Hear ye, hear ye, give a listen to The Feminist Bride on the The Big Wedding Planning Podcast! We talk about my new book, The Adventures and Discoveries of a Feminist Bride (Black Rose Writing), sexism in weddings and how to be empowered to make your wedding more meaningful and supportive for all the people you love and well…everyone else for that matter.
For a wedding to be about equality, it’s not enough to just be a feminist bride. Your fiancé needs to be on board too! (Equality is harder to achieve if it’s one-sided.) So for those grooms out there wondering how they can help truly be their partner’s equal in life and down the aisle, here are 23 signs of a feminist groom.
(Disclosure note: It’s unclear if self-proclaimed feminist, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a feminist groom, we can only hope…and dream)
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
Many fear taking the plunge. They wonder what if he or she is not the one or if they can afford to get married or worry that if Brangelina can’t make it than who can? Four seniors from The School of Visual Arts literally dive into these questions and fears with their senior thesis film, Taking The Plunge.
Jenny’s Wedding (2015): When I saw Katherine Heigl in yet another wedding/rom com movie, I rolled my eyes. What other type of Wedding Industrial Complex and women-are-only-valuable-if-they’re-in-a-relationship shenanigans is she getting into this time?
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?
Super excited to be interviewed on the #1 wedding podcast, Save The Date. It was really fun sitting down with the host, Aleisha McCormack to talk about some of the most sexist wedding traditions out there and what “bridechillas”‘ and “groomchillas” (bride/grooms who are chill) can do to make them more feminist and respectful for all. So please check out and listen to Episode 169, which by the way, is a totally appropriate number considering how much we discussed the role of sex in wedding traditions! To all the feminist brides (and grooms) out there, I hope it’s an eye opening listen and as fun for you as it was for me in recording it!
There is a wedding tradition that states women are only allowed to propose to men on February 29th, Leap Day. That’s once for twenty-four hours every four years and that’s if she’s in a relationship that’s ready to move to the next step. Having such an opportunity is almost as rare as Donald Trump telling the truth or acting humble. The question is where does such nonsense come from?
Debating between getting married or paying off your debt can be extremely difficult. The little financial advisor that magically appears on your shoulder will insist, “Don’t do it! Be fiscally responsible so you can properly take care of your beloved,” but the idealistic mini-bride or groom on your other shoulder will say, “Follow your heart! People get married so they can take care of each other.” While it feels better to give into matters of the heart, being money-wise is critical to a healthy relationship too; after all, money woes are the number one cause of divorce. So to live happily ever after, what’s a cash-strapped lover to do?
Everyone’s favorite breakfast shop and jeweler, Tiffany & Co. has just released a new engagement ring ad, “Will you?” featuring a real life same-sex couple. Like an engagement, there’s plenty of reason to celebrate when a company diversifies its ad campaigns to include more than just white heterosexuals. J. Crew, The Gap, JC Penny and Ray-Ban are just a few of the companies that are starting to cater to the LGBT market. However, before we pop that champagne there’s still plenty to consider.
The whole concept of the “wedding diet” is to bust your ass in the gym over a short period of time so you can look “perfect” for an even shorter period, one day. The thing is, what is perfect? Who defines at what point you can stop sweating at the gym because you’ve reached “perfection?” And why is anyone working so hard for just one day? This is why the “wedding diet” is an absurd exercise plan. It’s a Quixote quest invented by the delusions of someone else and projected onto you. It’s maddening.
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.
I love parties. I love dressing up for parties. I love being the hostess with the mostess. I love playing bartender. I love mingling. And I love themed parties. So if you asked me whether or not it’s worth having an engagement party, I would clearly answer, “meh, it’s not really necessary.”
Here’s the thing – weddings are never singular events. There’s the shower, the bachelor or bachelorette party, the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, the reception and maybe there’s an after party. It’s like asking if you really need a sixth finger; I could…but it’s not necessary. Not to mention, that if you’re involved in the wedding…forget having a social life until the fiancés say. “I do.” Each event requires time, energy, money and travel. Everyone is happy to celebrate this new stage of your life, but after awhile it’s like seeing the same Broadway play for the 11th time – getting up to give a standing “O” for the umpteenth time is not going to have as much energy as it did the first.
