A Feminist Bride reader asks: "Looking for advice for a feminist bride that doesn't want to plan a wedding but her fiance wants the wedding...it's important to him..."
An engagement is when a couple starts collaborating on the formalities that will lead them to the altar. Marriage is about knowing when it's more important to the team and when it's okay to indulged in (and support the other's) personal preferences. It is going to the comic book convention when you'd rather have a root canal; but there are trade offs in marriage like when you want to go see a double feature of Nicholas Sparks movies. While planning might be a drag, the engagement period helps work out those teamwork skills. Treat marriage like a sport, if you want to play in the big game - you gotta show up to the practices.
Whether you end up going to town hall and get donuts afterward at Dunkin' Donuts or walk down the aisle while Luther Vandross serenades you, there's going to be some element of planning involved. So brace yourself, and put a magnum of something on your registry list to be drunk beforehand so you can get through the process. Assuming that the feminist bride wants to get married, here's some advice on how to get through the often complicated and tiresome wedding planning. And to make sure that everything is egalitarian and split down the middle, get your fiance to go step with step with you.
Step 1: Each fiance makes his or her own list of the most important things when it comes to the wedding. Below each item, briefly describe a vision or idea that can help narrow down options and choices.
Step 2: Compare lists with your fiance. Finding out that your fiance first care is about having a lederhosen-clad German-style band during the cocktail hour to honor his or her roots and your priority is to have a tasteful nude ice sculpture of you two as the buffet centerpiece should not be a source for discontentment and a fight. As a reluctant feminist bride who doesn't want to plan a wedding - it's about rolling with the punches, making sacrifices and compromises to make someone else happy because you don't give a f%^& because you love them. The benefit to this exercise though is that it allows you to allocate tasks respective of one's passion, so that the feminist bride can take pride in something she cares about. Those motivating factors will turn the only heavy ball and chain into the one you'll be stuck with for life and not the wedding planning one. Splitting up the tasks equally can be a useful division of resources, it also holds each party responsible. Each fiance requires the other to pull his or her own weight to make the wedding happen. If the feminist bride isn't psyched about picking out flowers, at least she might be motivated to make a decision for the benefit of her significant other and wanting them to have a special day too. With brides historically being the main planners, there have been more than a handful of grooms that let them take the reins. And when the men ended up with a garish hot pink wedding, they smiled because it made the love of their life happy. If the groom is leading the planning charge, relinquishing control, smiling and relishing in seeing what makes him happy is a fine position to take - just be ready for your wedding to be sports themed.
Step 3: When it comes to the tasks that fall into the neutral zone where no one is motivated to get shit done - go it together. Just because you couldn't give two cents over what type of cake you serve doesn't mean visiting the bakery has to be lame. Marriage after all will be a series of repeated events for decades; keeping it fun, interesting and alive is about the attitude you bring to it. (It's also why I recommend you add that magnum to your wedding registry.)
Step 4 (Optional): Most likely there's someone in your life, like a relative or friend, who's really interested in getting involved. Like really interested, annoyingly interested. "Why aren't you excited about this? It's your wedding!" Treat this person as a godsend and give them a task (or two). Nothing helps a task get done and quiets an overeager and too involved friend, like an allocated wedding chore. Here is a number of things you can say to them before they disappear permanently into Paper Source, 'I trust you,' 'surprise me,' or 'I'm sure whatever you do, it will be amazing.' While you might feel like you're Tom Sawyering them, just make sure you thoroughly thank them afterwards. They are probably putting in a ton of time and effort where you wouldn't and it came from the heart. Note: don't ask people who don't offer help on their own. Bridesmaids (or Best Ladies) are not there to be wedding planning mules, they're there for emotional support only and to make sure you get drunk while wearing a plastic penis tiara. If you're in desperate straits and have exhausted all options, then it's okay to ask, just promise them unlimited sips from your magnum.
Step 5 (Optional): If you got the dough, hire a wedding consultant. As a feminist bride who might be concerned with making sure the traditions she follows have social equality, hiring a planner adds another concerning issue. With a planner, you'll be contributing even more to the wedding industrial complex. There are trade-offs to convenience.
Step 6: Don't look at wedding site to-do lists (ya, I know this is a list). This will probably make you really stressed out and less motivated. And not managing the tsunami of wedding questions from peers will probably not help either. Find a quick response to quell their curiosity. Chances are you've been around wedding culture long enough to know what you need to do and if you miss something - it wasn't that important to you or your fiance in the first place. Those little things like boutineers, seating tags, thank you tchotchkes, underwear - no one needs them. Technically, all you need on your wedding is a license, a legal officiant, a witness and two people in love.
Hopefully some of these steps help. If nothing is helping to get a wedding planned, perhaps it's time to take a deeper look into what's causing the reluctance. Motivation to plan a wedding and just not wanting to, are actually two different things, but easily confused. There have been plenty of couples who have had difficulty getting to the final mile. If you need some company I recommend grabbing that half drunk magnum and watching The Five Year Engagement. But most of all don't worry, worrying makes it all worse. You can either walk into a bridal shop and declare that you want to barf or you can walk in, command the space and be openminded so you can cross off another to-do item and get out of there quickly. Or you can realize you want to approach the task entirely differently, like on the Internet from your couch, cozied up to your magnum. Whatever you decide when planning a wedding attitude is half that battle.
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