What if finding the perfect wedding dress had a lot more to do with how it impacted the world than it did in just making someone feel and look like a bride? The Feminist Bride aims to help fiancés bring more meaning to their wedding through better social practices, so when I met founder, Marcie Muehlke at (un)convention Brooklyn last fall I had to share what amazing things her wedding dress company, Celia Grace was doing. Celia Grace is a women-led wedding dress company that helps impoverished women abroad (fair trade) and brings handmade, environmentally friendly and sustainable gowns to the wedding industry. If brides want to really wow guests on their wedding day, a Celia Grace dress adds an extra layer of eco-feminist thoughtfulness, empowerment and compassion that is hard to come by in the wedding dress industry.
I never know what to make of Betsey Johnson. She’s kinda like your great Aunt that’s a total wild card, who curiously resembles your thirteen year old niece, who’s currently finding herself by defying convention. When it comes to fashion, she’s a great reminder of how far fashion can go and how much you don’t have to give a hoot about other people’s opinions so long as you’re happy.
I hope you join me for a cup of cafe con leche for a fun evening of wedding mishaps, fiesty feminism, and eye-opening truths about wedding traditions!
Are you a beer-loving bride or groom? If yes, then that’s a good thing because craft beer is hotter than the stripper at your bachelorette party. If you’re not a big fan of the bubbly and not so much into wine, the many styles of craft beer now available may be perfect for serving at your wedding festivities then. Even better, many new breweries offer tasting rooms and gastro pubs, which might be great for hosting your next wedding event too (If you ask me, a bachelorette party pub-crawling through some good beer bars is simply more appealing than an endless succession of vodka and Red Bulls at clubs playing music that will make one’s ears bleed.) To get you on your marital way, here is a list of eight appropriately named brews (and some by woman brewmasters!) for your nuptial imbibing.
Not sure what to do with your wedding dress collecting dust in your closet taking up precious square footage OR those bridesmaid dresses the bride swore you could wear again but never will? Consider donating it to one of the ten charities below. It’s important to note that, overall, donating your wedding dress will most likely come at an additional expense to you – many of the shops require dry cleaning or at least an additional monetary donation; that also doesn’t include the cost for shipping your dress to the non-profit if you don’t live in the area and some even want a self-addressed stamp envelop to send you a tax donation receipt. The upside to the extra financial burden is that your dress will eventually make someone very happy and the sale proceeds will go towards various causes, plus you’ll be practicing eco-feminism because you won’t be sending your dress to sit in a landfill.
Hey folks, remember that time you got married? I hope so because you’re required to keep on remembering - every year, FOREVER. Not remembering wedding anniversaries can lead to nights on the couch, even more-expensive-than-you’d-normally-buy jewelry or signing up for things you’d normally refuse to do with your spouse like Zumba lessons or using your naked body as a platter for an intimate Sunday football meal.
Does a bear shit in the woods? Yes. Will a bride take a big one on her big day? Probably. How the bear drops a deuce, thankfully, is not my problem. But if you’ve been a bridesmaid, you’ve probably had an up close encounter with a bride doing her business on the porcelain throne (which might explain why they insist on wearing tiaras sometimes). It’s because most brides select cumbersome wedding gowns, begging the question, “How do I pee in this?”
What if creating the perfect wedding included much more than a well choreographed first dance or coordinated dove release? What if the perfect wedding included a keen consciousness as to how one’s wedding celebration affected the environment around the couple? It makes sense, because how nice can a wedding be if it’s in a dump? AJ+, a global news community brings fiancés an important ecological breakdown of just how wasteful a wedding can be and how it impacts the environment. From how conflicting a diamond ring to how horrible imported flowers can be, the video gives a brief overview of how important it is to really think beyond just the happiness of the couple.
Hear ye, hear ye! What bride would be complete without announcing her passion, her conviction and her independent spirit on a Feminist Bride t-shirt? Wedding swag purchases go towards supporting the technological and administrative needs of TheFeministBride.com, and maybe eventually an employee happy hour outing because we work hard too.
Pink, blue and purple t-shirts are currently available (though feel free to inquire within for customizable options!). Current available sizes include Medium (Bust/hips 20″, Length from neckline to bottom 25″), and small. 100% Heavy Preshrunk Cotton, Lettering: textured, light pink lettering 5.5″ Length, 3″ width. Washing Machine Safe
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.
My wedding cake topper was also my “something old.” It was over 30 years old and last saw a cake at my parents’ wedding in the 70s. I spent at least an hour trying to bleach it white. Before deciding to use it, I debated between going simple with just flowers since I had been both tickled and horrified at modern cake toppers. Seriously, have you seen them lately?
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.
