Tag Archives: wedding planning

I Do … & I Don’t: A Feminist’s Guide to Being a Bride – The Perfect Bride

When it comes to the expectations put upon a bride, the patriarchy has done us all a great dirty wrong by creating yet another unattainable standard for women to try to meet. I know— shocking, right? This one tends to go by the cliché of the ‘perfect bride’.

The perfect bride will look the most beautiful she has ever looked on her wedding day. She will be an effortless host to her friends and family: gliding about like a silken swan; laughing in all the right places; glowing when appropriate; accommodating for each individual attending, as if they themselves are her personal guest of honour. And… she will manage all of this on potentially one of the most emotionally-challenging, mentally-demanding, physically-exhausting days of her life, without making it seem like any work at all. The perfect bride, simply put, will not be human. Or, in other words, she does not exist.

Ask yourself… is the thing your friends, family and significant other most love about you the fact that you are perfect? No. It isn’t. And even if you were perfect (which you aren’t, none of us are), let’s be honest… it would probably be the thing your friends and family loved you in spite of, not because of. Who wants a perfect friend? Who can relate to or connect with or be vulnerable around perfection? So why strive for it on your wedding day?

I’m saying this because, though it was magical, memorable, joyous, elating, happy, fantastic, wonderful, special, hilarious, emotional, spectacular and incredible… my whole wedding day was not perfect from start to finish. And I believe I’d be doing the readers of this magazine— and the ethos of what it is to be a Rock n Roll Bride— a disservice to pretend otherwise.

Strike one in pursuit of perfection (and I’m pulling no punches here, reader): I had such bad diarrhoea for the whole morning on my wedding day that we started referring to the downstairs loo as “the scene of the crime”. I’m not sure if it was the gluten the night before or if I just had a nervous tummy, but it was like the scene from Bridesmaids and it was not okay. Strike two: During the journey to the venue, I had my first ever anxiety attack and had to get out of the car.

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Tackling the Post (and Pre) Wedding Blues

Planning and getting excited for your upcoming wedding is fun (even when it’s stressful) but what happens when that to-do list is done, the wedding is over and you’re on the other side? Post-wedding blues are something all couples need to consider.

I love a plan. My desk is littered with lists, tasks and schedules, and ticking things off gives me more satisfaction than I think is natural! Wedding planning is no different; that sense of achievement when you’ve completed those tasks and done a mini fist pump is heavenly. But what happens when it’s all over? It’s perfectly normal to feel a sense of melancholy once a big life event is over, and planning for this should definitely be added to that wedding to-do list.

All the hard work, preparation, planning (and COVID re-planning… and re-planning…) has led up to your wedding day. Big or small, fancy or simple, the day passes and you should be left in an utter dream-world of immeasurable bliss, right?! Well, for every major high point in life, there has to be a comedown. With all the drama of the pandemic too, the build-up has been even greater, which can make the comedown even harder.

With so much uncertainty, couples have been reluctant to make post-wedding plans, delaying the big party or honeymoon for fear of having to cancel or rearrange (AGAIN!). It’s easier to focus on the day itself, but once that’s done, there is the risk of feeling a huge, sad void. Now don’t get me wrong, the promise of being married to and forever living with your one true love is a beautiful notion, and one to be honoured and celebrated, but once the busyness is over, you may feel a real sense of loss. So, how can we manage those post-wedding blues?

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How To Be Creative with Your Wedding When You’re Not Sure How

Finding a way to infuse your wedding with cool and individual ideas is something that can bring pure joy, but it can cause a lot of stress too. Cake designer and all-round creative gal Autumn Rabbitts is here to bring you some tips for being creative on your wedding day when it doesn’t come naturally to you.

I see myself as incredibly creative, I’m always full of ideas, but sometimes I struggle making them a reality. As a designer, I have spent years (and a shit-ton of money!) learning how to do what I do. I have also learnt that everyone struggles with this sometimes, no matter how well trained they might be. Getting the ideas out of your head and into tangible actions can be really difficult. The following processes should help if you have lots of ideas for your wedding but you’re not sure how to bring them together to create the vibe you want.

Research, Research, Research

The aim is to get your mind thinking about things visually. I would suggest faking it till you make it – you are now Picasso! Create a Pinterest board or scrapbook with colours, tones and textures you like. You could include foods, dresses or florals – anything that floats your boat!

I suggest Pinterest to help you organise all of your ideas because it is something I would have killed for as a bride-to-be! Use it to organise your thoughts and ideas. Start with boards for everything you love and then step back and see if there is an overall feel that you might have subconsciously gravitated towards. Then create one ‘master’ board with your favourite parts to work from.

For instance, everything I ever pin seems to be pink, green, shiny (I am a magpie in a human costume!) and is always based in something to do with the natural forms of nature. If I was creating my wedding theme from scratch, this is where I would start.

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I Do… & I Don’t: A Feminist’s Guide to Being a Bride – Finding Your Wedding Dress

Dress: Katya Katya

Our real bride columnist Rachel is getting married in September this year. We’re following her journey of planning a feminist meets rock ‘n roll wedding. You can catch up with the series here, or subscribe to the magazine to read them first!

I’ve watched Say Yes to The Dress with my mum for years, so when the first big COVID lockdown ended and all the bridal boutiques were only allowing one or two people to accompany the bride, I felt fine about not taking a big entourage. More often than not, a big group can end in tears, and not the I-just-found-my-dream-dress kind! My auntie is a keen dressmaker, and generously gifted me a budget for my wedding dress, so I went with her and my mum.

