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I have a confession to make.

I’m a bad bride.


I’m not good at it.

People at work (and other places) ask me all the time “How’s wedding planning going?” and I never have any answers for them. I kind-of assume that the appropriate answer to this question (similar to “how are you?”) is “Fine.” Because, if we’re being honest with each other, do you really want to know what flowers I am choosing (or not choosing) or how I’m struggling with finding shoes? I can’t imagine that anyone really cares.

Secondly, I don’t see this whole marriage thing as quite as life-altering as everyone makes it out to be. Sure, we have a huge [freakin’ AWESOME] party in a few months. It’s going to be a blast, and we are going to have a wonderful time with all of our friends and family. I love the man I am marrying and want to “make it official” with the support of the many important people in my life.

But I don’t think that party is going to magically transform our relationship. As far as I’m concerned, the marriage is already made; the wedding is a celebration of that fact. Too often, I think, people confuse the two.

I’m not all squealy and girly about the whole thing; the wedding isn’t something I talk about all the time. Part of it has to do with what I like to call “wedding fatigue.” When you’ve been engaged forEVER like we have, you kind of get tired of thinking about it. What was exciting in the beginning—a whole lot of idea generating and looking at pretty pictures—slowly morphs into actual to-do-list items, and nobody wants a longer to-do list.

And finally, I’m a bad bride because I’m also SO MANY OTHER things. My identity is not wrapped up in this one label, and I won’t think of myself much differently when I transition from “fiancee” to “wife.”

Perhaps I would be much more excited about the bride thing if it was all I had to worry about, but it’s not. The last couple of months have been rough, and I have had to fulfill so many other roles. Besides “bride/fiancee,” I am also (to name a few):

* A family member, and we lost someone from our [already small] family over the holidays.
* A professional, and I’ve been consciously focused on professional development. This has led to at-work and out-of-work commitments that take up my time.
* A mentor, and it’s important for me to be there for my students as they cope with uncertainties and make major transitions in their own lives.
* A friend, and in the last few months, I’ve had one [very close] friend move away and another go through a rough time. The latter needed my support a lot more than I needed to talk about things like accessories and decorations.
* An employee, and budgets have been virtually nonexistent lately. No additional staff means I’ve been the busiest I’ve ever been in my job, and, as someone who plans events for a living, I’m not always psyched about coming home to do the same.

My point in telling you all this is not to make you feel sorry for me, or to complain, or to vent (although I have done plenty of each of those things recently). My point is to say that, for all of the things that make me a bad bride, I would hope that those things also make me a better person. I think that my many facets make me more interesting. My ups and downs help me to better empathize with friends’ unhappiness and better celebrate the exciting times. I hope that for all I analyze and all that I am involved in, that I am more well-rounded, practical, articulate person.

For all that I may lack as a bride, I hope I make up for as a person. And when that bride goes away in a few months? What’s left is the wife—and woman—I’ll be for the rest of my life.

And isn’t she the one worth focusing on?



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About Heather

Heather is a 20-something lifelong learner who works in higher education and overanalyzes everything. Now engaged to her boyfriend of 6 years, she spends way too much time in coffee shops fueling up on espresso drinks and creatively massaging marital traditions. Follow along as she makes meaning out of the chaos and (hopefully) pulls it all together for her May 2012 Chicagoland wedding.

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  • Lauren J

    I’m glad that someone has mentioned this finally because many people seem to believe that you are going to magically think and grow as one once your sign your name on a piece of paper and they know (or I would hope that they know) it doesn’t work that way. There should have been a marriage from before the wedding; not after.

    I guess this is why I am not on speaking terms with my mother right now because she doesn’t acknowledge or give the respect enough to acknowledge what you mentioned so clearly and what I described above. Weddings are nice ceremonies, but its just a symbol of what was already supposed to be there. Thanks for writing this article and supporting my stance. By the way, you are not a “bad bride”; you are a wife and all the other labels attached.

  • LT

    I’m getting married this weekend, and I’m amazing with the amount “we’re so proud” or this is a sign I’ve “made it” cards and emails. I think I “made it” long before my fiance and I decided to get married, but it’s unnerving that some people consider a wedding as the ultimate (only) life achievement. We’ve been long committed and just making it legal.

  • Jenny

    Love this!! It seems almost impossible for to not ask about the planning, etc. I know they are excited but still. As you said, we are way more than a bride. I completely agree with you feeling like the marriage is already made. We wouldn’t be making this next move if it weren’t. Thank you for your honest words and for reminding everyone that planning a wedding doesn’t have to define you!

  • Susan

    I like to think that marriage does start the day you take your vows. On your wedding day you do become a wife. Before the wedding you are not bound to the other person legally or by covenant. On the wedding day, in the eyes of the state and most individuals your relationship is different. You can no longer walk away at any moment, you have committed yourself to that person for life. You can commit yourself before your wedding day, but it isn’t held together legally or by vows. I find it very comforting that after my wedding day (June 9th),it is no longer your love that sustains your marriage, but from now on, the marriage sustains your love. But that’s just me, I was raised in the south after all. 🙂

  • Melissa

    I was a pretty bad bride too, but what so many people don’t realize is that the wedding is one day and the marriage is the rest of your life. To be honest, most of the planning for my wedding was my DH and my MIL – and I was completely fine with that. DH presented me with small choices and we made them together and it was all perfectly fine. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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