Forget proposing with Grandma’s diamond ring, what about proposing with Grandma’s ashes as the diamond ring? Yes, you heard me right. A Swiss company called Algordanza will take the cremated remains of your beloved one and synthesize a diamond between 0.25 and 1.0 carats. Not only is a diamond forever, but now, so is Grandma or Great Uncle Ezekiel or your beloved cat Mr. Jenkins (alright, maybe not Mr. Jenkins, turns out they don’t allow pets). Gives new meaning to DIY.
Tired of winking at people online? Starting to wonder why you’re friends with some people if their other friends are the duds they keep setting you up with? Finding yourself starring over to the kitchen, wondering what type of hors d’ oeuvres they’ll be serving after the wedding ceremony? Focused on your career, grad school or the number of dates you have lined up? Thinking you can have it all and NOT be married? Or are you just holding out for the perfect one and the perfect conditions?
Ever find yourself jelly over someone’s massive diamond engagement ring? Covet not my friend, because two dudes from Emory University did an online economic study of 3,000 married individuals (from mTurk) to see if the size of an engagement is a correlated to divorce rates. Seems it is…
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 Blanco, the 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.
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 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:
While the dancing Jews and the marching band were probably my favorite part of this proposal lip dub, the whole production and collaboration by friends (and friends on Skype too!) was just truly amazing to watch. Check out a very well choreographed proposal with Bruno Mars’s song, Marry you.
Click to read first Part 1: Love on Las Vegas Boulevard – Finding Zion
Among the Bail bondsmen, pawnshops, liquor stores and Adult Video purveyors on Las Vegas Boulevard, you’ll find the two most famous wedding chapels in Las Vegas, A Little White Wedding Chapel (ALWWC) and the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel (VLVWC).
If you’re looking for some real advice as to what type of wedding traditions you should skip, look no further. Other lists give fluffy advice and are usually limited to things you buy. This top 10 list gives you wedding traditions that are ripe with unfair conditions like sexism or consumerism which can either be thrown out like a garter or bouquet (#8 & #9) or modernized so it treats everyone a little bit better.
A terrible step backwards in women’s fight for equality overseas. Iraq’s Council of Ministers has drafted a law, The Jaafari Personal Status Law, which will be voted on April 30. If passed the law would:
This law was formed to appease the Shi’a Muslim community in Iraq, which have a stronghold majority in the country at 36 million. It’s argued that Iraq’s current law that women can only marry at the age of 18 religiously discriminates against the Shi’a Muslims. As it stands, UNICEF estimates that more than 24 percent of Iraqi women are married by age 18, and nearly five percent are married by age 15.
If passed before Iraq general elections, the law will violate the UN Convention on Rights of the Child, which Iraq signed and its own constitution.
To understand how widespread this issue is in the world and not just potentially in Iraq, here are some facts:
To read more about global child bride issues:
The Young and the Betrothed – Child Brides
15 Year Old Afghan Bride Beaten for Refusing to Enter Prostitution by In-Laws
Acid Throwing and Forced Marriage Now Illegal in Pakistan
Information originally appeared in: Iraq Wants To Legalize Child Marriage – The Daily Beast.
Thinking about getting an engagement ring? Have you considered whether it’s really worth it? The Feminist Bride has! The stone-cold truth is that the engagement ring and all its connected traditions were invented in a boardroom by folks who wanted to make a profit on your love! Academic College Humor has some very interesting (and might I say very accurate) information on the origins of engagement rings and their real intrinsic value.
As a kid the best part about Disney princesses was watching the sassy, beautiful princess go on an adventure, defeat the bad guys and fall in love. As a teenager, I loved collecting all my well used VHSs and searching for the hidden sex scenes (the only undeniable one was in The Little Mermaid, which probably only exists on the VHS version now). As an adult, I still enjoy Disney movies but, as a feminist, I need that bottle of wine as my spoon full of sugar to soften those misogynistic blows in technicolor. Graduate school and my romps in feminism hasn’t ruined Disney, but I swallowed that blue pill. I woke up to their sexist reality and Cinderella will just never be the same (which is why, unlike my childhood, I will probably raise the kids on Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl’s Castle).
