Sunday, September 12, 2010

On tradition

Tradition!  Tradition!

When you are planning a wedding people really like to talk about tradition.  A lot.  And at length.

Tradition and I are on shaky grounds right now.  See, I like tradition in some aspects.  Having fillet mignon for breakfast Christmas morning directly after opening presents, with some nice music in the background?  That's a tradition I like.  It's something I've done every Christmas I've spent at my parents' house, and it's significant to me because it's tied up with my childhood memories.  It's a continuation and reminder of my childhood in many ways.  I also love some of the tradition you get in a sorority-- the outfits we'd wear to initiation, the ritual you know every other chapter also follows, and has been following for decades-- that's pretty awesome, and it's a way of having continuity throughout the group, and something that will link and bind different chapters of women who have never met together.

But wedding traditions?  Well...  they really don't have that much significance to me, and in a lot of cases, I just plain don't like them.

Let me be clear:  I think doing something, solely because it is tradition, is stupid.  I think NOT doing something, solely because it is tradition, is ALSO stupid.  The fact that something is or is not traditional is not what makes me like it or hate it-- but I feel a bit that when I reject things that are "traditional" as if I might be disappointing people-- yet if I do them, I'll be disappointing myself, and tainting the wedding in my mind.

It's very rough for me, as much as I like to please other people, to try to be true to myself and JD here and not just give in and having a wedding that I will hate that will make me sad.  But I just can't.  I can't start out marriage off with something that feels alien to me, something that makes me feel uncomfortable.

So in a lot of cases?  I'm rejecting tradition.  Not because it is tradition-- but because I don't like the connotations of it, or the origin of it, or even the aesthetic of it.

I will, for example, not be wearing a veil.  I don't like the aesthetic of the veil, and I don't like the ideas behind it-- hiding my blushing pure face from people?  Please.  I want to get married with my eyes wide open, staring at JD as we affirm our love and commitment.  I don't want anything to get in the way.  I also don't want to be walked down the aisle by my father.  This is the one I feel the most guilty about, but the connotations of it just deeply disturb me.  It feels like a transfer of property-- like I belong to my father, and then am given to my husband.  Like I am not making my own choice, like I am not a person with agency.  The fact that it is one man, and then i am transferred to another man just bothers me, even though my father is wonderful.  What I would like to do is actually borrow from another tradition.  In many Jewish weddings, the groom is escorted down the aisle by his parents, and the bride is escorted down the aisle by hers.  I like the symbolism and imagery of that-- both of us are leaving our family, both of us are equal, and there isn't the same connotation of woman as property, since we would both be shown to be parting from our parents.  I also like that it incorproates both of my parents, because they're both absolutely wonderful people who, I think, did a great job of raising me.

I'm not parting from all tradition-- I'm planning to wear a white(ish?) dress, and I will incorporate something old, new, borrowed, and blue-- largely because incorporating something blue gives me an excuse to paint my nails a fierce blue :-)  (and yes, I know the something blue is usually lingerie, but nail polish is So. Fun.)  I'll admit, the connotations of a white dress-- with purity and innocence and all that-- do bother me.  But here, I guess my vanity is winning out over my principles-- because I look AMAZING in my wedding dress.  It also isn't technically white-- it's ivory-- which makes me feel at least a touch better.

It's just hard, in thinking about all this, to balance my principles and the expectations of others.  I'm not doing traditional things for tradition's sake-- but the times when I refuse to do traditional things, it isn't simply because I'm trying to flaunt tradition.

We want our wedding to reflect us.  To be purely JD and Amanda.  And if we stick to pure tradition, well-- we'd just be playing roles, instead of being ourselves.

3 comments:

Meg said...

Our parents walked each of us down the aisle too. It was really nice. If they or Steve hadn't agreed to do it, I'd have walked in by myself. It was all or nothing.

Barbara said...

I love you so much. I'm so excited to be there on your special day :-D :-D

Cotku said...

Hey, if it helps you feel even better about it, white was worn at weddings originally because it was ridiculous to wear white any other day. It was just to show off that you could afford to buy something to only wear once.

Congratulations on your wedding! Best to you both. :)