the ambivalent bride

As of this week, I have a wedding website. I have a registry (two, actually), featuring such must-haves as a cutting board shaped like a pig and glass-footed ice cream bowls. I have a contract with a venue and a meeting with a photographer and hours logged scrolling through the websites of every bridal designer you can imagine. I’m starting to be able to talk about my “wedding colors” without wanting to vomit.

All of this is to say, I’m pretty sure I’m turning into a real, honest-to-goodness bride. I felt it when I tried on white lace dresses the other day, when they placed the veil on my head and Meg started tearing up. (It should probably be noted that it doesn’t take much to get her going.) I felt it when I caught myself ogling¬†over a chip-and-dip bowl from Bloomingdale’s, just staring at its likeness reflecting back at me from my computer screen, under the heading ‘silver and metal giftware’ on my little wish list.

In my defense, the platter is shaped like a chrysanthemum!

On second thought, that’s the lamest defense ever. Which fortifies my initial hypothesis: I really must be turning into a bride now, huh?

All of these things, pieced together, lead me to such a conclusion, as does the ring on my finger and the wedding magazines on my night stand and, most importantly, the boy who loves me.

But sometimes, I don’t feel like I’m doing a very good job playing this role.¬†There was the Bloomingdales saleswoman that told me I looked like I was 19, and the bridal salon manager who thought Megan and I were a giddy pair of high schoolers, and each and every vendor who repeats our wedding date back to me when I tell it to them: Twenty-twelve? As if we’re suggesting we’d like to get married on another planet.

All these things make me feel just the teensiest bit fake, like I’m not a real bride at all, like I haven’t earned my stripes. I take a deep breath, and try to ignore the insecurities, convincing myself that plenty of people have long engagements these days and that it’s a blessing to look so young after a whole quarter-century and that I’m happy to have so much time and not secretly fearful that it means we’re slightly less serious about this whole thing than all those other couples racing to the altar.

And then I’m confronted with the real stuff, or rather, the stuff that reminds me of the real stuff. Like, the fact that we can’t request any monogrammed ice buckets or champagne flutes or towels, because I’m not taking David’s name. And what kind of a wife doesn’t do that? And what does it mean to be married when your family unit doesn’t have one cohesive tag of identification and when you’re committed to being called something different than your own children and when you’re hesitant to leave behind your old life and your old self? What does it mean to be a bride when you’re a feminist that adores tulle?

Luckily, I have 18 more months to figure it all out. Thank god for twenty-twelve.

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