Bride on Bride: Patriarchy, Bride Culture, and Space to Be Queer
…So we had to find other ways to plan our wedding, ways that didn’t require us to designate one partner as the bride and the other as secondary. We had to try to figure out how to play to our individual strengths while supporting each other and checking in with each other. Because we both identify as “brides” and neither of us feels like a “groom”, this might have been easier for us than for some straight couples. I’m not actually sure. Like I said, I’ve never gotten married before.
We’ve been taking on individual tasks where we can, doing a lot together, and trying to be honest about what we are capable of. I’ve heard it said that nothing will test the staying power of your relationship quite like planning a wedding, and that might be true. I’ll be honest – it isn’t all lovey-dovey. We’ve certainly had our share of disagreements. We try to remember that our wedding, like our marriage, isn’t something one person is doing and the other is going along with. It’s something we are doing together. It should reflect that.
That doesn’t mean that we both have to do every single thing. For example, Chelsea gets kind of freaked out by numbers, and I get kind of freaked out by making phone calls. One of our first agreements about the wedding was that she is in charge of calling people, and I’m in charge of drawing up the budget. Sometimes I’m a bit more planning-oriented than she is, which means that often times I’ve been the one bringing ideas to the table, and then we make decisions together. But it’s not exclusively like that, and I don’t make decisions about the wedding without her, or vice versa. I won’t sign up for any site that offers me a “community of other brides” and asks me to list us as “Katherine” first and “and her partner Chelsea” second. It may seem like a little thing, but language matters.
It feels particularly important because we are trying to do this whole getting married thing as ethically as possible. One of our biggest values as a couple is being in an egalitarian partnership, and one of the best things about our particular egalitarian partnership (we’ve both said this, at various points) is that we help to push each other to live according to our values. So when we discussed the possibility of hiring a caterer, we needed to talk to each other about what our ethical requirements would be for that (local business? locally sourced ingredients? plant-based foods? where is it ok to compromise and where is compromise off the table?) and how that would play out before we could look into any specific options. We aren’t either of us perfect, and our wedding won’t be perfect either.
But for it to be the best that it can be, we need to be doing it together.
Readers: Are you and your fiancé/e splitting up the wedding planning tasks? If so, how?