Don't let them fool you into thinking they're not into it.
If you ask me, wedding traditions are bullshit. They’re designed to celebrate the bride, which is nice, but they’re borne from a time when brides were regarded like porcelain figurines—too fragile to exist without a man’s supervision. Even today, brides are typically escorted into the ceremony by one man and then handed away at the altar to another. And she’ll do this while dressed in virginal white (uh, yeah, virgin…).
It feels kinda, I dunno, gross.
Or maybe I just don’t get it. I’m recently engaged myself, and my fiancée isn’t the fragile type. The reason I want to marry her, at least in part, is because of her strength. She’s tough. She’s independent. She loves me, but she doesn’t need me. She can function just fine without male supervision, and she’d marry me even if her father didn’t want to "give her away."
In any event, I entered engagement with no grand plan for our wedding ceremony. I didn’t give a damn about cake, flowers, or tiny crab cakes on cocktail trays. I’d have been happy with a drive-through courthouse wedding, so long as we could have a raging party afterward. But my bride-to-be, being more sensible than I, kindly steered me toward an event that blends my desire for debauchery with some more traditional elements of matrimony. And with that, the wedding planning had begun.
We’re only a few months in, so it’s all still new to me. But despite my general cynicism about tradition, I’m discovering that wedding planning isn’t all terrible. Hell, it’s kind of fun. And here are six reasons why.
It starts with a simple question like, “What should our colors be?” The next thing you know, it’s midnight, there’s an empty bottle of wine on the table, and the two of you are working out your choreographed dance moves.
This is probably the only time we’re going to be able to force our best buds to wear exactly what we want. And as we start figuring out what that will be—sleek tuxedos and cummerbunds or plaid suits with skinny ties?—we’re already imagining how badass we’ll look.
A lot of big ideas crop up in the early brainstorming phase. The fantasy wedding you two scheme up is festooned with candles, flowers, and ice sculptures. The wedding singer (Justin Timberlake, perhaps?) will be flanked by contortionists and illuminated by a laser light show. Sounds nice, right? But then you start crunching numbers and realize that you’re approximately 850 percent over budget. At first, a guy worries he’s letting you down. He can’t make the dream come true. But then you start cutting the superfluous stuff together, and he realizes that you’re more concerned with marrying him than you are with flowers and ice sculptures and Justin Timberlakes. That's a good feeling.
There are probably hundreds of bad photos thrown away after every wedding ceremony, but the ones we see from our friends, relatives, and random Facebook contacts show perfect, stress-free brides radiating happiness. As the day draws closer, we start to imagine what you will look like in those photos: the pristine dress, ethereal lighting, your huge smile. It’s a thought that makes even my inner cynic shut the hell up, at least for a while.
At some point, a parent or an aunt or horrible friend will tell you that your wedding ideas are stupid. They’ll tell you you’re not being traditional or extravagant enough. They might disagree with your drink menu or your choice to serve kimchi tacos instead of the usual chicken, beef, or fish entrées. The two of you will likely make some concessions to keep family happy, but for some decisions, you’ll double down. You'll defend each other. You’ll realize that, maybe for the first time in your relationship, you’re a true team, battling for what you believe in.
I can’t help but think of my wedding as a product launch, wherein the relationship that my fiancée and I have been workshopping for the past few years is suddenly ready for prime time. It’s an exercise in branding, really: What values are we trying to convey? What colors and symbols and typefaces represent that? How should we frame the marriage that we hope to have? It’s a fun process to go through with the person you love, and we’re learning a lot about each other.