Of the many outdated and misogynistic rituals that the American public actively engages in, the idea of the “fairy tale” wedding has to be one of the worst.
Okay, I probably alienated half my audience with that statement. But, before you conclude that I’m just a huge feminist stick-in-the-mud, let me tell you: I get it. I’m in love. I totally understand wanting to seal that love with a kick-ass, intimate, beautifully personalized ceremony that serves as a springboard to lifelong, great happiness. However, what I cannot understand is the notion that marriage-bound partners must adhere to stupid old traditions just because they‘re, well, traditions – especially when those traditions are hurtful to women and marriage in general. So, here’s my personal list of five wedding traditions that you don’t have to uphold:
Tradition #1: The bride and groom have to have a bachelor or bachelorette party.
It’s awesome to want to spend some quality pre-wedding time with your best pals. But, all too often, this “quality time” turns into a booze-soaked stripper fest, complete with all the penis cake (or whatever the bachelor party equivalent of this is) you can eat. There’s this whole notion that your bachelor or bachelorette party is representative of your last night of freedom – in short, it’s your one final shot to go crazy and do whatever you want before settling in to “boring” married life. Well, here’s the thing: if you view married life as a freedom-less, boring endeavor…then what the heck are you doing getting hitched in the first place? When I’m married, I, for one, plan on eating penis cake whenever I want.
Tradition #2: The bride has to let her father give her away at the ceremony.
This “sweet” little wedding day ritual has some pretty nasty roots, if you ask me. It wasn’t that long ago that women had exactly zero rights, and were considered to be the economic property of men – which is when the particular notion of a father “giving away” his daughter originated. Today, this tradition could be interpreted as the bride saying goodbye to the main male presence in her life (her father), and saying hello to the new one (her husband). Either way you choose to see it, being handed down from one male to the next doesn’t exactly sound appealing, does it?
Tradition #3: The bride has to wear an expensive white dress.
Now, while there has been much debate over whether or not the white wedding dress has historically been a symbol of virginity and purity, almost no one mentions Queen Victoria’s connection to this tradition. In 1840, the Queen was gearing up for a wedding to her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe. Before this time, brides didn’t really wear white on their wedding days, but Queen Victoria decided to buck tradition and wear a lace-studded white gown – thus setting off a huge fashion craze in both America and Europe alike. I also happen to know a number of engaged or married feminists who are choosing, or have chosen, to wear white. The point is (although I know it sounds crazy), the bride can choose to wear any color she wants. Really! And no one should feel constrained to buy into the crazy consumer culture that surrounds American weddings – it’s not necessary to buy the most expensive dress ever in order to feel special. That’s just silly.
*To be continued