Alternatives

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. 

Is Cutting The Cake A Gross Or Delicious Display of PDA?

Some find the entire pomp and circumstance of the cake cutting ceremony as cake-feedsugarcoated narcissism. They assume no guest wants to witness a gross display of PDA. Is it possible they are right? It is, after all, becoming less and less popular – perhaps for that reason. The tradition is indeed a form of entertainment, which in some circles is seen as part of the indulgent, luxury-wedding syndrome that is both ostentatious and vain.

The act of feeding a spouse wedding cake symbolizes your promise to nurture and care for them. When it’s done equally, it’s a selfless act making it also a very parental act. Freud would have a field day with this because it is also a sexual act, you’re entering someone’s intimate space and putting sexual food in open orifices. If that idea makes the ritual seem weird, it’s because it is; but don’t worry, if you don’t like being the center of attention, skip the cake and its cost or take some sheet cake and feed each other privately.

Me though, I like cake and I enjoy a good cake in the face at somebody else’s expense. I loved the photos of my own parents’ wedding of my mom smushing cake in my dad’s face. When he tried to do the same, in a move of comical genius she pushed his own cake-filled hand into his own face. I desperately wanted to repeat this as a new personal tradition, but didn’t have the hutzpah. Besides cake in the face indicates to the guests it is time for dessert.

 

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.

 

Is The Prenup Passé?

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.



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.

Beware Lame Bridal Shower Games

If I can give men any wedding credit it’s their ability to successfully avoid bridal showers, especially the bridal games (I am very jealous of this skill). Don’t get me wrong, I love games. But the mere fact that no one plays bridal games outside of bridal showers is a massive sign that no one wants to play them…at all.

Senior citizen bingo can be cutthroat, bridal shower bingo where I mark off squares filled in with bridal shower-type gifts not so much. It is the epitome of boring and lame. I recommend turning gift opening into a drinking game instead, every time the bride opens a domestic present – take a sip. Every time she opens up something sexy – give a drink to someone else. Everyone would be having an awesome time then. Bingo!

Word Games are the rock bottom of un-fun at showers. Predicting what a bride will say when she opens up a gift…makes me speechless. Who thinks this is fun? This is the best game people can come up with? There is something endearing about the advice marriage game though – so long as there are funny and charismatic guests in attendance. The best advice I heard was from someone’s granny, “Don’t fart in bed.” Granny knows a fart joke is appropriate at anytime.

Guessing games never go off well either, there was one bridal shower where the bride got two out of ten questions about her fiancé and relationship right (they are now divorced). Another game form is to have the guests fill out a questionnaire about the couple. This is really awkward for the guests who are there out of courtesy or blood and don’t know the couple at all. It also can’t be an ego boost for the couple that invited a “close” group of people to find out, they ain’t so close to them.

Then there’s the recipe collection game, where all the invited women bring in a recipe for the bride – so she can start cooking good meals for her husband when he comes home with the bacon. Not too spoil this game too, but this too just reinforces the stereotype that wives belong in the kitchen.

I do like the underwear game where everyone brings a pair of panties and the bride has to guess who brought which pair. (This, too, can be turned into a drinking game or played at the bachelorette party.) It’s good because one the bride can donate the underwear afterwards if she chooses. Underwear is often needed at women’s shelters and many forget such types of donations. Secondly, if the party is about building a life together it reiterates that bakeware and kitchenware won’t make a marriage, but good sex (with the help of sexy underwear) can.

I get it though; these games try to bring together a room full of strangers together. It’s earnest in its attempt but I have found few who truly enjoy them. The one time I actually connected with new people at a shower was when I had no other choice but to use my Emily Post greeting skills. I was at a luncheon (at the Boathouse in Central Park, NYC, which was breathtaking) with tight family-style seating, which forces you to talk to the person next to you when you know no one else. And I have to say, I had a really nice time and the group solidified without the game crutch, in fact, the games actually interrupted our bonding.



[1] I can play a mean game of Scrabble and I can gracefully lose at darts, but not Connect Four for some reason

Mazel Tov, Liz Lemon! You Are A Beautiful Feminist Bride.

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.

How Well Balanced Is Your Name Change Decision?

I created this ‘Name Change Cultural Spectrum’ for a lecture I gave at Tufts University this spring. I wanted people to understand where their decisions stand in the broader context of equality. For example, a lot of women who retain their surname but also incorporate their new spouse’s name through hyphenation will defend their decision as being progressive or feminist or seemingly more about equality. If you look on the spectrum, that one-sided name change is not as based on equality as we might like to think, especially since men typically do not join women in this one-sided hyphenation.

Also to show that existing name change culture does not encourage equality, I had to invent the term Neutronymics. Neutronymics is the adoption of a new name or combination of names created using the names of married individuals or the retention of separate surnames. It is meant to be a solution to those wishing to participate in neither patronymics nor matronymics and to increase name equality. Mutual hyphenation, the Scrabble Name Game and Surname Retention are all options people are aware of, but had never been grouped before or labeled. Labeling it gives it legitimacy and really puts into perspective the other options that favor one sex over another.

So when it comes time for you to get married and you’re not sure if you’re making the right decision that honors yourself and/or your partner – take a look at the Name Change Culture Spectrum. See where your decision places on the map and you’ll get a better sense as to whether you are helping to buck the dominating patriarchy, are alone in your name change decisions or are making a healthy decision that really promotes equality in your relationship and teaches women to value their name too. And if you’re a lady getting married, don’t forget to make the groom put in the same type of name change consideration you are putting in yourself!

Why Women Change Their Last Names After Marriage

 

Wedding Invitation Name Etiquette

The Lucy Stone League: Crusaders for more name equality!

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

Putting the “V” in Valentine’s Day

When it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day, we seek to spend it with those we love and shower them with all the accoutrements a Hallmark Valentine’s can bestow. What about spending Valentine’s Day in a non-commercial way? What if you could honor the women in your life by participating in something that seeks to support and empower them? What if you spent this Valentine’s Day learning how to appreciate yourself?

Feminist Fight for Change, Not The Wedding Bouquet

(This post first appeared 4/17/2010) Come July, I am marrying a man, I will wear white, I will Bouquet Toss Teresa_Tam_bouquet tosseven wear high heels (for at least a portion of the wedding) and I call myself a feminist.  As a bride and a feminist, my goal is to dissect the formal, patriarchal institution of weddings in order to modernize the practice and align with current women’s rights.  So, because this is a topic that I have been actively thinking on for months, it came as no surprise to me when Jessica Valenti, feminist and author of Full Frontal Feminism and the website www.Feministing.organnounced her marriage to a man and her intention to wear a bridal gown.  The overwhelming discontent and criticism from Valenti’s feminist readership, on the other hand, was a surprise.

Walk Down the Aisle to Your Own Tune

Could You Have A “Naked Marriage?”

Before you start getting all shy and reserved, this is not about a nudist colony wedding. A “naked marriage” is a new Chinese term to describe newlyweds who forego all the consumerist, expensive tradition of a typical Chinese wedding. Do you think you can strip away all the wedding traditions that require you buy a dress, rings, a lavish ceremony and just marry on your merits of love?

Why Women Change Their Last Names After Marriage

As The Feminist Bride this topic is the most distressing to me. After researching all wedding traditions there are three that earn the top obsolete, sexist and promoting inequality – engagement rings, bridal showers and name change. Now, women are starting to understand that third-wave feminism is about choice, but I have to say that when it comes to name change it isn’t an educated one.

There are three reasons why the tradition of women adopting their spouses names exists.

How to Take Out Your Wedding Planning Aggression Elsewhere.

 

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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.