Couples’ Stories

Kiss Cam Ad Shows “Love is Love”

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 11.07.15 AMPart of the #LoveHasNoLabels campaign, the Ad Council and NFL teamed up to show real and diverse couples on the Kiss Cam.

How She Proposed to Him: Love Actually in Action

Image Courtesy of Youtube

Image Courtesy of Youtube

The woman-led proposal is as rare as a unicorn, but no less magical. Restrictive gender norms dictate that it’s the “man’s job to propose,” to which The Feminist Bride says poppycock patriarch-cock!

Wedding Crashes Women’s March

JAI GIRARD PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

JAI GIRARD PHOTOGRAPHY INC.

What better way to prove “Love Trumps Hate” than with a wedding…that also happens to coincide with the biggest coordinated global women’s march?

The Pros And Cons Of The #LoveYourSpouse Challenge (Bust.com)

635695324548228861-XXX-homer-marge-danceDoes posting a picture each day over seven days prove to yourself, your marriage and the Internet that you love your spouse? I take a look at the #LoveYourSpouse e-chain challenge that’s slowly taking over your newsfeed for Bust Magazine. Is this hashtag challenge all that it’s cracked up to be? What do you think?

Why is Miss Piggy Obsessed with Marriage?

Photo Courtesy: Muppets Most Wanted

Photo Courtesy: Muppets Most Wanted

The great romances of our time have always unfolded like a Greek tragedy, a Shakespearian play, a Dickinson novel or sometimes a delicious telenovela. Heloise and Abelard, Romeo and Juliet, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, Kennedy and Monroe, Sam and Diane, Ross and Rachel, Franco and Rogen, there’s a long list of would-be lovers but none are as memorable, iconic, romantically complicated and plushy as Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog.

Kermit will lament that, “it’s not easy being green;” but Miss Piggy embodies how difficult it is, loving and wanting someone – who is green. For the last 30-plus years, Miss Piggy has chased, bamboozled, coerced and sometimes karate-chopped Kermit towards marital submission. However, the slippery amphibian has continuously dodged and spurned her advances. Why after so many years of cat and mouse is marriage Miss Piggy’s pièce de résistance?

Joe Biden Marries Same-Sex Couple

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 12.16.03 PMIf you didn’t have enough reason to get all Leslie Knope on Joe Biden, the Vice President got temporarily ordained by the District of Columbia in order to marry two White House staffers…in a same-sex wedding…at his personal house. Swoon!

Brian Mosteller, Director of Oval Office Operations married Joe Mahshie, a trip coordinator for Michelle Obama at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington in front of their immediate family. It’s the VAWA founder’s first wedding as an officiant, though there’s no indication as to whether he plans to marry more deserving couples after his stint as Veep (maybe he should!). In a time when a certain potential presidential candidate drives people with fear and loathing, it’s nice to know there are those politicians out there who still understand that love and support is how you lead by example. Dr. Biden put it best!  Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 12.24.24 PM

Congrats to Mahshie and Mosteller; may your marriage be blessed by the rays of Biden’s winning smile with years of happiness and love.

 

 

 

 

Jilted Bride Donates Wedding to Homeless

Karen Olsen talks with twin sisters, Sarah, left, and Rebecca, along with Sarah’s daughter Sarah, 7, and Rebecca’s son, Emmanuel, 9, as they thank her for the evening donated to Mary’s Place families at Sodo Park on Saturday. (Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times)

Karen Olsen talks with twin sisters, Sarah, left, and Rebecca, along with Sarah’s daughter Sarah, 7, and Rebecca’s son, Emmanuel, 9, as they thank her for the evening donated to Mary’s Place families at Sodo Park on Saturday. (Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times)

If you were left at the altar or left before you could walk down it, would you have the clarity to turn a wedding fiasco into a triumph of humanity? Dana Olsen put aside her broken heart and decided, with the help of her family, to donate her would-be-wedding to the homeless families of Seattle’s Mary’s Place emergency shelter.  Guests from Mary’s Place were treated to hairdo’s and donated formal wear to wear to their special formal dinner before they arrived to the upscale Sodo Park venue. They enjoyed a catered meal and danced the night away to a live band.

Weird Couple Quirks – VIDEO

Like everyone else, I thought my relationship was unique and unlike any others, until I saw this video by Buzzfeed… I don’t know about you, but in terms of relationship quirks, communications and habits, I’m totally busted…

Courtesy of Buzzfeed video

Courtesy of Buzzfeed video

The Burger-King Wedding – Corporate Sell-Out or Name Equality Champions?

Photo Ashley King & Joel Burger

Photo Ashley King & Joel Burger

As you’ve already heard Ashley King and Joel Burger, who started as 5th grade elementary friends and ended up twenty-years later as fiancés are getting married and planning on having a Whopper© of a wedding. Their joint destiny may not have been written in the stars, but on a menu as their surnames suggested – Burger and King.

“We have yet to escape the teasing, but we have fully embraced our nickname,” Joel Burger told the Register. While people are having a good laugh with the couple over their uniquely commercial union, let’s talk about how it seems that the couple are practicing the rare neutronymics! Neutronymics is a term I coined where a married couple either retains their two surnames, incorporate both names (hyphenation or middle name replacement) or create a completely new name out of both their names. If Mr. Burger is actually adding on Ms. King’s surname, it is one of the rarest examples of men doing so.

As it stands less than 10% of women today either practice neutronymics or one-sided hyphenation (meaning as a couple, only the woman changes her name). Around 90% of women practice patronymics (taking his name) and so few men practice matronymics (taking her name) or neutronymics that their number doesn’t register on the scale at all. So it’s a pretty big deal if Mr. Burger is going for the full regal sandwich moniker. Which if he is, I think that’s amazing. Even if he wasn’t planning on it, it might be in his finance’s and frig’s best interest if the chain is looking for local spokespeople. Because by the powers of fast food, the burger chain, Burger King discovered their nuptials through the modern wedding announcement platform – Twitter. Instead of celebrating the couple by gifting them with a copyright infringement lawsuit, Burger King decided to gift them an entire wedding.

