Two minutes before my wedding was about to begin, my maid of honor ran up to me in a panic, shouted “your veil,” and pulled the white lacy fabric down over my face. “Oh, was I supposed to have it like that?” I wondered, but not for long. The music started immediately after, and I was hurried to my spot at the top of a dramatic staircase, poised to descend into my future.
As I walked down the steps concentrating hard on landing my feet so I didn’t fall, I could hear people in the crowd gasping. No one expected me, a modern, independent and educated woman, to embrace a tradition born out of the subjugation of women. After all, I once excused myself from a wedding reception to “take a walk” and try to calm down after a friend had pledged to “obey” her new husband.
It was the late ’80s, and we were still trying to separate ourselves from those who came before us – the underpaid and underappreciated ones. We didn’t want to end up like them, sacrificing endlessly so our male counterparts could succeed. We had to make a stand, so everyone would know that we were different.
Things have changed. We’ve out run the fear that if we don’t repudiate tradition, it will consume us. Today’s brides are free to wear a veil, or not wear a veil; pull it over their faces or leave it back. Wedding guests no longer expect a bride to comply with tradition or defy it. Brides can be who they are and do what feels right to them.
In the end, we did make sacrifices. The minute we laid eyes on the sweet, innocent faces of our baby daughters, we decided they would be unrestricted. They could choose to wear what made them happy without guilt or shame – we gave up those black emotions a long time ago. We refused to pass them down.
Whether you believe veils originated as a cunning trick to prevent a man from backing out of a marriage to an unattractive woman, or that they were merely a well intentioned shield to prevent evil spirits from kidnapping the bride, you might look lovely in one on your wedding day. Or you could be enchanting in a rhinestone tiara with no veil at all, or some lovely hair combs or barrettes. You could walk down the aisle in a pill box hat or a fascinator with an eye catching feather erupting from the brim.
It’s your choice…really. Do what makes you feel good – no, do what makes you feel great!
MORE FROM THIS CONTRIBUTOR:
Being a Bridesmaid: The Agony and the Ecstasy
Wedding Tips: Helping Your Divorced Parents Share the Day With You and Each Other
What “The Most Interesting Man in the World” Means for Gender Equality, Aging