I was a chill bride, and I pride myself on that. I gave my bridesmaids a range of dress colors and let them pick their own shade and style. I wore flat shoes and no jewelry, save for my ring. My husband coordinated everything from the many vendors down to the table arrangements, while I largely just gave a thumbs up and said, "Sounds good." But there was one matter where I was not budging: I did not want our special day subjected to patriarchal traditions.
I did not want to be the "blushing bride," because, frankly, I did not feel like one. My husband and I are in an equal partnership, so I felt no need to be treated like a princess or even to look like one. I wore a gray dress. I didn't toss my bouquet or take my husband's last name, and I certainly didn't let my husband tug a garter down my thigh with his teeth. When the day was over and my husband and I returned to our hotel room, we skipped out on the candles, rose petals, and tender lovemaking because we'd been living together for two-and-a-half years by that point, and sharing a bed was as commonplace to us as eating breakfast together. In fact, we'd slept in the same bed together the night before. We were tired, bloated, and drunk, and we even laughed about the prospect of having sex and instead fell asleep.
It. Was. Awesome.
For me, the pomp and circumstance of the wedding night felt unnecessary. The tradition of consummating the marriage dates back to medieval times, after all, but thankfully, in Western culture, there's little expectation anymore that the bride will arrive as a virgin to the marital bed. I didn't have any handmaidens whispering over my sheets the next morning because (besides the fact that I sadly don't have any handmaidens) I was not a virgin on my wedding night. I'm sorry if this is news to you, Mom and Dad. Hopefully you can still get your dowry back.
This is also just me. As someone who's not particularly religious and who comes from a culture where preserving virginity before marriage is not an expectation, it wasn't a big deal to me. I know there are many people who feel very strongly about consummating the marriage and look at it as a momentous occasion, and that is totally OK. I just want want other brides who feel that weird pressure to do it when you're exhausted and really not in the mood to not feel bad!
Rather than returning home straight after the reception to do the deed, my husband and I went to the afterparty with all of our friends and family. I wore my gray dress to the bar and took shots with my bridesmaids. Though we didn't stay out as late as my parents and their friends, we did still stay out until 2 a.m. We were leaving the next day for our honeymoon in Asia. The sex wasn't happening, and neither of us was disappointed.
"Did you two have fun last night?" our friends asked at brunch the next morning, waggling their eyebrows. "We both slept like rocks, and it was the best," I said, and that is the truth.