From the presentation of a baby bump to the organization of The Big Day, there are certain phases in life that society sees as the pinnacle of female happiness. But what if your experience doesn’t live up to the hype?
When Sarah Cowgill *, 31, was engaged, she couldn’t wait to get married. But when the wedding came, she had enough.
“When I looked around the room while my father was talking about the bride, I made eye contact with my friend Kate.” B-r-e-a-t-h-e, “she murmured.” I c-a-n-t, “I said back. My dress was too tight.
For the rest of the guests everything was f-i-n-e. The sun was shining, the ceremony had ended without a hitch, the band had arrived on time and now Dad was telling people stories about my youth. But inside I counted the hours until I could take off my dress and exhale. Deep.
“From the moment we were engaged, people were crazy – happy for us. “Perfect Couple” cards flew in, loving Facebook messages filled our inboxes, and we received dinner invitations from people we hardly knew. I found my sudden popularity a bit strange, but dealt with it. I just wanted my father to lead me down the aisle. He hadn’t been healthy for over a year and although he was feeling better now it was early; I wanted this moment more than anything.
“But I hadn’t noticed that there would be so much to get through first.” The morning after Tom * and I announced our engagement, my mother-in-law sent us a bubbly email with a list of 30 names. Tom didn’t recognize anyone. “No, these are my friends,” she replied. A week later a large box of wedding stationery arrived in our house. She had just gone and selected our invitations – and they were terrible. It was the first in a series of fights.
“In the meantime, I tried to bring my friends together for their clothes. They had barely entered the locker room before the whispered words “disgusting”, “hideous” and “I don’t wear it” hit my ears. My maid of honor got out and winced. “I’m sorry,” she said, “but I speak for all of us when I say that we don’t feel special at all in this dress.” Then my brother rang the bell and asked if he could bring a girl whom he had met with Tinder – but the important thing was that he hadn’t yet met in person. At that point, I was just too exhausted to say no.
“When The Big Day arrived, I was floating around in my rib-breaking dress like a tragic heroine on steroids while Tom was getting stressed out by the photographer. After the speeches, people started rowing. There was an activist who was arguing with a politician, a bridesmaid who insulted a usher, and a strange man whom no one knew and who vomited on the floor of the women’s toilets. Around 10 p.m. my newlywed husband was so excited by the whole situation that he got drunk again and fell into a small fire. (He was fine, by the way.)
“The next morning we were shocked in our hotel room – a whole year of planning and it was finally over. Did we like it? The unpleasant faces in our photos say it all. There was just too much pressure. In fact, we have already agreed that we will run away from divorce to do so. “