I have seen (and continue to rewatch) Say Yes to the Dress. I know, this doesn’t bode well for establishing my credibility, but I can only listen to Ira Glass on NPR if I’m in the mood to feel my feels and think my thinks, and I need to watch something mindless after work. The fashion and passive aggressive drama of SYTTD appeal to my lowbrow sense of entertainment, but the frequent proclamation, “My wedding has no bounds because I’m a princess,” is a concept I can’t get on board with. I don’t understand why it’s apparently the mantra of so many women. Even with my feminist ways, I’m a huge romantic and lover of weddings — but I’m 100 percent, absolutely, without-a-doubt against the princess-ification of brides. It’s financially crippling and unhealthy to act as if this very adult celebration is make believe. I blame Disney, I blame the wedding industry, and I blame every romcom that has perpetuated this misguided viewpoint. I blame Taylor Swift, too. A princess has obligations that go way beyond being doted on, obligations I’m sure the average commoner wouldn’t be able to deal with. Here are just a few ways in which being a princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
The British Royal Family are a package deal. You marry into their rules and standards. As a princess, your family or in-laws (if you’re marrying “up”) not only have an opinion about your wedding preparation, but they are actively involved in choosing everything from your dress, to the church (no beach or woodland options), to the guest list, to the menu. In other words, this is your family’s day, not yours.
If I had the choice to be a royal, I would never choose to be a princess because she’s not even top dog. When Kate Middleton married Wills, the queen updated the Order of Precedence, which states the hierarchy of the family. Kate isn’t anywhere near the top! Technically, when Middleton isn’t in the company of her husband, she’s expected to curtsy to the “blood princesses,” Princesses Alexandra, Beatrice, and Eugenie. And she always has to curtsy to the Queen — always. No matter how lovely my future mother-in-law may be, I can’t see myself bending a knee every time she enters the room.
A wedding is the first day everyone feels free to start asking about your future children. No pressure, but it’s a princess’ duty to provide an heir to the throne, so … ’nuff said.
Miss America isn’t allowed to be seen without makeup for her 12-month rein. For a princess, this lasts for life. On the surface, regular facials and salon visits may sound decadent, but when part of your worth is based on looking pretty, some of the allure is lost. Makeup and hair styles fall within the normcore levels of a J. Crew ad, so say goodbye to your favorite purple eyeshadow that make your brown eyes “pop.”
There’s no getting soft either, because physical fitness is a major part of keeping up appearances. To be a princess means constantly worrying about what you eat and staying trim. Congrats! As a princess, you now get to worry about your weight even more than the average woman. Also, the public at large will feel free to comment on it, especially on your wedding day.
Twerking is not respectable and neither is having more than two glasses of champagne at your reception, but if you’re not a princess, you get to partake in whatever version of fun you desire. Princesses must stay away from exhibitionism which means no Instagram (!). There’s also no indulging in the s’mores station you’ve been eyeing because there’s no demure way to eat those things.
All right, it would be amazing to have a royal bank account, but that’s just the point: you don’t have one. Commoners who pretend money isn’t an object while planning their wedding are going to feel exceptionally common when it comes time to pay the bill. Royalty are supported by the state and given gifts from other extremely rich people. This is not life for the rest of us, so it’s important to plan accordingly.
As often heard on SYTTD, brides desire to be sexy and beautiful in their dress. After trying on various options, and inevitably shucking more fabric from the cleavage and bodice sections, they end up purchasing a Pnina Tornai gown. Pnina’s gowns are known for crystals, semi-transparent corsets, and lots of cleavage. Look at Kate Middleston’s wedding gown, now look at yours. She had sleeves, not the overdone strapless neckline. Modest is the maybe the most accurate adjective to describe a princess. And, once again, this is not the princess’ decision.
Getting hitched at the Embassy Suites in New Brunswick, New Jersey is a far cry from Westminster Abbey. Being a commoner and looking princess-like is possible — just don’t expect us to pretend you are a princess. The reality of the day is pretty exceptional, but prepare for your Uncle Chuck to be wearing jeans from 1996 and a wrinkled button-down from Old Navy. Who needs a tiara to be happy when you’ve got a beer in hand and you’re dancing barefoot because your heels started hurting long before you said your vows?