Okay fine, I give up. I keep saying I’m going to post a bit of my most recent essay for Etsy Weddings *just this once.* But then I keep doing it because I love the topics I get assigned so much. This month, I wrote about how our childhood wedding dreams intersect with reality, and you know, feminism. Perfect for this week. Plus, I polled a bunch of you on Twitter and Facebook, and summing up your answers is basically my favorite thing.
I run an indie-wedding website, so what I’m supposed to tell you is that I grew up as a feminist tomboy who never imagined getting married. And I sort of wish I could tell you that story, because frankly, it sounds a lot cooler than the truth. The truth is, somewhere around the age of four, I discovered my parents’ wedding album on the bottom of their bookshelf and spent hours slowly paging through the photos. Not long afterwards, I announced that I never wanted to cut my hair again.
After some puzzling, my mom discovered that I thought her cathedral length wedding veil was her hair, and that you needed to have hair that dragged on the floor before you were allowed to get married. I’d done some basic calculations, and decided if I wanted hair that dragged on the floor when I was an adult, four years old was about the right time to start growing it out. And that’s not even getting into how I dedicated my first piggy bank to buying my (Glinda-the-good-witch) wedding dress, much to the horror of my feminist mother.
These are all funny stories, except I never exactly grew out of loving weddings, I just started loving them very differently, and then I got married. (My hair does not drag on the floor though, just for the record.)
Little Girl Bridal Dreams
For those of us who dreamed of our weddings as children, it seems there are two models for getting married: realizing that we are not, in fact, the same people we were at four, and throwing a wedding for the person we are now. Or, trying to live up to that castle in the sky we envisioned.
The pressure to plan your childhood dream wedding is huge. A woman who was trying to plan a wedding that reflected her real life said that, while at the bridal salon, “I said the dress [I wasn’t going to get] made me feel like a princess, and the saleslady wanted to know why I couldn’t be one.” Because on some level, the wedding industry is built around the dreams we had as children: bigger, fancier, sparkly-er.
And some let their childhood bridal dream go. One respondent commented, “As soon as we got engaged, the bride I’d imagined disappeared from my mind completely. She was just ludicrous.” For others, it was people they loved who hadn’t let go of that little girl and her plans. Someone said, “I did envision myself as a bride when I was younger. It was problematic because I was also vocal about my pint-sized musings (apparently), and those conflicted heavily with what I wanted as an adult bride. This created a lot of tension between my mom and me, for some reason.” But in the end, there was a firm consensus: “Imagining did conflict with reality, but reality was so much better.”
Photo: Hart & Sol West