Ariana is a graduate from the University of Cape Town with majors in Gender Studies and Anthropology. She is a plant-lady artist, writer and poet, who has been published in Prufrock & Type/Cast Literary Journal. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, retweeting and playing Skyrim.
When I was diagnosed with Polycystic-Ovarian Syndrome, I believed that my life was over. I thought I would gain weight exponentially, have acne for the rest of my life, and never be able to have kids. I felt trapped by an illness hellbent on ruining whatever happiness I had, and of course, that resulted in the depression and anxiety that I am still battling with today.
One in 10 women of child-bearing age will be diagnosed with PCOS, making it a fast-growing illness for millennial women. With the pressures of becoming an adult and taking responsibility for our lives in a time wrought with unrest, having to deal with the difficult symptoms of PCOS can be stressful and result in multiple mental health issues.
Having consulted with the internet, other women with PCOS and my own personal experimentation, I’ve found a few tips that have helped me immensely in my fight against PCOS. Though all of these methods are natural, as it is my choice to try beat PCOS without medication and gynecology, there are other biomedical options out there for people with different choices.
The point is that PCOS is not a life-sentence; we can beat it together.
1. I downed spearmint and chamomile tea like cheap tequila
Spearmint and chamomile tea is a must for me, and I drink it religiously three times a day at every meal. Spearmint contains natural anti-androgen properties, therefore minimizing the effects of hormones like testosterone on our bodies; effectively fixing hormone imbalances. This means that women who struggle with symptoms like hirsutism (excessive hair growth), can manage it with a few cups of tea every day. Chamomile also helps to reduce anxiety and stress; mental health issues that are very common for women with PCOS.
I’ve seen a marked reduction in my facial hair, and my stress levels have subsided dramatically with the regular use of this delectable herbal remedy.
2. I got myself to the gym against my own will
Five days a week. It sounds excessive, but a little goes a long way. I’ve learnt to love going to the gym by noting the positive effects it has on both my mind and body. It’s a natural stress-reliever and immediately lifts my mood and energy levels.
Exercise is also important for counteracting weight gain, a common symptom for people with PCOS. The combination of PCOS and weight gain can result in diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and uterine cancer. With just a 20 minutes, or if you have time, an hour of exercise every day for five days a week, you can drastically reduce your chances of these fatal health issues.
Going to the gym can be a difficult journey, but incorporating it into your regimen is imperative. I like to look at it like brushing your teeth; you wouldn’t go a day without it.
3. I swiped left on any processed sugar like a predictably bad hookup
I know, I know, I dream in cake and ice cream too and don’t even get me started on the classic croissant and cappuccino duo.
But the reality is that people with PCOS are insulin resistant, therefore making diseases like diabetes a very real prospect in our lives. By canceling out processed sugars, we can drop our blood sugar levels dramatically, therefore decreasing weight gain, acne, anxiety and depression and so much more.
My father, the health food nut that he is, managed to go off his diabetes medication by giving up processed sugar. For someone who is turning 62 this year, it is truly remarkable, and a testament to the fact that it’s never too late to kick bad habits.
So substitute beer for water, and ice cream for green juices, and I promise you, the results will be worth more than a midnight snack.
4. I said goodbye to carbohydrates and therefore my bread addiction
Pizza, pasta, roti, and rice. You name it, I want it.
But sadly carbs can work against your insulin resistance just as much as sugar does. But this doesn’t mean you have to give up on all kinds of carbs. The same way we work with kicking sugar through substitutions, you can eat black rice, quinoa, buckwheat, couscous and so many other yummy things that are actually good for people with PCOS.
It might be difficult at first, but becoming innovative with your recipes will help you to see that although late-night pizza is a feel-good phenomenon, black rice, chickpea curry and decadent, colorful salads are better for your long-term health.
5. I unashamedly journaled Bridget Jones Diary-style
When I acted out because of my depression and anxiety, people made me feel even worse by telling me that it was just because I was hormonal. Take it from me, telling someone with PCOS that they’re hormonal is the worst thing you can do.
So I started dealing with my feelings head on by journalling them in a diary. It doesn’t need to be consistent but simply taking 10 minutes to write down how I am feeling and what triggered it has been a literal lifesaver.
Many people like doctors, family and friends might expect you to deal with your depression and anxiety quietly because of your hormonal imbalances. They nullify your feelings by claiming that they aren’t real.
But no one knows you better than yourself. So buy a beautifully-bound journal, or just grab a piece of paper, and start working through your thoughts with yourself.
These polishes also offer the chance for your nails to rest. They help restore growth and strength back to your nails, and many come enhanced with vitamin B5, vitamin C, and argan oil. Some polishes are not tested on animals and are even vegan-friendly.
