Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No, I Will Not Have American Cheese At My Wedding

Do you know what our problem is, as a society, these days? Too many choices. Choices are what you get after you banish tradition and ceremony, and decide to forge your own path. Freedom is great, but it’s also kind of a burden.

Never has this been more true than in the planning of my wedding. After reading The Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides by Ariel Stallings, I decided once and for all that I didn’t want a poofy, flower-laden, whitewashed, fairy tale wedding. I just wanted to get married, and to have a party to celebrate it. Never a part of the marriage-obsessed female culture, I just wanted to have fun.

But my transformation into an offbeat bride didn’t happen overnight. There was a time when I wouldn’t hear of canned soda or pizza at my wedding, but I’ve found that it’s better to just relax and not worry about people’s perceptions. I’ve gradually come to accept that a wedding doesn’t need to have flowers, an open bar, or a DJ who insists on playing at least one of the songs on your “PLEASE DO NOT PLAY THIS IT MAKES MY EARS BLEED” list.

The weddings featured on Ariel’s blog have been an ongoing source of inspiration. This recent affair is one of my favorites, even if a polka-dot dress isn’t really in the works for me. I like to pick and choose my favorite elements and mentally collage them into My Perfect Day.

But once you open the floodgates of Offbeat Brideism, there really is no going back. Everything must be questioned. Do you want to walk down the aisle, or enter by trapeze? Do you want to throw your bouquet, or hand it off to your lesbian relatives as a sociopolitical statement about marriage equality? Do you want to have a cake cutting, or a donut fight?

I truly believe that traditional brides have an easier time of it, just floating along on prefabricated clouds of Weddingness. They question nothing, and therefore have a script already written for them.

Speaking of scripts, I really should get back to writing my ceremony. But before I do, I’d like to share a few of my hard limits when it comes to my wedding. As flexible as I’ve been, these are things I simply will not entertain.

1. American cheese.

2. Our dog as ringbearer.

3. Stiletto heels.

4. Anyone asking me “so, why aren’t your parents here?”

5. Favors in tiny plastic swans.

6. Uncomfortable shoes.

7. Wire hangers. (j/k, j/k.)

Because you have to draw the line somewhere.



Anonymous said...

"They question nothing, and therefore have a script already written for them."

Well said. I feel frustrated in life at that very sentiment--it feels as though I'd be happy if I could just drown myself out in the American Fantasy, but deep down, even though the path is harder, I know I'd never want to be one of them. One of the people who are born and who die without ever thinking "Gee, I wonder if maybe being human could mean something different?"

That said: I just had a wedding recently, and it was part traditional and part my own (as I'm sure a lot are these days). However, it was in large part handmade by my new family, and because of that my wedding was much more personal and meaningful. I had a beautiful dress that my husband's grandmother sewed for me, instead of one of those sleeveless (because they're ALL sleeveless, whether they look good on all bodies or not ><) models that the stores are selling these days. We had everyone with a camera take pictures and then send them to us, resulting in many unique (but sometimes blurry) photos we otherwise would not have gotten. We paid for a few things, of course, but having so much of it be DIY was really awesome. Most importantly, it was a huge party with our families, some of which I hadn't seen in ten years. So, I wish you luck, and I'm sure whatever you create will be awesome.

I second that American cheese is terrible. Haven't touched it in years.


Liz McD said...

I really envy people like you (and Ariel) that can pull off a potluck wedding like that. I wish we had that kind of network of friends and family with talents and the willingness to help, but we just don't - we mostly have to do everything ourselves.

Those people who can help are helping, of course, but it's nowhere near what I'd like to have in my dream world. The biggest issue is sheer numbers - we have little family around and even fewer friends.

I don't think American cheese is even actual cheese. It's just a catch-all name for processed crap. Whatever it is, I don't want it anywhere near me.

Anonymous said...

My fiance: "Oh, I vote for the donut fight. We'll get the powdery ones that'll get all over people's tuxes."

Anonymous said...

There is an actual type of cheese known as "American;" you can buy it in slices. It's processed, of course, but it has a distinct flavor that sets it apart: a mixture of dull cheddar and foot stench. Hence why I avoid it when I can, though many places still use it to put on burgers and things.