Thursday, August 7, 2008

To Veil or Not to Veil

Linda Hirshman's guest post over at Broadsheet yesterday, "Getting Nudged into the Chapel," is summarized thusly by Salon: "There's something in all of us that craves the trappings of a classic wedding -- even intellectuals who rail against the institution's traditions." Well, color me intellectual, but I had a BLAST dressing up as a 1950s-era bride, white gloves, veil, and and all. I figured, if I'm going to be the bride, why not camp it up and play it as a role?

Weddings are theater, we figured (our guests were invited to dress in 1950s garb and many of them took us up on it) so why not have some fun. The soundtrack was mambo (and klezmer) and we pretended -- sort of -- that we were at a Catskills resort, you know, the ones where Latin bands like Tito Puentes' taught the summering Jews how to dance. Since Marco and I are Latin-Jewish fusion and all.

But here's the thing: though I went into it "playing" the bride, I utterly became one. And it was the veil that did it. I became a bride not in the retro pregnant-in-kitchen kind of way (though I must say, at 39 and undergoing fertility treatments, I certainly wouldn't complain about the pregnant part--and I'll always be an active labor force participant by necessity and choice). Rather, the veil helped me become a bride in the physically-spiritually-transformed-special-and-set-apart kind of way. My groom, who donned a white linen suit in order to feel his own kind of special, was in costume too.

Sometimes a veil is just a veil. And sometimes it's not. What about you, dear GWP readers? Did the marrieds among you don it or ditch it? I'd be interested to hear.

(Hey--Shira--someone's gotta write about brides, feminism, and fashion for your new book! Any takers?)

10 comments:

anniegirl1138 said...

My first husband insisted on the whole church wedding thing. I wanted to elope. But he was 25 and dewey eyed about tradition and I was 35 and not so much.

My mom and sister planned and directed and annoyed the hell out of me and I went along. About half way through the reception I stood alone in the middle of the country club ballroom and wondered who the hell I was? I had taken off the veil after pictures. It was digging into my scalp.

Second wedding. I had been widowed and had a four year old and my current husband knew of my disappointment with not having had the wedding I truly wanted the first time. He found a resort in the Canadian Rockies. We got married with just immediate family and a couple of friends on the bank of the Athabasca.

I wore a fitted white dress. No veil. He was in a tux. The whole world disappeared while we repeated the vows as dictated by the Province of Alberta (everyone has to use them and surprisingly they are beautiful and full of meaning and life).

I don't think it is the dress or the veil or the setting in the end. It's the intentions and the love/need/respect for each other.

PS - best of luck with the pg thing. I had my daughter at 38 on a second try with IVF.

Veronica said...

We did Vegas, with family & a few friends. And I totally 100% say, go with Vegas!

As for my attire, I ditched the veil. It just had too many bad connotations with it. I did wear a simple white dress without a train.

And that pic of you is toooo cute!

Blessed said...

I wore a veil - it just seemed like the right thing to do for me, I made it myself and now it hangs over the window over our bed - it is beautiful and was floor length.

I figured I was only planning on getting married once so I might as well jump into the ceremony and traditions of the wedding with both feet - we had a blast and we have great memories

Deborah Siegel said...

anniegirl, thanks for the encouragement and hope :) and i so related to your story of a first time and a second. V, i love the vegas concept -- did elvis marry you?! blessed, i love that you made yours. and impressed. i can hardly sew on a button (i outsource to marco all button sewing).

urbanartiste said...

I wore a veil during the ceremony and it was a battle (I won) with my mother not to wear it through the entire party. It was took uncomfortable with all the pins poking my scalp. I must have looked like a little tomboy ripping the thing off my head right after the ceremony. I also did not want to cover my face going up the aisle and was quite a bitch that day. LOL

Lu said...

I wore a veil and I did it because I liked how it completed the look. I have been to many weddings were there was no veil and they still looked lovely. Seems to just be a preference thing to me.

Caroline said...

Donned it. The veil I wore was worn by my sister, mom, two aunts, grandmother and great-grandmother (who might actually have made it herself)-- happy marriages for them all, so it felt like I was wearing their blessings, their good fortune, and my own matrilineal history across my shoulders. It still sort of gives me shivers to think of it!

Veronica said...

Caroline, wow!! That's amazing. You're so lucky.

Deborah Siegel said...

WOW Caroline - I think that's just about the best veil story I've heard yet. What an amazing heirloom! If I had something like that I think I'd frame it and put it on the wall... Mine, I'm saving for a future daughter (or son) to play dress up with :)

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