Breathable nail polish is a must-have item for Muslims wanting to rock a slaying mani while performing wudu. There has been wide debate as to whether or not the breathable polishes are truly halal, but it has been noted by a few users that after some testing the formula appears water-permeable. Whether you believe it or not, it’s significant that brands are making an effort to accommodate people’s different religious beliefs with their products.
“If something is blocking [your nails], that is not acceptable,” says Habib Ghanim, director of ISWA Halal Certification Department and president of USA Halal Chamber of Commerce. “When wudu is performed, water has to touch every part of your body. If you have nail polish on that is non-porous, that is not considered halal.”
Although many brands are popping up offering halal cosmetics, the products are still relatively new and it can, therefore, be difficult to suss out all options on offer. This list showcases some glorious alternatives to your typical nail polishes, leaving your fingertips free for any and every color you could possibly imagine.
What people are saying: “I transitioned to non-toxic nail polish recently and noticed a huge difference in the health of my nails (and allergies). Really cool. I used the polish for my french manicure tips and it works perfectly. No smell, dried fast, no streaking, consistent texture, and color. I would get again.”—T
What people are saying: “I am so happy with this polish. I’ve been waiting to replace all my old polish with a great chemical-free, or ‘cleaner’ polish and here it is! The coverage is great, dries quickly, and has great durability.” —Amazon Customer
What people are saying: “I stopped wearing nail polish because my nails had become so damaged, but I missed my pretty manicures. I tried a few “healthier” nail polishes but was so disappointed with the results that I almost gave up. SO glad I didn’t. This nail polish goes on so creamy and dries to a super hard finish that’s lasted for days! Plus, my nails are doing just fine. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that oxygen gets through. Whatever it is, love the results!!!” —Fran
What people are saying: “Mashallah, the color is simply beautiful; and what makes it more unique is the ability for me to feel beautiful without compromising my faith. Furthermore, the seller gave me an extra polish (top coat) with my purchase.” —Isatta Feika
What people are saying: “Really good nail polish! It feels nice and isn’t goopy, clumpy or stringy or anything like that. It feels light and healthy and at the same time true to color. I’m very happy with the results! ? it also dries pretty fast.” —Lizzy
What people are saying: “The formula is smooth and goes on very easily. It dries quickly. It’s remained intact through a shower, multiple handwashings, and giving a toddler a bath. I absolutely love it!” —Ashley M. James
What people are saying: “Love this nail polish. There are so many great colors to choose from and the ingredients are better than a lot of other nail polishes. It’s easy to apply and it’s long lasting. Thank you!” —Karen
What people are saying: “Loved the color and the polish stayed on for at least 5 days and then it only chipped slightly. I had heard some of Orly’s nail colors don’t even dry fully so I was skeptical about this but my experience was a positive one!!” — Edie Superstar
What people are saying: “Tried it and it applies nicely, looks streaky at first but after a few seconds smooths out. Only needed to apply two coats and didn’t use a base or topcoat at all. I can be rough with nails as a nurse and cleaning at home. I definitely recommend, and can’t wait to paint my little girl’s nails too.” —Vanessa M
What people are saying: “Just received this little gem today and although I went for the other color first I am equally excited to try this beauty out as well! Christmas is coming up annnnd this would make amazing gifts….hint…hint ;)” —Stacy D
13. A deep chocolate color to give you dramatic, vamp-like nails that would make Elvira nod her head in approval.
What people are saying: “Wanting a healthier nail polish, I’d heard about Halal polishes and thought I’d give it a try. I’ll never go back to regular polishes! This was nice and my nails were in great shape once I took the polish off.”—1husband2sons
What people are saying: “My new favorite glitter polish! It’s very sheer with one coat but can be built up to opaque. It has a slightly matte finish which I do not like, I need my polishes to have a shiny glass finish. You can achieve the shiny glass finish by applying a topcoat over this polish however due to the texture it eats topcoat right up so you’ll need 2 to even be shiny but still slightly gritty and 3 gets you a shiny glass-like finish which makes the glitters and holo effect stand way out with this polish!”—Kara
What people are saying: “Surprised by getting it so fast; by one coat covering nicely (although I recommend 2 coats); by how pretty the color (barely there is) and how it’s so similar to regular nail polish. I actually would not know the difference because it’s so smooth. I only gave it a 4 star because even the smell of regular nail polish is the same and it’s a bit pricey. Overall I really like it and hope to get more shades. It’s worth it! Now I can pray with nail polish and not feel guilty.” —Shania
What people are saying: “I love 786 polish! Wudu-friendly, goes on smooth, dries hard and lasts 10 days on my toes. It also lacks many of those disturbing ingredients used by other companies.” —ModestyMaven
What people are saying: “It’s subtle but still colorful enough to make a pop. It’s one of those colors that goes well with light and dark clothing and I have gotten so many compliments! I was also worried that being a breathable polish meant that it would be super thin but even just one coat was thick enough to cover everything.” —Amazon Customer
24. Glam it up without harming your nails – if that isn’t a win-win, I don’t know what is.
What people are saying: “Oh! How can I LOVE a fingernail polish color this much??? But I do!!! It is just spot on let me tell you!! Not too dark, not too light, just AMAZING!!! Thank You!!!” —Suzzette McCoy
The weddings section, in particular, has grown by leaps and bounds. At The Tempest, we’re always aiming to deliver stories from real women and non-binary folk that challenge the narrative of traditional media. So this year, for this beloved section, I want to showcase how our writers brought the wedding industry to a standstill with their honest portrayals of what getting married is really about.
