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5 Ways to Make Your Wedding More Feminist

5 Ways to Make Your Wedding More Feminist

When my husband and I got married in October 2010, I was just starting to explore what it meant to me to be a feminist. I had a very clear picture of what I wanted my marriage to look like — equal division of household chores, open and honest communication, keeping my last name, etc. — but I wasn’t sure how to make my wedding a more feminist one.

The problem I kept running into was that most weddings look pretty much the same with a few variations thrown in. Mostly, the bride and groom stand in front of their friends and family, vow to love each other forever, kiss and have a great party. Was there anything that could make the ceremony more feminist? At the time, it seemed difficult to break from the norm because I wasn’t aware that breaking from the norm was possible, so I ended up adding in my own touches to make the wedding more personal and, therefore, more feminist.

Our families were involved in almost every aspect of the day. Both of my parents walked me down the aisle, and no one was asked to give me away. We had my uncle marry us and he was happy to talk about gender equality in his speech. My sister-in-law made cupcakes instead of a huge wedding cake. We decided not to do the traditional garter and bouquet toss and, instead, added a mother-daughter dance to the traditional parent dances.

In the end, my wedding was exactly what I wanted it to be, and, I believe, it was pretty feminist as far as weddings go. Since then, I’ve done a lot of research for my friends on ways to make weddings more feminist, and here are some ideas I’ve found.

Ditch the Engagement Ring

Weddings have traditionally been about transferring property of a woman from father to husband. Now, this starts with the engagement ring, which marks the woman as “taken.” Furthermore, diamonds have long been steeped in controversy regarding where they come from and at what cost. The best way to start off a feminist wedding is to ditch the engagement ring or, if a ring is important to you, shop for conflict-free diamonds or other stones and metals that are ethically mined, or for vintage rings. Another option is to have engagement presents for both the bride-to-be and groom-to-be, making the engagement process more equitable.

Write Your Own Vows

Remember when Kate Middleton and Prince William got married and everyone was wondering whether or not she would vow to obey him during the ceremony? (Spoiler: She didn’t, and Princess Diana didn’t either.) Wedding vows are often the most archaic of everything associated with weddings. I remember at the wedding of two of my friends, the bride had to pledge to have children. Afterwards, she wished she had edited the vows a bit more. Words matter, especially to feminists, so choose your words carefully when you are writing your vows. You can write your own, of course, or you can write them with your officiant and have him or her tell you what to repeat. Either way, make promises you want to keep, or else the ceremony will lose its meaning.

Celebrate Marriage Equality

At another friend’s wedding, instead of party favors, she had a board with white knot pins and asked all of her guests to don one for the ceremony and reception. On the top of the board was a sign that said, “Everyone should have the right to tie the knot.” Marriage equality is a very important topic in the feminist world, and what better place to make a statement about it than at a wedding? I know many people who have decided to abstain from getting married until everyone has the right to do so and, while that is a great idea, if you can’t or don’t want to wait for whatever reason, draw attention to your cause so people are made aware of it, and follow that up with a donation of some of your wedding money to an organization that reflects your values.

Choose Your Vendors Carefully

Money talks, and the wedding industry sees a lot of money changing hands. Choose your vendors carefully and make sure they reflect your values. If you want to stand for marriage equality, choose a photographer who has photographed same-sex ceremonies. If you are concerned about the environment, choose invitations made of recycled materials or opt for digital invitations. The list goes on and on, but one thing remains the same: you get to choose your vendors, so make sure they stand for the same things you do. You and your fiancÚ should come up with a list of questions for each vendor, and in those should be questions about what their values are.

Do What You Want!

One of the best ways to make your wedding more feminist is to throw tradition to the wind. If you do some research on why some of the traditional wedding events started, you will find that they are not feminist in the least. The garter toss, for example, dates back to the 1500s when the bridesmaid and groomsman were to get proof that the wedding was consummated and stole the bride’s clothing for good luck.

Keeping the cake frozen for a year after the wedding stems from the fact that cakes were so expensive that they had to save a tier of it for a baby shower, assuming that there would be a baby coming along within a year after the wedding. When you know what these traditions mean, it’s a lot easier to get rid of a lot of them and do whatever you want at your wedding. There are some great websites and books out there that can give brides and grooms all kinds of ideas for what to do at their weddings like Offbeat Bride and A Practical Wedding, so check them out and plan the wedding you want.

Related Stories:

When a Feminist Gets Married…

Is Keeping Your Maiden Name Still a Feminist Act?

Is “Bridesmaids” a Feminist Milestone, Or Just Another Dumb Comedy?

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Photo Credit: Katsunojiri

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116 comments

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2:26AM PDT on Jun 15, 2013

This article is actually remarkable one it helps many new users that desire to read always the best stuff.
how to clean jewelry at home

12:22PM PDT on May 15, 2013

I'd say a wedding in general in un feminist. Then again, I had my dream wedding, so i can't judge.

