Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What have I become?

a fiancee.

oh god.

When I came out on this blog as the marrying kind, I promised myself that this blog wouldn't become about me talking about which hip shade of pink I want my shoes to wear, or what Etsy shop I found to make my sweetheart the perfect groom's gift, or the DIY project I'd force my attendants to do, working them like 17-year-olds in Beijing who escaped the country just to live in a dorm and make place cards for me. I like taking apart the complicated stuff of life, I like pissing people off--because I hope after they're mad, that they can think about what I said--I like writing about things I don't understand, trying to find the answers, and I like the nudge from someone else who sees it differently.

But now. I've been on the phone to caterers and thinking (I mean, really thinking, even if it is early days) about floral arrangements, and fretting about others' hurt feelings if there's no liquor at our reception. Now I am a fiancee.

God help me.

I've been having kind of a tough time, feeling like the wedding blog world doesn't get women who look like me, and are doin' it like me. Here's part of an email I wrote to a handful of women who all write righteous blogs on theirs and others nuptials:

Here's my struggle: As much as I am looking for pointers and personal experience about djs, or centerpieces, or what to do if you aren't serving a cake at your wedding (I'm gluten-free, sugar-free, and dairy free. If you've got an idea, holla back), I am also looking for diversity of personal story, and what I'm finding is generally homogenous in a discouraging way.

Here's what I mean: I'm a nearing-thirty black American woman with f*cking amazing locs, a writer and a teacher living in Chicago. I live with an American born Chinese man eleven years my senior who's also a writer and leads a double life as a
software-business analysis guru. I am an only child and was raised in a Christian home, and still consider myself a practicing Christian, if not the way my parents wish I were (a glimpse into my own family dynamic, eh?); he is the eldest of three boys by a non-practicing Presbyterian and a non-practicing Buddhist. He doesn't really have a whole lot of religious ritual, but I want our wedding to represent us as spiritual beings as well as relational and creative ones. His parents could take or leave me, though I have my suspicions that they'd rather leave me; my parents seem pretty warm to him, my dad esp., but my mom is being polite in the chilliest sense.

My point is, there's a whole lotta diversity, just up in my relationship. There's not a whole lotta diversity in the wedding blog world. I feel like I read a lot about white women who are marrying white men, or same sex white couples marrying. Why is that? Where is the diversity? I want to read about Chinese wedding traditions from someone who's practiced them and what they mean to her as a woman (or man), and not just what outfits got worn. I want to read about another black woman who's marrying a man of a different race, and how she copes with others' antiquated perceptions, not just about how the broom she'll be jumping is decorated. I want to read about the struggle of inter-racial, inter-religious couples and their families. I want to read about marrying couples of color, and I feel like I'm having a really hard time finding any on wedding blogs.

I'm sincere and I'm resourceful, and not too indignant, and I'm hoping to get at least a coupla hits back. I'm sure that the thoughtful writer over at Accordions and Lace, which one of my closest girlfriends turned me onto, can feel me, but about the others, we'll see.

I've been spending the last 20 plus years trying to figure out what it means to be a woman, a person of color in America, an artist. Now I have wife to throw into the mix.

I am so lucky God doesn't make me figure all this stuff out right now.

Otherwise I'd be screwed.


Unknown said...

I see a lot of diverse couples out there, so I don't know why there aren't more blogs out there about diverse weddings. I imagine that it's probably more difficult for most people to articulate their feelings over sensitive issues as well as you do, and so they just don't. But, keep looking, there must be more blogs out there. As for wedding sites and magazines, they all seem pretty generic in the first place. I can imagine that it must be pretty frustrating.

My advice: write your own ceremony and create your own rituals. Take what you like from whatever cultures you like and make it yours.

As for the cake.... well, it's just supposed to symbolize sweetness in your married life, right? So anything sweet would work, right? You could do fruit bowls. You could drizzle honey into each other's mouths. You could share a date (no pun intended). I mean, who says you have to have "cake"? You could crack open a pint of coconut bliss ice cream and feed each other creamy cherry amaretto from the same spoon.

And I think a BYOB wedding would be very cool. :) I'll bring sparkling apple cider.

A Los Angeles Love said...

You had me thinking about this a lot this weekend. I know the question has come up at the more thoughtful/introspective end of the wedding blog world (, see also apracticalwedding's initial attempt at an ethnic traditions wedding project, though the tags now seem to be gone). I've seen more asian american bloggers, and a very few african american bloggers, but almost none of the standard "inspiration pics/wedding porn" reflects minority cultures or traditions.

In large part, I think it may have to do with class - as in, if you can't afford/don't culturally prioritize an expensive photographer, your wedding pics (and traditions) aren't going to show up in the insular wedding blogosphere, which often gushes over the "pretty," since it's so visually driven. It's another part of the same issue that leaves out images/celebration of plus-sized brides too. Many of us don't see ourselves reflected in the style/image/substance of wither the wedding magazine, tv show or blog world.

Same old fight, just wrapped up with a pretty wedding bow.