As spring blooms all around, I’m reminded how quickly, and surprisingly, things change. Two years ago in May, Steve and I got engaged on a moonlit walk on Virginia Beach. One year ago in May, we had meet-and-greet party on a houseboat with long-time Georgia friends, followed a few weeks later by a beautiful backyard bridal shower with local girlfriends—all as we were madly planning and packing for the big move. This May, we’re celebrating one son’s (I now have sons?!) college graduation, I’m teaching the intensive nature writing course I deferred from last year’s über-busy spring, and Steve is winding up his last semester of teaching ever, as he prepares to begin a new job with a forestry research organization.
And yes, we’re still unpacking the house. The more things change, the more some remain the same….
So here’s to spring and the start of a new wedding season, the blossoming of love and mountain laurel. May we all find the generosity in our hearts to embrace change, the kindness to become catalysts for good.
I am thrilled to introduce my readers to catalyst wedding magazine, the wedding magazine “for wedding space disrupters,” and to share that my essay, “Making a Together Home,” appears in volume two of this beautiful publication!
I love, love, love the impetus behind catalyst. The editors recognized that there was a certain sameness to wedding magazines: the brides featured in the style shoots were invariably young, thin, white, and heterosexual, and most of the articles seemed to presume a lavish budget and slavish devotion to trend as well as tradition. As a bride who failed to fit into a number of these categories—starting with “young”—I often found myself somewhere between amused and horrified at the wedding industry vision of the “ideal bride.” The real-life brides I knew, and celebrations I’d attended, were quirky, authentic, and lovely. The “real wedding” sections of some bridal magazines do feature unconventional couples and approaches, but where were the gorgeous styled photo-shoots featuring older brides and plus-size brides? Or wedding planning advice from and for same-sex couples, or stories of ceremonies that blended faith and cultural traditions? Where were the perspectives of couples who embraced love and marriage but eschewed the conventions and pressures of the wedding-industrial complex?
Enter catalyst, which editor Liz Susong has described as “a wedding magazine that value[s] diverse representation, challenge[s] gender roles, and [is] tireless in advocating for equality.” From the perspective of applied feminism, catalyst explores what “it mean(s) to choose marriage and plan a wedding in this moment in time–in this political and historical context.”
It was exciting to find the magazine on the shelf and especially fun to peruse my essay—a humorous chronicle of the challenges encountered when two middle-aged people with full lives and fuller homes blend households—at the local Barnes and Noble in Valley View Mall.
Bonus: Barnes and Noble is also currently stocking the spring issue of bridebook, which features a brief story about our big day, along with those of a number of other area celebrations, in its substantial real wedding stories section.
When I first visited the bridal magazine aisle looking for inspiration shortly after Steve and I got engaged, I felt overwhelmed and under-represented. It matters, seeing faces, bodies, lives that look like yours, reflecting back at you from the pages and pixels of the media. I’m so glad and grateful catalyst is leading the charge, and I’m honored to have my work be a part of the change.