While I have strong mixed feelings about such corporate sponsorship for “one of the most important day in the couple’s life,” I can’t help but wonder what a Burger King Wedding would look like? First and foremost, the King has to reside as their officiant. If he approves of the marriage he will give his signature thumbs up, then the couple may kiss. Upon saying I do, the couple shall be crowned in BK’s customary regalia. The cocktail hour will serve mini sliders, onion rings and chicken nuggets. Instead of a swan-sculpted ice luge, a large B.K. insignia will dispense the finest of Pepsi colas and Mountain Dews for guests. The reception will start with the chain’s classic chicken Caesar salad and then be followed with a banquet of burgers piled so high it could reach the Gods. The couple will have their first dance to the classic Burger King song, “Have It Your Way” and cut into a burger-themed wedding cake designed by none other than Cake Boss. Guests, with their bellies full from Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburgers, will leave happy, especially when go home with a kid’s meal toy and their pockets full of Junior Whoppers. But most importantly the after party will feature a sacrificial Ronald McDonald effigy in order to ensure a prosperous life together and many little Kid’s meals in the couple’s future.

So why is Burger King doing all of this. For one, it’s really good press, especially after the debacle in 2005 when a lady called 911 because the store couldn’t get her order right. But maybe I’m being cynical and they just believe in a good old fashioned love story. It will be really interesting to see if the chain totally commercializes the couple’s wedding in a marketing stunt and a gross display of the wedding industrial complex or leave the couple to their own wedding design devices (their original intention was to just hand out koozies with their name and the BK logo on the back). If selling out their wedding is the cost for a man practicing neutronymics, I’m actually on board for a Whopper-themed wedding then. Sexism in name change is one of the worst sources of inequality in wedding traditions so I say take the small wins even if it’s from the dollar menu.

The Power of Feminism in Tradition and Culture

 

Image: Tedx, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Image: Tedx, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an important Nigerian novelist and gave an inspiring lecture at Tedx in 2013 called “We Should All Be Feminists.” It explores her own personal interactions and observations regarding gender in Nigeria. She shares her thoughts on these moments as they relate to feminism, power, equality and culture, but what was most powerful is how she described how gender roles in marriage often shape women and men’s equality. Here are some amazingly insightful quotes from the talk and some Feminist Bride reflections on them. I also strongly recommend watching the talk in its entirety too.

Why Do Brides ‘Trash The Dress?’

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Tamagni Photography

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Tamagni Photography

Allegedly, trashing the dress became a thing circa 2001 courtesy of Las Vegas wedding photographer, John Michael Cooper. Cooper may have gotten the idea as early as 1998 when he watched an episode of Sunset Beach, in which Meg Cummings threw a massive tantrum and her bridal self into the ocean after her wedding was interrupted. And from there an idea was born, “I can make this type of crazy, sexy.” With the average wedding dress costing $1,211, it’s hard to imagine why a bride would want to demolish a dress that Oscar de la Renta described as “the most important dress in the life of a woman,” so the question remains, why destroy it?

Interview: Demystifying Wedding Ritual One Cross-Stitch at a Time

Crowned, Oil on Canvas by Katrina Majkut

Crowned, Oil on Canvas by Katrina Majkut

I recently had the privilege of being asked for an interview for the website SIN/GIN founded by human rights law professor, Chiseche Salome MibengeWe discussed a lot of important topics from how fashion impact women’s identities to the pressures of having it all, from self worth to social conformity to the power of art. I found it to be a really intellectually-demanding experience in a great way, so I hope it provokes your own questions and ideas. And I also got to clarify the long-standing debate on where feminism stands on, not nudity, but whether or not most feminists are nudist. Check it out here!

I don’t use feminism to try to eradicate the wedding dress though; because last time I checked most feminists are not nudists so we, too, need to wear something down the aisle… I use feminism to find positive solutions between the customs that have been handed down to us and properly honoring women with respect and equality.”

People Who Made A Difference in Women’s Lives in 2014

Untitled-12014 was a difficult year for women with many setbacks, but in the face of adversity we also saw so many new and old faces who stepped forward as leaders, rebel rousers, activists and more. Here’s a list of men and women who made a difference in the lives of women; and if they’re making a difference for women then that naturally includes men too. Everyone benefits by the ascension of women. Here’s a collection of incredible people in no particular order, and of course if you think someone is missing, feel free to suggest someone.

My Shotgun Wedding: A Beginner’s Guide

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Contributing Writer: Kathryn Marie Lavin

In a dimly lit theater, spending quality time with my big brother over a box of Sour Patch Kids and the soon-to-be-classic, The Wolverine, I felt what I assumed was gas. However, as the movie closed in on its predictable ending, I felt what I can only describe as the sensation of a koi fish trapped in my bowels. As my brother and I exited the movie, I thought about running my amphibious sensation by him. Normally tossing around topics like “abdominal distress” and “public farts” would be standard with my bro, but this feeling exceeded our bodily comfort zone. I felt like I had more in common with the hero of the film, a mutant.

Feminist Fashion Fridays: The 400-Pound Wedding Dress

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Image: Gail Be Designs

Can’t find “the dress?”  Maybe what you need is a 400-pound wedding dress.

Gail Be from Minnesota spent over 20,000 hours using nearly one million beads (500,000 glass pearls and over 400,000 crystals) to create the ultimate wedding dress an obsessive outfit no one can realistically wear. Constructed only with beads, a 20.5-foot train and seven miles of beading wiring, the dress is fitted for a size four. The only person who might actually be physically capable of wearing and walking down the aisle is 100-lb., American Ninja Warrior finalist, Kacy Catanzaro.

