“It’s a very nuptial time for your father and I,” my mother said on the phone at 12.06am this morning. We were talking at that hour for two reasons: Time-zone difference (she lives in Melbourne and I’m in LA), and to discuss the latest update from a hotel she’s been liaising with for the purpose of a wedding. Ya see, I’m engaged (GAAAAAHHHH!!!), and for the first time in my life, seemingly, so is everyone else. Well, at least that’s how it feels.
My mom’s “nuptial” remark has to do with the fact that both of her kids are getting married this year (their poor, poor bank account…). I’m going to be a bridesmaid at my brother’s wedding, and then a bride at my own a few months later (my poor, poor bank account…).
And just like that, almost as if I woke up a different woman one day, I’M OBSESSED WITH WEDDINGS. Yes, me, the “fuck conformity” feminist. I was that girl who rolled my eyes at other women’s unending wedding photo albums on Facebook. Nice, romantic, I’d think, but can we all get on with it now and grow a pair?
It’s a bit like those moms whose Facebook profile pics are of their kids. With all due respect, it’s your Facebook account, not baby Bud’s, and while we can appreciate that you’re enamoured by this innocent little creature you gave life to, we’d probably be a whole lot more appreciative if his food-smudged face didn’t dominate our newsfeeds every morning. *Disclaimer, I take this entire paragraph back the day I become a mother.
I guess a part of me—and I concede that this isn’t entirely fair, at all—feels like it’s letting the team down. The FB brides and gloating new moms, I mean. Like they’ve given in to what 1950s propaganda had so hoped for, and, for a good while, achieved. What of that Master’s degree you slaved over? And all those years of asserting yourself as an independent force to be reckoned with? Has it all boiled down to Vera Wang wedding dresses and mommy groups? I realize the ridiculousness of the words I write, as I write them. Without moms there’d be no people on the planet, and, the concept and act of marriage is, for the most part, an honorable one. (Well, maybe not so much when you decide to get hitched an hour and a half before you do so to someone you’ve only known for three weeks, which, believe it or not, actually happened to a friend of mine. This week! I told you, everyone around me is getting married!!!)
As of yet, I have experienced neither marriage or motherhood, and am well aware of the ignorance residing in my opinions.
But humor me a little.
I. DON’T. KNOW. MYSELF. ANYMORE.
It’s as if I fell asleep as a suffragette and woke up on a bed of $150-per-bouquet flower petals (which would amount to about $3,000—at least). I’m finding myself drifting away from real work and commitments, while researching bridal gowns on Tradesy and floral inspiration on Pinterest. I’ve been waking up with these gross bags under my eyes after sleepless nights searching for a wedding venue that is both meaningful and not a total rip-off (which, once you’ve scratched the surface of the wedding market, becomes increasingly difficult to find). After sitting down at my laptop to begin writing this essay, for instance, it literally took me about 55 minutes to actually begin writing the damn thing—an ad for Oscar de la Renta bridal haute couture popped up in my FB feed (those cheeky bastards)…aaand I was of!
I’m also on a “Bridesmaids” email thread, which is pretty much what little girl’s dreams are made of. Our current topic: Blue. I mean, there are just SO many shades of blue!! (We’ve already made a pact not to steal the mic off one another during the speeches. Thank you, Rose Byrne.)
Every now and then it all becomes too much and my fiancé and I consider the idea of just having a small, intimate ceremony, followed by a restaurant dinner with our immediate families….
Suddenly, because it’s our wedding—well, maybe I should just be speaking for myself here—and, if we play our cards right, will be our only one in this lifetime, we want it to be special. Monumental. And unique and meaningful and elegant and fun and…yeah.
So back I go, manically trawling through bridal blogs, assorting my “mood board,” adding to my “wedding” folder, and crunching numbers. Yep. I’m a bride-to-be. A not-so-unique, good-old-fashioned bride-to-be.
Am I a let down? Am I no longer allowed in the feminist club? I remember the backlash that followed Leandra Medine’s announcement of her engagement. Man Repeller fans felt she’d betrayed them. Through her blog, Medine had preached that girls don’t need a man to be happy, and yet there she was, primping for her own big day.
For me, it all boils down to these two things: A meaningful way to make a formal commitment to the man I love, and an excuse to have a ridiculous party! The rest is just jargon. Will I take his name? Haven’t decided, still have a few months. Will I become dependent? No. I’ll continue to climb my mountains, pursue my dreams, and invest in my relationships outside of my marriage (non-sexy ones). Will I become a mom and join “Yummy Mommies R Us” (actually exists)? Yes to mom, probably no to Yummy Mommies. But not because I’m opposed to mom groups, I actually think the idea of any kind of female support system or network is marvellous. I’m just particularly averse to organized fun and suffer from classroom anxiety to such a degree that I can barely manage to drag myself to yoga. Yes, I just compared moms group to “class.”
And for any of you #FashionFeminstas itching to know about “the dress,” well…that’s for another post…
*Fashion without photoshop.
Viva is wearing a vintage blouse and Mother Denim jeans.
All photography by Antonio Beliveau.