes I’ve wished things were a little different. But a lot can happen in 18 months: some of it good, some of it devastating, that make this very clear: we are doing this. We are engaged, and it is DIFFERENT from dating. Little victories for either of us are like pre-wedding gifts addressed to both of us, and little (or big) tragedies are things we handle together. And they make our relationship stronger. And that lets me know we’re doing it right–all of it. We are slightly older kids in love, and getting married makes him a groom and me a bride.

    Good luck embracing your inner bride! She deserves a hug for following her heart!

  • Robyn

    I 100% feel embarrassed about being a bride. Right when you become a bride people think they have the right to talk to you about private things like money and style and family issues. Also, I really think this embarrassment comes from how when we watch all the wedding and bride things around us it seems that to be a bride and have a wedding you have to be a certain age with a certain life and only this certain person in our minds ‘deserves’ to be a bride. My embarrassment for being a bride comes from my upbringing and how I come from a family of dysfunction and not a lot of money and somehow I am going to be a bride and partake in a huge celebration that costs way too much money for one day. And at first my participation in this event felt so fake and like the opposite of anything I had ever imagined doing. I thought that even if I did have a wedding one day it would be small and humble because someone ‘like me’ didn’t deserve something big. I tried to force the wedding to be cheaper and smaller, but my fiance’s parents are excited to throw a huge event. It has been quite the journey to believe that I deserve my wedding. I repeat to myself that My wedding will be beautiful and reflective of my family, and my fiance, and his family and I am not beneath having a wedding. This journey of acceptance is not over (at all), but my ability to embrace this new version of my wedding and own my journey has allowed me to become closer to my fiance, my family, and my fiance’s family. Using this planning time as a tool to better myself has let me feel like I actually deserve to have a wedding that will be full of people I love. APW has helped me immensely in getting to this point of acceptance. Thank you so much for writing this post and seriously YOU DESERVE it all!!!

  • Mia Culpa

    I struggle daily with the “I’m a terrible bride” feeling. I was never the girl who grew up planning her wedding, I had no pressure or models for that (my mom was a Filipina immigrant who married for the first time at 30. In the 70s. Talk about an outlier.) I’ll be 31 when I get married next year.

    So it kills me when my best friend/matron of honor sends me text messages nagging me about where I’m at in the planning process. It hurts when my fiance comes up with ideas for decor and looks at me expectantly like I’m supposed to be excited. I feel awkward when my friends ask if I’m excited or stressing out. Hell, I do my level best to NOT talk about my wedding. Because the truth is I don’t care. I don’t care about The Frilly Bits at all. It’s to the point where I’m even procrastinating on some of the most important parts of my wedding planning. My wedding is 5 months away, and I’m regretting not having the smarts or the money to hire a wedding planner because I. Don’t. Care. I just want to be married, I don’t give a shit about being a bride.

    And even though no one actively shames me, there’s always that pause, that silence of “Seriously?” And that’s the part that is most difficult for me to own. So like many women on this site, I end up feeling embarrassed and alone.

    • k

      Hey, my Mom got married in her mid thirties in 1963 and I didn’t care at all about “The Frilly Bits” either! Maybe it comes from having older moms, hmmm.

      I don’t think there’s any shame in it at all. I cared about our guests enjoying themselves, and being married at the end of the day, but I did not care about flowers or decorations or DJs or dancing or any of that. It’s okay. I think it shows that you know what’s important to you and aren’t bothering about what isn’t, and I think that’s a positive.

      I don’t know what type of wedding you’re having, but my engagement was 4 1/2 months long and that was plenty of time to get it all together. With wedding planning, I think it just expands or contracts to fill up however much time you have.

  • ElfPuddle

    Whenever the future Mr. Puddle and I are finally able to set a date, it will be after my 40th birthday. And it will be my first (and only) wedding.

    You are not old. You are definitely not too old.

    And I’m raising a glass and cheering you on!

  • tirzahrene

    I don’t remember feeling like a bride when I got married. Granted, it was over ten years ago, but I remember more just trying to juggle everything and get what I needed. Our budget was small, he had five kids, we did a very small informal thing with not a lot of time for ourselves. Oh, and the marriage didn’t last.

