Snowflakes in France

Reflections of a 20-something woman in publishing

Category: Wedding

“No one asked you to change it”

I read a wedding post today where it was noted that “the wedding is kinda like married life, it often comes with unresolved feelings.”

Now that wedding day is more than a month behind me. Jon and I have continued into married life, which, to those who ask how married life is treating me, I have to admit is much the same. Of course there is a legitimacy that comes with our legal union. As Jon quotes from a Seinfeld episode, Everything sounds better with ‘my wife’ in it. (And Kramer confirms with “My wife has an inner ear infection.”) We can now pick up each others’ dry cleaning, and I don’t feel so weird going to the vet, where I used to hope they wouldn’t refuse treatment because my last name was different from our dog’s. Now it’s the same.

But I also changed my name at work. And in addition to all the bureaucratic hoops that I have to navigate to make sure I still have access to email and people can still find my phone number on the directory, it seems I also have to confront social opinions on marriage and the choices that come with it. It’s something I admit I naively didn’t think I would encounter by following the social norm and taking Jon’s name.

A senior member of my department came by wondering why he couldn’t find me on the office chat. I explained that IT had just fixed it so there might be a lag before it showed up in searches. I concluded with, “Oh, this whole name-change thing is quite a process.”

“Well, no one asked you to change it,” he said with a pointed look. And walked away. (Yes, he studied gender studies at a school in NY and no, his wife did not change her name)

First of all, society kinda does ask me to change it. But I esteem those women who keep their name because they feel a connection to their father’s family, or because they have an established professional reputation, or simply because they were born with that name and they see no reason to take on this new family name for the sake of society’s preferences. Those are good reasons. And what’s more, women who keep their name put up with a lot of snarky comments and confused reactions. But none of those reasons really applied to me. I wanted Jon and I to have the same name because we’re in the same family now. This seemed the easiest way to do it.

But this comment, aside from popping a little How dare you! thought bubble in my head, makes me question how wifedom is changing my view on feminism. Maybe not necessarily my own view, because I’ve always taken the side of Women Have Choices! Yay! Let it continue! But more the side of those who advocate breaking all gender roles. I find that as I wife, while I do break some traditional gender roles, I actually like others. And what kind of feminist does that make me?

Unresolved feelings indeed.

Wedding recap

My bridesmaids told me I was the calmest bride they’d ever seen. And while I think it might be a more interesting story to tell you that the calm was just a front — that I was actually bursting at the seems with nerves and bridezilla-ness, that’s not the case. Sitting in that side room, listening to the beginning of the ceremony, I was as cool as a cucumber.

I made a good choice in my bridal brigade. I avoided people who like to stress or dramatize situations, so from the girls who helped me create centerpieces to my lovely dressmaker and my bridesmaids who put my hair and face together and sat with me that morning, I have to say that I have some smart and sensible friends. Not to mention my adoring husband, who stopped any potential worrying in its tracks by just being himself, the guy I want to commit to, every day.

Photo by Brad Luttrell

And then, because it was in Louisville, and because it felt like someone lifted the gates yelling, “And she’s off!”, I’ll give you the horse-racing version,

Going round the church now with Dad, here comes the bride. The birds keep singing and people are smiling and suddenly she’s at the groom’s side and her dad is trying not to cry as he hurries back to his seat.

The bride and groom are trying to pay attention to the readings now, but keep slipping smiles at each other…oh wait, here’s a song. .The bride is engrossed in the ceremony for a moment before turning back to Jon.

The priest has called them up now for the vows and there’s a moment where something may have gone wrong…is it in good times and bad or for richer for poorer? But the slip-up is unnoticed and they turn the corner, offering peace to everyone in the front row…and Jon steps a bit on the dress, the audience holds its breath…but she turns and beams at him, making sure he goes first around the next bend.

They light the candles, they sing another song and everyone files out exclaiming about the weather, the bride’s dress and and what a lovely homily the priest gave.

And now we’re in the final stretch; despite the traffic that holds up some of the bridesmaids, the bride and groom arrive at the reception on time. The dance is a bit tricky and they chide each other playfully but soon get back on track, working the room and thanking everyone for coming.

