Keeping Up Appearances

Planning one of the best days of your life should surely be a joyous and exciting experience; finally the freedom to have things how you want it, having the people you love around you. But no, not really. Again and again, society intervenes and circumvents our expectations- hinders our freedom and inundates us with irrelevant and ridiculous expectations of what it should be:

You should wear white, your dress should be long, you should be thin and beautiful, your hair should be impossibly perfect. You should cover up those tattoos: they’re unsightly. Your face should be blemish free, dewy, baby-skinned. You should wear minimal make up. You should have a wedding band, you should have this engagement ring. Your cake should be this colour, this brand, it should be this flavour. This person not this person should be a bridesmaid. Oh no, you mustn’t include that in your invite; that is not correct wedding etiquette! Your groom should be impeccably groomed- no pun intended. His suit should fit perfectly. You should invite these people and not those. You should say this in your ceremony and not that. You should serve this wine, this food, and have this type of music. Your bouquet should be this colour. Your toilet paper should smell like chocolate and be hand crafted out of silk. He must have a stag do and of course he should invite those people who have jumped on the bandwagon because their own pathetic lives are so unfulfilling that they have to impose themselves on others. He must succumb to all that stag-like debauchery, and so should the bride: but doesn’t that ‘celebration of the final days of freedom’ completely undermine the marriage, isn’t it a little archaic? Why get married if you don’t see yourself as free afterwards? Of course, it’s what you want, because why would you want anything besides the normative?

This isn’t cynicism, or narcissism. It’s a plea for free will- to not be confined by society’s expectations (which might be slightly ironic as marriage is an expectation of society). Do we even know what freedom is? Can we even make our own decisions, because it seems like everything has a way it should be, or at least what it shouldn’t be.

After all, freedom is an illusion in this society, we are so indoctrinated by images of how things should be, what ideals we should adhere to, and what we shouldn’t, that we struggle to see a life outside of these binding constraints. I want to see it.

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