To be fair, Disney is slowly getting better. The last few Disney princess movies have not ended in marriage. This winter’s Frozen was probably the most progressive in implying that a women’s value is not in her amorous relationship. And it’s misunderstood villain, Elsa reiterates that neither do women have to sacrifice their interests or subdue their personality to get a man. (Though Frozen is not socially perfect, it was awfully white…and I’m not talking about the snow.)
If you’ve missed the gender evolution of Disney movies and were totally unaware that Belle had a verbally abusive relationship with the Beast or that the Cinderella and Snow White could only escape domestic drudgery if they married. Luckily, you can still enjoy the imaginativeness of Disney despite its magic spell being broken with the fun viral videos by the AV Byte Brothers that let’s women know, “Why keep on assuming men will save the day, I can be a hero, and do it my own way…I am fine the way I am, I don’t need a man.”
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.
“[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.
The Five Year Engagement (2012) – I might be two years behind writing this review, but it still puts me ahead of Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet’s (Emily Blunt) own ill-fated nuptials. As you can guess the movie is about the quirky mishaps that can easily set young fiances off the marriage track. In the land of comedic rom-coms, FYE holds more character and relationship substance than most. High feminist fives for addressing the complicated politics of managing two ambitious career-driven partners in an egalitarian way! And kudos to writer’s Segel and Nicholas Stoller for opting to put the lady’s career first. I haven’t seen that done in the movies since Father of the Bride II. I also haven’t seen such a weird sex scene involving lots of condiments and deli meat before. And to top it off, they settle their marriage woes with the most endearing and heartfelt f^$%# off to the wedding industrial complex in the end (you’ll have to watch it to understand). There’s even a female proposal (the last one by my count was in Leap Year with Amy Adams and contrary to what you might think holds very few feminist values). If you’re looking for a good feminist flick on weddings, this one is great and if you’re just into fun movies, it also sports an incredible lineup of talented comedians. (Subjects: Engagements, Wedding Planning, Marriage, Jobs) Director: Nicholas Stoller
For More Related Stories on Wedding Planning:
Wedding Planning: Motivating the Mister
Video: How to Take Out Your Wedding Planning Aggression Elsewhere
A Feminist Bride reader asks: “Looking for advice for a feminist bride that doesn’t want to plan a wedding but her fiance wants the wedding…it’s important to him…”
An engagement is when a couple starts collaborating on the formalities that will lead them to the altar. Marriage is about knowing when it’s more important to support the team and when it’s okay to indulged in (and support the other’s) personal preferences. It is going to the comic book convention when you’d rather have a root canal; but there are trade offs in marriage like when you want to go see a double feature of Nicholas Sparks movies. While planning might be a drag, the engagement period helps work out those teamwork skills. Treat marriage like a sport, if you want to play in the big game – you gotta show up to the practices.
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding (TV – 2012) – Child brides, High School drop outs, first cousin incest, virgin brides, extreme consumerism, fashion nightmares, arranged marriages – TLC reveals that all of this is happening in America’s backyard. TLC dives into yet another cultural minority’s hidden and secret world, this time with Romanichal Gypsies. Given TLC’s penchant for supporting the Wedding Industrial Complex with their other wedding shows, one might expect this to be in line with the rest (and seems to be racing to become the next Jersey Shore). It does manage to raise the occasional eye on the double standards between the sexes. Girls are restricted to the home, married off at 16 (ish), and are only expected to become mothers and housewives; the men are the breadwinners. Girls on their wedding day must be virgins (many have not even kissed a boy, let alone know their groom well) or else are labeled unfit to be someone’s wife. (It even shared the story of a same-sex wedding, a big taboo in Romanical culture and TLC.)