By the time Livin’ on a Prayer comes through the speakers, the two are sweating and running out of steam. But they keep pushing on until the end…and bid their adieus.  Whisked down the street, stopped by some scavenger hunters who want a photo and up into the room where they take off their worn shoes and sink into the bed.

I’m still waiting on photos from my official photographer, so more on this later, but I have to agree with my mom who said, “If anyone didn’t have fun at this wedding, it was their own fault.” Jon and I had a blast. And we never want to do it again. 🙂

Fading Friendship

What was ice and slush yesterday is finally just wet concrete. I trudge to work in my rain boots, which are a bit overkill at this point, but they are also the most likely to keep the cold out. I notice a man wearing tennis shoes, walking so fast in his pressed slacks that I wonder if he always wears jogging shoes, or if he needed to jog today to arrive at work on time.

A man wearing inconspicuous black shoes greets another. They’re both young, look like bar tenders, and I notice the other guy is wearing a pair of Vans, the symbol peeking out from under long wide jeans. Suddenly I think of Carter, and how my sister made fun of his Vans years ago.

I think of how odd it is that people I hardly know are invited to the wedding, but Carter, one of my dearest friends from high school and college, who has seen me through several breakups (including our own brief fling in high school), one of few to win the affection of my parents, and one of the few I still try to meet for coffee when I’m in town, is not invited.

But I know why. He’s still friends with my ex. And on some level, I’m trying not to hurt that boy any more than I already have. For his best friend to have an invitation to my wedding on his fridge seems a bit cruel.

So yes, I’d like to have Carter there. He could sit at the table with my high school girls. He’d dance the night away and be the life of the party — he always is. But I took him off the guest list because it seems selfish of me to invite him. I hope he understands, but I have a sad feeling that we won’t be getting coffee the next time I visit.

A wedding look

I just popped over to APW for my daily morning read, and they haven’t posted yet! So odd for them, but I took it as an opportunity to post about my own practical wedding.

Wedding planning is coming together, and more people are getting involved, so it’s actually becoming fun! I signed up for a blog give-away contest (which I never do!) over at Souris Mariage for a birdcage veil. It’s one of those things that I know I want, but I haven’t really taken the time to even look at them yet. And who knew there were so much different styles?!

Being me, I thought I wanted a French veiling. It sounds so very chic and flirty! And, well, French. But then I looked at the Etsy vendor’s selection (can I just say that a give-away where you get to choose the item is pretty amazing?) and I actually prefer an English “Merrywidow” veiling.

When I think about the fun veil, and the hot pink shoes I just bought, and the turquoise necklace that’s been sitting around in my jewelry box just waiting to be worn, I’m confident I can pull off my typically very colorful style while still wearing white.

Now if only I can decide on what to do with my hair…

Bosom Buddies

“A bosom friend–an intimate friend, you know–a really
kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul.  I’ve
dreamed of meeting her all my life.  I never really supposed
I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true
all at once that perhaps this one will, too.  Do you think
it’s possible?”

-Anne of Green Gables

Jennifer and I traded secrets in the plastic playhouse in her backyard when we were seven years old, banning our younger sisters as we drank imaginary tea and pinky swore that we would be bridesmaids at each others’ weddings.

Giggling back and forth between our houses on Davis Street, we watched as our moms both grew pregnant in 1993, we looked pretty together in our little white communion dresses, I wept when her dog died and we hugged tightly when she moved across town to a new house. I had had friends before her, but she was my first best friend.

And then I moved to Kentucky, about 7 hours away.

It’s easy to make new friends, and I did. But each of them always had an older friend, a friend who had been there years before me. That friend knew her when her parents were together, cut her bangs behind the house with scissors and cried when her first dog died. That friend had always been her best friend, she couldn’t be replaced.

Jenn just got married this year. I’ve looked at the wedding photos on Facebook and wonder if we still would have been friends. I think of the girls I’ve known in Kentucky, and how many of us have grown apart in just five or six years. Would Jenn and I have possibly survived 17?

But then again, my sisters and I have survived that long. Jenn’s bridesmaids were her two sisters and three other girls. A mirror of my own bridal party in April. I’ve trusted my secrets to my two sisters for their entire lives; they are my oldest friends. They’ll be standing up there with me, just as Jenn’s sisters were, just as Jenn and I promised that we would have if we were still friends.

Sisters