Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vow renewal plans

Alex and I are getting ready to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in a few months.  Pretty much since getting married, we have talked about renewing our vows on this anniversary.  Alex doesn’t think he had enough input in the original celebration, so I am releasing the reigns to let him have creative control over our renewal.  That’s not to say that I don’t have some ideas of my own.

I definitely had a very specific goal in mind when planning our wedding.  I was a feminist, and this shone through the decisions that went into various aspects of our wedding.  To start with, I refused to wear a veil.  My understanding of veiling was very limited 10 years ago.  I took at face value other feminists’ critiques of various conservative traditions.  I bought into the notion that veiling meant I was submissive to my husband, and as a feminist, that just wasn’t going to fly.

Now, technically, marital submission is indeed an aspect of veiling in Christianity, but, especially within Catholicism, for a woman to wear a veil means more than just that she accepts the place in the world that God gave her.  By veiling, a woman honors herself as a temple of God.  We veil what is sacred, and women are sacred.  I can get on board with that reasoning! 

Catholic women traditionally cover their hair when in the presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist.   Not only did Alex and I get married in a Catholic church, but directly on the altar of the chapel, right in front of the tabernacle!  Yet I refused to veil.  A lot has changed since then.  I have regularly covered my hair to some degree while at church for two years now.  Renewing our vows at church means I have to find an appropriate way to cover that won’t clash with my outfit.

Ahh, yes – my outfit.  Not only did I refuse to wear a veil 10 years ago, I also refused to wear white.  I took offense at the thought that I was expected to be a virgin, and to advertise this fact, while my husband’s premarital virtue was a non-issue.  But not only that, I simply did not look good in white.  Perhaps part of that was psychological – I didn’t want to look good in white, so I didn’t think that I did.  In the end, I found an ethereal ankle-length spaghetti strapped dress in gorgeous bright red!
Did I mention my wedding dress also revealed my tattoo? :)
If a bride’s goal on her wedding day is to feel like a princess, then my beautiful red dress did just that.  I can’t imagine feeling as special, feminine, attractive, in any other dress.  Another bonus to wearing a non-white dress was that I took pride in being able to wear it at other times in my life.  I thought it was such a waste to purchase an article of clothing that would never be worn again.  For our first anniversary, Alex booked us a fancy dinner cruise, and we dressed up in our wedding attire, so I got my wish!  After that, we simply posed for a photo op each year, so that I could have an excuse to put on my wedding dress, both to show that I still fit into it, and just to feel beautiful. 

I hoped to bring the first 10 years of our marriage to a close wearing the same dress that was there in the beginning, if for no other reason than because I can.  Yet as I think about it now, I’m not sure how I can pull off this dress with a veil?  And it’s not just a veil that I’d need to find to match the dress.  I also lean more conservatively on the modesty scale now.  My exposed shoulders and upper back feel a bit risqué for who I am today.  So I have some work to do in this department.

The only other thing I’m holding onto as far as control over our renewal is the budget… and Alex is fighting me every step of the way on that!  I'm sure we can work something out to our mutual satisfaction soon.  Stay tuned! :)

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