As a fashionable work of art, the gown is really something to marvel at. And it’s safe to say Be sorta likes beads, considering this is what her business only does and for the likes of Lady Gaga too. It seems Be created the jeweled monstrosity out of passion (but maybe as a PR-stunt too. You win Be.), as the dress won’t be considered for the Guinness Book of World Records. As a wearable gown, we’re getting into the absurdity that is often the wedding fashion industry. However, since no one wants to be doing 400-lb. power squats on the dance floor, we most likely don’t have to worry about the later.

The only thing that is missing a beaded tuxedo to match. Get on it Be, and make sure to get into the Guinness World Records this time.

Where Are All The Bridesmen and Groomswomen?

Dominique as a groomswoman next to her best friend, the groom

Dominique as a groomswoman next to her best friend, the groom

Ladies, if your best friend is your brother, or that awkward college guy who naively explained that Beirut is a place, not a beer game, or your male coworker who loves afternoon Hot Pockets almost just as much as you and you’re getting married to…someone else, why not put that best friend in your wedding party?

Gentlemen, if your best friend is your sister, or cousin who encouraged you to embrace your affinity for knitting infinity scarves, or your former high school prom date who danced so awkwardly to House of Pain’s Jump Around that you found a platonic, kindred spirit and you are also marrying someone else? Then you, too, should feel free to put them in your wedding party.

Solange Knowles, Caped Crusader of Avant-Garde Wedding Fashion 

Contributing Writer: Sally Pillay

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Feminist Fashion Friday: With a modern twist of unique elegance, Solange Knowles and longtime boyfriend Alan Ferguson married over the weekend. Pair that with a star-studded guest list including the one and only Queen B and husband, Jay-Z, and you’ve got my attention.

Counting at least six bridal outfits through the wedding weekend, Solange started at her rehearsal dinner with a v-neck, bell sleeved dress by Ellery with golden Loeffler Randall heels. This ensemble was just a mere taste of the fashion delicacies to follow!

Prior to their wedding ceremony, Solange and Alan arrived on two white bicycles. Solange donned a sexy low cut Stéphane Rolland jumpsuit with a cape. (LOVE!) The groom sported a white Lanvin suit. (Way to make an entrance!) Now the only thing that can get me more excited than a bride bucking traditional trends is a bride in a jumpsuit and a cape. Pair that with a bicycle, and I’m speechless.

Love is Love: The Most Beautiful Depiction of Marriage Equality (VIDEO)

Grab a box of tissues. This is probably the most heartwarming, poetic video I’ve ever seen about couples, relationships and families, and even better it highlights the beauty of same-sex ones. The video is courtesy of Freedom to Marry and Richard Blancothe 2012 presidential inaugural poet, wrote the poem “Until We Could.” Blanco’s poem was commissioned to mark the 10-year anniversary since Massachusetts granted same-sex couples the right to wed,” The Dailey Beast.

Keep Calm and (Online) Date On

This story was originally published on Quarterlette.com, an online magazine for women who are navigating their quarter-lives. Quarterlette’s mission is to help support, guide and inspire women in their twenties and thirties who are navigating their careers, relationships, passions, hobbies, finances and everything in between.  To do this, Quarterlette publishes honest and relatable, first-person essays written by women who have inspiring experiences, funny anecdotes and powerful life lessons to share. Follow Quarterlette on Twitter and like them on Facebook.

Guest Writer: Janah Valenzuela & Quarterlette.com 

In the era of natural and organic everything, why does it seem impossible to meet people that way concepts of online dating, with message on enter key of keyboard.anymore? I have joined the league of women who can no longer date from their pool of classmates or colleagues and have come to realize Channing Tatum is probably not going to turn up at my local watering hole anytime soon. Though I am the first of my friends to point out how important it is to put yourself out there, the toll that online dating can take on your ego and self esteem can be exhausting! After several on and off waves with online dating sites, I have learned that there should be a few emotional guidelines to help keep us sane during the process:

Neil Patrick Harris ties knot with David Burtka

Everyone’s favorite onscreen child-doctor prodigy and drug-addled Screen shot 2014-09-08 at 11.13.36 AMwomanizer, Neil Patrick Harris got married over the weekend in Italy. He tied the knot with longtime boyfriend, David Burtka according to Twitter. Time.com reports they’ve been partners for 10 years and are raising twins together. How do you say pass the celebration kush in Italian?

 

 

17 Celebrities who said, “I don’t,” to the white wedding gown

Here are 17 celebrities who decided to buck the traditional white wedding down one way or another.

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Camilla Parker finally wed Prince Charles in 2005. Her dress is beautiful, though it's explanation is as complicated as her long time princely romance: "She wore an elegant cream silk dress and matching oyster silk basket weave coat. The silk chiffon dress was hemmed with vertical rows of Swiss-made appliqued woven disks. She completed the outfit with pale beige suede shoes with almond-colored toes designed by L. K. Bennet, a Philip Treacy wide-brimmed cream-coloured straw hat overlaid with ivory French lace and feathers, and a purse made from embossed calf leather with a half flap closing and suede lining, from Launer’s “East/West” collection."
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The Dangers of the Bridal Veil: The Tale of Jacob and Rachel

Ever wonder why the veil is lifted at the end of the wedding ceremony? It’s not just for a romantic effect. Actually there’s a lot of historical and cultural explanation to why it’s a classic ceremony custom, though I thought I’d just share one for now. The Jewish faith offers a funny tale warning against the dangers of veil wearing. Religion, wedding-veilsister-cousin marrying, polygamy, bartering women and deceipt aside, I find the story enjoyable. I thought I’d share a reiterated Feminist Bride version for those who enjoy good hijinks and are debating whether or not to wear a veil.

