Friday, February 19, 2010

The Sad Bride

Something borrowed, something blue, something old, yadda yadda yadda. The rebellious spirit inside me yearns to fight against the many traditions associated with weddings, especially the ones that don’t make sense to me. For example, if it’s easier for Mr. Cathedral Heights and I to have our pictures taken in our wedding garb an hour or so before the ceremony, what’s the big deal if he sees me in my dress? Yet, he’s absolutely against the idea. Why even take the chance of having bad luck, he points out. I understand his reasoning, but it still seems so silly to me.

Many of our wedding traditions stem from past cultural norms that no longer apply to present-day society. The lifting of the veil once symbolized the groom taking possession of his bride. The white wedding dress symbolized purity. The throwing of the rice symbolized fertility. I don’t need a veil, white doesn’t look good on me, and, really, isn’t throwing rice a waste of food?

Queen Victoria (at her 1840 wedding) is credited
with starting the white wedding tradition,
including the white gown.

The fourth time I went wedding dress shopping, I felt grouchy and tired of looking at beautiful gowns that seemed an amalgamation of overpriced white lace, silk, and frills. I honestly couldn’t even tell which dresses complemented me—during the last three tries I had more than one moment where I thought I was feeling the sparks of the one. Wedding dresses are almost their own entity—they could probably walk down the aisle by themselves and do fine. They don’t even need my seemingly-large-compared-to-wedding-dress-sample-sizes body.

“You’re such a sad bride,” said my bridesmaid, K, with a slight smirk on her face.

She knew I couldn’t stand being stuck in the tiny bridal store filled with mothers and aunts and friends gushing over super-skinny brides and clerks ignoring me even though I was exactly on time for my appointment (for once in my life). However, when I took K’s advice and tried on a dress that she pulled off the rack that I never would have picked for myself, my smile broke through the clouds. It wasn’t an “I found the meaning of life” moment, but it was a special moment, I have to admit, especially when the store broke into applause at my announcement that this indeed would be my wedding dress.

When the salesperson brought over a veil for me to try on, I told her I would not be wearing a veil. Moments later I stood staring at myself in the mirror, veil and all. I admitted that I didn’t hate the veil, in fact I kind of liked the veil, even though I didn’t want to like it.

Another salesperson passing by, who had given me a slightly annoyed look when I arrived with my grouchy attitude, turned to me and spoke. “We don’t have many traditions left in our culture. I think it’s okay to enjoy the few that we do continue to follow.”

And with that sentiment in mind, I said yes to the dress even though it was well over my budget and I graciously accepted K’s generous offer to loan me the veil she wore at her wedding. Now I can check off something borrowed and something new.

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