Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Celebrating Shoes and Complexities

Hi. I've been a bit MIA in the last few days and I apologize. I've both been dealing with significant personal issues and trying to process the overwhelming response to last week's "You Won't Find Beauty in the Portraits" article. Since the post got crosslinked on both East Side Bride and Weddingbee, I've been getting a definite range of reactions in comments and emails, all of which were thoughtful and all of which I appreciate. The initial post started out as a "your joy will be beautiful" post and somehow ended up as a challenge to popularly celebrated wedding portraiture, details shots, and "mainstream" blogs. I stand by everything I said in that rant (hoo boy it needed to be said after I read dozens of I'm-going-to-look-awful/need-to-lose-weight posts last week) but it's only part of the story. Because, while I'm entirely fed up with how wedding media began warping my hopes for a simpler, emotion-filled and joy-filled occasion into an opportunity for a vintage-y event that denotes simplicity and carefreeness in its carefully chosen details, I get it too.  Because darnit, I like the details, particularly because they're fun, work the creative non-excel focused part of my brain, and they're pretty.

Yes, even though this blog has focused more on planning angst and big-picture/eye-on-the-prize posts, I like the pretty.
  • I like pretty photography (define as you will. I have a very particular aesthetic that may not float your boat, but it certainly floats mine) and I'll be making time for formal portraits. Not a ton of time, mind you, but time enough to have a formal record for our families and family history.
  • I'm a little obsessed with collecting succulent inspiration ideas for our So-Cal wedding. 
  • I perhaps spend too much time daydreaming about these inspiration boards made by our DOC, Sweet Emilia Jane, for our wedding.
  • I love shoes. I can't exactly afford them right now, seeing as how I'm saving for a wedding, but I appreciate a few shoe posts now and then.  
So yeah, I'm the last person who won't get excited about shoes because it's not marriage related.  Personally, I don't care two whits about shoe pictures at the wedding (again, detail shots aren't my thing), but I know I want fabulous, colorful, comfortable, inexpensive (for me), rewearable, shoes.  I choose to spend (some very limited) time on (selected) popular wedding sites because I appreciate the help in thinking about how to make my wedding more inexpensive, sustainable, and yet pretty (and then I run away again very quickly before the aspirationalism and budget envy and body image issues creep in).  Because heck, if it were just me trying to come up with party ideas, I'd be left saying well, um, organic DIY flowers? Does this mean I have to buy vases? What's floral tape? Shiiit.

Those sites have their place. Indie wedding planning sites and communities have their place, particularly as a balance against one or two overriding aesthetic points of view or wedding approaches that don't fit what many of us may really want. More personal-blog contemplative sites have their place as a space to sort it out for ourselves, away from advertising dollars and reliance on "tradition." I'm not really a fan of any of these labels and I'm a big fan of working-it-out-for-yourself, which means there's no category for my blog except perhaps over-analytical-yet-occasionally-superficial-goofball wedding site.

This blog is simply an attempt to make sense of wedding planning in a way that makes sense with the specific life that my partner and I are building. I'm grappling with the institution of marriage and what it means to be a wife and married versus just me. I'm grappling with the wedding symbolism and expectations that feel gendered and constrictive. I'm struggling with what it means to be publicly coupled and how that's shifting people's perceptions of me and us in ways I hadn't anticipated.  I'm banging my head against the wall of our limited-yet-overwhelmingly-huge budget. I'm trying to plan a sustainable wedding and support local vendors. I'm running smack into self-esteem issues that I thought I'd put aside years ago because I'm now faced with the horrific bridal pressure to look the Best You've Ever Looked for the Most Important (and Most Photographed!) Day of Your Life (or what, he or she will run down the aisle in horror because they suddenly realized you don't look like a movie star?) I'm working on finding a synagogue and writing a meaningful ceremony and combining finances and figuring out chore charts and cooking responsibilities and building the healthy foundations of a life together. I'm dealing with family and personal challenges and way too many hours at the office. And in the midst of all that, I'm also struggling with how to achieve a pretty, welcoming wedding with an easy flow and a great party.

This site is a space for my wedding planning, my priorities, my frustrations, my personal bullshit meter, and my wish-I'd-had-this resource gathering (with a slight emphasis on LA couples' needs and general sustainability questions). It's not an indie wedding site or or a budget wedding site or a feminist wedding site or whatever other terms and signifiers we're using to define our various wedding blog communities and their intersections, and yet it's all of those things too. But it's also place to celebrate succulents, shoes, out-of-the-box reception ideas, lower-key wedding alternatives, and the lives that frame our weddings and make them worthwhile in the first place.  It's not an attack on anyone else's weddings or choices.  It's not an attack on the people whose weddings are featured on photo-heavy blogs or on anyone's individual photographic priorities.  And it's not an attack on anyone who is lucky enough to actually be as conventionally attractive as the people whose weddings generally get featured on those blogs.

In conclusion, I like shoes, I like pretty, I'm both conflicted and overjoyed with this process of planning a wedding/marriage, and I really like that moment when I burst into tears at a wedding. Thanks for reading along.