(Genesis 29:15-30): Jacob meets his cousin Rachel and is immediately smitten with Rachel’s kindness and beauty. Jacob, without the money to support a marriage, strikes a deal with Rachel’s father, Laban. Jacob will work under Laban for seven years in exchange for his daughter’s hand in marriage. But here’s the rub, Jacob failed to specify which daughter he wanted. Rachel has an older sister, Leah, who is considered homely and the lesser catch. Tradition states the older sister should marry first and Laban recognizes he’s stuck with a less-appreciated, unattractive daughter no one will want.

Seven years pass quickly for Jacob because he is so in love Rachel and it comes time for him to finally marry her. Laban throws a lavish wedding ceremony and makes sure everyone’s thirst is well quenched with drink – particularly Jacob’s. To make the marriage final it must be consummated and Laban leads his veiled daughter to the wedding chamber where Jacob is waiting. Jacob makes love to his bride, but when he awakes sober the next morning he realizes he has been tricked. He married the older sister, Leah! Since he has taken away her virginity Jacob is chained to Leah for life. Needless to say, he is furious.

Not all is lost for hoodwinked Jacob because polygamy is a common practice. Jacob demands that Laban allow Rachel to become his second wife. Laban, holding all the cards, agrees on the condition that Jacob commit to another seven years of work. Being madly in love with Rachel, Jacob can do nothing but agree. A week after marrying Leah, Jacob finally marries his real love.

So reader, the moral of the story is to beware veiled tricks! On a cultural point, this warning explains the Jewish wedding tradition of the badeken, where the groom veils the bride himself (gotta know she’s the right one). So when it comes to wearing a complete veil, make sure not to pull a Jacob!

 

Boston Marathon Couple to Get Dream Wedding

If a couple ever deserved a free wedding it’s Rebekah Gregory and Pete DiMartino. Gregory and DiMartino were severely injured in the Boston Marathon Bombing and are still recovering to this day. Gregory broke every bone in her foot and lower leg and DiMartino lost 90% of his Achilles. At the finish line, Gregory shielded her six-year old son, but he too sustained injuries. At separate hospitals and then recovering in different states, DiMartino, knowing they needed to be together, drove from Rochester, New York to Texas to propose.

“Being able to show people that you can take something so horrible and turn it into something so beautiful has been such a blessing for us,” Gregory told The Knot. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to walk down the aisle, but all I want to do is marry the love of my life, Pete.”

The Knot selected them as their 2014 Dream Wedding Couple. I might be biased coming from Boston and being there during that dark time, but out of all the couples you usually see vying for a free wedding on GMA or some other talk show, these two really set the perfect example of who deserves it. After such a tragic event, free wedding or not, these two were going to find a way to get married and be there for each other.

Photo courtesy of TheKnot

Photo courtesy of TheKnot

“[In] the end, we decided our relationship was worth more,” Gregory told People. “We realized that we didn’t have to survive that day -– we could’ve lost one another –- and for me, I knew I didn’t want to spend another day without this guy. For whatever time I have left on Earth I want to be with him.”

Granted, even free stuff comes with a cost – TheKnot users vote on the details of the wedding, but if you’d like to find out more about their story or send the couple a warm congratulations feel free to do so here. Congratulations to a Boston Strong couple!

To Read More - Couple Injured In Boston Marathon Bombing Will Get A Fairy Tale Wedding.

Gov’t Shutdowns Wedding, Steven Colbert Shotguns Wedding Instead

A fiance leaving their partner at the altar is the least of a couples’ problems, especially these days as the government shutdown leaves both fiances stranded without a venue. The closure of national monuments and parks may have left vacationers out in the cold, but what about those looking to have a warm start to a new life together? Have no fear, Steven Colbert is here.

Mike and MaiLien hit the media lamenting their cancelled wedding at the Jefferson memorial, which marks the place of their first date.   Luckily, Steven Colbert, ordained minister of the American Marriage Ministries, swooped in to marry the couple on his TV show, The Colbert Report. Nothing says romantic better than Steven Colbert shotgunning a wedding while shotgunning shots, Smokey the Bear, Saul Goodman from Homeland and lots of shots. When America is stuck in the mud and couples need to say, ‘I do’ there’s always Super Minister Colbert to save the day. 

Wedding March to Your Own Tune

If you’re willing to take risks and stand out, walking down the aisle to your own tune can really set in motion a lifetime with someone full of exciting risks and solid rewards, like the JK wedding in 2005 who created a YouTube viral video sensation. 

In a church ceremony, the wedding party of fifteen, carrying Gerber Daisies and decked out in sunglasses, broke into a fever of dance moves to Chris Brown’s, Forever. By 2013, the video had received over 82 million views and sparked the TV series, The Office to copycat it in an episode. Best of all, after hearing about the devastating domestic violence Chris Brown inflicted on singer, Rihanna; newlyweds Jill and Kevin decided to put their viral video to good use. From 2010 to 2011, the video managed to raise $34,600 for the Sheila Wellstone Institute that helps to prevent domestic violence. Traditions don’t always have to be broken, but look what good can come from those who do break from it.

But there are always those who may not always chose wisely. While you may be capturing a personal joke, sentiment or feel like you’re being totally honest about who you are – there is such as too much. Checking the lyrics is also really important. It seems the bride below must have known the lyrics to Buckcherry’s Crazy Bitch song as it’s hard to miss the bride air humping down the aisle: “You’re crazy bitch, But you fuck so good, I’m on top of it, When I dream, I’m doing you all night, Scratches all down my back to keep me right on.

Everyone loved the dirty wedding band in Old School, but it’s a different story when it’s real life, especially when parent’s have to earmuff their children at the ceremony (as seen in the video below). Though if you’re super into this idea, The Dan Band tours and might just be able to come play at your wedding. Just put a parental advisory rating on your wedding invitation.

