I'm more than a bride-to-be

May 1 | Guest post by JennaY
Budget Backyard Lesbian Wedding
Yes, I'm getting married (bitches!), but I'm also doing other things, too. (Photo by Mike Allebach)

I'm excited to get married and I'm excited to throw a big party. I love my partner and find a lot of beauty in deciding to make a public and legal declaration of our commitment. While I totally don't believe that marriage is a necessary social contract to validate a relationship, I have knowingly and intentionally become a part of a community that values marriage, and I am proud to have made the decision to celebrate my commitment to my partner with my community.

That being said, I'm more than just a bride-to-be. I am an academic, I am an employee, I am a friend, I am a volunteer, I am a daughter, I am a sister, I am a social justice advocate, I am a partner, I am a spiritual being, I am a physical being, etc., etc., etc.…

I am not the first, nor shall I be the last, to feel frustrated about gendered bias. It has been written and discussed ad nauseam on the Offbeat Empire (and elsewhere). It makes me annoyed, frustrated, and angry. But it also makes me afraid. I'm afraid if things are like this now that getting wifed will be a new level of matrimonial hell. I know I'm not the only one getting asked about babies.

So what can I do? How can I battle these questions and expectations? This is my plan:

  • By making sure that for every question someone asks about the "big day" I make sure to tell them two more things about me that have nothing to do with it.
  • By making sure that I put in the effort to ask them questions and start a conversation that's not bridal-centered.
  • By talking about how my partner and I are still doing things and living lives that don't have anything to do with wedding plans.

I can't change those around me, but I can change my reactions to them.

Those are the thoughts and words that keep my inner rage monster from spilling out into the real world. I guess there's more than one way the bridethulhu manifests itself.

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  1. Thank you for showing me a different perspective on this topic. I am sorry that you feel less than a complete person when others ask you about your wedding. This should be a glorious time for you and your partner and I hope that it will be! My take on this is not that that is all we see you or other brides-to-be as. It is just the current major thing that is going on right now. If you were graduating from high school or college then that would be the topic of conversations people have with you. Or if you were selling your home and making a big move, that is what they would ask you about. So, being the bride-to-be is not all that you are, but it is the thing shining the brightest right now.

    8 agree
    • With respect, I don't think this is entirely true. I am graduating with my masters degree this fall, and started a new job this summer. I am also getting married in the midst of all this. It is astounding how many questions I get about flowers and food, and how very few comparatively I get about my professional life. It's like "yes, I am getting married and there will be flowers. By the way, I also got a 4.0 in Summer semester." Anything non-wedding-related is an afterthought.

      I think what the author is eluding is that "bride to be" is the most important social identity for a woman getting married.

      It is not the same for my groom to be, either, who has also started a new job and family will congratulate him and ask him about it. He gets very few questions about the wedding and the majority are directed at me (even the ones which should be directed at the groom, such as what he plans to wear or what he'll be doing while I'm getting ready). He's even remarked at how odd it is nobody seems to ask me about my new job.

      I understand that every situation is different and for the most part these stereotypical questions about flowers and babies come from a place of good intention, but I wholeheartedly believe that these statements–especially from older folks–come from the "get in the kitchen" mentality that is still present in our culture.

      I, too, would love my professional accomplishments to be celebrated as much as my decision to marry.

      1 agrees
  2. I love this! Especially the deflection, ie ask about other people's lives, conversation not-wedding-related. I have actually not had too many experiences like this, because we haven't been very vocal about the wedding planning (REALLY small ceremony/reception) so I like to quickly turn the tables. And I have a ton of other great things going on! I have kittens! I'm learning a new code language! I'm debating a new video game to play! My best friend just bought a horse!
    SO many other things.

    That said….I LOVE THE HECK out of these shirts in this photo, and I want one. But only one. And only to wear the day of the wedding while getting ready.

  3. This. So much this. My boyfriend and I aren't even engaged yet, and we have still had to field some of this sort of nonsense. He gets a lot of the, "Have you proposed yet? When are you gonna get down on one knee? You better get her a big fancy diamond!" While we've talked about getting married (and have even started kicking around some ideas— camp-out wedding!), neither of us appreciates what we perceive as prying and pressuring questions. Also, 1) He already knows that I don't want him to get on his knees to ask— we are an equal partnership, so there will be none of that, and 2) I don't want a diamond, and have gone back and forth on whether I want an engagement ring at all (right now, we are thinking maybe engagement bands for both of us, but nothing super fancy).

    I get to field all of the baby-related questions. We are not going to have biological children ever. You can imagine how people react to that one. *sigh*

    Anyway, these deflection ideas are fantastic! I am going to try them out next time someone asks prying or presumptuous questions. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    5 agree
  4. Yes! This!

    I try not (and mostly succeed) to voluntarily bring up wedding-related activities because first off, I find it annoying when that's all brides can talk about! I don't want to be one of those brides who details out every aspect of the wedding…prior to the wedding! I will definitely answer any questions that get asked or defer it as a "just you wait…", but I try to change the subject as soon as possible.

    Another reason I don't want to share that much is because I feel like spending all this time planning warrants a surprise for people attending! Why should I tell you about all the little details prior to the wedding? I want you to be there and see it for yourself and enjoy it!

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