I recently got engaged, and am very much looking forward to marrying the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. Thetrouble is that the wedding part seems to be fraught with a weight of other people’s expectations; I have always thought that while the marriage is for the couple, the wedding is for everyone else to enjoy, but as it turns out, I do have rather strong views about what marriage traditions are acceptable in 2013.
My view of the day was a vague plan of walking down to my mother’s church, short service, walk to the hotel, eat and drink with friends and family we love, dance to cheesy music and get home relatively early, since we’ll most likely have a small baby to look after at the same time.
Everyone I talk to seems quite preoccupied with all manner of other details: the seating plan, the stationery, where to get the dress, the bridesmaids’ colour scheme, the theme for the table names (which admittedly will be quite fun as we’re going for our favourite climbs), the first dance, what to get as “wedding favours”. It’s as if all my friends have turned into talking advertisements from bridal magazines.
There was however one tradition that never even crossed my mind: who should walk up the aisle with me. I can’t even begin to describe just how inappropriate it would be to have my father “give me away”. For a start, and I know I sound like an uptight humourless feminist here, it implies that women are still chattels to be swapped for a dowry and taken on by their husband’s families as breeding stock.It also implies that right from the start, I am not my husband’s equal. He stands around waiting for me (with the added pathetic touch of the bride being late, as if she’s such a child she can’t figure out what time she was supposed to be there, or didn’t really care), and I am delivered to him, like I’m a takeaway pizza.
Then of course there’s that ludicrous moment at many weddings where the bride and groom arrive for the first dance, and someone presents them with the words, “Ladies and gentleman, Mr & Mrs …”
At this rate, I will get married at the top of Arthur’s seat with two witnesses and whichever priest I can get to walk up with me.I’m sure I’ll get over it and go the whole hog on spending some obscene fortune on a white dress, as if the presence of our baby at the back of the church doesn’t somewhat burst the virgin bubble. If that’s what people want, fine, that’s what they can have. I get to be married to Richard, so I don’t really care, my bridesmaids can go wild on the flowers.