 

Part 1: Love on Las Vegas Boulevard – Finding Zion

               As a way to both celebrate and mourn turning thirty, my best friend and I took off on an on epic adventure together. Camping in the desert seemed like a great way to remember our passed youth, set our sights on the future and commiserate with an old friend. However, while most people hope to reach Zion one day; after four day there, we were ready to leave. Perhaps it was the 100-degree heat, the swarm of attacking ants our campsite rested upon or the cozy one-person tent my friend brought for both of us (she insisted it was a two-sleeper). Or maybe it was the screaming night terror she had at 3am from which I could not shake her from and from which I had a mild heart attack that characterized our amazing trip.

             After four days of not showering and watching our neighbors camp with their portable generator and shower stall, we decided we’d had enough communing with nature. It hit us as we hid from another severe thunderstorm in our parked rental car sipping from our birthday champagne bottle…we’d rather be drinking…in Las Vegas. So on our last night in Zion, we broke camp, gave our spoiled neighbors one last dirty look and raced off to Vegas!

While we had originally sought seclusion in nature, we were eternally grateful for the excellent phone service we had in the middle of the desert. With the help of AT&T and Priceline, we headed to the cheapest hotel with the minimum amount of stars that, to us, implied that we weren’t headed to the worst hotel and part of town. $40/night, we thought, would buy us some respectability in sin city.

As we drove down Las Vegas Boulevard, we started to worry our logic had failed us as we passed seedy strip club, tattoo parlor, pawnshop, liquor store, adult video and book store in incredible frequency. Then I saw it, my feminist bride blogging Zion. Among all the XXX signs, bail bondsmen and gimp masks in the windows rested three important buildings. The first, our hotel with an air conditioned room, two double beds and a shower; the other two, nestled on each side of our hotel were the two most famous wedding chapels in all of Las Vegas: A Little White Wedding Chapel and the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.

To say I was slightly exhilarated is an understatement. I had unexpectedly hit the jackpot in all the most appropriate and unlikely of places, Las Vegas. After a shit, shave and shower, a quick trip to the iron-barred liquor store where I’m pretty sure there was a shotgun hidden behind the sales counter like in the movies, we headed out to conduct some Feminist Bride research!

Part 2: Love on Las Vegas Boulevard – Creating a Wedding Experience

Related Articles: The Last Hurrah

Move Over Men, Las Vegas Is a Woman’s Playground!

Party Planning: Who’s Booking The Stripper and/or Spa?

 

 

 

Marriage: When people kept it in the Family

After consummating their marriage, my friend’s parents discovered in family charts that they are in fact 23rd cousins, twice removed. They remain happily married to this day. While twenty-three degrees of separation seems like a big enough number to continue sleeping soundly in a joint bed, the cultural acceptance of relationships with only a few degrees of separation is just too close for comfort for most. Despite cultural taboos and legal barriers, the heart of the matter lies in the fact that affectionately entwined bloodlines have played a massive role in shaping history and culture throughout human history.

Laws preventing consanguineous marriages still exist, but more-than-friendly brother-sister relations still occur like out of a V.C. Andrews novel. The latest international news story was about a German couple in 2001: As a result of their amorous affection, they bore a child, did hard time, and love still survived. The idea of it still captures the distorted fears of moviegoers today with movies like The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003, 1986, 1974), Deliverance (1972) and Wrong Turn (2003). In less horrifying film, who can forget in The Godfather III when Mary Corleone ignited a fire with her cousin Vinnie Mancini, but her father, Michael Corleone, forbade it.

While today sibling relationships are both taboo and illegal, there was a time when it was widely practiced, and even encouraged in order to prevent the tainting of royal bloodlines. Before Mark Anthony, Cleopatra VII was married to her brother Ptolemy XIII, and she was the offspring of a sibling marriage as well. While technically illegal during Roman times, it is said that Roman Emperor Caligula did the deed with all three of his sisters, Julia Livilla,Drusilla, and Agrippina the Younger. And no story of incest would be complete without the tale of Oedipus, who brought shame and ruin to himself and his city for marrying his mother. These tales were (and still are) told to children to impart lessons on morality, civility and health. The moral of these stories is that it is wrong to bang your sister and have children with her, but unsurprisingly, nature has a hand in promoting or preventing this kind of attraction.

The Westermarck effect is a process by which two people become sexually desensitized to each other during their first couple years of life, which is thought to be a natural selection process promoting gene diversity. For example, when a sister’s friend finds her older brother attractive, the sister fails to relate to the attraction. On the other hand, there is a theory of a “genetic sexual attraction,” whereby relatives kept apart during their formative years might be more inclined towards mutual sexual attraction. Finally, it’s well known that the risk of congenital diseases and birth defects rises with each inbred generation, a risk factor that can be determined by an “inbreeding coefficient.” An Ohio State studyresearched Charles Darwin’s genealogy.  Ironically, Darwin himself was a product of consanguineous marriages; and after marrying his cousin; their 10 children faced severe health problems and infertility. Three of them died prematurely. It is thought that Darwin’s children suffered from inbreeding effects.

Over hundreds of years, marriages between cousins frequently occurred for a variety of reasons. Like ancient Egyptian royalty, European royalty encouraged marriage between cousins as a political strategy to unite kingdoms and forge alliances. The Hasburg family of Austria was most famous for interfamilial marriages, so much so that Charles II of Spain exhibited signs of genetic disorders. Ultimately, his infertility led to the extinction of the Hasburg family line. Survival and companionship was another motivation, which was especially useful in pioneering communities. For small religious groups at risk of extinction, faith survived better by marrying those within the community – namely relatives. Retaining wealth, assets and titles was a huge driver in uniting relatives. Laws prior to the 1900s forbade women from retaining property and turned all assets over to her husband’s control. So to keep it in the family, families literally kept it all in the family. But in today’s more modern times, love may just naturally bud at family reunions, maybe as a result of that “genetic sexual attraction” theory. Pass the potatoes please.