From challenging patriarchal marriage norms to plus-sized representation, here are our Top 10 articles from this year.
There are so many ways that South Asian weddings can be an absolute nightmare for both wedding guests and the bride and groom. Piling up your plate at the buffet, standing for hours of pointless photographs, and judging the bride for every move she makes are just a few of the nonsensical, rude things we choose to participate in at these weddings. Your Aunty may not appreciate it, but everyone else will. Read More.
Danielle Calhoun takes the concept of a “You Do You” bride to the next level. Being tired of Pinterest-perfect weddings that felt decadent in the face of a world ravaged by various atrocities, Black Sheep Brides goes a step further in wedding planning. Instead of focusing on creating perfect, expensive and largely forgettable wedding details, BSB offers a comprehensive guide and directory of vendors to help your wedding be more sustainable and charitable. From her experiences with social responsibility, Calhoun is showing all of us how simple it is to use your wedding as an opportunity to give back. Read More.
In a world that is hellbent on making people of color feel othered, it’s important to understand the kinds of anxieties we might face when prepared for something as auspicious as a friend’s wedding day. Shanicka Anderson bravely opened up about her insecurities being the only black, plus-sized bridesmaid in her best friend’s bridal party, and I’m sure so many of us can relate to how this feels. From worrying about how the dress will fit, to feeling nervous about if the hairstyle will damage her natural hair, having to deal with these kinds of anxieties makes something as dreamy as a wedding turn into a living nightmare. This kind of article is so important to soon-to-be-brides so that they know how to be empathetic and accommodating to their different bridesmaids. Read More.
In many cultures, the pressure to get married grows as soon as you reach a specific age. For some, it’s the moment you become an “adult,” while for others it’s the moment you finish your education. Unfortunately for our families who are ready to marry us off at the first opportunity, many of us are still waiting to be emotionally ready to have that kind of commitment to someone. Instead of focusing on “running out of time” or “running out of suitors,” just focus on the things you want to achieve and let marriage come later. Read More.
So many of us in heterosexual relationships have felt the sharp sting of seeing our male partners treated better than us – they are given a myriad of freedoms while we are expected to sit and watch quietly. When it comes to weddings, this phenomenon gets amplified by family and friends hellbent on upholding archaic traditions that see women as silent and obedient during their wedding rather than joyous and ready to party. So to all those Desi brides out there; you do you, boo. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Read More.
It’s great to get caught up in the whimsy of weddings and marriage, but the truth isn’t always pretty. Many people find themselves in marriages wrought with physical and/or emotional abuse, unable to get out because of the stigma around divorce. In some cases, people might not feel in love anymore, and even then they deserve to opt out of a marriage. By ending the stigma around divorce, we can help people who do not want to feel tied to someone who endangers their wellbeing, or that they no longer have feelings for. Read More.
If you’re a single Desi girl, you know exactly what it feels like to be stuck at a wedding with Aunties hounding you about when it’s “your turn.” Instead of letting the fear of that impending hell eat your soul, why not take a few tips from Shehnaz Khan on how to avoid Aunties or beat them at their own game. It may seem daunting, but trust me, these are life-saving. Read More.
Take it from me, being sold the idea that your wedding day has to be perfect is really, really difficult to endure. We’re expected to throw a ton of money into losing weight, buying expensive products, going for facials and waxing, all in an effort to be someone else’s version of “perfect.” Of course, nothing ever goes the way we want it to, and getting to hear about this “gone wrong” experience is both hilarious and refreshing. From one veteran bride to any soon-to-be-brides; just breathe. Read More.
2017 was definitely a year of learning how important representation is, not just in the movies we watch, but also in the kind of media we consume. Being a bride can be difficult, considering the amount of pressure we are put under to match different beauty ideals. The Tempest is all about crashing through toxic societal norms and showcasing women and non-binary people for who they are. This roundup of beautiful, plus-sized brides is a perfect example of how important it is to represent ourselves in every facet of life. Even weddings. Read More.