And the show is not shy about highlighting the tawdry fashion of the community. It often relies on the fashion designer, Sondra Celli to explain the bride’s culture and fashion choices. While the massive, plantation-style wedding gowns run upwards of $10,000 and run amuck with Swarovski Crystals, the day-to-day dress of a Romney is very provactive. Why the Romani lifestyle is quite anti-feminist, they do have feminist fashion leanings. The women in the show often struggle with being called sluts by “gorgers” (non-travellers) for their attire and seductive dancing given that a Romani woman’s innocence is extremely protected and cherished by her family and community. They struggle constantly with discrimination and judgment being placed on them by outsiders, period. Though the show heros even admit part of the sexy outfits is to attract a mate…
The heros of the show describe their culture as extremely family driven, they carry a strong pride within it and are firmly dedicated to keeping the community alive through new generations and upholding traditions – no matter how outlandish they are. My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding is an odd mash up of respectable values, trashy TV, feminist and anti-feminist rhetoric, media exploitation, big personalities and lots and lots of tulle. It’s sort of a train wreck; and it’s impossible to look away.
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (2012) – A rather dry and witty period film set in England visits an anxious and inebriated bride on her wedding day. Downstairs as crotchety guests get ready for the wedding, her lost and uninvited lover arrives with hidden motives. As the bride deliberates on her impending nuptials, remembrances of the last summer return to when the two fell in love. Despite the conflict between two loves – the groom and her lover, there’s a twist to the story that’s hard to see coming – proving that love may not always be what a bride needs to say, ‘I do.” Side note: keep an eye out for the incorrigible boy and his bag full of surprises! Director: Donald Rice (Subjects: Love, Bride, Wedding, Decision Making)
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.
Stonehill College was nice enough to invite me as the keynote speaker to a panel on gay marriage. As a Catholic school, it had just added anti-hazing based on one’s sexuality to its school charter; and given the recent US Supreme Court decision, same sex marriage was a hot topic on campus. I was joined by two professors one with a law background commenting on the recent US Supreme Court ruling and another who specialized in the gender issues and gay marriage. I decided to talk about choice feminism and how within a hetero framework, women who use the “freedom of choice” to justify patriarchal or socialized gender traditions perpetuate prejudice and discrimination in both sexual spheres. In my lecture, I asked that choice be made not just to the benefit of oneself, but keeping in mind the needs and welfare of others as choice is constraint by many systems, both seen and unseen, and therefore must be made wisely.
A special thanks to Stonehill College. The students and faculty were very welcoming, respectful and engaged; and I appreciate the opportunity to share my ideas and research.
Breaking the Rules Panel. April 2013
When Harry Tries to Marry (2011): As a result of his parents divorce, young Harry believes arranged marriages are the only way to have a successful marriage. Straight out of college he rushes to employ a matchmaker, gets paired with a very nice match and goes about planning his wedding. Except amid a long-distance relationship… life and love unexpectedly happen. Harry is left to decide between his hardcore beliefs and the natural path that is laid before him. The movie ends on a really good lesson; that life and love cannot be rushed in youth, inexperience and impatience. Time is one of most important assets we can give ourselves. (Subjects: Marriage, Love, Arranged Marriages) Director: Nayan Padrai
In honor of the Supreme Court ruling today defending the legality and support of same-sex marriage, I thought offering insight into the future of marriage would be a salient point. I’m thrilled that many same-sex couples in states that recognize gay marriage can now enjoy the same state and federal benefits hetero-couples do, and I hope that many of those in states behind the curve can start planning their own legal nuptials soon too. However, while today was a huge milestone there is still lots more to accomplish…for all sexual orientations. Everyone should keep marriage equality as their number one wish on their wedding registry.
In the meantime, I predict more scandalous celebrity marriages and divorces that will push the limits of conventional marriages (I’m looking at you Kardashians). Now with California, I foresee one highly publicized gay celebrity marriage sponsored by US Weekly that will help mitigate the fears of same-sex marriage, but also (unfortunately) perpetuate gay stereotypes. I envision a line of new wedding products designed by those briefly married celebrities. I foreshadow more diversity in the couples TLC wedding shows exploit. Rom-coms will continue to define its female lead’s value by the relationship she gets by the end of the movie. After all of this, I hope Hollywood will be a little more conscientious about how it treats marriage and those within it.
