Weddings and other nonsense

colorado, family, musings, Photography

I love LOVE. I love romance, and stories of two people fighting the odds. I enjoy laughter, and nights in with my partner to watch the x-files. I enjoy sushi dinner dates and picnics. I enjoy rare vacations where we dress up and eat fancy and enjoy each others company.

When it comes to weddings I feel a little twinge of anxiety. Not for others’ but my own.

I have been to a lot of weddings the last three years, I have photographed most of them, been a bridesmaid in one, and attended numerous others previously. So far in my photography career, one couple has already divorced, but the others seem happy and intend to stick it through. I’ve seen dad’s cry, and mothers wear white to weddings. I have seen dress malfunctions and brides that went barefoot most the nights.

tumblr_mzwwkidQBg1t1r1l2o1_400.gifI have seen flower girl meltdowns, and ring bearer run offs.I have seen pretty much every do, and DO NOT in the book. Or even just things that seemed great at the time, but really failed in reality. Regardless of all of this, the truth is that because of working in the wedding industry I think some of the romance has worn off.

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Ryan and I are talking marriage in about 16 months. A fall wedding, because that’s our favorite season. A touch of Halloween because that’s my favorite holiday and the rest is kind of perplexing. I would say Ryan and I are engaged, but he didn’t ask me formally, and that throws people off. We talked about it and both agreed, like feminist adults. We’ll just say we got engaged February 29th for humor’s sake. I had him buy me a $40 silver ring with lab-created diamonds and sapphires  and within two months I had left it in my cousin’s house in Texas….luckily they found it and I will get it back this summer. Because I knew that eventually I would misplace or lose the ring Ryan bought me, and $1000 missing ring would kill me. I haven’t bought Ryan an engagement ring since we’re kind of struggling on this already. I suggested matching tattoos, but he doesn’t like needles…sooo

We have a venue picked out because they do 80% of the work for us. If we buy everyone dinner, the big things for us, then we get the venue. Add on a few more fees for drinks and sounds equipment and flowers and we have found the best deal in town. They serve almost 100% local food, and everything is organic, they also can accommodate our list of weird allergies. And they even decorate with pumpkins all year as they use them in food!

I know who I want for bridesmaids, and I know what they will wear. I know who will stand on Ryan’s side, and who will officiate our wedding. I figure we’ll have matches and cigars for party favors etc. We want a little bit 1920s to our theme.

I think I have even found my dress, and it’s custom made by a company in the Ukraine. It’s silk and gorgeous, and my aunt is giving me crap but I love it anyway.

The hard part about all of this is not the guy and not the planning, I love event coordination, it’s all the other things that come with marriage. It’s the pressure to take Ryan’s last name and to have kids in x-amount of time. It’s the pressure to “settle down” and not want to seek out adventures and fun. It’s pressure to spend a fortune on one day, just to prove to someone that we love each other enough to want to plan a life together. It’s the pressure on women to look their best, and drop 20lbs. It’s the pressure to appease everyone and no one at the same time.

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And this is all probably why I haven’t done something in the last, almost five and a half years with Ryan.

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For someone that also thinks so many of these traditions are just fabrications of a consumer society, which they are, I have a hard time wanting to be happy about it. I don’t want a dress beaded by children that make $1 a day. I don’t want my veil, or bouquets or headpieces to just end up in the garbage. It’s just so hard to imagine spending so much money to have so much just thrown away after. Anyway, does anyone else have stories to share? I’m struggling on this one.

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Here I am admitting my fears in public, when I struggle to admit them to myself. I know Ryan is the one that I want to call old fart, and I can’t imagine living through this mess without him and his daughter by my side. Yet I fear I am not good enough, that I lack something and that he doesn’t deserve a wife with so many student loans, and a wanderlust that could kill a partner. Yet here he is. Long-distance, mid-distance, months apart, still here and welcoming me home.

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One of my feminist idols was wed and in the past out-spoken against wedding mumbo-jumbo. Which brings me some comfort in just embracing what I love and discarding the rest. So maybe I’ll stay in love with my Ryan, plan something fun, and enjoy the moments that surround us everyday as much as the one where we say I Do.

Maybe the reason we as a culture stick together around the idea of the big wedding is that we don’t get many moments like this as a culture anymore. Even a century ago small communities would get together to celebrate each season, they would have dances, new births were greatly celebrated and everyone came to funerals. Today, weddings are sometimes the only chance everyone gets to be together to celebrate, and in this case it’s something very happy and enjoyable. At least it should be. So maybe all the pomp and circumstance really is just a way to say, hey thanks everyone for raising us, for loving us, and helping us find each other?

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Mulan

musings

I love Mulan, and I always have. From seeing it in the theater as a 7 year old, to a 24 year old watching it and analyzing its feminist message. At 7 I dressed up like her for a costume party, and carried around my barbie doll of her, always in her kung-fu outfit! At 24 I feel a tattoo is in order for my celebration of a fabulous story, and studying Ancient China in college has given more depth and inspiration to the story that pours from a rich, vibrant culture and time.

I remember being in love with the idea of a female character saving the day, I loved the funny dragon, I loved the touch on a culture so different from my own that I could only be mesmerized. I fell in love with not only the movie, but the idea that the world was so much bigger than what I had been thought to believe.

It was the art, the characters, the music, and all the other subtle details. It was getting to go to, what I believed, the “authentic” China-China in Manitou Springs and eating won-ton soup and listening to traditional music every time we were in “The Springs”. It was a fantasy and escapism for a child that longed for her own war to fight and adventure on the horizon.

Mulan wasn’t just an excitement for a child, it was further permission to dream. It encouraged me to read National Geographic’s and go into History and Journalism in academics so that I could explore more and more of the world. It has inspired me to travel alone to Europe three times, and to plan bigger adventures for the future, including China. It has encouraged me to take on scary challenged, because though the battle was hard and frightening, it was worth it. Though tiring and tumultuous, saving myself, and maybe my nation, was worth it.

Okay I am getting a little dramatic, but the sense of pride that Mulan instilled in me, the idea that as a girl i could do really AMAZING things will never be forgotten. The idea that a girl could be just as good as the boys, and that a girl could be the main reason something fails or thrives was a driving force like no other. No other princess movie in my childhood had that same message, and no other movie left my heart full of joy and confidence that I too could take on something evil and defeat it.

Regardless of some of the nonsense that inevitably comes with Disney movies, this one is still in my top five. The others came to me in my later childhood and adult life. Lilo and Stitch was innovative and hit home to how important family is to all of us and that differences make us beautiful. Tangled allowed goofiness to be charming and that we all have to save ourselves. Brave explored the complexities of mother-daughter relationships and the expectations we all have hovering over our heads. All of these movies have altered me, but Mulan was the first and the strongest.