How To Plan A Feminist Wedding: 7 Ways To Say 'I Don't' To Outdated Traditions
If you recall, as I’m sure you do, because of course, I recently wrote about my feminist dude. My feminist dude (also known as my feminist fiancé) and I will be tying the knot in an intimate wedding in Paris this May. When we heard that Kim and Kanye were getting married there, we figured it was imperative that we “keep up with the Joneses’” as they say, and get married there, too! Actually, Olivier is Parisian, so why not get married in his hometown? It is Paris, after all.
Despite the somewhat, um, interesting (read: sexist, ignorant, degrading) feedback I got from more than a few men regarding my feminist fella (shout out to the dude who called Olivier a mangina!), I figured I wasn’t quite done talking about how awesome it is to be with a feminist man, and how even more awesome our feminist wedding is going to be. Dearest gentlemen who tracked me down on Twitter and email, start your engines, because I have some more fodder for you.
Without further ado, let me tell you how to plan your very own feminist wedding.
SCREW WEDDING PARTY GENDER RULES
Bridesmaids and groomsmen? No thanks. Why should my best friend Mattie be excluded from my side of the wedding party just because he has testicles? In a day and age when men and women can — breaking news — JUST be friends, it seems silly to adhere to traditions that are based on gender specifics. Olivier’s best “man” is his sister, Patricia, and of his grooms “men,” two are women. On my side, it’s all ladies, plus Mattie, who, much to his disappointment, will not be wearing a matching dress. (But only because there will be no matching dresses.)
SHAKE UP THE CEREMONY LANGUAGE
We’ve decided to change what might be regarded as “traditional” ceremony language. Like, why must we say, “Until death do us part?” Why can’t we say, “As long as vinyl spins automatically clockwise after hitting the button three times on my wonky record player?” (Because it will be forever.) And who needs words like “husband” and “wife,” when the term “partners” encompasses the whole enchilada? You have to remind yourself that this isn’t your parents’ or grandparents’ wedding: this is your show and you two can express yourselves the way you actually speak.
NIX THE ‘GIVING AWAY’ TRADITION
Much to my father’s dismay, he will not be “giving” me away to Olivier on our wedding day. My father, in his “haha, I’m so funny” way, thinks it would be delightful to, when he “hands me over” to Olivier, ask for three cows and a goat. The man is hysterical, I tell ya! While I like the idea of walking down the aisle alone to greet my betrothed, to meet my parents halfway, both my mom and dad will walk me down the aisle. This isn’t about giving me away, but rather the growing of our family, as we welcome Olivier to the craziness that is the Chatel way of life.
SWITCH WHERE THE BRIDE AND GROOM STAND
Have you ever wondered why brides “must” stand on the left? Honestly, I didn’t until we started planning this whole thing. Unless you feel like you need to be saved from another suitor trying to get in on that, you can toss this tradition out, too.
According to The Knot, “The tradition actually stems from the old days of 'marriage by capture', when the groom needed to leave his right hand (his fighting hand) — which he used to hold his sword — free in the event that he should need to defend his bride from other suitors who may try to whisk her off at the last minute.”
It is a charming thought to be pursued by so many guys, but personally, I like to think that if someone tried to step in and “whisk” me off, I’d be able to fend for myself … in my gorgeous Oleg Cassini dress and 4-inch heels, no less.
GO ROGUE WITH THE BRIDAL PARTY GIFTS
When I Googled "bridesmaids gifts," I was appalled. (Go ahead; Google it.) Purse accessories? BFF picture frames in hot pink or purple? No way. My bridesmaids are women of this era; New Yorkers who have their shit together and wouldn’t be caught dead fawning over a “jewelry box keepsake” with the date of my wedding on it.
Oh, no! I’m not a virgin! I can’t wear white on my wedding day! I’m the worst, I’m… free!
Traditionally, the wedding dress was white as a statement of the bride’s virginity. However, these days, with so many couples shacking up before they tie the knot, it’s safe to assume that many of us are no longer virgins. (And good thing too — it’s always important to try out the car before you buy it.) So why feel the obligation to stick with white if it's not your color? Who can forget Gwen Stefani’s pink ombre wedding dress by John Galliano when she married Gavin Rossdale in 2002? It's your damn day.
In my case, I will be wearing ivory. I know, I know; it’s not much of a stretch from white, but it’s more because ivory is suitable for spring, and why the hell not? As for the rest of me, you can count on blue: heels, headpiece, faux fur stole, and undergarments.
REMEMBER, IT’S NOT REALLY ABOUT THE WEDDING
While the big day is definitely something you want to remember, a true feminist wedding is when the partners know it’s really about their marriage. It's about celebrating two people have found their partner, their best friend, and the true mate with whom to go through life’s ups and downs — all while having a good time. Sure, the wedding day is going to be important, but what’s most important is the next morning, when you roll over and realize you’ve found the one; the one who loves you as his equal, and will be kind enough to make you chocolate chip pancakes while you start in on those thank you notes.