Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Big Fat Imaginary Wedding

I have some plans for my as-yet-to-be-realized wedding. Flowers: Pink and green. Gown: Slight drop waist, exploding into a multitude of tulle layers. Family color theme: None, but there should be a riot of jewel tones, sapphire blues and emerald greens. 
Via sprout-flowers.com
I like to plan ahead. In our world, the time between dating, engagement, and marriage can be a matter of months. Might as well have some idea of what one likes, no? But I don't think of my wedding with any sort of deep yearning; I don't consider a bedazzled do to be imperative. 

When I think about a wedding, I think of it as a separate entity from marriage. When I think of wedded bliss, I picture myself looking like hell in an apartment with too little kitchen space, yelling at my spouse to kindly take out the garbage.

Unless one was royalty, weddings were modest affairs. Couples in old movies would get engaged, then walk around the corner to city hall, wet and bedraggled from the romantic rain they were just soaked in that made them see each other in a whole new beloved light. 

Once two people decided they were for each other, that was it. No party-planning. No gown-shopping. No talk about princess- or emerald-cut. Marriage was . . . marriage. Unglamorous, everydayish, but still special to the couple alone.  Even with the garbage. 

I'm not sure who started the big-wedding-trend—5-year-old girls toting nuptial scrapbooks?—but from reality to reality shows, "the wedding of the century" is in. We are into it, too. 

Abby Ellin reports in "Blame the Princess" of women who have no guy, but wedding plans (oh, like me, gulp). 
Never mind the bleak statistics on marriage (about 45 percent end in divorce). Many women still dream, feverishly, about their wedding, even those with no groom or boyfriend in sight. They pin photos of fantasy event spaces, dresses and flowers on Pinterest; they design their ideal engagement rings on sites like Ritani.com; they turn to MyKnot, Lover.ly and Project Wedding for ideas on invitations, gift registries and seating charts. . .
A 2014 study conducted by Brides magazine found that approximately 25 percent of its readers are not yet engaged. In 2013, 37 percent of the brides who visited TheKnot.com did not have a fiancé.
Not such a problem, I would think . . . until they ask the bummer experts. 
Women are planning the show before the script is written and “before the leading man shows up,” [Dr. Sue Johnson] said. She understands the desire for companionship. Marriage, she said, “speaks to our longing for connection and our fear of aloneness.” But, she added, the emphasis on weddings and marriage is also somewhat dangerous . . . 
“Weddings are moments when gendered ideas become really clear,” [Emily Fairchild, sociologist] said. “A wedding is a coup for women, because they’ve met their gendered expectation. By having a wedding, you prove your worthiness, your womanness, in a way that a man doesn’t need to. A man can be a man by having a job, in ways that aren’t tied to his family.”
But Dr. Patrick Markey is less alarmist. 
“Women tend to be more selective when picking a mate and have a greater desire for monogamy and a stable relationship than men,” he said. “Thus, they are more likely to dream of a wedding, which symbolizes this desire.”
The wedding-minded women in the article are quick to blame Disney. Every girl wants to be a princess, and all Disney princesses married. But Disney didn't invent the fairy tale. They've been around for hundreds of years to keep women meek and biddable (be a good girl and be an unpaid servant, and maybe one day a gorgeous, rich man will rescue you). 
Not so long ago it was the dream of every women to marry, gain social status as a "wife," and run a house of her own with the support of a good provider, as Professor Ruth Bottigheimer observes.

The fuss over marriage isn't new. It's the fuss over weddings. 

Here's the clincher: 
“If I don’t get married, I’ll feel like I failed. I have career goals and my own personal goals, and they are important to me, but on my deathbed, if you asked me whether I wished I’d been on Broadway or had a family, I’d say 100 percent had a family.”
Yeah . . . but you don't need a destination celebration in order to have a family. 


Daniel Saunders said...

The Jewish Chronicle recently had a wedding planning supplement, with descriptions of recent weddings. I found it quite horrifying (I have stated before my desire for a small, quiet wedding). The one that sticks in my mind had the grooms (plural - it was a gay wedding) riding down the aisle on a 'unicorn' (a horse with a fake horn) to music from Joss Stone. Not the music of Joss Stone, but Joss Stone herself. I suspect that the cost of that wedding was equal to the GDP of a small country.

I think that if you feel you need to be married to be fulfilled, you probably aren't ready for marriage yet. (That's an abstract "you", not Princess Leia.)

FrumGeek said...

Why plan? You don't know his situation, what kind of wedding he'll want.

Maya Resnikoff said...

I never "planned" a wedding sans groom, but I certainly knew of a few things I wanted or specifically didn't want, just from going to friends' weddings and noticing my own reactions. Other than davka Not wanting any tuxedos involved (just not my feeling), my other preferences were all about the ceremony, not the party/costuming... But then, I'm a bit of a ritual geek.

Princess Lea said...

DS: Am I allowed to say that if a couple rented a faux-unicorn for their wedding, they are totally going to get divorced?

FG: It's not about what I want. It's about what my Tatty wants. He has big plans.

MR: Some ritual things are too entrenched for me to mess with. For instance, it has become the "thing" in my community that the mothers of the bride and groom walk with the kallah while she does the circling. I have been to other (foreign) weddings where the bride does the circling solo, and I thought that was so cool. But I don't think I'll be allowed that.

Daniel Saunders said...

I had misgivings about that couple too, but I don't like to make predictions.

Just curious about the circling: why do the mothers get added in? The reasons I have heard for the circling focus on the couple and generally seem to make less sense if other people are added in.

TooYoungToTeach said...

Just chiming in on the mothers walking around with the kallah.

I wore a bulletproof deck-teich and could not see an inch in front of me. I was also bawling my eyes out (not out of happiness, or sadness, but rather recognizing the intensity and potential the moment held and davening the hell out of it!)...so having my mother and mother in law guide me as I walked, was VERY helpful

Also, the boys mother is usually leading or on the inside so there's no inadvertent bumping...the couple is not married yet...

Princess Lea said...

If there ain't a whole crowd under the chuppah, then there's a couple of feet of room between kallah and chosson . . . very decorous at the other one.