Why we're both wearing engagement rings

Last Friday I ordered Josh's engagement ring. Men traditionally only wear a wedding band and many of the online articles I read whilst writing this post stated something along the lines of this - 'If a man does choose to wear this type of jewelry, be aware that that family members may assume it means the wedding has already taken place. The couple should be prepared to explain their preferences'. This statement and others like it have an underlying judgmental tone which seems to suggest that a man wearing an engagement ring is simply outrageous. For us, it isn't and in all honesty, I would love to see more couples opting to do the same! But why? Why have we decided that this is right for us?

Well, let's look at the reason that the engagement ring exists in the first place...

Why we're ditching the term 'bridesmaids'

I've been thinking more and more about who will be my bridesmaids and my maid of honour. Friends and family have asked me several times if I have anyone in mind and I've been excitedly planning ways to pop the question to some of these wonderful people in my life. However, I have made the choice to not ask anyone for quite some time, mainly due to us not having a wedding date or a wedding venue just yet. It doesn't seem logical to ask someone to be a part of something when they don't know if they'll be available or even in the country at the time, especially since our long engagement will likely span years.

Considering who I would ask to stand up there with me and Josh on the big day got me thinking about the two terms in general - 'bridesmaid' and 'maid/matron of honor'.

An issue I ran into quickly was that I don't intend to have an all-female bridal party. If I have one or two close male friends who I want to be a part of our wedding day why wouldn't I ask them to stand up there next to me? Along with this, I really cannot imagine asking a close male friend to be my 'bridesmaid', the term just didn't seem inclusive enough.

Being asked to be a bridesmaid is a big deal and is seen as a desired spot for many women. But when I looked more and more into the origins of the two terms I came across another issue - they're a bit sexist...

The proposal

Josh popped the question on the 24th April and seriously went beyond anything I could have expected for a proposal. We had discussed the idea of marriage previously and I had floated the idea that he didn't need to propose. I'd suggested instead that when we both knew we wanted to get married then we could just go and buy engagement rings together and let everyone know we had made that decision. But Josh refused, saying that I deserved a story to tell and I'm so glad he did that.

We had gone out to one of our favourite cafes in Newcastle, The Scrumpy Willow and Singing Kettle, for lunch and when Josh asked for our bill that wasn't the only thing we were given. A waitress handed me a piece of paper that had a short rhyme written on it. I looked at Josh and asked why I had a rhyme about the nightclub 'Digital' in my hand and he said we should go there and find out. Now that doesn't sound overly romantic, but we met during our first year at university and had our first kiss on a night out at Digital, so whilst it may not be the classiest of establishments it holds an important memory for us.
On arrival, Josh handed me another note which led us to the restaurant where we had our very first meal together, then onto the market stall at Grainger Market where we always go to buy fabric for our fancy dress costumes (we take themed parties pretty seriously) and then to a student bar, The Hancock. Again, not somewhere stereotypically romantic. The Hancock was where we had our first date and a place we have visited every year on our anniversary for at least one drink since then. At this point I knew what was coming, I mean it wasn't a special occasion so why else the treasure hunt? And the nerves must have started to get to Josh because we both sat making nervous chit-chat and emptying our glasses.

The Alt-Bride

Welcome to The Alt-Bride!

I'm Siobhan and that lovely guy in the photo with me is my fiance, Josh. We got engaged in April '16 and since telling our nearest and dearest the great news, a sentence we have heard an overwhelming amount is this - 'wow, your wedding is going to be different / interesting / quirky'! We've opted for a long engagement, as we want to go travelling before we tie the knot, so originally we hadn't even thought about what our wedding might be like. However, after a few initial discussions on our feelings towards certain traditions (I'll be honest, mainly my feelings) we realised that they were right, it wasn't always going to follow set traditions or expectations. But we both agree that this is not a bad thing, if anything it will make our day all the more special and suited to us as a couple. 

Our close friend Natalie (shoutout to my queen!) has been telling me I should start a blog for longer than I'd like to admit and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! Driving back to Newcastle one day after visiting Josh's family we decided to start planning, but slowly, like REALLY slowly, and wanted to record all of our decisions so we can see if we change our minds about anything and also so that we can keep track of what we have and haven't planned. This blog is going to not only follow the progress of our wedding plans over the next few years but to also discuss why we're opting to ditch certain traditions, people's reactions (and whether they're okay) and the journey in general.

Why not subscribe? It's gonna be a long, but adventurous journey!