Are you looking for some feminist inspired wedding ideas? Feminism is simply the advocacy of women’s rights based on equality of the sexes. That said, many wedding traditions were started (a gazillion years ago) when gender equality wasn’t exactly a priority. You may believe in and support gender equality but still love some of the traditional aspects of wedding ceremonies. That’s understandable and you should do whatever makes you happy. Those traditions could have special meaning to you for any number of reasons. But if you are questioning if some of those traditions really reflect who you are as a modern couple, here are seven ways to make your wedding more feminist (gender equal).
1. Don’t play the name game.
If you want to smash the patriarchy, the first step is to reject patriarchal naming practices. That can mean a bride keeping her last name, both partners hyphenating their names, or even a groom taking his bride’s last name. Do what feels right for the two of you, for goodness sakes! We promise the world won’t end if you fail to uphold the tradition of names following the male line.
2. Ditch the veil.
Veils were originally used to shield the bride’s face from her groom, usually in arranged marriages. The father would raise the veil as a symbol of presenting her or giving her to the groom. There are plenty of stylish alternatives to this decidedly un-feminist tradition, so why even consider it? Flower crowns are much more à la mode, anyway. If you really like the look of a veil (there are some stunning ones!) and want to use it as a fashion piece, consider only wearing it for part of your wedding and attach it to the back of your hair…don’t you dare cover your gorgeous face!
3. Speech, speech, speech!
At a traditional wedding reception, a bride’s father may give a speech, and her groom might too, but she herself stays bizarrely silent the whole time. Well, we think it’s high time for this ritual to die. After all, there is a very good chance a bride has been dreaming of her wedding day her whole life, so she probably has quite a few things to say. Let her say them! And guess who else has been dreaming of this day and probably have some beautifully emotional words to share? Moms! Let’s hear from the ladies that brought you both into this world!
4. Un-gender your wedding party.
The traditional wedding party consists of bridesmaids and groomsmen. But why? Many, if not most people have significant relationships with people of other genders: A bride may have a twin brother, or a groom may have a female best friend from childhood. Besides, not all people identify as “male” or “female,” but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be a part of the most important day of your life! So when you’re having your wedding programs printed up or you’re designing your wedding website, instead of having two sections separate sections for “bridesmaids” and “groomsmen,” just list all of their names under one heading: “wedding party.”
5. Have both partners be walked down the aisle — each by whichever parent(s) they want.
Listen, unless there is something horribly wrong with your relationship, you probably aren’t getting married as a business transaction, which means the tradition of a father giving away a bride has no place in your wedding. At the same time, though, it’s perfectly OK to want to walk down the aisle with the people who raised you, regardless of your gender (or theirs!).
6. Who pays for the wedding?
Traditionally the bride’s family paid for the wedding due to the concept of a dowry. Goods or money that the bride’s family had to bring to the table in order for her to “earn” her position as a wife. It was also based on the assumption that she would not be bringing in an income during the marriage. Um. Gone are those days!! So when deciding how to finance your wedding there are no rules. Every family will be different, but you can help communicate your expectations. Modern day couples often get contributions from both sides of the family or try to pay for the majority of it on their own.
7. Don’t obsess about slimming down!
This goes for both partners, but brides, especially, are bombarded with messages about looking their best (read: slimming down) for their big day. Don’t fall for it! The important thing is for a bride to feel her best, i.e., be able to eat, dance, and, oh yeah, breathe! So go ahead and try to get fit in the months leading up to your wedding, but for goodness sakes, don’t stress yourself out or even think about starving yourself! And hey, your partner should want to look their best for you as well…so consider getting healthier together.