Ceremony

The Purpose of Ring Bearers and Flower Girls

Image: Bustle Events

Image: Bustle Events

Ever wonder what the point of flower girls and ring bearers are beyond celebratory cuteness? These mini grooms and brides are not conceited homages to the newylweds. The pomp and circumstance of the tiny tyke parade has everything to do with fertility superstition actually.  

The (New) Bindaas Bride: FB Interview in Little India

Image: Little India - Ekta Patel and Amar Patel’s wedding I was interviewed as The Feminist Bride for the magazine, Little India about brides attempting to personalize, honor but also modernize wedding traditions. Check it out to hear what Indian fiances are doing to navigate the old and the new! 

Q&A with An Out-of-The-Box Wedding Planner

Image Courtesy of Hoopla! EventsFiancés put tremendous time, energy and resources into making their wedding unforgettable; but the reality is, if they are sticking to tradition, the wedding will still look like all the others. When I met Hudson Valley wedding planner and business owner, Adina Franconi of Hoopla! Events at (un)convention Brooklyn, I was happy to meet one of the few wedding industry professionals who has the hutzpah and vision to make a wedding truly one of a kind. It’s super refreshing to meet someone in the wedding world who wants to fulfill the vision and personality of the couple over sticking to tradition for the sake of tradition, so I wanted to hear more about Franconi and Hoopla! Events. 

Hollywood’s Runaway Brides

Courtesy of Friends

Courtesy of Friends

There’s an urban myth that men are commitment-phobes when it comes to marriage. If this were true, then why do so many of Hollywood’s brides have cold feet? If I had to guess, it’s probably because most lead women wake up moments before walking down the aisle realizing they are about to get married in order to meet societal expectations – don’t be alone, marry for security, it’s what everyone else wants, your ticking biological clock, all your friends are doing it, it’s not cool to be a cat-lady, etc., etc. – as opposed to a bride marrying for herself and to be with a person she truly loves. I would like to think those runaway brides are sticking it the Wedding Industrial Complex or those icky societal expectations, but the reality is their journey usually ends with another relationship and less self fulfillment. Here’s a list of Hollywood’s ten classic runaway brides and what their feminist (or unfeminist) epiphany was after they  said, “F%^& it, I’m running…”

10 Other Wedding Traditions Worth Skipping

Oh yes there’s more! In addition to the 10 The Feminist Bride has already covered, cat-throwing-brideshere are 10 more wedding traditions worth skipping. Don’t worry there are solutions for all of them! And yes, that’s a bride throwing a cat…and no, it’s not on this ten list. Sorry cats.

Admitting Groomsmen Have It Better Than Bridesmaids

I know that by saying I’d rather be a groomsman over a bridesmaid, it sounds like I’m confirming the old Wedding33Freudian theory that feminism is nothing more than penis envy. Don’t worry Freud, this has nothing to do with penises or mommy issues. I’m merely trying to bring attention to that fact that the role and responsibility of being a bridesmaid has completely turned to the dark side. Bridesmaids used to enjoy the minimal involvement that groomsmen experience today. Nowadays the difference in the responsibilities of the two are a lot like the wage gap; both sexes enjoy the same status and title but bridesmaids are expected to do a hell of a lot more for the same job! I’m campaigning that bridesmaids and groomsmen responsibilities be on par with each other.

How to Give A Kickass Wedding Toast

Not to leave you hanging with how to give the worst wedding speech, here’s some bridesmaids-movie-quotes-9good advice so you can give the most kickass speech ever.

