The Bare Bride Journal is the brainchild of Sharon Leucke of the The Bare Bride. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon her website, but I did so within days of its launch, and I included it in my previous post on alternative wedding websites. The core message of The Bare Bride is to pay more attention to the emotional and mental preparation for marriage, rather than on the superficial details of the wedding. This message resonated with me, so much so that I purchased the journal that she launched shortly after the website became live. I initially sent Sharon an email saying that I support her and the work that she does but could not do so by purchasing the journal because the international shipping fee just blew up the cost to a ridiculous level. Thankfully, my sister sent this year’s Christmas box of goodies early, so I asked her to buy the book for me, have it shipped to her house, and then send it with the box. Six weeks after, it’s here!
And here are my thoughts about it.
Price: Because of the peso-dollar exchange rate, it comes out a bit steep. There are books that cost half the price but are thicker and look nicer. This journal is…basic. The print quality is great, but it looks like something you could do at home – print the pages and staple them together. If this was sold in pesos, I probably would think twice before buying it. But I think in dollars, it’s reasonably priced, considering its content.
Content: GREAT. This works for me because I love journaling. And I especially love having guide questions that facilitate reflection. So the format of this journal is something that I really like. I’m not finished with it (and at the rate that things are going, I doubt I’ll finish with it before the wedding), but so far, I love it. I’ve enjoyed going through every page.
A few things about the content…
The first part is MY LOVE STORY, and it has a space for you to write the beginning of your love story and your engagement story. I loved this part because I have not really taken the time to write down our story. And I realized with this exercise that the story comes out different if you don’t have an audience. I was more honest and detailed in writing down what I felt at that time, something that I would probably leave out in the version that I would tell a friend.
There is a space for all kinds of emotion during wedding planning. What is most fulfilling, or surprising, or romantic. What is most stressful and disappointing. What you’re looking forward to the most and the least. Sometimes when you write something down, you choose to write only about one part, the good part, but it’s refreshing to be asked about what you don’t like, to be given the space for that equally legitimate emotion.
There is also a space to list down the things that you invite and welcome into this season. And I loved how the way that was phrased helped in reframing my mindset about things. For example, a few weeks ago I was feeling anxious about the transition from single to married, being uprooted from my home, and being faced with a life that is so different from the one that I know and am familiar with. And if I was asked about my greatest anxieties, I would have written that. But because the prompt was about the things that I invite into my life, I wrote “a heart that’s excited for the major changes.”
So I love this journal because while it has a space for negative emotions, it helps you not to dwell on them. I’ve been staring for weeks at spreadsheets, and budgets, and tasks, and this simple (basic!) journal is my small piece of calm in the midst of chaos.