Oh yes there’s more! In addition to the 10 The Feminist Bride has already covered, here are 10 more wedding traditions worth skipping. Don’t worry there are solutions for all of them! And yes, that’s a bride throwing a cat…and no, it’s not on this ten list. Sorry cats.
1. A Baby for Every Ribbon Cut Shower Game: I’m guessing this game came from the idea that a wedding ribbon is a metaphor for a baby’s umbilical cord. With birth control and reproductive choice, like never having children, this ribbon cutting/baby making game is passé. And if you’re like me, you sit there watching the game unfold thinking, “This is really the best game we can come up with to entertain ourselves?” Besides, it totally reinforces that a wife’s only job is to have babies. Here are my solutions: first, for every broken ribbon an orgasm on your wedding night! No one in his or her right mind is going to argue against climaxing. If saying vagina or orgasm out loud embarrasses people at the shower, have the bride make a wish list of life goals instead. It could be anything from going to graduate school, getting a raise, retiring with the love of your life early to not falling into the toilet seat in the middle of the night to simply making sure you make it to your 50th wedding anniversary.
2. Sleeping apart the night before the wedding: Personally, I like this tradition as a firm believer of absence makes the heart grow fonder and seeing that one night alone might be nice if I have a lifetime to sleep next to someone else. I, however, find that a majority of folks see this tradition as moot because of cohabitation and premarital boot knocking, so I get their logic. It’s kind of like, why pretend to be something (ahem, a virgin non-cohabitator) when you’re not? Lying about the reality of your life just to uphold superstition sounds like a more probably way to incur bad luck. As far as the superstition of not sleeping together before the night of the wedding or seeing each other beforehand goes, no divorce has even been faulted for accidentally seeing the bride before the wedding as a cause. Besides, if you want an outfit surprise there are other ways to do that without the superstition.
3. Waiting to See Each Other before the Wedding: This goes hand and hand with #6, but here’s a great reason to not wait till the wedding – because after you’re done, you just want to get your drink on cuz Momma needs to cut her nerves with some champs! Not to mention you’ve been dreaming about all those little appetizers, because you’re hungry from not eating all day. You’ve also been so focused on yourself and your new spouse that you’d love to talk to anyone else! As you can tell, as a bride as much as I loved taking a million photos, I really wanted to partake in the cocktail hour that I had paid for and felt a little guilty thirteen of us were playing model instead. So taking photos before the wedding ceremony is really a great idea. As far as surprising each other with how you look, just arrange a private moment in a room alone before the circus begins. That swelling of pride, beauty and love, couples feel when seeing each other at the altar will happen no matter what. This way, at least, the couple gets to do it twice.
4. Making The Bridesmaid Pay for their Uniforms: I’m totally guilty of this, I was so concerned with everything looking uniform and aesthetic that I never stopped to think if it was fair to make my bridesmaids pay for something I wanted and they (most likely) didn’t. I thought I was being fair by picking an affordable-ish dress ($99) with pockets that they could wear again. (Regardless of how re-wearable you think a dress is being able to wear again and wanting to wear again are two different things.) The bottom line is – if you were hired for a job that paid shit and then required you to buy your own uniform, you’d be pissed and resentful too right? It doesn’t matter how much you love the company, not all financial and choice sacrifices are worth it. It’s also a massive financial burden on most women; cutting out or at least subsidizing the uniform makes a huge difference in people’s enthusiasm for being required to do something. Not to mention, groomsmen rarely have to buy anything and rental fees are typically very low.
5. Lifting the Veil: The veil itself is neither feminist nor anti-feminist, but when the veil is activated, like when the father or groom lifts it to present the bride, this then becomes anti-feminist. Historically, lifting the veil is when the groom saw his betrothed for the first time (because it was an arranged marriage). Throughout history, in most arranged marriages the bride had little say or control over her future and future mate, only men controlled it. So the veil acts like patriarchal gift-wrapping that only men could unwrap in this case. The father presents his daughter and his consent to this marriage as the orchestrator of the marriage. Since fathers or grooms are still the ones lifting the veil, this historical symbolism remains too unfortunately.
6. Forbidding Others to Wear White at the Wedding: The etiquette of not wearing white, lest a guest or bridesmaid steal the show, really just comes from consumerist and elitist culture. Pushing the bride as the center of attention only solidified a must-have white wedding culture. Rules regarding non-white outfits in conjunction with Labor Day fashion laws allowed the upper class to sniff out the social climbers and new money. So when and where not to wear white is really just a snobby, elitist tradition that is contingent on money. Before the late 19th-century, it was customary for bridesmaids to wear matching outfits with the bride in order to deflect demons who wanted to give the bride good luck. So when Pippa Middleton color-matched her sister, they were actually participating in a much older tradition (and to be honest, Pippa did divert the gawkers’ eyes). This tradition is also worth skipping because frankly, it’s not just about the bride. It’s about her fiancé too and all the family and friends that came out to support them too!
7. Being Announced as Mr. & Mrs.: Where to begin…ah yes, the prefix Mrs. is a completely out of date, sexist term. Why you ask? Men, no matter what age or status are always Mr. Mr. is a sign of respect no matter what they’ve accomplished. All prefixes assigned to women only judge them on their relationship status, i.e. Miss and Mrs. (Ms. is the only term on par with Mr.) Mrs. is often treated as the highest status of respect or the most desirable title (“Oh, I can’t wait to be Mrs. Smith!”) a women can achieve – someone’s wife. Men are never defined as someone’s husband and if they are it’s usually as an insult. In addition to that, once married women are typically addressed as the wife of Mr. Smith or Mrs. John Smith. Nowhere in that appellation is her identity. So absolutely, when the couple kisses at the end of the ceremony or at the beginning of the reception a couple should NOT be announced as the new Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Here are some ideas on how a couple can be announced as equals at a wedding.
8. Only Doing Traditions with Parents of the Opposite Sex: For being walked down the aisle or sharing a dance with a parent, most newlyweds seek out a family member of the opposite sex. I’ve even seen brides opt for uncles when Dad wasn’t around, instead of walking with Mom who raised her as a single parent. No tradition should be strictly heterosexual, if it means bypassing someone important! I did manage to walk down the aisle with both parents, but since dancing treated as a hetero activity (just look at the Dancing with the Stars match ups) it never occurred to me that I could ask my mom to dance too. These days people have dynamic families, and it’s about time fiancés account for them. If the groom grew up with two dads, he should be free to dance with them. If the bride has both a mom and dad, why not honor both by spitting the dance. My mom is a fabulous dancer and looking back I lament that I didn’t split it with her too. I loved dancing with my dad because it was just like we were back at a father-daughter dance when I was young, but as a feminist bride I shouldn’t have been afraid to cut a rug with both.
9. Bouquets and Boutonnières: A recent feminist and eco-friendly bride of mine suggested that fiancés do away with bouquets and boutonnieres. She argues that because they are so briefly used that one, they’re not worth the money and two, skipping their brief prettiness has better long-term effects on the environment. Buying flowers that are out of season usually incur more carbon-footprinting, plus its also cutting the life of something very short. There are plenty of non-plant bouquet and boutonnière options available. I know, you’re probably panicking what do the bridesmaids do with their hands then! Well, the can do like the groomsmen and politely hold them or they can hold hands together. Maybe one of bridesmaids learned sign language, just for this occasion. Flowers are expensive anyway, take the money and invest in something more long lasting like your joint, early retirement.