To start with, for me, wearing white (or ivory, whatever) is always how I’ve pictured myself on my wedding day. Not because I want to present myself as pure and celebrate my pre-marriage chastity, but because it’s what I want to do. I also want to wear a veil. Not because I want to demonstrate modesty in the presence of God and my future husband, but because they feel fabulous and look amazing. That’s just my personal approach. Whatever anyone wants to wear on their wedding day, if it makes them feel their most confident, comfortable and happy, they should just do it.

Besides colour, there were four things I wanted to be sure of about my dress:

1. I wanted it to be made by an ethical, environmentally conscious brand that values its employees.

2. I wanted a dress that worked with the parts of my body I am not confident about, without feeling caged-in by corsetry and boning.

3. Given that this is the most expensive item of clothing I’ll ever own – and the fact that wearing anything just once is neither sustainable or responsible, even if it is a wedding dress – I wanted to be able to repurpose the dress and wear it again.

4. I wanted it to make me feel like Galadriel, elf queen of Lothlórien… because I’m a massive geek.

Dress: Katya Katya

For me, the place that offered all of these things was Katya Katya in London. Before I went to Katya Katya, however, I went to Maisie Darling in Lutterworth. My fiancé and I are having a humanist ceremony, which is still not considered a legal marriage in England or Wales (lots of petitions to sign online about that idiocy if you want to look into it). To get the legal bit done we’re heading to the registry in my hometown the day before the big day. I was planning to wear a dress I already own for this, but my auntie’s gift means I’ve been able to find a wedding dress for this ceremony too. I plan to sell this dress after the wedding (on stillwhite.com or bridalreloved.co.uk) and will be donating the money to Girls Not Brides, a global partnership committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls all over the world to fulfil their potential.

When I first saw Katya Katya dresses on Pinterest, I fell in love. And when I discovered their strong ethos – in-house production exclusively using fabrics from Italy and France to reduce ecological footprint; ensuring great working conditions for employees and paying them all a national living wage; offering a dress-shortening service after the wedding so the dress can be worn again – I knew without doubt that I wanted to find my dress with them. Not only that, but pretty much all the elements of their dresses are interchangeable. For example, as someone who doesn’t feel confident about her upper arms, Katya Katya will be adding sleeves to my dress. Female-led, Katya Katya really seem to understand how to help their brides feel their most confident.

Dress: House of Mooshki
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Confessions of a Second Time Bride

The wedding industry will have you believe that by achieving wedding day perfection you will ensure your happily ever after. But let’s be realistic for a second, we all know that for some couples, that simply isn’t the case. Being a second (third or fourth!) time bride is nothing to be ashamed of. The good news is that in most cases partners are often wiser and know themselves even better having gone through the wedding – and marriage – process before. Alicia Porter is here to share her experiences of wedding planning second time around.

When I got married the first time in 1996 it was, for lack of a better phrase, ‘planning chaos’. We had location battles, I had a ‘friend’ wanted me to pay her to be a bridesmaid, my mother told me I was too fat for my wedding dress and people constantly wanted to ‘help’ by faxing me pictures of suitable dresses. So, I went on strike. We flew from Alaska to New Zealand and eloped. It was pretty, there were fun cousins nearby, and the florist was a star. The wedding dinner was a random restaurant, and there was chocolate log for a wedding cake. It was wonderful.

My family then threw an elegant garden party reception on our return. However, my parents attitude was it was their party, therefore their choices prevailed. My mother chose the invitations, the cake, the venue and what everyone wore – including me. This is how I found myself in a borrowed dress with a gardenia on my shoulder in a receiving line with outright strangers.

In hindsight, I now realise that although an elopement was easier, the result was we were two very independent people who didn’t know how to work together on big projects. Obviously, this wasn’t the only issue in the relationship, but a lack of being able to work together as a team compounded the fact that the marriage simply didn’t work. Planning for a future together requires work and communication. Child rearing is nothing if not a joint effort. Wedding planning in some respects is a safe practice run to make sure that you know how to work with each other for the bigger picture.

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I Do … & I Don’t: A Feminist’s Guide to Being a Bride – Getting Engaged & Splitting the Cost of My Ring

Introducing our brand-new real bride columnist! Rachel is getting married in September so we’ll be following her journey of planning a feminist meets rock n roll wedding, culminating in us sharing the big day in our last issue of the year! Over to you Rachel

The first time I learned about Rock n Roll Bride was at a wedding show in 2015. I was exhibiting with a vintage wedding band and caught sight of Kat’s bright blue hair. I went looking for her, intrigued by this exhibitor, who looked so unlike the wedding industry I’d been used to after five years of wedding singing.

I found the Rock n Roll Bride stand and learned what it was all about: how these friendly people were on a mission to change the face of the wedding industry; to make it more inclusive; to celebrate individualism. With no ring on my finger and no boyfriend(!), I subscribed to the magazine immediately. Five years later, in 2020, it was my turn to be a bride.

Though I believe I would be perfectly happy to be ‘not married’ to this excellent man ’til death us do part, the Disney Princess-loving, Nora Ephron-viewing, Notting Hill-quoting romantic in me really did want to be married to the person I loved. And, luckily, H really wanted it too. “Let’s do it,” we said, “But let’s do it our way.” (Like everyone who reads this magazine says!).

The reason I’d been dubious is feminism. Long and short: I was worried that wanting to be married made me a bad feminist.

I don’t feel I need to explain why I had any reservations about marriage and feminism to the readers of this magazine. If you’re here, clearly you understand that there’s a lot that’s wrong with many marital traditions and you’re up for breaking the status quo in your own special way. One quick Google of the origin of the word ‘wife’ was enough to make me wonder if I was letting the sisterhood down.

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