Despite the dangers of inbreeding, along with the social and religious ramifications, there are an amazing amount of geniuses and leaders associated with this consanguineous practice. Johann Sebastian Bach married his cousin and they had seven children together. Albert Einstein thought it a smart idea too. Jessie James was not so much of a tough-guy to say no to his cousin, and perhaps writers Edgar Allen Poe and H.G. Wells both found inspiration in their aunt and uncle’s children. Queen Victoria, who set in motion the Victorian model of a modest bride, married her cousin, Prince Albert. Jerry Lee Lewis married his second cousin, an improvement over firsts, but he loses points because she was allegedly only 13. And while FDR bravely battled the Depression and Nazis, and while Rudy Giuliani fought against the destructive efforts of terrorists in 2001, both succumbed to the feminine wiles of their cousin-wives as well. (Giuliani anulled his marriage after 14 years with the Catholic church on the grounds the cousin-thing made it illegal in the first place.)

Affinity marriages are ones of indirect blood relations and can be defined as “in-laws,” which are still too close for comfort in certain jurisdictions and religions. One of the most famous affinity marriages is that of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, daughter to Spain’s Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand II. Catherine had been married to Henry’s brother, Arthur, who died suddenly. To keep relations between Spain and England strong, Henry married Catherine after she promised the first marriage had never been consummated, and the Pope granted dispensation from affinity. Eventually, Henry, lusting after one of the Boleyns, justified his divorce from Catherine on the grounds that she had, in fact, consummated the marriage with Henry’s brother. And then he accused Anne Boleyn of sleeping with her brother in order to get rid of her.

Despite religious condemnation, legal disapproval and social discontent, history has shown that the practice was generally accepted among some of the world’s greatest leaders, thinkers and poets. While Thomas Jefferson marrying his third cousin seems too long ago to matter in the present day, the taboo itself has widely shaped and influenced history and culture. The question of its morality is not what’s being debated here, this dialogue is to bring attention to the fact that by treating consanguineous marriage as abnormal and taboo, we fail to recognize it as a pervasive component in history and in doing so only half the story will ever be heard.

FB TV Review: TLC’s “Four Weddings”

In the universe of TLC wedding shows, it seems they’ve reached the limit and are scrapping to discover and produce new hit shows. I introduce to you, “Four Weddings,” where four women attend each others weddings and rate them on venue, dress and catering. Unlike other aggressive judgmental shows, the ladies opinions are fairly passive since it seems they don’t want to rain on a bride’s special day – immediately (they wait until they’ve eaten wedding cake and go home with a souvenir). Their ratings post-weddings, however, are so particularly low that they would make any bikini contestant cry and go on another crash diet. Oh right, this is another yet unnecessary TV show were we cast subjective bias and pit otherwise friendly individuals against complete strangers and then we videotape this feedback for posterity. Missing from the cast members are the grooms, making this show another perpetuation of the heterosexual, traditionally feminine wedding chimera that riddles all wedding shows. The show is boring and unoriginal. If TLC wants to stir the pot and highlight the outrageousness of weddings…how about a feminist bride TV show? Something tells me I’d watch that.

Mark Zuckerberg Updates Relationship Status to Married

A few years ago, a friend of mine kindly congratulated another friend’s parents on their sons engagement, except the parents responded with, “wait, what engagement?” Seems Junior told the Internet world on Facebook about this big life event, but forgot to tell his own parents. Drama ensued and my friend felt terrible even though she didn’t do anything wrong.

Seems Mark Zuckerberg pulled a similar stunt in a triple crown move: at his own wedding, on Facebook and to the world.

Zuckerberg married longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan in their backyard in Palo Alto, California last Saturday (May 19, 2012). According to news reports friends and family were arriving for a regular party when the couple said, “Surprise, this is actually our wedding!” (If you want a similar surprise wedding, I highly recommend Parks and Recreation’s Andy and April’s wedding.)

Guests were extremely surprised and so was the world who found out through Zuckerberg’s own relationship status update to “Married.” It seems in terms of wealth and celebrity, this is one of the most successfully kept wedding secrets in pop culture history. The paparazzi are probably pissed.

But there’s more to celebrate than just saying, ‘I do.’  Chan just graduated from medical school at the University of California at San Francisco earlier in the week. And Zuckerberg’s company IPO-ed the day before his wedding. If he was grossly rich before he is now stupid rich.

And this is where news outlets are raising their eyebrows about Zuckerberg’s recent influx of money and the timing of his nuptials. Some are calling it fishy. Personally, I’m not surprised by the grouping of such big events for the happy couple. The IPO and Chan’s graduation date would be a good smokescreen for wedding planning. It’s not like they needed to set up a registry and go that traditional route, instead they surprised friends with a good ole’ fashion backyard wedding that’s totally inline with the couples low-profile lifestyle and Zuckerberg’s casual closet (he did abandon his usual hoodie for a suit). And the plan worked, the cakes on our face for not figuring out his scheme.

But the fishy part comes, not from their reception food, but the fact that Zuckerberg’s IPO cash is protected under California’s communal property law. Technically speaking, Chan has no legal right to his fortune’s since the IPO occurred before their nuptials. Should they ever get divorce, there is a good chance she could fight and win more money beyond what Zuckerberg earns post-nuptials because of her support and influence on Zuckerberg and Facebook. She has inspired Facebook’s Organ Donor campaign and she’s been dating him for nine years, since their sophomore year in college and Facebook’s inception. Was this chain of events on purpose? Probably, but Chan should never suffer a financial drought. Between her own career and Zuckerberg’s earning potential, the couple in or outside of marriage will want for nothing.