3:25PM PDT on May 2, 2013

Isn't "feminist wedding" kind of an oxymoron?

1:55PM PDT on May 2, 2013

Ultimate way to make a wedding more feminist.... Get married by a judge in a court house with no ceremonial shit and in casual wear.

I personally don't think writing ones own vows makes a wedding more feminist, I personally think that it makes it more personal, more unique, more loving. That way you can say what you really feel to your spouse, and the true reason why you want to be with them.

I was never fond of rings, of any kind, I work with my hands too much and don't want to lose any ring or dent any ring especially one where there is such meaning behind the giving of it, so I may not even have a ring except for ceremonial purposes, then in a keepsake box it goes. I wouldn't mind like a necklace, a simple one made with love by my future spouse in place of a ring.

My photographer is going to be friends and family. I know that their values are close to my own, and many of them are great with cameras. Try it, give some cameras to friends and family, or request that they bring their own, and have them take pictures when they feel that it is a photo moment, at any event, a wedding, a reception, family reunion, birthday, babyshower, ect...

1:39PM PDT on May 2, 2013

Dear X. I hope you’ve married a man after all. I’ll keep my doubts to myself. There is nothing feminist about messing with one’s wedding ceremonies in the name of gender equality and the the cost of other people’s accommodating nature. You don’t file away your breasts and curves or wear a suit so you could both look equal at the alter. So, what’s this thing about ceremonies? The most sensible act a feminist could do for this society is to keep out of sacred institution of marriage. Same applies to male sexists. Truth is, real men worth their salt dont take our feminist crap lying down. We usually end up tying to knot with ones that see us as means to an end or the insecure ones to whom we end up playing mommy. But If you have been momentarily lucky, you can expect him to recover and walk away at some stage.

Women with feminist attitude entering wedlock has left us with ever soaring divorce rates, 51% of eligible bachelors not wanting marry, and divorced straight men with bad taste in their mouth for women in general. This trend has already left us in a state where our daughters have to choose between insecure effeminate boys (no shortage) and insensitive morons (walking dildos as we feminists call them) who can’t tell difference between women and disposable Kleenex. Its like the mental faculty needed for long term commited relationship no longer develops in our men.
I was a women’s rights activist. Looking back, at blogs such

1:37PM PDT on May 2, 2013

Did you notice... I dont see one satisfied married soul among your supporters in this blog. Wake up

1:14PM PDT on May 2, 2013

Dear X. I hope you’ve married a man after all. I’ll keep my doubts to myself. There is nothing feminist about messing with one’s wedding ceremonies in the name of gender equality and the the cost of other people’s accommodating nature. You don’t file away your breasts and curves or wear a suit so you could both look equal at the alter. So, what’s this thing about ceremonies? The most sensible act a feminist could do for this society is to keep out of sacred institution of marriage. Same applies to male sexists. Truth is, real men worth their salt dont take our feminist crap lying down. We usually end up tying to knot with ones that see us as means to an end or the insecure ones to whom we end up playing mommy. But If you have been momentarily lucky, you can expect him to recover and walk away at some stage.

Women with feminist attitude entering wedlock has left us with ever soaring divorce rates, 51% of eligible bachelors not wanting marry, and divorced straight men with bad taste in their mouth for women in general. This trend has already left us in a state where our daughters have to choose between insecure effeminate boys (no shortage) and insensitive morons (walking dildos as we feminists call them) who can’t tell difference between women and disposable Kleenex. Its like the mental faculty needed for long term commited relationship no longer develops in our men.
I was a women’s rights activist. Looking back, at blogs such

1:34AM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

Interesting

5:10PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

" If a bride doesn't want an engagement ring, fine, but some really do, and as long as it's a conflict-free diamond or stone of her choosing, I don't see the harm."

The harm is that it is unequal, unless the woman purchases it herself. But, expecting the man to spend thousands on a ring just because he's a man and she's a woman is truly anti-feminist.

Some suggest that she spend an equal amount on a ring for him but since most men don't want a ring, that would be forcing something on him. If she really wants a ring from him, she could gift him a check for the cost of the ring and he could them buy it for her.

12:58PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

When I got married in 1975, (my 2nd wedding, his first) I walked down the aisle alone, and he met me halfway.

There were no words used like "submit" or "obey," and we were pronounced "husband and wife," not "man and wife."

The fact that weddings have gone back to some of the more archaic traditions is a backlash to the feminist movement. I got married in the Baptist church the first time, in 1971, and the word "obey" wasn't used them, either.

If a bride doesn't want an engagement ring, fine, but some really do, and as long as it's a conflict-free diamond or stone of her choosing, I don't see the harm.

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