For many a modern day feminist, traditional weddings (and all of the traditional customs that go with them) culminate in one big sexist nightmare. Think about it: brides are traditionally “given away” by their fathers as though they are objects, the white wedding gown is a symbol of intact virginity, etc. These traditions, as harmless and obligatory as they may seem now, have deeply sexist roots, and emerged from a time when women were seen as property.
Author and feminist Amanda Chatel recently shared some awesome tips on how to ditch antiquated wedding traditions in her essay, “How To Plan a Feminist Wedding: 7 Ways to Say ‘I Don’t’ to Outdated Traditions.” Chatel is only too happy to ditch gender-based wedding traditions, and gives advice on how you can too. Here is what she has to say:
- “Screw Wedding Party Gender Roles.” Have a best male friend you want to be in your bridal party? Forcing yourself to only choose bridesmaids and groomsmen based on the old-fashioned tradition is really limiting. Don’t be afraid to include your nearest and dearest in your bridal party, regardless of gender.
- “Shake Up the Ceremony Language.” Chatel points out that titles like “husband” and “wife” are old-fashioned and do little to express the kind of relationship that many couples have today. She suggests using the word “partners” instead, and incorporating more colloquial language into your vows and ceremony.
- “Nix the ‘Giving Away’ Tradition.” Like many feminists before her, Chatel is so over the ancient, sexism tradition of the bride being given away by her father. This doesn’t mean that your father shouldn’t walk you down the aisle, if that’s what you want of course. It’s just important to consider where these traditions originated from, and find the best way to make your wedding your own.
- “Switch Where the Bride and Groom Stand.” I’ve never even thought of this one before, but Chatel is right: traditionally speaking, most brides stand on the left, and grooms on the right. This tradition originates from what The Knot calls “marriage by capture.” Your hubby certainly didn’t capture you, so why not mix things up a bit by switching sides?
- “Go Rogue With the Bridal Party Gifts.” Explains Chatel, “When I Googled ‘bridesmaids gifts,’ I was appalled. Purse accessories? BFF picture frames in hot pink or purple? No way. My bridesmaids are women of this era, New Yorkers who have their sh*t together and wouldn’t be caught dead fawning over a ‘jewelry box keepsake’ with the date of my wedding on it.” Either go big with a thoughtful, awesome gift, or forgo the traditional altogether.
- “Screw White.” As aforementioned, the tradition of wearing a white wedding gown speaks to the virginity of the bride wearing it. These days, many couples shack up long before they tie the knot, which makes this white-only rule a little outdated. Nowadays, brides are even opting for pastel-hued dresses, rather than stark white. Again, there’s no need to nix this tradition if you’ve always envisioned yourself in a flowing white bridal gown – just remember that it’s your choice to dress how you like on your wedding day.
- “Remember, It’s Not Really About the Wedding.” Which is to say, this day is about how you are embarking in a partnership for the long haul, not just an over-the-top lavish wedding. This day commemorates the union you share with your partner, your equal, one you hope to uphold for as long as you both are able to support each other. Have a blast, but remember, your wedding is just the first day of the rest of your lives together.
What do you think of Chatel’s feminist wedding tips?
Images: Katie Stoops via Instagram