And so to the second of our three posts on 'becoming a bride', or whatever that might mean. (If you need a little background, here's part one to explain what we're up to).
Lisa Marie blogs over at This Girl Is... and if my Sherlock-style deduction skills haven't failed me, is partial to tea and baking delicious cake. She married her husband Dave in August 2008. Take it away, Lisa-Marie...
"When the subject of 'feeling bridal' arose during a Twitter conversation, I immediately got annoyed. Lots of brides seem to feel the pressure from magazines, the bridal industry, and from friends to immediately feel 'bridal'.
"I have been married for almost three years now and I love it. I am still as sentimental as it is possible to be. I enjoyed and was excited about planning my wedding for the most part. But despite all of that, I can still count on one hand the times I felt bridal (or my idea of 'bridal', and they boil down to: When I first tried on my wedding dress with family present, when my bridesmaids and I tried on our dresses together, when we decorated the venue the evening before, and on my wedding day.
"I don't think this is because I am missing some innate bridal element, or because there is something wrong with me, as people seem to imply. Dave and I are pretty traditional in our values, but our marriage would be considered modern. Fifty years ago, most brides wouldn't have lived with their partners, would never have has a sexual relationship with anyone before marriage, and would very much consider the wedding as the start of their adult life. When people use the word 'bridal' that's what I think of. The excitement, nervousness and hopefulness of a new life.
"When we got married, I'd been living with Dave for two years, we'd been sharing everything - good and bad - for all of that time. Our adult life was well and truly started. I was very excited to get married, and on the day I was nervous, but I was nervous about being looked at about Dave being OK during his speech. A friend of our ours summed up the situation beforehand. Someone asked if we were nervous about being married, and the friend replied 'They already are married'. He saw it as we did - we had everything but the same names and the legal document already.
"I think a large part of people expectation to feel 'bridal' is based on pressure from the Wedding Industry. Shows, forums, magazines, shops, diet planners, all looking to make as much money as they can from your 'BIG DAY'**. I fortunately didn't have much to do with this. Dave and I were both students at the time, so we were trying to make what we had to spend go as far as possible, and fitting wedding stuff into very busy lives. My dress was from eBay, we got married on a Thursday because it was cheaper, I did my own hair and make-up, family helped me decorate the venue, and the music was provided by various musician friends of ours.
"We had virtually no WI input at all (wedding magazines went out the window as soon as I found they expected me to be engaged for two years before being married), which meant I felt little pressure to be anything other than myself.
"I'm sure every bride feels different things at different points. I just think people should allow themselves to feel things as and when they feel them, not according to a timetable made by other people. I became 'a bride' in the short time before, and on the day I was married, and it worked for me.
** 'your BIG DAY' - I have to say, this phrase, along with 'the best day of your life', really bothers me. I got married at 25, and while it was amazing and perfect for us, I really hope my life didn't peak then."