Feminism is a hot topic for most women, yet for some reason we tend to put gender equality on the backburner when it comes to planning our own weddings. Believe it or not though, it is possible to have a more gender-balanced or feminist wedding, without too much extra effort. Let’s take a look:
1 The engagement
If your partner feels it’s important to ask for your hand in marriage before proposing, suggest that he speak to both your parents, rather than just your father – after all, you love them both equally. You could even forego the permission stage altogether, or propose yourself. The world is your oyster!
2 The ring
Forget the days where an engagement or wedding ring was a symbol of ownership. These days it’s about love and commitment, and that’s that. Which is exactly what you should say if anyone comments on the size of your ring, or asks if you’ll be getting an upgrade. Remind them that real women build each other up instead of breaking each other down… and maybe rethink adding them to your invite list.
3 The planning
Everyone knows that women love planning weddings and men don’t. Right? Wrong! It’s exactly this assumption that leads the bride and her mother to do most of the planning, while the groom gets away scot-free. If it’s a celebration of your mutual love, then it should be a result of your mutual planning. Fair’s fair. Encourage your partner to become equally involved in the decision-making, ban the word ‘bridezilla’, and share the planning between the two of you (whether he likes it or not).
4 The dress
Ah, the white dress – the traditional symbol of purity. But just because that’s the way it’s always been done (extending as far back as ancient Greece) doesn’t mean that’s the way you need to do it. If you want to express your individuality with white, ivory, black or red, you do what makes you feel best. Your wedding day, your choice.
5 Your body
You aren’t a work in progress, so don’t let anyone shame you by asking whether or not you’re going to lose weight for your wedding. If you want to, then great. But as for well-meaning ‘friends’ and snooty bridal shop assistants? You can treat them with the contempt they deserve.
6 The ceremony
Well, you’re not going to promise to obey your husband, so let’s scratch that from the vows right away. Similarly, if you’re not comfortable with your father ‘giving you away’ as is tradition (you’re not chattel, after all), then you can do away with that too. You could ask both of your parents to take the trip down the aisle with you instead.
7 Gender labels
Bride, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, maid of honour, best man – these labels are all traditional ones, and can often have very little relevance in a modern context. If labels like these are upsetting or unnecessary (for example, your ‘maid of honour’ is a man), do away with them altogether and simply focus on celebrating your love surrounded by your nearest and dearest.
8 Bride or groom?
Traditionally brides stand on the left and grooms on the right – an old tradition that left a man’s sword hand free should he ever need to defend his woman. Gone are those days, however, as are the days of the bride and groom’s guests sitting directly behind them. Stand on whichever side you want, let your guests sit where they want, and just concentrate on saying, ‘I do’.
9 The speeches
Traditionally, the father of the bride, the groom and the best man speak. In other words, it’ll be raining men on your wedding day unless you give your guests the chance to hear a woman’s perspective. Ask your maid of honour, mother or a friend to say a few words, and even consider picking up the mic yourself for a truly feminist kick.
10 Throwing the bouquet
Believe it or not, the unmarried women at your wedding aren’t all dying to tie the knot. But throwing the bouquet can be a lot of fun, and can make for some fabulous candid pics too. Why not put a new spin on an old tradition by inviting all the single men and ladies to participate? Nothing like seeing the look of horror on a confirmed bachelor’s face when the bouquet falls into his lap!
Want more modern wedding planning advice? Here are 4 rules you should definitely break right before your big day and 4 old-school bridal shower rules you can forget about.