There are more positive things to predict though. I predict, like interracial marriage, gay marriage will be commonplace in the next twenty years and our children (born inside or outside of marriage) will read about this civil rights movement in their history books. In the near future, I anticipate people will come to better understand that mass cultural institutions cannot take precedence over a person’s private rights as protected under the fourteenth amendment. I also hope same-sex marriage naysayers learn that a strict exclusive definition to marriage dilutes its power and meaning, it is stronger when it is all encompassing and embracing. Love does not discriminate and as its formal frame, neither should marriage. I believe gay marriage will help eradicate sexist gender roles in wedding traditions and marriage and we will be better off for it. I predict every person, regardless of their race, age, gender and sexual orientation will eventually access the same rights, the same benefits and the same protection, not because they fell in love with someone, but because we’ve come to respect and love humanity above the private privileges marriage retains for itself. But most of all, I hope the terms same-sex or gay marriage disappear and we can just recognize those forms of marriage as what they truly are, just marriage.
I predict the next big issue when it comes to marriage will be among the permanent, lifestyle singles. With 95% of people trying marriage at least once in a lifetime, the next minority to feel excluded from the special provisions provided by marriage will be singles, and single families. This means that fixing the cracks and dents in our existing family law will be the next reform issue. And it’s a major one. We seldom realize that our existing family law discriminates against almost everyone, regardless of his or her race, sexual orientation, marital status and age. (Sorry, plural marriage participators I just don’t think the US is ready to pull your number for reform next.) I foreshadow that in the effort to eradicate singlism, the next great debate will not be what is marriage, but what constitutes family.
I’m struck by all the happy and celebratory posts on Facebook in light of today’s Supreme Court ruling, particularly by those who do not benefit directly from today’s historic ruling. Their elation shows true altruism. For everyone celebrating though, it proves that marriage is purely enjoyed when everyone can partake in it. And for my final predictions, I foresee a still long walk to the aisle for same-sex couples, but today it got a little shorter; I envision happier and just slightly brighter smiles at weddings, and I expect to get invited to many more weddings now.
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?
The NY Times is having a debate on whether or not the prenup is passé. Whatever you think, I think it’s important to consider who needs to protect their assets the most. With men still earning $1 to women’s measly 77 cents, it is fair to assume that it’s not the women. Prenups highlight the unequal wage and income issues that women still face. If office income is not enough to make you think twice, consider that many women who decide to cut back on office hours part time or completely for family set themselves back considerably financially – in terms of retirement savings, competitive wages, position advancements, etc. Married mothers loose around $11,000 in salary for every year they miss in the workplace and that gap only grows with each kid. The role of homemake and mom just isn’t appreciated in terms of its economic contributions like a paying job is. If a prenup needs to be enacted and it favors the father, what happens to the women who put aside both her spouse’s assets and her own income earning potential? No matter what the courts decide in terms of alimony, divorced women can expect a 30% decline in their standard of living.
Whether or not a prenup is necessary before you say, ‘I do’ consider the larger social issues it relates to – not just for you but for all women.
See what others had to say in the NY Times debate: The Power of the Prenup – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.
A friend and one of my bridesmaids, came back from her family house in New Hampshire and announced to me over the phone, “So…I got married last weekend.” While I can’t remember my exact reaction it was something like, “Whaaaaat?” There’s still a small shock even with predicable elopements. It wasn’t quite the last minute elopement, but they performed a secret engagement and then a secret wedding all within a month – only the immediately family knew.
Bachelorette (2012): The Hangover and Bridesmaids, this movie, is not (but it tries really hard to be). Despite featuring actresses and actors I really enjoy and my doppleganger, K. Dunst, there’s little brilliance they could bring to this script. To start, this is a good example of how good-hearted humor goes much farther than mean-spirited humor and there was a lot of the later in the movie. From making fun of the bride for being fat, calling strippers skanks, and calling bulimics messed up in the head just to name a few feel-good gems, it got really good with the profuse use of calling just about everyone the C-word. Then there was the scene that pretty much encouraged one groomsmen to take advantage of an inebriated bridesmaid. And he should get over his moral anxiety by taking a Xanax so he can take advantage of the drunk girl who was G.T.G. (good to go). There was one redeeming moment when the bridesmaids start arguing with a strip club doorman about how misogynistic it is for women to need a male escort in order to enter the premises, but that was short-lived. I’m all for raunchy comedy, but the degenerate humor just came off as…degenerate, unlike its predecessor movies that managed to take off-color comedy and make it fun and clever. Director: Leslye Headland
Blurg! Everyone’s favorite fictional feminist got married last night on NBC’s 30 Rock. What kind of wedding does career-oriented Liz Lemon have? Well, it did not involve ham and other delicatessen treats, jorts or sun pee to toast the newlyweds. What it did involve was awesomeness served up with some midnight cheese on top and some sweet Tony Bennett on the side.
