Monday, January 11, 2010

Where I delve into the wedding issue.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to write about my experiences in wedding planning. And yet, I've avoided making posts about it for a bunch of reasons. Namely, the culture surrounding weddings today is so mind-blowingly ridiculous that every time I start a post I get frustrated anew and close out the window without finishing anything.

E proposed on my birthday this summer. I woke up after a night out on the town to a sign on the door that said "STAY OUT" and some suspicious noises from the kitchen. He made me breakfast in bed and pulled out a ring, and I was so shocked that the first words out of my mouth were "Wait, are you serious?!" It's now been about 6 months, and though we'd put wedding planning on hold during the first semester of graduate/law school, we visited 2 venues this past weekend. We put a temporary hold on one date this summer, but failed attempts to coordinate vacation/other schedules this summer may be officially pushing it back to January 2011, when E will be on winter break and I'll just be working on my thesis. This means starting a venue search all over again, because a winter wedding in New England calls for an entirely different atmosphere than a summer wedding.

My wedding planning frustrations stem from the expectations of those around us, and from our own negotiation process as a couple as we look at the traditions surrounding weddings in American (and New England, which is a whole set of other issues) culture, evaluate what works for us and what we want to get rid of. The symbolism behind a lot of wedding traditions is problematic for us as a progressive, feminist couple, and yet as products of this culture, there is still a strong urge to conform to those practices. The other night, as we were talking about what color dress I should get to flounce around in at our wedding (I flounce about on every other day, why not my wedding day?), we got into a long conversation about doing things because we want to versus doing things just because that's the way things are done.

Additionally, we are continually frustrated by locations that bill themselves as "budget friendly," but in my opinion are anything but. We are grad students, it's not in the cards for us to spend the 15,000 dollars that the wedding industry seems to think is a slender budget. We want to have a wedding because we view it as an opportunity to bring together the people, whether family or friends, who will be our community for the next 10, 50, 80 years, but at the same time it is very hard for us to rationalize spending  the money. If we spent on any other party what we are expected to spend on a wedding, our family and friends would be rightly concerned about us! Something about weddings, though, makes people a little crazy.

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