Time for a change: it’s NEVER all about the bride!
What’s wrong with this phrase? “On my wedding day…”
You might say the answer is simple: that a wedding is never about one person. It should always be “our” wedding day.
You’re absolutely right. But there’s so much more –
- talking about “my” wedding suggests you’re doing everything
- which also implies, the person you’re marrying isn’t doing anything (or isn’t doing as much)
- are you taking too much on?
- will you be equal partners later? Why not start now?
Bridal inspiration, the bridal industry, Bride magazines…
I have also, for many years, worried that weddings and the media are far too focused on brides.
Not every wedding has a bride.
Not every bride wants to be the centre of attention on “her” wedding day.
And couples should be equal partners in everything: your wedding planning journey shouldn’t be made alone.
I was watching Sunday Brunch last weekend. Tim was laughing about a wedding where the groom had arrived, been taken aback by the ice sculptures his fiancée had arranged, and realised the wedding wasn’t remotely about him.
This feels so alien and wrong to me.
Perhaps this groom hadn’t been involved in the planning. Perhaps he’d chosen not to be. Perhaps his partner didn’t want him to be. Perhaps the industry is at fault, and it’s the media and everything associated with weddings from decor and stationery to family pressures, which subtly exclude grooms from what a wedding is perceived to be.
The guests on the show laughed at the banter around weddings being something a groom just turns up to, unknowing – as if he’s just one of the guests. Hearing it made me sad – far too heteronormative, and wrong on so many levels. It’s not always the case by any means: loads of couples are seeing the light and planning modern weddings together… but for so many weddings, one partner ends up doing the lion’s share of the work.
It feels really unfair, and if this resonates with you, I’m glad you’re here.
Are weddings too feminine for you?
They are for me. While I’m all for smashing the patriarchy in weddings I do think we overdose on pink and pretty sometimes.
Having a romantic, feminine wedding style is absolutely fine, and it looks beautiful – but only if that’s what you BOTH want.
But here’s the thing: in so many cases (and assuming just for once that we’re talking to couples with a woman and a man, because I feel this is where the issue really lies) women are responsible for most of the decisions with wedding styling and colour palettes, and so on.
Most times it’s from kindness: grooms-to-be will say “that’s more your thing, I’m happy with whatever colours / flowers you want!”
Often though, I believe women (in man/woman couples) end up taking the reins with wedding planning because men are made to feel excluded: by the wedding media (everything from TV to magazines, wedding shows, blogs and suppliers).
And that’s really not fair.
It’s also not healthy!
Planning a wedding is hard. It’s never a job for one person.
You might think, not to worry: (and again, forgive me – because I am assuming most people reading this will be women) you’ve got your best girls to help you out. They’ll be there for all the crafty stuff, dress fittings and you’ll have a wedding WhatsApp group going where you can get their opinions on all your ideas. You’re not really alone.
But this is your wedding. It should be for both of you, and it should be something you both plan together. Look at it from your other half’s perspective: if they’re not 50/50 in with you, why not?
Wouldn’t it be worth stopping for a moment and asking yourselves what you both want? It might not be a traditional wedding: but a party or celebration that’s really different and you can both get excited about planning, and the day itself!
I would love to see:
- far more gender neutral ‘stuff’ in weddings (colour pop, non-floral stationery; foliage more than florals; more masculine options for decor and colour palettes)
- weddings without so much ‘stuff’! What’s wrong with a sit-down meal in a favourite country pub without bringing your own flowers and napkins and place names to decorate the tables?
- wedding magazines aimed at couples (and while we’re here, NOT about selling you loads of stuff!)
Are weddings all about shopping?
I have a sneaky suspicion that women have been seen as an easy target by the big players in weddings over recent decades. The pink-covered magazines, the expensive mass-produced dresses and ‘fairytale’ dream wedding we’re all led to believe we aspire to.
Enormous brands have been built around the premise that weddings are a major occasion for selling to women. Dresses and venues fill the pages of wedding magazines, closely followed by every other product you could possibly consider for a wedding day, from polaroid cameras to cake stands and streamers. And if all of that is what you both want, then that’s wonderful… but if you’re being sucked in by the wedding media, and feel pressured to buy all the things, it’s not healthy. Step away.
How to plan your wedding as a couple: the first steps to take
Recognising when you’re feeling stressed and finding coping mechanisms that help you manage your feelings can help put the joy back into planning a wedding and a focus on your upcoming marriage.
1. Talk about how you’re feeling
Discussing your worries and stresses with your partner will help you to feel supported – most likely they will be experiencing the same feelings as you. Remember you are in this together.
2. Take time away from wedding planning
Wedding planning and admin can be all-encompassing. However, remember to take time away from wedding planning to focus on the people you love and activities you enjoy. Whilst it’s good to focus on your wedding, it’s healthy to take time away from planning to do other things you enjoy, such as exercising and seeing friends and family.
Spending quality time with your partner before your wedding will help to strengthen your relationship before you begin married life, as well as helping to identify what is truly important in your relationship.
For more advice, if you’re feeling the pressures of wedding planning, read our blogs from the wedding and mental health experts at Bupa.