We’ve talked about who should propose and buy the engagement ring and discussed equal planning in our Feminist Wedding series. In today’s article, we are discussing a feminist wedding ceremony and the traditions that go with it, and how you can create a more equal and modern approach to this important part of your wedding day.
The Collins dictionary states that a marriage ceremony is “the formal things that are said and done when two people are married”. What it doesn’t mention is anything about apparent traditions that must be followed or spoken. There are, however, legally binding agreements that you both must make in a ceremony but you can choose the words you want to say.
Back in the day, a traditional marriage ceremony was where the father of the bride ‘gave away’ his daughter to a man he believed to be suitable to take over ‘ownership’ of her. Now, if reading that sentence makes you shudder a little then you aren’t alone. Marriage has come a long way since then and now with all genders allowed to marry who they want plus a huge rise in mixed-faith weddings – traditions have definitely become a lot more personal.
How can you create a feminist wedding ceremony where everybody is considered equal and it is a reflection of who you are? Here are a few ideas:
Take out gender roles and include whoever you want
Everybody has heard of the typical roles that are included in weddings. From bridesmaids, the best man, groomsmen to flower girls. Now, these are of course all absolutely fine if you want them this way. It definitely won’t make you less of a feminist BUT have you considered that these are not legal roles that have to be a certain gender? Why not take out gender roles completely and just choose the best people for the roles instead? Why do you have to add a male friend into the bridal party and call him a ‘bridesman’? Surely his gender doesn’t actually matter and the fact that he is a best friend does? Can you just simply call your bridal party a bridal party regardless of what gender people are who are in it?
Similarly, you can do this with any ‘roles’ on your wedding day. After all, feminism is about creating a world where all genders are considered equal. So rather than “gender-ising” roles on your wedding day why not just have the people you want regardless of how they identify.
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Write your own vows that place you as equal
I think it’s fair to say that there have been changes to the traditional ceremony vows in the past 10 years but not everyone is always aware of them. The original words included “honour and obey” – definitely something that comes with a connotation. Now there is a choice of what wording you want to choose for your traditional ceremony and you can opt for a few different options in the wording.
If the traditional vows just don’t seem that personal to you then you can absolutely write your own. Doing this makes it feel really special and personal to you and who you are as a couple. If you both decide this is the right option for you then maybe sit down and agree on a few things that you do and don’t want to be included. Keep in mind that everybody will be able to hear them too! Also, if you do decide to write your own vows there are a few legal things that you must add in, in order for the marriage to be legally binding so do check those out before you start writing. If in doubt, ask!
Don’t have someone ‘give you away’ but choose to walk the aisle as you want
I’ve briefly mentioned in the introduction that tradition states that the father ‘gives away’ his daughter to the person she marries in a ‘passing of ownership’. Now, not only are none of us ‘owned’ by anyone, there isn’t always a bride (or just one bride) in a modern day marriage! Nowadays many people do still want their father to walk them down the aisle but it is more to honour him and is a choice that people decide to make for themselves. However, for many reasons this might not be possible and then comes a decision to either have somebody else walk you down the aisle, or you choose to do it yourself.
Shouldn’t the decision of how you walk down the aisle and whether you are accompanied by someone be YOUR CHOICE regardless of any circumstances?
Many people choose another family member, some people have two people and some people choose to walk down the aisle together as a couple. Whichever way you choose, it is ultimately your choice to do what makes you feel happiest. Walking down the aisle together is a lovely way to feel equality for both of you. Or even BOTH walking down the aisle separately. It’s always been seen as a women’s moment but actually, this moment can be shared between both partners however you choose, if you choose.
PLANNING A FEMINIST WEDDING? READ MORE HERE.
These are just 3 options for your feminist wedding ceremony. There are so many other ways you can choose to do this too. The key is to create a wedding that feels right for who you are as a couple and that makes you equal.
Want more ideas on feminist weddings? Check out our blog “How to have a feminist wedding that feels truly right for both of you”
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