Prenups are meant to protect the assets each individual couple brings into the marriage, it should not be interpreted as an ominous sign for the future. Actually, both are highly educated (Okay, Zuckerberg is a drop out, but it was Harvard) (Chan also graduated from Harvard in 2007 and now has a Masters), both are financially secure, dated a long time and are on the end of their 20′s (he’s 28, she’s 27, the average marrying age per sex). If a marriage is to last, these are the best facts you can have in your corner. Even living together before marriage is no indication of success. They stay out of the spotlight and live a moderate lifestyle.

Unfortunately, Facebook followers of Zuckerberg did not share the couples happy sentiment. Many responded with racial slurs saying that Zuckerberg has an Asian Fetish or that Chan is a golddigger and that this is probably nothing more than a green card marriage. No word on whether he’s ‘unfriended’ any of these people amongst his 14m plus subscribers.

This raises another big issue – Facebook etiquette. Facebook scrubs for pornography, harassing photos, etc. but what about the general lack of kindness in others? Did the founder himself have it coming for Facebook’s continuing privacy issues? Or is this a huge reminder that nothing we share on the Internet even amongst our community of friends and family is really private and safe?

Back in the day, engagement and wedding announcements were down via snail mail and a phone call. Nowadays our milestone communication is much more informal – we share our big news on Facebook. There’s now a growing culture to take photos of one’s engagement ring or proposal and share it with the world. Some interpret is as a positive, sharing experience, but in no other instance do we condone showcasing a luxury good around (didn’t your mom teach you bragging was bad manners?). Some though, not wanting to rain on others parade, remain silently unappreciative of the non-stop relationship status updates, the staged wedding photography, the emotional rants of those in love. I suppose at the end of the day it’s our choice as to who we follow, read and what we share. Zuckerberg’s wedding announcement is a good reminder of how our precious moments intersect, coincide and sometimes conflict with technology. Even the founder, himself, thought it better in the long run to keep the majority of his relationship and life events analog.

Loving and Marriage by Melissa Harris Perry

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day!

30 Rock’s lovably quirky Liz Lemon introduced us to Anna Howard Shaw Day. Despite the obtuse and ridiculous plots brought to us by the hijinks of Tracy Jordan, the grifts of Jenna Maroney, and the power-clashing of Jack Donaughy, Liz Lemon’s seemingly invented day to avoid Valentine’s Day, Anna Howard Shaw Day is in fact a real day. With Tina Fey as a confessed feminist, it’s no surprise this reference made it into her highly acclaimed TV show. Here is a day we can celebrate alongside our snarfing and night cheese binges with pride and in public.

Anna Howard Shaw (February 14, 1847 – July 2, 1919) was born in England and came to Lawrence, Massachusetts at the age of 2. Her father sent her mother and five siblings away to fend for themselves on a desolate farm in remote northern Michigan. Her childhood sounds very similar to the story in Agnes Smedley ‘s Daughter of Earth. Shaw’s mother also suffered considerably from her inability to support a family. Shaw tried to fill the shoes a son would by doing much of the labor work around the farm. Eventually, she became a teacher to help support the family. When the opportunity to become the first ordained female Methodist minister arose, she took advantage of it even when her friends and family offered to pay for her college education if she stopped preaching.

After graduating from Albion College (where she had to support herself because she kept preaching), she went onto Boston University’s School of Theology in 1876 where she had the sinking feeling of, “the abysmal conviction that [she] was not really wanted there.” She was the only female amongst 42 men. There is now a Anna Howard Shaw Center at Boston University School of Theology that promotes structures and practices that empower women and honor diversity.

A strong support of female suffragism, Shaw met  Susan B. Anthony in 1888. She convinced Anthony to unite two women’s groups to form the National Woman Suffrage Association, of which she became president from 1904 to 1915. Eventually the group became more militant in its protest. Shaw opposed to such tactics eventually resigned from her post. Her dedication to women’s suffrage never abated though. During World War I, Shaw was head of the Women’s Committee of the United States Council of National Defense, for which she became the first woman to earn the Distinguished Service Medal. Shaw died a few months before the ratification 19th amendment due to pneumonia.

A woman of many firsts in the United States, she was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000. Her birthday on February 14th stands as an alternative to Valentine’s Day to celebrate the power and independence of women. In addition to celebrating Anna Howard Shaw Day, here is another Valentine’s Day alternative.

Happy Galentine’s Day!

On February 13th, what will you be doing to treat your favorite gals on Galentine’s Day?

Parks & Recreation

Parks & Recreation

15 Year Old Afghan Bride Beaten for Refusing to Enter Prostitution by In-Laws

Dahiney Ghuri in Pul-i-Kumri, Baghlan Province, Afghanistan: Afghanistan’s neighbor, Pakistan, outlawed forced marriage and acid throwing on December 11, 2011.  Unfortunately for Afghanistan, a similar story has gained huge international attention as well, but for opposite reasons. 15-year old bride, Sahar Gul, who after refusing to become a prostitute by her in-laws was severely beaten and locked in a dirty basement bathroom for several months with barely enough necessities to survive. Her in-laws of seven months pulled out her nails, clumps of hair, burned her with cigarette butts, and tore pieces of flesh from her body. Gul, in critical condition, will be transported to India for serious treatment and recovery.

How Was Your First Kiss? TLC’s Virgin Diaries

Well, I’m speechless; not because TLC has managed to produce another wedding show that exploits extreme lifestyles and not because finding an unmarried virgin is like discovering the mythical unicorn. I am speechless at the sheer awkwardness of what they’ve captured for their premiere episode set to air this Sunday. Watch the below to know what I’m talking about:

Now that we’ve all been reminded of our first kiss, here comes our paranoia creeping in – did we look like that during our first kiss? And the awkwardness gets worse when they start to describe how it will all go down on the wedding night – starting with separate showers.