So many of us are sold the idea that a wedding marks a huge transition in our lives. Of course, we might have different surnames, live in a different home, or even live with a new family. But our relationships, the very thing that got us to the wedding in the first place, don’t have to change. Turns out we don’t need to change dramatically to make a wedding feel worth it, we just have to appreciate each other for why we fell in love in the first place. Read More.
Wedding traditions around the world are special in that they highlight different values we hold in our cultures around marriage, love, and family. Everything from the color of the dress we wear, to the Maid of Honor we choose, holds incredible significance on one of the most important days of our lives. Don’t kid yourself; choosing to spend the rest of your life with someone is a huge deal.
But for some of us, traditional weddings are not that important. In fact, some of their values completely go against what we want representing us on our wedding day.
[bctt tweet=”For some of us, traditional weddings are not that important.” username=”wearethetempest”]
My partner and I were so happy to get married that we wanted to make the day our own. There were so many so-called “rules” that we discarded simply because they did not equal our values. And even though our wedding ended up looking and feeling far from traditional, it was so uniquely ours that looking back we have no regrets.
Here are some of the rules we (happily) broke.
1. I didn’t wear a white dress.
Considering that I’ve never looked good in white, and I am (ahem) not a virgin, I had never even considered white as an option. Of course, red would have been the next best option since we were having a Hindu/Christian wedding, but again, it just didn’t occur to me. Instead, I picked one of the first outfits I saw; a heavily beaded, purple and green lengha that I knew would be perfect as soon as I tried it on. Everyone commented on how unique and vibrant it was, and I couldn’t agree more. The colors and style made me feel like myself on one of the happiest days of my life; a feeling I will never forget.
2. We didn’t have a registry.
There were so many factors going against us having a registry, including that we didn’t know where or how we would be living for the next few years. My partner and I are young, and the possibilities of where we will end up settling down (if we settle down) are endless. So instead of setting up a registry of items we might not be able to take with us wherever we relocate, we decided to let family choose whether they wanted to get us presents, and what presents those were. The results were a few unique, hilarious, and endearing gifts, one of them being a tiny set of glass teacups from close friends of ours that are easy to carry around. We didn’t know how much we’d enjoy using them every day!
[bctt tweet=”The results of our wedding presents were unique, hilarious, and endearing.” username=”wearethetempest”]
3. I didn’t have bridesmaids.
Well, technically I did have bridesmaids, but they weren’t given the typical bridesmaids’ duties. No one was expected to help out with the wedding details, or plan a bridal shower. It could have been down to the fact that most of my bridesmaids were out of the city (and country) during the wedding preparations, but I also didn’t feel like it was right to ask them to help out. We were planning a small wedding in one month, and my mom, my partner and I had everything covered. All we needed was for people to rock up, dressed in what made them comfortable, and pose for photos!
4. I didn’t walk down the aisle to “Here Comes the Bride.”
I saved the best for last. Although I believe that certain renditions of “Here Comes the Bride” are romantic, the song didn’t make sense for the kind of relationship my partner and I had. Instead, we chose a song that brought tears to our eyes and made everyone in the audience coo with appreciation. Being avid Star Wars fans, we knew that the original score of Han Solo and The Princess by John Williams would be the most romantic gesture we could have made for one another on that day. Walking down the aisle towards my partner with thoughts of Empire Strikes Back on my mind let me know that I was making the best decision ever.
[bctt tweet=”I walked down the aisle with thoughts of ‘Empire Strikes Back’ on my mind.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Although we broke so many more wedding rules, these were the cherry on top of a perfect, alternative wedding. When we look back on our special day we feel overwhelmed with joy at how perfectly everything went. I mean, it was everything we could have ever wanted.
Christmas is around the corner, and though it might not be everyone’s favorite holiday, it certainly is beautiful. The pinecones, tinsel, fairy lights, and luxurious smells of gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate make it a holiday full of inspiration. And if you’re lucky enough to have a winter wedding, you already know of the plethora of easy DIY ideas at your disposal!
Below are some quick and easy (I promise) ways to incorporate a Christmas theme into your winter wedding. It’s festive AF.
1. Pinecones, pinecones EVERYWHERE.
Listen. Pinecones are the OG Christmas decoration that you can even get from your backyard. They’re natural, environmentally-friendly beauties that you can DIY in so many different ways it’s too good to be true. Rescue a few pinecones from your local ground and arrange them into natural, simple centerpieces like the one above, or get fancy by spraypainting them to match your wedding colors.
Pinecones are versatile, cheap decorations that add an instant natural glam look to any wedding.
2. Fairy lights make a true winter wonderland.
You’re probably worried that I’m going to suggest cutting out hundreds of DIY snowflakes for a true winter wedding, right? Don’t worry, nobody has time for that. But what we do have time for is tons and tons of fairy lights that won’t set you back a ton of money (or a ton of time). Making use of fairy lights for instant atmosphere is wedding decor 101, but what they don’t tell you is how with a few small touches, you can add instant Christmas magic.
