On Feminism and Weddings, and Six Weeks To Go!

So, here we are. Six weeks to go. It’s all very real now. It’s happening. We’re getting married.    People have been asking ‘So, how’s the wedding planning going?’ and my answer has always been ‘Just fine and dandy, thanks! No major hiccups, no real burning issues, just fine.’ This has invariably been met with a look, half pity, half bemusement, and a knowing sigh. The meaning behind this has only just come to me. I’ve long been wondering where they keep the actual wedding-drama; turns out it’s hiding right there in the final countdown!

Credits clockwise from top left: Total hipsters + Foliage + Red lips + Pals

Suddenly there are a bajillion decisions to be made: How would we like our napkins folded? Where are the string quartet going to sit? What will Dave who’s allergic to fish eat? GAH! It’s ok though, we’re on it, checklist in hand, ticking those mofos off in a most orderly fashion. Planning a wedding involves a lot of questions, and some just aren’t worth losing your shiz over. For the bigger ones, it’s a cliché to say ‘go with your heart’, but it’s true. So what happens when your heart is that of a dyed-in-the-wool feminist?

Feminism and weddings: some would say the two concepts are mutually exclusive. Given the truly patriarchial bent of most wedding traditions – one man ‘giving away’ one woman to another man*, the uneasy symbolism of the garter and the veil, erasing centuries of matriarchal lineage in the taking of the husband’s name – you can see where the two clash**; but I definitely think there’s a way to ‘marry’ the two (ha! get it?).

laura-bates-as-feminist-b-005

Image source: The Guardian

I wouldn’t say you could describe our wedding as ‘traditional’, but I am wearing a wedding dress, I am having my father walk me down the aisle and I’m pretty sure I’ll incorporate Jonathan’s surname into my own, somehow. As many of the problematic aspects of marriage lie in the symbolism, for me, it was about casting off what we didn’t want and bringing in symbolism of what we do want from our marriage and our life: a partnership of equals.

Gone is the throwing of the bouquet (because I have higher aspirations for my awesome pals than being next to be married, ‘kay?), and in is a dance-off with my best women (ain’t no maids here). Goodbye to tired old gendered favours (oh, the guys get some tasty whisky and the gals get a wee pink keyring, gee thanks) and hello to our alternative, a donation to Glasgow Women’s Aid (they do a power of absolutely essential work, providing support to vulnerable women). And, the speeches. Why oh why oh why is it only men’s voices we hear from on a wedding day? The father of the bride, the best man, the father of the groom – enough already! Speech fatigue or no, I’m giving a speech on my wedding day, it’s just ridiculous to me that women’s voices should be silent on such an important occasion***.

Credits clockwise from top left: Scene + Horsey + Bohemian wings scarf + Boho

Of course, this is our choice, and I offer the above with no judgment of anyone who wants to do anything different. Go full on traditional if you want, or chuck the gender-stereotyped baby out with the bathwater, what really matters is it’s YOUR CHOICE. Listen to your heart, don’t give in to peer pressure, and your day will be just that, yours.

I’m so excited approaching this final furlong. In two weeks’ time I have my ‘pre-wedding shindig’ which my darling best friends have organised, and I can’t wait to see what I have in store. I had offered a suggestion of a Suffragettes theme, but we realised tying ourselves to railings all night would significantly limit the fun factor, so that was quickly shelved. I don’t know what I have in store, but if I know my pals it’ll be a total belter.

Credits clockwise from top left: Kitty + Quote + Advice for newlyweds + Antlers

All we have to do now really is tidy up round the edges. Final fittings have been booked, witnesses secured (again, bucking tradition, I am having my amazing brother Lewis as my witness, because he’s my best pal too), and all necessary booze has been stockpiled.

Credits clockwise from top left: Barn + Vodka + Cake

I’m so lucky to have been a Lovette in all of this, as it has allowed me to observe and document the whole process, and will be such a wonderful thing to look back on, and remember everything all the more clearly for it. Thank you all, fellow Lovettes and dear LMD readers, for your comments and camaraderie thoughout this journey. I’ll see you all on the flip side!