A lot of brides like to tell me how unique their wedding will be. I smile and politely shake my head, but I’m secretly thinking that this is what the last bride I spoke to claimed about her own wedding. Call it a coincidence but she too was proposed to on one knee, is wearing a white dress, registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond and will also have a flower bouquet made with seasonal flowers. If you’ve been to enough weddings, it’s hard to experience something completely out of the ordinary. Weddings are sort of like all inventions post-wheel, nothing is truly original.
While the little details might be customized with the newlyweds’ monogram or their personal inside jokes and tastes, a big wedding picture shows that our wedding planning choices are not really all that unique. Like call this crazy, but I predict most weddings at some point will play Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing and/or Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl, clink glasses to encourage newlywed PDA, show that one old Aunt and Uncle have some serious awkward, but awesome dance moves, and end with dessert. This homogenity is the nature of partaking in a cultural event. To participate in it means following certain rules and suggested guidelines. And guess what, many others like you are also following them and only changing a little. This means a lot of weddings, no matter how customized the color on the wedding invitations are or how high a cake, someone probably had one just as high as you and they too got their crafty, hipster invitations from Paper Source.
Culture is not the only culprit to cliché wedding practies. Consumerism plays a huge role too. Weddings are commercialized events. Culture tells us what we need to have a proper weddings and then for-profit companies provide those products on a mass-produced scale that are easily affordable and accessible. That crappy plastic tiara you got for your bachelorette party that made you Queen for a night (because that’s what you are, clearly) is the same one the bride-to-be last weekend wore to hers. Aren’t princesses supposed to be rare?
The electric slide and the funky chicken were fun wedding dances until they became overused. Now they are extinct rituals because people find them tacky and cliché. The cutting and the feeding of the wedding cake, the garter and bouquet toss are now facing extinction as well. Does a ritual have to be bad to be considered cliché? Maybe clichés are subjective or a taste of our time, because people still propose at sunset, on the beach, in air balloons or hide rings in dessert. It seems contradictory for people to want to participate in shared culture but then go to lengths to make it unique.
When it comes to planning, I get the sense that fiancés like to think that personalized means unique, personalization makes a wedding unique, and a unique wedding is considered more emotionally memorable. Unless you’re breaking from the macro traditions and rituals, little customized details does not make a distinct wedding. At some point we all get ideas from the same sources: friends, family, other weddings, media, TheKnot, magazines and other how-to’s. Our riffing on these handed-down ideas might provide some ownership to, say, your centerpieces, but I’m worried we’re confusing personal meaningfulness with a one-of-a-kind wedding celebration. If wedding rituals and customs are really nothing more than one big cliché and our specializing of the event not as pungent in setting itself apart from other weddings, can we still get meaning from participating in a cliché?
Click here to check out cliché wedding photography. (BTW, I love number three. The guy seems more like a photo-bomber than groom.)