Like above, combining your traditional Christmas colors with fairy lights in innovative ways will not only mean that your wedding stands out from the crowd, but will also make it a perfect winter wonderland.
3. Festive drinks, anyone?
Apple cider. Ginger. Cranberries. What do all of these things have in common? They taste amazing in drinks and give off the ideal Christmas vibe. Whether it’s a boozy ginger beer or cranberry apple cider sangria like above, there are so many ways to incorporate the flavors of Christmas into your wedding drinks list.
If you’re choosing not to serve alcohol at your wedding, we haven’t left you out! You can also serve up some festive cinnamon mocha lattes to warm up your guests. With a few ingredients, you’ll have instant Christmas wedding drinks.
4. Bring on the candy canes!
Candy canes are a sweet Christmas treat that instantly reminds you of your childhood.
Devouring candy cane after candy cane with your cousins may have made you sick back then, but it’ll add a Christmas miracle to your winter wedding as quick and easy wedding favors like the one above. You can even sprinkle them throughout your buffet, or incorporate them into centerpieces to add that splash of Christmas crimson. Whatever you decide, candy canes are the way to go.
5. It smells like Christmas spirit.
Nothing smells better than Christmas. Cinnamon, peppermint, ginger, and fresh pine needles are all key scents that tell you that Christmas is here. Use this to your advantage by upping the atmosphere at your Christmastime wedding by using candles to create a truly festive atmosphere. You can even DIY your own candles and their unique scents using easy tutorials like this.
Your guests will feel comforted and welcomed by the aroma and will be super excited to tuck into that festive brunch you set out for them. It’s a win-win for everybody!
With every season comes wedding trends that capture the essence of the weather. It could be earth-toned colors for fall, or an abundance of flowers in spring, whatever the case may be, seasons are an amazing way to get inspiration for your wedding.
Now that Christmastime is around the corner, we’re thinking powdered sugar, red berries, and mistletoe; that’s right, it’s time to talk winter-themed wedding cakes! These cakes are delicious and gorgeous, and perfectly encapsulate that feeling of frost on your windowsill while sitting by the fire. The great thing is that winter wedding cakes can be both simple and cost-effective, as well as grandiose and expensive AF. It’s all up to you.
If your wedding is in winter, we highly suggest you get inspired by the followed Instagrammable wedding cakes; you won’t be disappointed!
Dina Elabd is an Egyptian children’s and young adult author. She has published Melouq, The Lion that dressed as a Sheep and The Magic Palm. She has a new book coming out at the end of the Summer on Amazon, in the same style of Diary of a Wimpy Kid – but based in Egypt.
Elabd sat down with The Tempest to talk about her experience as an author, and tips she has for aspiring young writers.
The Tempest: What motivated you to write Melouq, The Lion that dressed as a Sheep and The Magic Palm? Did you draw from experiences you had as a child or stories your grandparents and parents told you?
Dina Elabd: These stories are a bit more modern than a lot of the stories I heard about my local culture in Egypt. I actually grew up for the first 12 years of my life in California, and just like now they were extremely high tech and very advanced.
I grew up listening to all sorts of stories that were so much more open-minded and culturally diverse, and I just fell in love with it.
But when I came to live in Egypt afterward, I couldn’t find anything like these stories. In fact, I even taught at a school for a year and a half and I noticed that you have students in Egypt reading novels written elsewhere, by other cultures, in English, but you can’t find any equivalents in Egypt.
So this just made me think, well, I can do this. I can write and I want to write! And I want to produce work that children will want to read and be excited to read. I believe that children’s literature is so important and books really help a child with empathy.
They help a child with being able to analyze their own culture and the cultures of others and see what’s good and what’s bad and what can be improved.
These are just such important skills.
Books can really teach someone what’s going on in the world, and what’s going on in their own lives from a different perspective and then maybe they can find someone local to talk to about it, even if it’s their own parents.
The Tempest: I saw you studied at the University of Cambridge where you did a Masters of Philosophy in Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature. How did studying help you write your children’s books and your young adult novel?
Dina: Primarily, it just gave me a lot of confidence. Being able to compare my work to others’ on the world space was very important to me.
I really wanted to produce work that was of international quality, not just something locally good, which, in my opinion, was not going to be that hard given the niche that I’m targeting.
I wanted it to be good on an international scale and that’s what Cambridge taught me. We had students from all around the world, and to see them all producing this quality, comparing their work and their research to others in their region and abroad was very important to my work.
What kind of reception did your books have in Egypt?
Dina: Right now Melouq, my debut novel, has been doing quite well in Egypt. I’ve had a book signing in a bookstore and different schools.