One of the amazing things about living in New York City is that there’s no point in fretting about what you’re wearing or how you’re wearing it; there’s always someone else that took a much bigger fashion risk. For example, I was at an art exhibition opening at the Brooklyn Art Museum for Killer Heels. One patron was wearing a purple cape, another dressed like Colonel Sanders and someone else was wearing wire boxes for a hat. In New York City, anything goes when it comes to fashion. And so should it be as a bride, even if you’re not in New York City. For all the pomp and circumstance and Benjamins that go into dressing for the big day, why not take a leap of faith with your footwear? After all, most people won’t see your shoes underneath that long gown. And it’s a little extra fun knowing you’ve bucked the traditional white satin. Heels? Forget about them! They’re just going to come off eventually anyway as you dance into the night. Here are some awesome alternative wedding shoe ideas so your feet and your fashion can be footloose and fancy-free on your wedding day.
Step right up and get yourself or the bride the shirt that shows she’s not just any bride, but a feminist bride! Being a loud and proud feminist bride will certainly turn a head or two with your dynamic strength, independence and intelligence. Maybe by wearing it you’ll inspire another everyday bride to become a bold and beautiful feminist bride!
A celebratory t-shirt for the bride-to-be that she can wear at her bachelorette, during her fitting, rehearsal ceremony, the day of the wedding, on her honeymoon…basically she should live in this shirt every day for good luck. Just wear it into the shower to save on wash time.
The idea that diamond engagement rings are bad luck after a failed engagement or marriage is simply the product of clever jewelry marketing. (Along with the 4 C’s: Cut, Clarity, Color, Cost; two-months salary buy in and just about every other ring tradition.) Jewelers just want you to have an excuse to buy more brand new bling, but what if that didn’t have to be the case?
As a teenager, I dated a ton. I’m not sure if my parents’ had rules related to dating, though I knew fact checking might lead to some answers I did not want. Not wanting to wake the bear, I was sly about it; “friends” would come over a lot until eventually my parents asked about the nature of the friendship and I’d casually say, “Ya, I guess we’re going out.” If I played it cool, they’d be cool. As an adult now looking back, I probably wasn’t so cunning, and the truth was they just trusted me.
Not all girls are so lucky. Even if a girl is responsible, smart and heck, a black belt, there’s still this social distrust over a girl and her adventures in dating. Just recently, photos from chastity balls made big headlines for being beautiful (for the record, I thought they were super creepy). These young girls, barely pubescent, were pledging their virginity to their dads. First, why their dads only and why not make the boys pledge too? Why not protect girls by teaching them how to protect themselves and make smart decisions as opposed to teaching them that someone can only do it for them? Why not teach boys the importance of respecting the bodily autonomy of girls? Those boys will only grow into fathers and the cycle of dating distrust will either recycle itself or stop.
And this entire spring we’ve been inundated (and rightfully so) with news warnings that the state of campus rape crisis management is deplorable if not immoral. Victims have been blamed left and right, rapists walk around unpunished, school campuses passively deny any large problems. Even Obama and Biden felt it was terribly necessary to address the issue and change the way we respond to rape.
There’s a men’s t-shirt that’s been circulating around the Internet that speaks directly to men about the importance of trusting girls when it comes to dating (apparently, it’s a customized shirt from Zazzle). First, it’s awesome because it says “Feminist Father” on it showing that men can be feminists too and send the message this is how you do it! Secondly, it puts the power of choice and control in the hands of the girl, which is how it should be. And third, the second line “You Don’t Make the Rules” directly fights that male entitlement that creates the problems for females in the first place.
Dad’s if there has to be rules for dating your daughter, this is the list you want to follow!
During a medieval tradition called the bedding ceremony, the bride and groom were escorted by the groomsmen to the newlywed bedchamber. Since any piece of the bride’s garment was considered lucky with the garter as the crème de le crème, the men would subsequently scuffle with the bride to remove the garter. As a result, the bride started preemptively throwing it away. And thus the garter toss tradition was born because who doesn’t like a good ‘ole medieval groping?
Obviously, the garter is an erotic symbol, yet women throw asexual flowers. During the wedding game, brides shyly laugh and try to push the groom out of her undergarments, whereas the groom seeks the treasured garter using his sexual prowess. Imagine reversing the roles, with the bride sexually aggressive and tossing some tighty whities. Seems raunchy right? It’s a complete double standard to how men and women are allowed to treat sex, yet it’s accepted and practiced at nearly every wedding without a second thought.
Many a fair maiden has pranced around in a garter. It’s a fun, frilly piece of lace meant to be sexy and flirtatious. Other than Victoria Secret models, no one really wears them for functional reasons like holding up your pantyhose and knickers. It serves no practical purpose anymore; instead, promoting the notion that purity and virginity are present, but that the wearer has a friskier side. A perfect cat and mouse chase. Removable chastity.
There are creative possibilities to rethink the tradition more fairly and appropriately without abandoning the garter completely. Consider keeping it private and solely for the wedding night. Removing the garter can be quite the sensual act and will definitely be more fun to keep going without an audience waiting to dance the funky chicken. It could be relegated to a Jack and Jill party where guests will be close friends from the same generation who accept the sexuality of the garter removal and toss. Or for the couple who decides to keep the tradition, think about incorporating something equally sexual for the bride; say, removing her husband’s bow tie with her teeth – that would be talent – or if the couple is very bold, reverse the roles completely now that would be an evocative and witty message.