The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank: As an outdoorsy gal, I picked this book up because of its awesome title, only to be mildly disappointed that hunting and fishing only referred to men and dating. Readers follow the life of Jane Rosenthal who is pessimistically and somewhat passionately needy when it comes to her own self esteem, and not surprisingly with men and relationships. Her love life involves a series of unhealthy relationships that she seems to understand are a function of her own personal issues but does little to make a clean break before any damage is done. At a breaking point on her own self worth, she turns to a self help book in order to find love. The book’s most redeeming moment is when Jane finally realizes that the book’s advice to act like a hard-to-get, traditionally feminine, demure damsel is probably the worst advice. The book seems to be hailed as an accurate depiction of women’s dating troubles, but I would have found the book more salient had it focused on problem solving stories and less on the problems. (Subject: Fiction, Love, Boyfriends, Relationships, Self Esteem)
Love and Mary (2007) – Mary, a bakery entrepreneur, is faced with the eviction of her business. She decides to fly home with her fiance to collect engagement party money in order to save her business. Her fiance bails at the last minute and she brings his brother as a fake replacement. Without giving away the movie, what struck me the most is that Mary, assertive enough to save her business, seems to be a bit passive in her own feelings. She’ll put decorum and promise over her feelings. Overall, it’s an enjoyable movie with a quirky cast of characters. Director: Elizabeth Harrison (Subject: Money, Love, Weddings)
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Color: Black with White Lettering
Washing Machine Safe
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.
In a historical change of mind, President Obama has come forward to proclaim that he supports same-sex marriage. Prior to this announcement, he limited his belief system to civil unions based on his own religion’s edict that marriage was only for men and women. Regardless of his new personal beliefs he still believes the legality of same-sex marriage should be dictated on the state level. I could find no information as to whether this would prompt him to change the federal policy which still doesn’t recognize legal same-sex marriages from the seven states that allow it.
The War Bride(2001) – Set during World War II, Lily marries a Canadian soldier. She quickly becomes pregnant and moves to Canada to live with her in-laws as part of a save the war-brides campaign. A sassy, fashionable city-Londoner, she finds herself in the plains of central Canada on a farm, severely out of her element and amongst hostile in-laws who find her UK style foreign, too sexual and think her marriage was a ploy to get her out of war-torn Europe. Not knowing whether her spouse is alive, she struggles with being a wife and a mother in a foreign land. (Subject: Marriage, War, Women) Director: Lyndon Chubbuck
Love, Wedding, Marriage (2011) – Mandy Moore plays a marriage therapist whose whole belief in marriage is based on her parent’s relationship. When it falters she panics and spirals into mishap as she tries to repair it; only she begins to neglect and abuse her own new marriage. The movie is an interesting look at how our love of the marriage sometimes blinds us from understanding we need to actually work on it. (Subject: Marriage, Love, Relationships, Health) Director: Dermot Mulroney
The Buccaneers (TV mini-series 1995) – If you like romantic period pieces this series is for you. The Buccaneers is the last novel written by Edith Wharton of four young American girls with “new” money that spend a season in England in the hopes of finding rich, aristocratic husbands. The girls are successful but their stories unravel as being married and someone’s wife reveals a much more sordid and unsatisfying life than they had been lead to believe. How the girls cope with obligation, expectations of their sex and class and love is worth a watch. (Subject: Marriage, Etiquette, Love) Director: Philip Saville
The People I’ve Slept With (2009) – We’ve seen many a male character own the spoils of an active sex life, and when the main character Juliet pulls a Samantha Jones it’s exciting to see a female character finally own her sexuality on par with a man and without social ramifications. Except then she gets pregnant and has no clue who the baby-daddy is. Suddenly, Juliet tailspins into an emotionally abusive, self-reflective state of how could she have been so slutty and irresponsible? Not once does the movie turn the table onto the men who are equally responsible for the embryo and it reverts to a pro-life stance and the age mindset that a woman can’t be sexually free without being promiscuous and irresponsible. BS. (Subject: Sex, Pregnancy, Double Standards, Relationships) Director: Quentin Lee
The Romantics (2010) – Seven friends gather over the weekend for the wedding of two of their friends, except the Maid of Honor is still in love and sleeping with the groom (Josh Duhamel). The dysfunction of the friends unfolds during the course of the night revealing that everyone is everybody’s muse in body, mind and soul, thus complicating the existing relationships. The poignant moment is in the end when the Maid of Honor (Katie Holmes) confronts the bride (Anna Paquin) moments before she’s to walk down the aisle. Begging the question would you have the guts to tell someone the truth before they made a mistake? What would you do if you were the bride? Director: Galt Niederhoffer (Subject: Wedding, Friends, Affairs)
For more Feminist Bride Movie Reviews click here.
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?