I’ve also read to students from my newer book The Lion that dressed as a Sheep, and Melouq is even in a school curriculum for grade 10. So I’m basically targeting these international English-language schools. I’ve also been invited to join the British Council in Egypt to do a 3-day school tour of 7 international schools between Cairo and Alexandria.
There, I will explain my Master’s experience in England and talk about my books.
What did it feel like to see children and young adults reading your books?
Dina: It’s very good to hear that a child has picked up my book and cannot put it down for a day and a half till it’s done because that really reminds me of myself.
It’s really exciting to hear when someone comes and talks to me about my book to tell me that there are all these mistakes! They’ll tell me, “Why did you decide to do this, why did you decide to do that?” and I think it’s a sign that this is good literature.
It makes people ask questions and figure out for themselves what’s right and what’s wrong. Sometimes the character says something and they think it’s my opinion and I’m like, “No! That’s just that character that said that it’s not me saying that!”
And they say, “No, but you wrote the book!”
I’m like “Yeah, okay, but different characters say different things, right?” so it’s kind of funny. I get all sorts of reactions but they’re heartwarming and help me as a writer to think of what’s better for the readers.
What advice would you give young people wanting to write stories from their own perspectives and cultures?
Dina: I think it’s really important to just write whatever you want to write and whatever you feel close to, and also to write the stories that people want to hear.
Even if it’s done in a very new way. I think that this is becoming very common now and people are reaching out to all kinds of media to hear different stories.
I think any writer should give it a shot, even if it’s completely new kind of story that they’re telling.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Choosing to marry someone is more than just a pretty proposal followed by a grandiose wedding; it’s a lifelong commitment to respect, honor, and cherish that person. But getting beautiful photos to commemorate these intimate, life-changing events is so inspiring, we couldn’t help but put them together for you to feel inspired too.
These couples will melt your cold heart this winter, just in time for cuffing season!
I have never been happier than the day I got married.
There are few moments in my life when I’ve felt such overwhelming bliss. Once was when I got an acceptance letter to my first choice university. Another was when I got accepted to The Tempest’s Fall Editorial Fellowship. I also feel tear-jerking happiness every time I get the chance to eat free food at an event on campus.
On our honeymoon, my now-husband and I could do nothing but talk about how perfect the day was. It had been ages since our families had all been in the same room together. We laughed about the case of the missing samosas and cried over the father-daughter dance.
Yet, despite the incredible day, we couldn’t help but find one thing that stood out as not-so-perfect; the constant affirmation from family and friends that gender roles would dominate our relationship going forward.
My husband was constantly given advice like, “Just pretend you’re listening to keep the peace,” or, “Just let her win fights if you don’t want to sleep on the couch.”
Whereas I was told, “The best way to his heart is through his stomach!”
Comments like these are sexist because they perpetuate the idea that men and women need to occupy specific gender roles to have a so-called “normal” relationship. They usually describe women as being nurturing caregivers who compromise endlessly for the good of their family, and men as dogs who don’t listen and can’t care for themselves, but it’s all good because they bring home milk and bread every other day, and know how to toss a ball.
It may seem harmless at first – just a little bit of teasing for the bride and groom on their big day – but in reality, it’s suffocating.
Since I was young I was told that women and men are different. My teachers, religious leaders, and even my parents pushed the narrative that this difference was unchangeable; it’s just down to nature and it’s what makes men and women perfect for one another.
And even though I never gave in to it (the black sheep of the family), the constant pressure to conform was nauseating. I felt trapped in a tug-of-war between the romantic relationships I wanted and the romantic relationships I was doomed to have.
But the relationship I have with my husband is different. In fact, it’s everything I could have ever wanted. Even though we were both raised to follow toxic relationship standards, we treat each other with so much love and understanding that it feels like we are re-teaching one another how to love again. It’s the reason why we like to say that we raised one another.
So with my family knowing this, and being there to witness it in our relationship over the years, it hurt me when I saw them placing us in the same old patriarchal relationship mold on our wedding day. It felt like despite the kind of work we do as feminists – unraveling patriarchal violence, whether that’s here at The Tempest, in protests, or in positions of power – we lose the day we get married.
Did this make me love my wedding day less? No, it didn’t. But it did make me stop and think about the way we choose to promote marriage as the highest level of achievement a woman can have despite its disappointments. We’re trained from birth to think of ourselves as the ultimate sacrifice for our families and the man we’ll eventually marry.
I don’t believe anything could have prepared me for the kind of happiness I would feel on my wedding day. It was everything I could have ever hoped for. But I believe we are capable of doing more to undo the Wedding Industrial Complex than just spending less money.
Writing a wedding speech is difficult. It’s nerve-wracking and has to be written during a period of intense wedding-induced stress. Having little to go off of can make it even harder to sit down and put pen to paper.
For me, I wrote what I knew and what I knew was the truth. It made me so happy to think that I’d finally been able to show people the very intense, very real love I have for my now-husband.
