There was a wedding in my family this summer, and one of the things that I had forgotten about weddings and being a bride was the number of RULES. My husband and I tied the knot twelve years ago and we were babes in the woods when we did it. The rules that we broke were primarily because we didn’t know any better. I did my own thing to a certain degree – this bride wore bronze, for example – but by and large we stuck to the traditional wedding rules. Now that I’m older and have been to quite a few weddings, I wish I had done things differently. I wish I’d had the knowledge and the courage and the undeniable, in your face eye for style of Solange!
Solange got married this past weekend and the internet lit up with the photos — click here to check out the images, originally shared exclusively via Vogue. Everything was instantly iconic and nothing short of GLORIOUS. Her photos instantly inspired a flood of imitators and think pieces. The whole time I kept gazing in rapture at these photos and thinking about each and every wedding rule that I felt the need to consider, that now seem like they were meant to be broken! Here are just a few of the bridal traditions that Solange bravely and beautifully flouted, remixing and restructuring what a wedding’s quote-unquote supposed to be.
1. The bride wore white. So did everyone else.
Forever and a day, we’ve been told that the only one who’s supposed to be wearing white to a wedding is the bride. Recently this rule seems to have gone by the wayside – according to Vogue, it’s now acceptable to wear white to a wedding. What Solange did, was take the old rule, throw it out the window, and make her whole wedding into a white party. Everyone looked absolutely fresh and fabulous, and an old fashioned wedding rule went straight out of the window with just one photo.
2. Pants on your wedding day.
Your wedding is generally a big build up towards a dress – typically a frothy concoction that includes lace and embellishments and/or frills and of course a train and a veil. What if that simply isn’t YOU? What if you’re the kind of woman who’d be much more happy and comfortable in pants? What if you KNOW you can SLAY and be just as elegant and fabulous in a pantsuit or jumpsuit? Then you do what Solange did. She wore pants AND a cape. And she also wore a dress, by Humberto Leon for Kenzo. There’s no reason why you can’t have an outfit change on your big day, especially if the outfits are showstoppers like hers.
3. Who says you can’t rock your natural hair on your special day?
The last time I relaxed my hair was for my wedding. I didn’t really want to do it, but I felt that I had to because, expectations. I had already cut off much of my hair, but wearing it short AND kinky/coily/free seemed like a bridge too far, especially in 2002. I didn’t know the freedom I could have had. I wish I could say that things have totally changed, but so many of us still question our freedom of choice. So many of us still feel the need to conform to a standard that doesn’t fit us as we are. The Huffington Post wrote about some of the backlash and negative comments Solange’s style got – I’d like to gently challenge the title of the post. Solange’s Bridal Afro Upsets Beauty Standards, it says. To me, it should read Solange’s Bridal Afro EXPANDS Beauty Standards. Too many narrow minds are out there trying to dictate what makes us beautiful. I love that Solange and Blue Ivy rocked their hair as it grows, unfettered, free, absolutely beautiful by any standard. Isn’t that a wonderful way to enter a new chapter of love in your life?
4. Invite who YOU want to!
Solange’s wedding photos have been carefully examined and everyone is picking apart the photos to see who WASN’T invited. Man, listen. On your special day, you shouldn’t even worry about those kinds of drama or details. Most weddings have their share of family drama. My husband’s grandfather refused to attend ours, and the show had to go on without him. And FOR SURE I got caught up in the drama of friends who wanted me to invite folks that I wasn’t truly friends with…and now 12+ years later I get to look back on a wedding album that’s liberally sprinkled with who-is-that-again, OMG-I-can’t-believe-I-invited-her and haven’t-seen-them-in-a-decade types. Don’t let that be you, weddings are too expensive for that! Invite who you LOVE, and who loves YOU. Invite the folks who deserve to be there. Invite the folks who you know will forever be in your corner. Don’t get caught up in obligations and the flavor of the month friends-of-friends. In the long run, it simply isn’t worth it.
5. Dance to your own beat.
At their base, weddings are all about ceremony and tradition. We’re told there has to be a father/daughter dance, a mother/son dance, the garter belt removal – so many things that we just DO because we’re supposed to, without question. While we haven’t seen too much of the actual ceremony of Solange’s wedding, it seems like even those traditions were turned on their head and remixed to whatever made them happiest. Case in point!
How cool is THAT? And then the festivities ended with a second line through the streets of New Orleans. That wedding looked SO fun, so beautiful, so epic, and so perfectly unique and tailored to the bride and groom.
If you’re in the midst of planning your own wedding, take those helpful tips from Solange and learn from my own lessons. Do what you want to do. A wedding is a beautiful celebration of your love, and it shouldn’t be a stressful time where you are shoehorned into being what someone else might want you to be. Love and celebrate that love on your own terms, and then it might just truly be the happiest day of your life.
Congrats to the bride and groom!