In case you didn’t already know this about me, I am an extremely competitive person. Mostly with myself, but sometimes with other people too. However, for most of my life I have been able to restrain my competitive tendencies to video games, board games, trivia, etc. I have never really been competitive about things like school grades, salaries, homes, or other indicators of social standings. To be honest, I’ve never really understood why other people’s accomplishments or material accumulations would reflect on mine at all. I don’t need to beat them at relationships; I just really want to beat them at Mario Kart.
In the world of weddings, though, it’s so easy to be competitive. Or at least, it’s so easy to compare your wedding to others’. Then I guess the choice to be competitive or not is up to you. But if you’re doing a lot of internet wedding browsing, as I am, you are inundated with pictures of others’ weddings, along with all the details of their beautiful favors, personal vows, gorgeous photography, and gourmet, local, sustainable food.
When I’m alone with the internet, I have no problem looking at weddings that bear no resemblance to our wedding or what I want. The problem comes in with all these “indie” weddings. Perusing the indie blogs means that I’m constantly confronted with handmade favors from Etsy, lovingly crafted escort cards, bouquets made with flowers that the couple started growing a year before in their backyard, personal vows, gorgeous photography, and beautiful china that the bride and her mom spent the past two years scouting from thrift stores. Think I’m kidding or exaggerating? I’m not. And my mind automatically starts comparing these “blog-worthy” weddings to my own.
In real life, I have several friends getting married this year. They are all having weddings that are quite different from each other, and quite different from mine. But in real life, it’s a little harder to avoid comparisons. My wedding is just so different. It’s less fancy. Just as our wedding will be missing so much of the indie-blog touches, it will also be missing quite a lot of the typical wedding accoutrements.
Complicating this issue is that brides are often judged on their weddings way more than grooms. Although of course, grooms tend to be more involved in the wedding these days, I still think that there is a lot more pressure on brides to have a beautiful wedding and reflect that image of perfection. No one expects grooms to be perfect anyway; they just expect them to be dragged reluctantly to the altar. This is a subject for another post that I’ll probably write when it makes me feel less angry.
Media and mainstream society pit women against each other constantly. The message that we get, both subliminally and overtly, is that we’re always in competition with other women, whether they are our best friends or strangers. We are told that other women’s looks, partners, careers, and families directly reflect on whether our own are good enough. Whether this has evolutionary origins doesn’t matter. It is really no longer relevant in our society and I hate when women I know buy into it.
The truth is, my friends’ weddings are perfect for them. They will be beautiful and fun and I can’t wait to be a part of them. Just as their grades in college didn’t reflect on mine, their weddings don’t reflect on mine either. There is no reason why, as women, we can’t look at and attend others’ weddings and just enjoy them. Sharing a special time in our lives with those we love is a privilege, and a great opportunity, not a chance to show them up.