This post is part 3 of 3 from the premiere Why Creative Unions blog series which focuses on the Creative Union’s 3 core values: inclusivity, expression, and community.
I LOVE the feeling of being around a community that I felt like I belong to, who doesn’t? Simply put, we are social animals. It’s the reason why we invite our friends and families to our weddings, birthday parties, grieve with our loved ones when we lose someone close to us, or get together to celebrate graduating with an MFA. Out of all those moments, one tends to get more attention than the others. Guess which one? Yup...your wedding day.
Growing up, I remember other girls envisioning their wedding day. Planning their perfect white dresses, perfect husbands and perfect flowers. Around the age of 10, I questioned why they spent so much time mapping out their quinceañeras and weddings instead of planning their careers as New York City Art Curators and daydreaming about what they would get for their next birthday. I mean, what could be more important than your exhibition titles and Sailor Moon toy collection? Wow, how times have changed...
Looking back, I now understand why young girls are conditioned to think of their wedding as one of life’s most special days. It’s this culturally symbolic moment when you are put on an unattainably high pedestal for all of your friends and family to gawk at and are celebrated for your perfection and your ability to achieve the social pinnacle of femaledom: Wife-hood. The fact that you accomplished this feat before your biological clock ran out makes your achievement all the more impressive. Don’t get me wrong, thinking about life’s special moments is totally normal, especially when it’s ingrained into our psyche based on family traditions, the media, and patriarchy. It’s a choice, and you decide what and how you want to celebrate that choice! #youdoyouboo
If you choose to get married, COOL! But it’s not the only highlight of your life. In fact, it is one of MANY special days that will occur in your life. If you want to get married, do it, and have a wedding. But as a woke person who likes to question all kinds of systems and traditions, I still feel crunchy about the institution of marriage being so deeply rooted in patriarchy and excluding same sex couples.
^ My point exactly! Although I am hesitant to participate in these patriarchal and exclusive traditions, I still find so much value in bringing people together to celebrate life’s moments the way I choose to, especially on my wedding day.
I want to share my love story without feeling pressured by old traditions. I want to fight the patriarchy and cut my cake at the same damn time (and eat it too). But more importantly, I want to share that day with the ones I love most.
There’s another tricky part...where do you draw the line with invitations to your Creative Union?
When I think of weddings, I mostly imagine a spotlight on a couple celebrating their love in front of 100+ people. I assume that the couple’s closest family members, friends, and loved ones are there to party with them. Unfortunately at every wedding, you see those stray work acquaintances with their Tinder dates who only want free booze and were invited so you could avoid future work drama. You also have those old high school and college friends you feel obligated to invite, even though you only keep in touch via a few Instagram likes and comments which are filled with meaningless emojis expressing only a fraction of the complex human emotional spectrum. And don’t forget your second Aunt’s third husband’s children whom you’ve never met but have heard about incessantly in their annual horrible Holiday letter. Must you always invite these social dregs?!?!?!?!
When you choose to get married, I hope this is not the case. Your wedding should be an intimate and special day that you choose to share with those you love and intend on keeping in your life. Your wedding is not just a romantic and ritualistic union between you and your partner, it is also a union of your communities. The community you choose to celebrate with is an important one, because who else would you like to share such a personal moments with? You wanna look back at the wedding photos, and actually know the people in them! BOOM SHAKKA LAKKA!
What I love about bringing people together through artful celebration is the capacity to heal old wounds, build stronger communities, and respond to the problems of the world by honoring people and their resilience in the face of adversity. The power of unity is in your Creative Union, when celebrating the loving commitment between you and your partner also becomes a form of resistance during today’s political climate which strives to tear us apart.
A marriage celebration is a union of two partners and the community. These kinds of values are key to my business, and why I prefer the term union over wedding. The term wedding can carry a racist, ableist, and heteronormative undertone. On the other hand, unions are inclusive of all gender orientations, cultural traditions, and religions.
Despite all the unjust things happening in the world right now, commUNITY is essential to everything, from political grassroots organizing, to creating healthy ecosystems for our basic needs, to creating what you define as a happy home. Love makes it that much easier to accomplish all of the above. It requires a love of self, the kind of self love that overflows so that you can share it with someone else, and your community. That is the kind of self love that comes from knowing that your story matters. It’s the kind of love we need to create ripple effects in our society. We need each other now more than ever.
-Michelle Ivette Gomez
Founder and Creative Director of Creative Unions Event Design LLC
Michelle Ivette Gomez is an arts professional with a love for romance and art, and a passion for bringing people together and telling stories through art. She received her MFA in Curatorial Practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art where she focused on co-creative curatorial practice and expanding traditional methods of exhibition presentation in collaboration with communities. As the Founder & Creative Director of Creative Unions Event Design LLC, the first event planning company dedicated to integrating contemporary art into life’s celebrations, she views marriage celebrations as specially curated art exhibitions that bring people together to celebrate and express unique love stories.