I’m a Nontraditional Bride, Please Don’t Hate Me

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succopconservancy

Photo by Caitlin T Photography

I’ve been reading a good bit on OffBeatBride.com now that my SO and I have officially set our date and put a deposit down for our venue – Succop Nature Park (and it still gives me the “omg so completely, entirely gorgeous” reaction, though the website doesn’t truly show it**). We’ve been throwing our ideas back and forth for how we want our day to look and the structure of it and the events leading up to it and we’ve come to the conclusion that our day is going to be pretty nontraditional.

So, what’s nontraditional in this sense?

Well, one of the biggest things is that we’re having a civil-like ceremony filled with our own words and “scripture” of our own design. I love a section of Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie where Morrie gives his opinions on life and love, so we may have that read by one of our family members.

Secondly, we’re using e-invitations. Yes, email invitations, because who really cares about the paper kind? The envelope liner? The fancy ribbon that ties all your little bullshit cards together? COME ON. Paperless Post has these awesome options for 100 e-invites at $18. Hoo yah.

Next, we’re not having a bridal shower. Aside from the fact we’ve lived together for 2 years and have much of what we need, I HATE sitting around and watching brides open their presents. “Oh look, Aunt Sue, you gave me the exact same thing as Grandma…” Awkward, annoying, and just wrong. So, SO and I are going to have a family/meet-and-greet cook-out/picnic kind of thing. With outdoor games like corn hole, croquet… etc. The informality of it will be just right, especially since our families know each other, but they haven’t really been able to get together.

Now, to the “Please Don’t Hate Me” part of this issue:

I can’t tell you how many people are just enamored with the bridal traditions. Really. So many just love all the fuddy-duddy, senseless activities that take the focus off of the real reason that the special day is special. And I’m here to tell them all that they shouldn’t get their bridal garters in a bunch and that it’s okay to put a chip in the china.

To put it bluntly: it’s not your day. It’s our day. Love it for who we are and what it is.

**Some of these local photographers have profiled the space absolutely wonderfully:

The Art of Getting Your Shtuff Together

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dee2304c937bacc93a1f1ee6dddea032 Keepin’ it PG on that title.

But let’s be honest.

How many times have we all thought we’re going to lose it? Between work, kids, that guy that refuses to go the speed limit when you’re desperately trying to be somewhere on time, and that guy whose car has some strange attachment to your back bumper, an attachment that you’re waiting to just put a(nother) cute little dimple in your parking garage-seasoned car…

How do we keep from completely falling apart?

1. Let it all out. Nothing like a good cry to release all the emotion. There’s no sense in keeping frustration bottled up, though I do warn my fiancé ahead of time just so he doesn’t think I’m too crazy.

2. Breathe. In yoga, we practice dirgha — a three part breath that begins deeply in the stomach, rising through the thoracic cavity and up into the chest. Then, you exhale out through the chest, down into the lungs, and from the belly. It’s a very calming sensation, but it can bring out some anxiety (especially pre-cry session) so try to take comfort in a nice firm seat so you can fall back on something permanent that’s holding you up.

3. Don’t think about the next thing. Easier said than done, I know. Trust me, I’m the queen of planning ahead. Sure, it’s fun to think of the good times ahead, but it can almost make you wish away what’s going on in your life right now, especially if it’s not the best situation. Sometimes I catch myself looking at other apartments, thinking that living in another place could bring us something bigger, better, more something. I look at job postings on the days I get upset with the one I have. It takes me time to appreciate the now and even more time to accept it. It’s a constant battle, but I try to rest in the fact that I will be stronger for having dealt with whatever is being thrown at me.

4. Talk it out. I would never get anywhere without talking, even to myself. If my fiancé isn’t around to listen to me describe my many feelings, I look at myself in the mirror and explain where I am today. Flustered, irritated, sad… anything. We all know the right answers to how to get rid of these feelings. Our world is filled with “how-to” this and “de-stress” that, so listening to someone tell you what you may know is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, part of our problems result in our inability to annunciate our feelings. This is where we need to let go.

