Once every four years, the calendar presents us with a leap year.
As if we don’t have enough days in the year to make mistakes, once every four years we have one extra day to make it right, but why can’t leap day be in the summer? An old Irish tradition says that in a leap year, it is socially acceptable for a woman to propose to a man. As a society we have moved past so many antiquated traditions, yet when it comes to marriage and the rules of love, is it wrong to take the other path instead of the one laid for us by our ancestors?
I am the first to admit that I am a traditional girl when it comes to certain customs.
I want to get married in the same church as my parents and grandparents. I want someone to get down on one knee, present me with a diamond ring, and ask me to be his wife. I want my big day to include the old, new, borrowed and blue and I want to have my daddy walk me down the aisle.
That is about where my traditional values stop. Maybe that is our society, or maybe that is just me. I believe in living together before being man and wife. I believe in premarital sex (you need to test drive the vehicle before you purchase it). I believe in making your own rules.
Today, as a society, we have let go of certain traditions (locally at least). These days, it is uncommon to sell a daughter’s hand in marriage for three acres of land and a herd of sheep. It is uncommon to have a marriage dowry; we have a hope chest if anything.
Many marriage ceremonies are less religiously focused than generations before us. Unconventional and destination weddings are a fast-rising trend.
When it comes to asking the bride’s father for her hand in marriage, many modern grooms are skipping this tradition. Is it because we aren’t getting married straight out of high school anymore and are therefore old enough to make our own adult decisions about who we marry? Is it a lack of respect? Is it because women are standing on their own these days and are not their father’s property?
Some will argue that it can even be attributed to the downfall of family values. I think it is because we know more of who we are. Personally speaking, if I would have married someone that my parents picked for me straight out of high school before I knew the woman I was going to become, it would have ended in a lifetime of sadness. I am strong enough to decide who I want to share my life with. I know my dad would just want me to be happy with my choice. I even think he might be grateful to not have to go through the awkward “can I marry your daughter” conversation. The jury is still out on that one.
Let’s make our own traditions. Who says your dress needs to be white? Who decided that you have to eat a giant cake when you are really a brownie lover? What if you have 15 bridesmaids and 2 groomsmen; is the lack of symmetry going to curse you into having a bad marriage? No. At the end of the day, you can choose to embrace the traditions that fit you and ignore the ones that don’t.
We are a generation of game changers.
Propose to who you want, dress as you’d like and eat as much or as little of the damn cake as you want. We are pioneers, we are today’s brides.
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, and a radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.