  1. Welcome Everybody and Introduce Yourself: A well-structured speech will always have a warm introduction and introduce you so they know what relationship you have to the newlyweds.
  2. Give Thanks: Give thanks to the big guy in the sky, the weather, and the little people like the caterers or anyone that helped make the special day possible.
  3. Always Stay Positive: Luke Wilson was hilarious when he gave his disastrous speech at Will Ferrell’s wedding in Old School, but only the movies can pull off negative speeches and still be funny without offense. Positive or inspirational speeches pump up the crowd, good vibes will translate to good times at the wedding. Nobody likes a Debby Downer.
  4. Ignore the Jerks Who Talk During Your Speech: Nothing good comes from stopping the speech midway to call out the people with poor manners and attention spans (and there’s a good chance others will do it for you, if that’s the case thank those people and play off the moment by just smiling or giving a quick joke). Never go angry.
  5. Tease (Only If There’s A Compliment in There): I recently gave a speech at my best friends wedding, I teased her family how they kept on stealing the tissues I had intended for the bride but it was adorable because they were so sweetly emotional and showed how much they loved the couple (there was barely a dry eye at the ceremony). They had a good chuckle at my observation. Any teasing that’s not complimentary or positive should be scrapped.
  6. Keep It Short: Attention spans are short at a weddings, everyone just wants to get to the steak dinner, open bar and dance floor. If it’s too long people will just start talking over you and no one is going to feel good about that.
  7. Toast: Cap off your speech by asking everyone to raise his or her glasses to the newlyweds. Maybe sneak in a short blessing too.

Knocking up or knocking out baby making wedding traditions

Whether or not to invite kids to a wedding is a one decision, but the bigger polls_baby_bride_0958_923980_poll_xlargedecision is whether not to practice superstitious wedding traditions that try to conceive a baby. The Feminist Bride has established that there are nine wedding traditions that exist in order to get the bride pregnant, now we’re going to provide nine modernized versions of these traditions so getting knocked up is more of an open ended choice.

The Most Comprehensive Social Media Wedding Etiquette List Imaginable

The Internet is taking over weddings. Analog Miss Manners probably never 2ee544f1e9b082adc56acbf8443b0d80saw this technological phenomenon coming, so modern couples need new advice on how to use it properly and politely in coordination with your very classy and special day. Without understanding the speed at which information is shared means  technology #fails can easily happen. Here’s some advice on how to navigate the complicated world of wedding social media.

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?

 

 

How to be Announced as Newlyweds

Taking your first steps as a child are a big deal, so are the ones you and your spouseLady-with-megaphone-008-e1373245414958 take together as newlyweds. Who wouldn’t want to step off on the right foot into a lifetime of marital bliss? It’s not the actual steps one takes at the reception that matters (though knowing how to walk in high heels under layers of tulle is a feat unto itself); it’s how the Master of Ceremonies introduces the couple that makes a big difference.

Creating a Socially Responsible Wedding

Fiancés planning a wedding have incredible purchasing power. I’m not just talking about the social_responsibility_1ability to buy two nude ice sculptures in the likeness of the newlyweds for the reception; I’m talking about the kind of purchases and investments that help make the world a better place via your wedding.

FB Movie Review: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding

3 Fem Rating SMCheerful Weather for the Wedding (2012) – A rather dry and witty period film MV5BMjEyMzczODAyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzU1MDA3OA@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_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:  (Subjects: Love, Bride, Wedding, Decision Making)

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.

 

In saying, “I Do,” did you choose wisely?

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

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?

 

 

 

The Upsides and Downsides to Eloping

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.

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.

Can Wedding Clichés Still Be Meaningful?

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.)

Walk Down the Aisle to Your Own Tune

Fun Wedding Cultural Fact – The Baraat

Baraat (Hindi: बरात, Urdu: برات) is a bridegroom’s wedding procession in North India and Pakistan. In North Indian communities, it is customary for the bridegroom to travel to the wedding venue (often the bride‘s house) on a mare, accompanied by his family members.

Feminist Bride Movie Review – The Graduate

The Graduate (1967) – “Mrs. Robinson are you
trying to seduce me?” Dustin Hoffman plays a recent college graduate suffering from summer listlessness and ambivalence to what is expected next of him in life. This enables his middle-aged neighbor, Mrs. Robinson, to ensnare him in a emotionless affair. Hoffman finally awakens to realize that he wants more out of life and love after meeting Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Penny. Mrs. Robinson becomes jealous of her daughters youth and Hoffman’s change in affections, sending her daughter into the same lifeless marriage she has been forced to suffer. Hoffman rescues Penny from her nuptials in a not so subtle attempt to save them both from the life of their parents.