27.05.2016

How to have a feminist wedding – 8 ways to overturn 5,000 years of patriarchy malarkey

GENDER | | |

Guess what, guys non-gender-specific humans? Monumental news! Me and my boyfriend of eight years just got engaged! Engaged to be married! To each other!

This is very exciting for us. We are making a commitment to stay together, to look after each other when we’re ill and/or hangry, and to share our medical coverage with each other (LOL, jk – neither of us have well-paying jobs which provide medical insurance). But in all seriousness, this feels like a natural step in our career together as teammates, BFFs and loverrrs.

And yet. The whole wedding thing is beset with cultural minefields for the modern feminist couple. Marriage is rooted in centuries of sexist history, treating women as property to be handed down from father to husband. How is today’s modern lady to get up and down the aisle with her feminist credentials intact? Never fear, badass maidens. Here, just for you, are the essential rules to patriarchy-smashing nuptials.

 


1. Aisle be just fine, thanks

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Don’t want to be marched down the aisle by your dad, for him to awkwardly offer you to your beloved at the end like prize cattle? Then don’t! Go it alone, be escorted by a favourite gal pal, or just run, screaming, up the ‘white’ carpet yelling “I am not property!” Let’s face it, the big entrance is a key moment in the day and this last option in particular will generate added drama.

 


2. ‘To have and to hold and to – hold on!’

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Wedding vows are lovely. We can probably all recite a scary amount of the ‘traditional’ vows because they’re utilised so frequently in Hollywood films. But actually, these vows hail from a time when wives really were legally the property of their husbands, doomed to ‘honour and obey’. Cast off the shackles of chattel-dom and write your own. A surprisingly small amount of the vows are legally binding, and the rest is up to you. Still, try to keep it short, as all your guests are waiting for you to tie the knot so they can say ‘I do’ to the free bar.

 


3. Don’t throw the bouquet

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Yeah, I guess I’ll pay a small mortgage for the beautiful flower arrangements I will carry down the aisle and then literally THROW them at my single female friends. That is a failsafe way of determining which pretty maid will be taken off the market next (and taking someone’s eye out at the same time).

 


4. Speak up, love

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When I got engaged and surprised my friends with the news a few days later at dinner, they said “We don’t know who should make a speech to mark this occasion, because you always give the speeches.” I’m absolutely giving a speech at my wedding, because I love doing it. When my brother got married, he didn’t give one because he hates giving speeches and it was his day. His lovely now-wife said a few words, and it was ace.

 


5. What’s in a name?

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The traditional convention is to take your husband’s name. But there are way more options than that – he can take your name or you can both keep your own names. As for us, my fiancé and I are considering just picking a new name for both of us like, say, Mr and Mrs Awesome (NB: idea may be plagiarised from How I Met Your Mother).

 


6. All white on the night

 

I don’t know about you, but (spoiler) I’m certainly not going to be ‘virtuous’ when I walk down the aisle. So why do brides always wear white? If white is not right for you, ditch it. Wear your best colour, whatever that is. An added bonus is, if you don’t choose a traditional ‘bridal gown’, it may save you a huge amount of money because them gowns ain’t cheap, y’all.

 


7. Ditch the poultry and veal

Naked_butlers_with_a_hen_party,_Bristol_2013

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

 

If you and your spouse-to-be don’t feel like, or can’t, divide your faves between genders, or the idea of a ‘hen’ party fills you will horror, consider a ‘hag’ do – essentially a combo of your hen and stag dos. It’s basically a party with your closest friends, with the added excuse to do something nuts that you wouldn’t normally do, like aqua-zorbing, or playing laser tag (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it).

 


8. Elope (not for the faint-hearted)

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Finally, if you really don’t like the idea of having your elderly relatives watch on as you do ‘church tongue’ with your beloved, skip town and get married abroad. My badass sister got hitched in Las Vegas and went to the zoo that afternoon with her new husband. Awesome.

If there were really rules for having a feminist wedding, that would defeat the point of throwing off the shackles of our patriarchal overlords. Ultimately, as long as you’re doing what feels right for you and your partner (and you actually like each other – you do, don’t you?) I think you’re going to have a pretty perfect day. Wish me and Mr Awesome luck!

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