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A beautiful picture and a beautiful story

Carried along on the breeze

Item one is a snapshot (from Slate’s Today’s Pictures feature) of a French bride-to-be making her way to the town hall in 1975. Typically, I’m not a fan of gowns embellished with lots of furry ball things, but somehow I can’t help thinking that this dress was impossibly gorgeous. Maybe it’s the wind and maybe it’s thoughts of romance, but I desperately want to see the same picture as taken from the front.

Item two is the story of Britain’s oldest bride, 94-year-old Bess Atkins. She and 86-year-old Winston Barraclough first met while he was volunteering as a driver for a hospital. During that first fateful drive, he actually stopped to buy her a box of chocolates! I hope that someone’s buying me chocolates when I’m almost halfway through my nineties.

Atkins said Barraclough proposed in January on New Year’s Day.

“I thought it was some medical problem and feared the worst,” she said. “He said: ‘Will you be my wife please. I would love to marry you.’ I was totally shocked but I said yes, that would be lovely.”

The pair married at St. Nicholas Church, the same ceremony venue at which Atkins married her first husband in 1939. She said marrying in the same church was lovely and brought back “a lot of happy memories.”

Wonderful, no?

Happily ever after?

Language, culture, and freedom is no barrier for this bride

A foreign groom. A whirlwind love affair in a far off country. A young bride so in love. Sounds like a recipe for your standard romance flick, right? The problem is that the real world is no movie set and some decisions are harder to unmake than others.

The story of Cumbrian newlywed Amy Robson can be a sweet one or a kind of scary one depending on how you frame it. According to the Daily Mail, the 18-year-old bride ran away to Egypt to meet up with a married boatman she’d met on a family holiday a year prior. When he stood her up, she attached herself to an unmarried Internet cafe manager named Noby. She can’t speak Arabic, and he can only speak a tiny bit of English, but that didn’t put a damper on their infatuation.

It still sounds pretty exciting! They’d planned to marry quickly, but Amy’s parents tricked her into coming home to England. That couldn’t stop her, though… She used the meager pocket money she was given to buy a plane ticket back to Egypt. Noby had moved on, but she tracked him down, and their love had transcended the absence they’d both endured. The two lovebirds tied the knot lickety-split, over what I imagine were Amy’s parents’ objections.

But here’s where this love story dips into darker territory: Noby took Amy’s passport from her. He also doesn’t want her to work, which means that she will have to spend her days indoors with other married women. She can’t even walk around without Noby at her side because it’s considered improper and she attracts a lot of attention with her fair skin and blond hair.

I’m not one to poo-poo anyone’s choices…after all, it’s Amy’s life to do with what she pleases. But what sane woman gives up her passport?

A rose by any other name

Ask before you decide to apply the mrs label

The ever fabulous Francesca sent me a link to a NY Times article concerning post-nuptial bridal monikers. I’ve written here about the practical aspects of changing one’s name, but I can’t recall if I’ve addressed the alternative considerations. To take the name of another (or not) can be an intensely personal process and, as you’ve no doubt noticed in the comments section, one that many people find rather off-putting.

Said article opens with a anecdote about a family vs. family softball game intended to determine whether Jill Van Camp would take Darren Bloch’s name or vice versa…an idea that may have been invented by New Yorkers Sam Shaffer and Kathryn Neale.

Thanks to hyphens, a vogue toward creative morphing of names, and legislation in some states that has eased the process for a man to take his wife’s surname, there have never been more surname options…But brides, and bridegrooms as well, are learning that with choice comes complication. They are turning what was once an intimate conversation into an interactive dialogue with relatives, friends and even professional consultants.

The number of newlywed ladies opting not to become Mrs. So-and-So is rising, at least among those who are college educated. And more duders are deciding to take the name change plunge, leading some states to put legislation into play that makes it easier for guys to become Mr. So-and-So. The Governator even signed a bill that will allow domestic partners in California to easily swap monikers in 2009.

If you’ve gotten flack for your choice to keep or change your name, you have an advocate in the Lucy Stone League, an organization dedicated to “equal rights for women and men to retain, modify and create their names, because a person’s name is fundamental to her/his existence.” The league also pushes for the equal frequency of male and female name changes and equality of patrilineal/matrilineal name distribution for children, though I really don’t see either of those things happening any time soon. The site is worth a visit if you’re on the fence about changing your name–it discusses the history of name choice freedom, the importance of identity, and the many options brides AND grooms have.

Who won the softball match? You’ll have to read the article to find out! But before you scamper off to the Times, weigh on the name change issue via comment if, like many, you have strong feelings on the topic.

Give it up for Pat and Katy, the new Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so

Some friends of mine–the aforementioned Pat and Katy–recently tied the knot, so please wish them well in the comments! Please enjoy this snapshot of the happy couple…

patandkaty2.JPG

Katy proved that you CAN have fun at your own wedding. You just need to know how to get down. See?

SHAKE IT WOMAN!

Just so ya know, I’m always happy to see your wedding pics, and if you want to show ‘em to the world, I’m also happy to post them here! Just drop me an e-mail and I’ll make it happen.