[bctt tweet=”I wrote what I knew and what I knew was the truth.” username=”wearethetempest”]
So I want to share it with you, Tempest fam! And hopefully, it will inspire you to write your own kickass wedding speeches.
I can’t remember the last time I wrote you a letter. I must have been a young, sixteen-year-old girl, pining after you in history class. I would hide letters to you under piles of notes, quickly pulling them out as soon as my teacher turned her back. Cheeky, yeah?
It feels like forever ago, or rather, it felt like forever ago. As the wedding came close I found myself constantly thinking back to the first few months. We were so, so young, yet somehow we knew it would be forever.
I can’t remember the first time I knew that, but I do remember, unlike Kanye, the first time we met.
I’d been bad, I guess. But I prefer to call it infatuated. I lied and told my parents I was going out with friends, which was half true. They didn’t know I’d also be seeing you for the first time.
Do you remember what I said? ‘You’re so tall!’
But I’ve always been honest. A realist. I tell-it-like-it-is. I guess I get that from my dad.
But you were different. You threw me off. I finally didn’t know how to feel. Or, I didn’t know how to talk about it. Growing up, my bookshelf was covered in teen romance novels. I loved them like my own family. I remember I’d kiss my parents goodnight and close my eyes, but as soon as they were gone I’d grab a torch and a book and read until the sun came up. Literally; light peeked through my window as I turned the last page.
So I thought I knew how romances went. I knew that I’d meet you, we’d slowly fall in love, we’d definitely have a major fight to create a jaw-dropping climax, then we’d eventually make up and get married.
Or something like that.
I thought I knew what love was. I thought I knew what you, my first love would be.
But you surprised me. Not just with your stellar personality, but with just how deeply I fell in love with you. For a realist like me, I’ll call it reckless.
Falling in love with you was reckless.
Don’t get me wrong, you tick all the boxes. You’re a smart and creative writer with the kind of kindness I’ve only ever seen in one other person my whole life.
Did I mention you’re also really freaking hot?
But you’re reckless. Falling in love with you was reckless.
Not because you’re not an amazing person. But because when we go through rough times it feels like my heart is breaking. And no matter how often it happens, it always breaks in the same way. Impossible and painful.
As I’m writing this letter, I’m sitting at my desk and singing along with all the songs we listened to in high school. And I’m crying because love is harder than it seems. When you have a love like ours, one that has transitioned from and between the most turbulent stages of life, it isn’t easy to stay together. Going from high school to university to adulthood is really hard. We’re constantly changing and for some people, it’s difficult to deal with change, even us.
I know no one wants to hear about this on a wedding day. Why would you? It’s meant to be a happy day celebrating our love. But that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m not celebrating a mirage of ideal love. I’m celebrating real love.
Because through all the impossibility and all the pain, we’re still here. And I love you so much because of it.
I don’t just love you because you tick all the boxes. I love you because you’re a person, completely separate from me. And somehow, in the huge mess that the world is, we managed to find one another.
Five years ago, you told me that you’d be with me through every happiness and every tragedy. You were so young to make a promise like that to me.
And remember, I’m a realist. I told myself that that’ll never happen because how can you, someone so young, promise me your little piece of the world?
But here we are. And you never broke that promise.
So Wade, on my 22nd birthday, in 2017, I want to promise you that I will be with you through every happiness and every tragedy.
Planning a wedding is expensive. Trust me, I’ve been doing this for a month now.
Everything from flowers to centerpieces to presents to outfits… it all adds up. And once that bill comes, we wish we’d saved where we could. That’s why when it came time to make the invitations, I couldn’t bring myself to fork over another wad of cash for pieces of paper that will probably end up in some distant family member’s bin. Instead, I searched the internet for the one thing it’s sure to provide: free stuff.
And I’ve never regretted it. People were amazed by the free template I picked for our big day. They commented on the simple, romantic design, and couldn’t believe it when I confessed that I’d used a free website. In fact, many of them asked for the website name so they could use it themselves!
Greetings Island is the site I used for my wedding invites. Their interface is super easy to navigate and offers everything from traditional designs to modern ones. Personally, I picked the one featured above. It fit in surprisingly well with our theme and guess what? It took 10 minutes to make.
Wedding Chicks is great for one defining reason: they give you much more than you bargained for. Not only do they do designs for wedding invitations, but some of their templates include matching place cards, table numbers, RSVP cards, save-the-dates and even more. It’s the perfect site to use if you want to kit your wedding out with one beautiful style.
Cards and Pockets offer beautiful, bold designs, in every color imaginable. From watercolor to geometric designs, this site is a great choice for couples wanting a variety to choose from. Many of their designs are really different, the perfect choice for quirky, out-of-the-box weddings. Check out this Venn diagram one.