    But however much I did or didn’t feel like being a bride, I still felt married while I was. And that’s the whole point of the deal anyway. And while next time I’d like to do a lot of things differently, ultimately the point is still the same.

    Maybe think of it as throwing a giant complicated party so all your people can celebrate how happy they are for you two? Because you’re worth that. Love is special. You’re special. Give your people that chance to be happy for you.

  • Julia

    I was an older bride too – 38. I got married just over 2 months ago. During the planning process I went back and forth from “oh, we’re too old for that” and “I’m old enough to know what I want”. So I totally agree with those comments above.

    But what got to me the most as we got closer to the wedding was just how incredibly happy people were for me. That caught me off-guard more because it was so moving. It is one thing for strangers to congratulate you. But the people who have been with you through thick and thin for many years, when they express joy for you, it means something completely different. As my dad walked me up the aisle, I was completely struck by that feeling of so many people there, smiling, happy for me that I found someone who will make me happy for the rest of my life and someone I will spend the rest of my life making just as happy. During the reception, so many different friends (who didn’t know each other) all had similar comments. “You both glowed. I have never seen happiness radiate from someone as much as it did from both of you. You didn’t have any of that nervousness that you see with younger brides. You didn’t seem to have an ounce of uncertainty. Just happiness.” To me, that is the beauty of finding love after searching for so long. You know what you want and you are so happy to finally have it. It might take until your wedding to appreciate it, but in the meantime, open yourself to the possibility that you will feel this way. I don’t think I can say anything that will magically make you feel more comfortable, but at least with close friends and family, let their happiness infect you.

  • Camille

    I think there are a lot of factors that go into not feeling bride-y. For me it was a combination of not enjoying being the center of attention, not feeling like I look like a bride (I’m petite with bobbed hair that can’t be made into ANY of the “wedding do’s” in magazines), and also the fear of talking about aspects of my wedding that were not traditional or that could easily be judged by acquaintances and older people at work for example. However, keeping my wedding plans quiet was comfortable for me, but it led to some hurt feelings from people who didn’t even know we were getting married until way too late! So my advice is to allow yourself to feel the way you do, but do share your news and your plans with those who care about you, and maybe in the process you will begin to enjoy it more.

  • Leigh Ann

    The bride thing is totally overrated. I’m with you guys on the “frilly bits” thing (I rarely have the motivation to even put on makeup). I don’t like being fussed over most of the time, did not care about the cake and flowers, hated negotiating the family politics, and even at 33, felt too old to act giddy over getting married.

    That said, there are moments when you feel so loved, and when you feel so beautiful, and you have lots of great excuses to make your friends get all together in the same room with you, so it has its perks. :)

  • awkward in adelaide

    Dear Everyone,

    i just want to say… thank you so, so much.

    as i am writing this, it’s 3 weeks after the wedding, and all your wonderful comments and advice got me through what was a traumatic time.

    just to let you know how it all worked out….

    even the morning of the wedding i didn’t feel like a “bride” (drove myself and my girls around to and from hairdressers to home etc in my car! fun in a wedding dress!)

    when i saw my FH for the first time at home (we arrived at the ceremony together – riding a vespa) i didn’t feel like a bride.

    riding down the beautiful treelined avenue towards where all of our friends and family were waiting – i didn’t feel like a bride.

    saying my vows to my husband – i didn’t feel like a bride.

    having an awesome party with my favourite people in the world – i still didn’t feel like a bride.

    what i felt like, was a super-mega-insanely happy version of myself, who could do no wrong, and could come to no harm. I felt safe, protected, and loved by so so so many people for the longest most prolonged amount of time ever. i felt like i was really, truly, there in the moment of it, with the most amazing person i have ever met and he was feeling it too.

    it was truly, magnificently, awesome.

    i am happy i didn’t feel like a bride, cause feeling like ME was a whole heap better.

    thank you girls. i couldn’t have let go of a whole bunch of stuff if it wasn’t for you all, and your kind and considered words and stories adn empathy.

    To those of you feeling how I felt – you can do it!! just have the confidence to be you. you don’t have to be a bride on your wedding day!

    much, much love.

    xx Awkward in Adelaide xx

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