The art of getting your “shtuff” together is one that could be described, and has been described, a million different ways. My prescription could potentially align with that of others, but I do know one thing: we need to become more accepting of our feelings, of the fact that we feel as if we’re losing control. Accepting that alone is a large step, rather than ignoring it and pushing it away, only for it to come back with a more deeply seeded vengeance. Get all those feelings out, breathe to calm, acknowledge the present, and talk it through.

Being Young (and Engaged) in Today’s Society

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boom. edit/forewarning: this is long.

What a title, right?

Definitely heavy on the opinions and emotions here. So let me set up this story for you.

Just this past weekend, I went to go visit a family member. It was a great time, as usual. We had the best food (a plethora of seafood one night, steak the next with authentic gelato for dessert, tons of delicious wine… gluttons or foodies? you decide), I was able to relax and get my nails done, and it was just an all-around good time.

Whenever you go see any family members, of course there are the people you don’t want to go see or could honestly care less about seeing – a crazy cousin, maybe an aunt or uncle, or perhaps some of your parents’ friends. I was signed up for one of these great experiences. Let me preface this by saying a few things.

  1. I can’t take intolerable people. Just can’t do it.
  2. I was already somewhat agitated since we were a few minutes behind my scheduled departure time… I’m anal-retentive about those things.

At any rate, we arrived at this person’s place of work, greeted one another, did the whole catching up thing. Until I see the look.

The look that I can’t stand, the one that many people have given me when they see the same thing, the ring on my left ring finger. The sign I’m committed to someone when my age apparently denies the fact that’s even possible.

To be blunt, I got chewed out.

And I got so angry that I, embarrassingly enough, started to cry, which gave this person even more of an agenda to claim the validity of his opinions consisting mainly of the fact that being with someone for a long length of time will change your view of them into that of a sibling.

Um. What?

So let me give a little advice to any other young couples out there who have experienced the same.

These things will make you second guess yourself. Especially if they’re constant.

The pressure of conforming, of being “normal,” of try/experience/reject/YOLO is so strong that it can break anything and everything. I don’t want to say “don’t let it,” but I do want to say this:  if you know in your heart that you care about this person and want to put in all of the effort possible to make it work, ignore the haters.

I know how to take care of myself. I’m independent. I don’t let anyone dictate my goals, my wants, or my needs. A relationship is still a give and take, though. I haven’t sacrificed things that I’ve wanted because of my relationship, but we do have things to work through. We don’t agree on everything.

We have to communicate. All the time. We share responsibilities and live under the same roof; I can’t just shove things under the rug when he’s in the same space to look under it. If you’re not willing to put in work, to put in time, and to talk about everything that is bothering you, then don’t be in a relationship, young or not.

During the “let’s hate on young people in committed relationships” smack-down I went through, in addition to the others I have experienced, another theme is pretty prevalent: sex. How can you cope with (right? they actually say cope with!) having sex with the same person that you decide to spend the rest of your life with at 20? If that thought bothers you, don’t get engaged to that person. But to me, sex with that same person can only get old if you let it or if you don’t care.

In the end, maybe my case is special.

My fiancé is hardworking, smart, and motivated. He works hard, normally overtime at a job he enjoys. He’s like me. He sees what’s ahead, sees the places he can reach with his intelligence. I am so proud and love to brag about him (is that obvious?). He’s caring and has grown to be the best support system I could ever ask for. There was a time when he was afraid of my spontaneity with my life, with traveling and things like that. But through communication, he’s been able to be my right hand in just about anything. Why would I let that go just to experience someone else? 

There is no one else like him, period. I am so proud of our relationship and everything we’ve gotten through together. We’re two old souls that just collided at the right time. He saved me when I needed to be saved. I taught him that it’s okay to be himself. I could never throw that away. 

I can’t wait to marry my best friend. If you’re young and engaged, I hope you feel the same. 🙂