Swimming against the tide or riding your own wave? Making “different” into your strength

Hi lovely readers! Today I thought I’d write about something a little bit different and dear to my heart. A lot of brides have got in touch lately telling me that they feel ashamed of their weddings. They feel like they’re being extravagant or over the top by focusing on detail, they’re ruffling feathers by having a wedding that’s to their own tastes rather than following tradition. If you’re a bride reading this blog, I’m 99.9% sure you’re a pretty unique kinda gal.

If that’s the case, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that going against the grain of what society thinks is normal and inoffensive can be really hard.

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All images © Satureyes

I’m sure lots of people can relate to my own story and I hope it helps you brides who are struggling with questions over their self expression. Ever since I was little, I’ve had my own vision about how I want my little universe to be. I’ve always found ways to express myself, through art, through the way I dress, the way I choose to decorate my living spaces – I’ve always made sure that everything that surrounds me is an extension of that little universe I live in.

When I think back to my childhood, I remember all too clearly the taunting cries of “you’re weird” and “you’re not normal”, the snide looks, the bitchy laughs, the collective effort to stamp out whatever it was I was doing. At the time I didn’t understand that I’d been given the gift of fearless uniqueness. We are all unique, true, but I didn’t know then what I know now: that the strength of my conviction in who I am and what I love would set me up for a very happy career one day.

I remember the feeling of coming home from school in floods of tears, the sting of teachers’ replies (no doubt intended towards comfort, rather than validation of my feelings of worthlessness) of “you’re just different, there’s nothing wrong with it.”

Then I got older and started to look around me. I started to notice the people in life who were really successful, who I admired, who stood out from the crowd – artists, writers, businesspeople, singers, every type of creative out there – the ones who weren’t afraid to be unabashedly themselves were the ones who soared.

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I’m not saying go out and try to adopt a quirky persona – but if you’re attracted to things, concepts, styles that don’t seem to be the mainstream, don’t apologise for or downplay it – it’s part of you.

The funny thing is, as you do get older the bitchy comments, the snide glances, the concerned words of advice (pull your head in, get an office job, why can’t you just have a normal wedding) don’t stop. When I was planning my wedding I was constantly hounded by well-meaning friends and family, wondering why I had to focus so much on details, why I couldn’t just use the venue’s conference chairs, why I spent hours sewing and cutting and glueing, why I chose that opportunity to create, create, create when I could just buy stuff off the shelf. It’s just stuff.

I ignored them. It was the best decision I ever made. All that detail wasn’t about appearances, pleasing others or showing off – it was about expressing who John and I are as a couple – it was taking all those feelings of love and putting them into the one day that we would celebrate those feelings in front of everyone.

Suddenly all those people who had gently mocked, whose eyebrows had raised when I described the country cottage explosion of colour, were blown away. They had never seen anything like it before and probably won’t again. We had created a little wonderland that people fell in love with – just by doing exactly what we adored deep down. People still talk about what a special day it was, and how wonderfully original it was. If your friends and family are dubious about your plans, perhaps they just don’t understand your vision – the important thing is that you do.

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Why am I telling you all this? Simple. On your road to wedding planning, in fact, on your journey in life, you will have people who don’t share your unique point of view feeling anxious over your commitment to being yourself. They will try to put their own fears, their own limitations onto you, and that makes it very, very easy to feel like you’re swimming against a constant tide of criticism, like you’re just too different to get along in this world, like you need to tone it down, pull it back, stop what you’re doing and rethink.

Don’t.

You may be swimming against one tide, true, but life has many currents. Find your own, personal wave and ride it all the way – it’s called your intuition, and once you start to follow it, all those obstacles will just zoom past you on another stream, not touching you, never knocking you off the magical wave you’re riding.

Remember, as long as you understand what you’re doing and it feels right to you, nothing else matters. If your wedding is so different that it’s not to anyone else’s taste, it doesn’t matter – don’t value their gut feeling more highly than you value your own.

There – a little pep talk for the beautiful brides who have written to me. Trust yourself, be who you are and you can’t go wrong. Good luck!

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