22 comments:

  1. I do find it strange how planning a wedding can be so troublesome and worry-inducing yet so much fun all at once. And how it can create such a monstrous amount of ideas/concepts to fill our brain on a daily basis. It's supposed to be the best time of our lives, but honestly, it's so stressful half the time, I forget how happy I am. That's why we need more blogs like yours and posts like this. It's called perspective, people. And we could all use a little more of it.

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  2. Yay. I like reading along.

    Annnnd because I hate leaving comments that don't say much on posts that said a lot, I will say this: I like the community aspect of this blog. I like the fact that we are all learning together how to go our own way. Differences in opinion among all of us aside, I remain at heart a social creature who seeks to feel like she belongs among others. This space is valuable in that I can come here and feel OK about the fact that I go from thinking deeply about symbolism and weighty life matters to shrieking about OMFG SHOES!!!!!!!

    There are no rules but our own.

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  3. Not sure if I've said this before, but yours was one of the blogs that got me blogging. I think you do a great job of discussing the different aspects of wedding planning here in a thoughtful way. So yay!

    This is a rather weird and complicated process and I'm grateful for the community I'm finding that can both honor the gravity of the commitment we're making and appreciate the importance of a really fantastic pair of shoes. Preferably in purple. But that's just me.

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  4. Thank you for this. From the day we got engaged about 11 months ago until now (and I'm assuming for the rest of the 2 1/2 months until the wedding) my word has been overwhelmed. Planning a wedding, while still living your life, is emotionally, physically, mentally overwhelming. And then on top of that you have to deal with stupid people taking things too personally or not understanding that an opinion is just that, an opinion. Keep it up. You are inspiring so many ladies out there who are overwhelmed just like you. And since we all know that there will always be stupid people... screw the stupid people!

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  5. I was going to make some fabulous comment, but all my favorite writers have already said it.

    So, I'll just shout a hearty, "ME TOO!"

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  6. I can relate to this post so much! We're all just trying to balance the many masks we wear with the masks worn by our partners, our family members, our best friends, etc., and trying to celebrate the relationship we're in and appreciate all those who have helped us reach this point.

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  7. You ladies are amazing. I really don't know what I'd do without this blogspace or feedback to make sense of it all. I throw my angst out into the web and you guys like it, even without photos. I love our little corners of the web too.

    And, to reply more directly to Lyn and KC - OMFG SHOES indeed, ESPECIALLY if they're purple.

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  8. i like your blog because of the analytical bits. i like thinking about the hard stuff about what weddings and marriage mean with all you smart ladies. everyone's blog is their own space to figure stuff out or showcase whatever they want, and there's no need to justify that.

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  9. I think you hit the nail on the head in the second last paragraph. This is YOUR space to talk about what affects YOU. It is that simple.

    I am so glad that I found your blog, and I love reading what you have to say.

    All people are never going to agree on anything. Isn't that the point?

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  10. Oh, you are clearly being far too sweet with undeserving people. I don't know what comments/ emails you got (but I can GUESS), but you should NEVER have to justify yourself like this.

    Say what you want lady. They can shove it up their ass. Seriously.

    Someone who's been there (way too often) and wrote this post more than once,
    Meg

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  11. just this morning I was thinking to myself, man, I have serious LALove withdrawal. Dont leave me hanging so long, man.

    Anyhow, I think the good news is I was very angtsy about all this stuff months (weeks?) ago but as I get closer to the day, I am caring less and less. Also, everytime I wrote about what was bothering me and other women shared their prespective it helped me realize that I didn't need to worry so much about that topic. It reaffirmed my inner smartypants who yells, it doesn't really matter! So I think writing about this stuff helps.

    Please keep writing about it.

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  12. Ahh yes, wedding planning is a multifaceted monster.

    Shoes?! You know I'm all over deals - say the word and I'm on the search for you.

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  13. i always feel a little out of place commenting on such well written blogs since mine is a jumbled mess of things i think, pictures and porrly written, badly spaced paragraphs. please know i find refuge in your blog and amazing words. you always manage to know just what to say about something i've been thinking about over and over too. also, i love shoes too. thats what pictures and wishlists are for (I can't afford squat right now)

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  14. xoxo, sweetie. Good for you for saying what needed to be said.

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  15. I agree with everything you say yet I can never deny the fact this wedding has been the spur to change my lifestyle.

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  16. P.S. My word verification was manism!

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  17. Well said Becca! Screw the labels and screw fitting into one little box of the great wedding blogosphere! I think planning is a process and blogging is a way to find balance and work out how we really feel about all this transition and I LOVE watching your process and thinking about my own. Keep on keeping on and thanks! :)

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  18. You know I totes agree with you :) I would go on and on about how wonderful you are, but so many above have already expressed that!

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  19. Weddings have many dimensions and I enjoy reading your thoughts on all of them. That's what makes this blog one of my favorites, you explore a range of topics and can embrace different sides to wedding planning, weddings, marriage, etc. And you say all of what you say so well.

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  20. ohmy, i think you might be my twin.

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  21. I am yet to find a photographer who can explain to me WHY they are compelled to take pictures of shoes (the bride's and the maids')and plaster them all over their blogs as though they something really novel and special.

    I mean, really.

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