Lindsey x

 

* Clearly here I’m referring to marriage traditions of old, before we got with the programme and made same-sex marriage legal.

** Laura Bates puts this much better than I can here

*** Other, non-heteronormative interpretations of this sentiment are also available

17 thoughts on “On Feminism and Weddings, and Six Weeks To Go!

  1. This post is awesome! I agree with everything you’ve said here Lindsey – I think people should do what they want to do and incorporate traditions that they feel comfortable with and chuck out what they don’t want. I love your point about the throwing of the bouquet, which I hadn’t really thought about before – def not going to do that now!

    I *really* want to speak at my own wedding because otherwise it’ll be all men but need to gather up the courage! I’m doing it for women everywhere haha 😉

    1. Thanks so much Kate! I’m glad it has struck a chord 🙂 I am an absolutely committed feminist, but there seems to be a ridiculous idea around that women only have space in their brains to be one thing, so can’t be a feminist and want to get married, or be into make-up, or whatever else. I think it’s so important to listen to yourself, and to stand firm on what matters to you. Hurrah for that! I hope you do speak at your wedding. Speaking in front of lots of people can be nerve-wracking at the best of times, never mind when your emotions are already through the roof. Personally I’m going to try and just take a deep breath, tell a joke (because people HAVE to laugh, right?), and just speak. Whatever happens happens though, and your day will be memorable and amazing no matter what. xxLL

      1. So true, Lindsey! I’m so glad that you’ve raised this point because I am a feminist and it’s an important part of my life – but I also want to be able to still enjoy the things that I like doing! I think being a feminist is all about freedom – it’s about being who you want to be while standing up for the things you believe in. I love reading posts/articles about strong women who want to get married and how they’ve done it – it’s so refreshing.
        I’m panicking about my speech but I think, on the day, I would feel really bad if I just sat there silently and said nothing, collectively, to all our guests who would have travelled a long way to be there. I’m perfectly capable of thanking them and don’t need my fiance to do it for me!

  2. Hey Lindsey, oh how I loved reading this! One of the things that always resonates with me as a (fellow) feminist is that I see it as I have the right to choose what I want – and to me, that makes the difference! If you’ve consciously decided on incorporating something traditional into your wedding, then you are taking control of it, rather than letting tradition take control of how your day is dictated. Personally I decided on the day to toss my bouquet and I flippin’ loved doing it (and then we took the bouquet apart and wore the flowers in our hair circa 70’s Brooklyn*)! . But the ‘name thing’ is definitely something that surprised some of my friends/family – I love my maiden name, and my beloved Tim knew that too and there definitely were times in the lead up when I debated not changing my name, but I think the fact there was never any pressure on me to change it is why, in the end I did (within days in fact – you couldn’t get me to the bank quick enough to get my new ‘Mrs Martin’ debit card haha!). But honestly, I know if Tim’d ever told me I ‘had’ to take his name, I would’ve refused – and really, he wouldn’t’ve been the kind of person I would’ve wanted to be marrying anyway – but I love being Mrs M now and all the unexpected joy it brings me and I know whatever you decide will be right for you because you chose for it to be that way! I’m so happy your wedding is so close now, have the most glorious lead up to your special day and the most amazing celebration with your best pals. And just enjoy the madness and the pre-wedding whirlwind! This is your time and I hope it is beyond marvellous, utterly insane but breathtakingly happy too! Cannot wait to hear about W-Day so very soon! xxx

    *To be honest I still wince a bit that we did that – but after copious amounts of champagne it seemed like the best thing to do at the time and I have no regrets!

    1. I couldn’t agree more! And I’m absolutely not criticising anyone who did or wants to throw their bouquet, what matters is you do it for you, and not because you’re being expected to 🙂 I love the flowers-in-your-hair aspect too, hurrah! Despite a few hiccups it’s all coming together so well now. My dress fitting was so exciting, I had super fun hair trial and I’ve just put our invitations in the post this morning – eep! I just cannot wait to get down that aisle 😀 xxLL

  3. Great post, thanks Lindsey! There are a lot of traditions that do feel a bit old fashioned in weddings and we’ve definitely ditched some! I hadn’t really thought about throwing my bouquet (to be honest, throwing things accurately is not my strong point) but now I definitely don’t want to! Both of my parents are walking me down the aisle, and I definitely don’t want anyone asking ‘who brings this woman’. We have decided to have loads of speeches – my dad will still make one, but my two BMs will make a speech as well as the best man and I will say something as well as the groom. No idea what this will be yet, but I had no intention of being silent on my wedding day! Name change… well, that’s an issue I haven’t dealt with yet at all!!