Love and Lavender offer both free and paid wedding invitation templates, giving you many different options to choose from. I especially love their vast choice in color schemes and thematic designs. You’ll find the chalkboard theme pictured above a staple on Pinterest; not surprising considering its easygoing design for a more laid back event.
Printable Invitation Kits is perfect for cutesy designs like above. They also feature a huge selection of elegant choices, many of which are great for traditional weddings. The owls on the above invitation are simple and adorable; perfect for close-knit family and friend weddings.
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to the trove of free stuff the internet has to offer. If saving money is your game plan for your wedding, consider these five amazing sites that offer both quality and versatility. Their selection is so great, I’ll be printing my invites and saving them in my wedding folder to show my kids one day.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of using your own two hands to make something spectacular. Not only do you have a new skill to break out and impress your friends, you also have a newfound attachment to that something special you made.
When it comes to weddings, we want every facet of that day to feel as special as possible. But forking over thousands of dollars for certain items just feels like a waste of money. I mean, this may be an important day, but it is only one day.
The world of DIY has so much to offer us in terms of frugal wedding ideas. Photobooths, centerpieces, lights, table numbers, music… the internet is vast and the list is endless.
We’ve rounded up 10 DIY wedding ideas that are inexpensive yet beautiful. Trust us; your wedding will thank you for it.
1. Rustic rose wedding centerpieces.
This centerpiece caught my eye for its simple design. By reusing old, clean bottles, three roses, twigs, and twine, you’ve created the perfect minimalist, rustic centerpiece. Incorporating different sized bottles over a long table would also add a lot to the rustic aesthetic. This DIY helps you save big on flowers, one of the most expensive features of any wedding.
2. Hilarious DIY wedding favors.
Listen: this wedding favor is so real. If you’re having a smaller wedding with close friends and family, this gift is going to leave everyone in stitches. Of course, grandma might not take too kindly to it, but you’ll know whether or not this move will go over well. Advil, especially generic brands are inexpensive, and buying bulk bottled water won’t set you back. Print your own label and you’re ready to go!
4. Religious DIY wedding guestbook.
For Christian couples, this wedding guestbook idea is an incredibly sentimental gesture to your guests. Imagine flipping through your bible and seeing people’s names next to certain verses. You’ll be reminded of that person, and even get a chance to understand them a little better. Buying a Bible, as well as pens and highlighters won’t set you back a jaw-dropping amount, and will leave your guests feeling valued for the rest of the day.
5. Romantic DIY wedding arch.
This simple wedding arch adds a soft, romantic, backyard wedding feel. It’s a statement piece of most weddings, and the particular style of this one is both inexpensive and breathtaking. Wood for the arch can be salvaged from a variety of places around your community, and can even be found in some secondhand stores. The curtains won’t be expensive either, and two bouquets equal huge savings on fresh flowers. This kind of arch shows that you don’t need to spend big for elegance.
6. DIY henna stones for the mehndi ceremony.
Henna from your local spice shop? Done. Stones from the craft or garden store? Done. That’s it. That’s all you need to add a fun, creative, and unexpected activity at your mehndi ceremony. While the bride is getting her mehndi, everyone can sit and chat while creating their own unique designs. I incorporated this idea into my mehndi ceremony and everyone loved it: WIN!
7. Fun DIY wedding photobooth.
I’ve come across many different iterations of the photobooth on my DIY adventures, and it can be difficult to pin down which one is best. The truth is, it depends on what you want. Some weddings set up a camera on a tripod, others use Polaroid cameras, and some, like above, simply provide a station with selfie sticks, props, a cute backdrop, and a hashtag. Whatever you prefer for capturing these memories, and whatever is in your budget, the photobooth is an amazing idea that never fails on fun.
8. Pretty DIY wedding chair back.
Tulle and lavender. That is literally all you need to create this pretty chair back for a laid back, beautiful wedding. Need I say more?
9. Elegant DIY wedding makeup.
Paying for a makeup artist can be ridiculously expensive, especially considering the trust you have to put in someone else to make you look and feel beautiful for your wedding day. Doing makeup yourself can be daunting, but there are so many YouTube videos out there to help you out. The videos will regularly include a list of the products used, as well as step by step directions on how to achieve the look. It’s so widespread that we even have a whole article on it. I’m doing my makeup for my wedding and trust me, it’s worth it!
10. Fun DIY wedding chalkboards.
Wedding chalkboards are cropping up on everyone’s Instagram feeds because they are so ridiculously easy to do. Chalkboards and chalk can be found at dollar stores pretty much anywhere, and you can even get extra crafty with chalkboard paint or spray and a frame. These signs add a little bit of personality to any wedding and make for a fun atmosphere for your guests.
So there you have it, folks. DIY + weddings = beautiful aesthetics and fun-filled activities with a less exorbitant price tag! SOLD.