Oh, man, does this ever hit home.
Writing in The Atlantic, Phoebe Maltz Bovy dissects the phenomenon of the “ironic, low-key, unconventional wedding” – the non-diamond engagement band, the non-wedding wedding dress, the reception at the local dive bar. Brides planning this type of wedding are displaying what Bovy calls “fauxbivilance” – they want a wedding, but are embarrassed that their dreams are so conventional.
I totally understand this. I – a woman who NEVER had wedding fantasies as a kid – felt really weird and squicked out by diamonds and white dresses and the word “fiance” (uggg! still hate it!) when I was engaged. I wanted to feel like I could do a wedding – and a marriage – without losing my identity.
Ironically, however, planning the ironic, low-key unconventional wedding is just as involved (and probably MORE involved) than planning the “typical wedding.” And when it’s over, you’re just as conventionally married as the girl who had a 12-bridesmaid taffeta-n-pink roses extravaganza at a church.
As I’ve written before, my husband and I had a low-key, rustic, handmade, DIY wedding on a local goat farm, which ended up costing far more money and energy than if we’d simply rented out the local Marriott ballroom, bought a white wedding cake and gotten my dress from David’s Bridal. It also – shocker – turned out to be more similar to the rest of the weddings we attended in the 2009-2013 period than it was different. In all the weddings I’ve attended in the recent years, only two were at houses of worship (one at a synagogue, one at an Episcopal church co-officiated by a priest and a Buddhist monk). Most were at farms or on rooftops or in art galleries or exposed brick “event spaces” in old tobacco warehouses. I’ve only been to a couple weddings where there was an actual white tiered wedding cake – more typical were wedding pies (us), wedding cookies, wedding cupcakes, wedding mini rhubarb tarts. Probably 90% of the couples wrote their own vows.
Unconventional, it turns out, is the new conventional.
I’m not complaining – I loved our wedding, and the planning was extremely fun. But the reality is, getting married is an extremely conventional act (in the best meaning of the word ‘conventional,’ I think), and no amount of DIY or ironic mustache photo booths makes you different than the billions of other people doing the same thing.
What were your weddings like? How did you feel about the planning process? Does the term “fauxbivilance” ring true for you?