    1. Thanks so much Jules 🙂 I’m not against traditions per se, but I definitely think people should be keeping them or ditching them according to what is right for them, as opposed to what other people might think. I love the idea of both your parents walking you down the aisle! xxLL

  4. My grandmother is walking me down the aisle as she’s the person i’m closest to and she raised me. I’m definitely making a speech (it’s our day!) and I’m undecided about changing my name in full although I’ve decided to keep my maiden name at work. They’ll be no bouquet throwing (flowers are expensive!) and in the name of equality no-one is getting any favours because they all end up left on the tables!

    Having been raised by two generations of strong women (my mother and grandmother) I think it would be wrong to suddenly dismiss the impact that they have had on shaping me into the woman I am. That doesn’t meant that I’m not ready to embrace being a Mrs and making a new unit, I just don’t think we have to do it in a prescribed way!

    Nice article, good to think about how (and if) feminism resonates with us as individuals and as a group of women. For me it’s all about individual choice.

    1. Ria! I love love love that your Granny is walking you down the aisle, that is the most beautiful thing 🙂 I totally agree about individual choice, and this means being able to embrace those aspects of marriage (including being a Mrs or indeed a Ms!) that we want to without being prescribed to. I really appreciate your comments xxLL

  5. A great post Lindsey, thank you. I couldn’t agree more 🙂

    One thing I would say, is that I hadn’t realised before my fiancé and I started wedding planning was how important the traditional trappings of marriage were to him! I’m a feminist and to be honest, I found the idea of being proposed to very uncomfortable. I didn’t think it was very reflective of how and why our relationship ‘works’ but when we started to talk seriously about getting married, my fiancé made it clear that proposing was something he very much wanted to do and to do ‘right’. I felt like I was left in a bit of a weird situation, because I knew we were going to get married and I knew we would be getting engaged soon (we are moving abroad together for a year and I knew it was going to be before we left) so I was just kind of waiting for something to happen, and I will confess I didn’t always handle it with the most graceful of attitudes!

    Nevertheless, the proposal I never wanted was MAGICAL and took me completely by surprise. It was a really wonderful occasion and we have some very special memories to treasure, plus it made a brilliant story to tell all our friends. So I guess what I’ve learnt, which kind of echoes Madeline’s point above, and which you seem to have taken totally on board in how you’ve planned your own wedding, is that sometimes it’s okay to be the one who compromises and to enjoy the traditional stuff for the occasions they create (and not just the symbolism behind them!)

    1. Exactly that Aisling! I absolutely want to embrace some aspects of tradition just because they will really add something special to the day. My Dad walking me down the aisle was one such thing – it doesn’t have to mean he’s ‘giving me’ to anyone, it just means he’s there with me, by my side, being my Dad 🙂 Also, compromise is what makes us human, and what makes relationships work. Hurrah! xxLL

  6. I really enjoyed reading this post, thanks so much! Love what you’ve written about the bouquet toss – I absolutely hate it but was having difficulty explaining why; I will be remembering your words the next time someone asks me about it! Enjoy the last six weeks 🙂 xxx

    1. I’m glad you’re able to arm yourself with a comeback for next time Emily 🙂 But, also, it’s equally ok to say ‘because I say so!’ xxLL