It’s not that the sexual choice of staying a virgin is wrong by any means, it’s that we just love a good kissing/sex virgin story. Remember 1999′s Never Been Kissed, which was also an episode on Glee. And if you really know your pop culture, there’s even a similar episode in Saved By The Bell. There’s the 40 Year Old Virgin and most recently the Mormon story about a virgin human marrying a 110-year old virgin vampire with a steamy, bedpost-crushing wedding night virgin scene that has all the ‘tweens screaming. There are plenty more movies that you can read about here. Despite most of us being sexually experienced on our wedding night (95%), we still want to make a HUGE deal about virginity. We treat it as something really serious ‘to lose your v-card or not to lose your v-card’ but we also treat it with a severe amount of spectacle. How can you defend something as meaningful, but then splay it out for cheap laughs and entertaining awkward moments?

 

A Testimonial on the Families Gay Marriage Builds

Manly Men Plan Weddings

It’s really common to hear men declare that wedding planning is the “chick’s domain.” They assume their hard work is done after buying the engagement ring and proposing, now it’s time for the ladies to carry the burden of planning the big day. It’s all flowers, frilly lace and potpouri – stuff that’s too effeminate for a real man to be caught thinking about, right?

West Meets & Marries East: The Mail Order Brides Industry

Couple Married 72 Years Passes Away Holding Hands

Most everyone cried at the end of The Notebook, even the most hardened men I know admitted, they too, got a little bit weepy. I’m talking about when Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling’s older character versions are cuddled in a hospital bed together. In a moment of clarity amidst the wife’s dementia, they whisper their love for each other, then pass away together in each other arms.

Three Women Earn Nobel Peace Prize

It is amazing to see not just one, but three women share the Nobel Peace Prize! Congratulations to Leymah Gbowee, author of “Mighty Be Our Powers,” her memoir of life as a peace activist during Liberia’s horrific civil war; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is Liberia’s president and Africa’s first democratically elected female president; and to the democracy activist, Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, for her activities in Arab Spring. Each woman promoted peace in a non-violent way, while supporting democracy and gender equality.

Book Review: Agnes Smedley’s ‘Daughter of Earth’

Daughter of Earth by Agnes Smedley. An under-appreciated feminist novel, Agnes’s fictionalized personal memoir traverses her impoverished and brutal childhood to her equally straining, political adulthood. Daughter of Earth gives amazing insight into the issues of the working class proletariat during the Depression era. Smedley brings us an eye-opening account of how starvation, extreme poverty, brutal working conditions and a lack of education can shape the emotional and physical experience of an individual. The book also focuses heavily on the social conditions imposed on women from the limitations caused by marriage to a lack of birth control and over populated families, from domestic abuse to sexual freedoms. Aside from the book’s political nature and historical insight, it is a smooth read and a pleasure to read. Smedley should be remembered (and read) just as much as her feminist sisters!

Frenchman Found Guilty for Not Having Sex with His Wife

From Frans Kahn to now a tired middle-aged man, the French are having their own sexual revolution as of late. The question is which way is it going?

Walk Down the Aisle to Your Own Tune

Why the Movie, ‘Made in Dagenham,’ Is Still Relevant Today

Made in Dagenham is a British docudrama by Director Nigel Cole and is based on the true story of 187 female Ford Motor machinists in Dagenham, England, 1968. The female workers, led by Rita O’Grady (Sally Hawkins), unite in a strike after management reclassifies them as “unskilled workers” to justify a lower pay rate. The women take their demand for equal pay all the way to parliament. The movie’s message on women’s ability to overcome a culture that promotes sex discrimination is still as relevant today as it was then. But the movie’s comedic, cutesy tone glossed over the severity of the cause, which brings to light larger issues in non-fiction women’s films.

Feminist Bride Movie Review: Dangerous Beauty

Dangerous Beauty (1998) – Based on the 16th century true story of Veronica Franco who falls in love but can’t marry the object of her affections due to a lack of a dowry. With no marriage prospects, she’s faced with the decision to either enter the convent or become a courtesan. She chooses the life that provides her access to education, independence and the power of expression and articulation, as opposed to the cloister or wifehood which forbids women an education, basic intellectual rights and keeps them as subordinate creatures. Her beauty and smarts win over the hearts (and beds) of most of Venice’s aristocrats, but after Venice faces war and then the plague she is accused of witchery and causing the downfall of Venice. 

Petition Asks Bert And Ernie To Get Married On Sesame Street

Despite Ernie, a lifelong bachelor, amorously announcing his preferred partner with the statement, “Rubber ducky you’re the one…I’m awfully fond of you,” people are insisting that Ernie is in fact, partners with his lifelong roommate Bert.

With gay marriage now legal in New York (aka Sesame Street), people are taking a hard look at whether this lifetime arrangement is nothing more than a “Boston Marriage.” Lair Scott with Change.org is starting a petition for Sesame Street to have its first gay couple and marriage. Since Sesame Street has always been a trailblazer in adjusting kids to socially hard issues, it seems only natural that Sesame Street address concerns expressed in the gay community. Of particular concern for Scott is the high incidence of suicides by gay people, who hopes that by creating a gay couple on Sesame Street kids will learn to be “tolerant of those that are different. Let Sesame Street and PBS Kids be a big part in saving many worthy lives.”

Zara Phillips to keep maiden name after royal wedding to Mike Tindall

I was just in Edinburg and all I saw was a bunch of drunk hen and stag parties! This would have been much more exciting.  Zara Phillips recently married England

rugby union player Mike Tindall, and has elected to keep her maiden name because she thinks it will be better for her equestrienne career. One news source claimed that keeping her maiden name was not “any kind of feminist statement” but I highly disagree. A woman keeping her name in support of her career, her heritage, and family just to name a few reasons is a great reason (and a feminist one I might add, because it is a choice that honors one woman and promotes all of them).