  7. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts. Your comments have made me smile as I too, was determined to have the day of my own dreams, not succumb to the assumption that I would be satisfied with my mother’s idea of my wedding… which was the one she was never able to have, as her mother before her planned and executed the day of her dreams, that she too had been denied. I am a 55 year old wedding designer, and I married in 1983. Rather than rebelling against societies rules and constraints of the time, I would rather say I was a non- conformist- liberated- independent- thinker, and I knew what I really wanted in my life.
    I lived with my husband for 2 years prior to marriage. At the age of 24, we owned our own home together as equal partners- this was very “out there” back in the day, to be openly acknowledging that we were having sex before marriage was quite shocking for those less liberal. Despising hypocrisy I considered it refreshingly honest, since we were the “pill generation” and “everyone was doing it”” in the closet or otherwise, this tiny pill gave women real sexual freedom for the first time. Determined to marry only once in my life, and firmly believing you cannot truly know someone until you live together, this was was non- negotiable and entirely our right to choose.
    We had a party together with all of our friends at our house instead of the traditional stag and hens. I could not bear the thought of making dreadful hats out of newspaper and choosing matching tupperware – let alone the risk of my future husband returning home minus his beard and eyebrows.
    We contributed a third of the cost for our wedding as it seemed fitting to do so since we were financially independent. The bridal party, both male and female, stayed at my parents house the night before the wedding – my man and I shared a single bed….and no, we didn’t…not with my parents on the other side of the wall – good taste prevailed. We spent the morning together getting ready, and had our photos before the wedding, as we didn’t want to miss a minute of our time with our guests. We drove to the church together…I know, you weren’t expecting that. Despite my father being an atheist I decided that if God is Love then yes, for me it was important to take my vows before God in a church – I meant to keep them and decided on a higher power as my witness. My husband- to- be walked me down the aisle because I was “giving myself” to him. You might consider it heartless to deny my father the role, but having raised me to question societies rules, he accepted and respected my reasoning that I was not a possession to give to any man.
    At the reception I made a heart-felt speech thanking everyone, particularly my parents, and there were very few dry eyes by the end. I did make some concessions for my mother – such as having a traditional three tier fruit cake. I loathe fruit cake with a passion and wanted chocolate, but it wasn’t a deal- breaker, and I conceded when she begged to tie the 40 cm bride doll she had made to the front of our Mustang – a curly- haired-frilly- apparition in my husband’s secret opinion, but it made my mother happy, so he was kind enough not to deny her the simple pleasure. Apart from the “surprise” of the woman singing in the church with a screech that could shatter lead light windows, I can honestly say our day was perfect despite the rain, and we have been truly happy for 31 years – he is my soul mate and I cannot imagine living my life without him.
    As a Wedding Designer, I encourage my couples to seek their own dream day right down to the smallest detail. Financial independence is liberating from the constraints of parental control, as it should be, so I advise careful thought about the “must- haves” and be kind enough to make the odd small concession if it really doesnt matter. My Tip for a happy marriage is simple – Be kind to each other- everyday – be kind with your words and your actions and you will know true happiness.

    1. Susi your post made me grin from ear to ear (and chuckle a little too). Your day sounds amazing and like it was entirely yours, it’s wonderful you are able to treasure this fact and have no regrets even now (well, maybe not packing earplugs to block out the screeching, haha!). Thank you for adding your own experience to this post, I think it’s great to read and respect the experiences of others. xxLL

  8. Lindsey,
    Lovely post! Thank you so much for incorporating feminism into the wedding conversation! I’m a feminist wedding photographer and I’m working on a feminist wedding magazine with some friends, and our struggle is always to remind people that a wedding is about a partnership, not about sticking to strict gender roles that are (for the most part) obsolete.

    We’re planning on pushing out your post on our social media because we love it so much! Let us know if you want a copy of the magazine — or if you want to advertise in it! We would be thrilled to have you!

    xoxo
    Carly

    PS. Here’s a preview: issuu.com/catalystwedco/docs/catalyst_volumeone_preview?e=15036592/11137608&utm_source=Vendors+for+Advertising&utm_campaign=185fb7dc54-Advertising_and_Wholesale_request1_26_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_899f4f82d4-185fb7dc54-

    PPS. LOL: “Other, non-heteronormative interpretations of this sentiment are also available”

    1. Carly thank you so much!! I’m really so chuffed you want to push this post out 🙂 The magazine looks great (I seriously want that ‘f*ck weddings’ tee for my photos, ha! I am so a rebellious bride!), and I’d love to get a copy once it’s in print. It would be great to know how to reach you, I am mostly at @linsnoir on Instagram xxLL

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