Since 60% of couples live together before marriage and have all the wondrous as-seen-on-tv stuff already, I find the household giving gift stuff redundant. That’s why I give a nice gift certificate from Victoria Secret and something else sexy to the bride (cuz the groom is barely at these things, lame) with a card that reads, “Pots and pans won’t make a marriage, but good sex can.” Because it’s true and is a lot more fun to give than a butter dish. Seems Comedy Central star, Amy Schumer feels that same!
To read more about feminist bride stuff on wedding showers;
As a child of the 80s and 90s, all I wanted to do was build and engineer things with my Legos. People were nice enough to encourage this, but they insisted on only giving me pink Lego sets with dolphins and pink convertibles instead. As adults perhaps they thought they knew better than 8-year old me, who wanted the train or pirate sets they marketed to boys. Barbies held no interest for me, but I loved building the sets of houses where she lived. And I had to built it without instructions because that was more challenging. Once it was built, it sat there collecting dust. I was pro-princess however, but when I played princess she was the heroine and I was frequently rescuing others. I adapted to the gendered toys handed down to me, but I spent so much energy modifying them to fit something beyond their girlie-ness that I have to wonder if my creativity and personal development was limited by them.
That’s where GoldieBlox comes in. It’s a toy company that focuses on creating construction toys that develop an early interest in science, technology, engineering and math for girls. It was started because for over a hundred years, these types of toys have been limited to the boys club. One might argue that girls could easily just buy and use the same Erector Sets the boys use, but marketing has sent a clear message that those toys are more for boys than girls. And it’s had a profound effect on women in the sciences.
“Only one-fifth of physics Ph.D.’s in this country are awarded to women, and only about half of those women are American; of all the physics professors in the United States, only 14 percent are women.” (New York Times, October 2013, Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?) Fewer than 3 in 10 graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women. And barely 1 in 10 actual engineers are women (Upworthy.com).
They are trying to get the message out on this discrepancy and get girls constructing! They’ve released an awesome ad, which they are vying to get into the Superbowl with. It will be a great break to see girls do something else than eat Doritos provacatively, wash cars in bikinis or drink cold bear in a push up bra. So if you want young viewers to see something with a positive message that’s not about sex and stereotypes, vote for GoldieBlox here!
It may be too late for me to reclaim my childhood filled with pink and princesses, but GoldieBlox and myself can at least make sure that the next generation of girls can be more than just damsels in distress!
Really Kate Spade? This is a little low brow. Sure Carrie Bradshaw wore her trinket Carrie necklace religiously, which had more intrinsic value than any other high fashion item in her closet but it also didn’t assert any social gendering.
There’s probably no “Mr.” version of this necklace, but even if there were, it still wouldn’t represent men discriminately based on his relationship status like a “Mrs.” necklace does. Brides and wives need to think about what it means when being called Mrs. Mrs. carries a lot of unfair social construction and identity politics compared to Mr. When a man marries his identity and name does not change based on his new relationship status, but a woman’s does according to name change tradition and that has a lot of sordid historical weight to it.
Want to be treated as an equal, maintain the integrity of your identity without having to redefine it just because you went through a new life stage? Than opt for using Ms. It’s a much stronger statement and from this feminist perspective a much more awesome sentiment to wear around your neck.
To Learn More About Name Change:
The Lucy Stone League: Crusaders for more name equality!
A wedding calls for many special occasions which means many special toasts. While champagne may be the typical bubbly, here’s a list of alternative libations with occasion-related names. Sadly, I’ve only had the pleasure of tasting three but would happily raise a glass to the others if I could.
Represent yourself and the ne0-traditional, feminist bride that you are (or a friend you may know) with a Feminist Bride t-shirt! Wear it on your bachelorette party, to the Post Office, a feminist rally, to your Jack n’ Jill shower, maybe to go get coffee, who knows. I say wear it all the time.
Current colors are cerulean blue, pink, purple and black! Don’t see a size or a color you like, just ask! Custom orders can be made too.
I hand printed these in a screen print shop, so there’s feminist sweat that went into them. Proceeds go to supporting website costs. Your support is much appreciated (and needed…)
To make your purchase click here.
“Acknowledging you’re a feminist is an act of gratitude for the people who went before and fought for the rights you are now enjoying.”
Katrina Majkut, founder of TheFeministBride.com, speaking on “The Sexy and Sexist Layers of the Wedding Cake”
Vera Wang exhibited her Fall 2012 Collection of bridal gowns at New York’s bridal fashion week and shocked the fashion nobility. The designer who knows how to dress every bride in her dream gown is dressing brides in her own signature color – black. Yes folks that’s right, seems like the Queen of Bridal couture has had a moment of clarity – that most of us ain’t virgins on our wedding day (Actually it’s estimated only 5% of us are), so why bother wearing white?
Ever wonder what this rhythmic superstition meant? While no bride should ever feel the need to be superstitious on her big day, these bridal superstitions where there to add a little extra karma to the special day. Bottom line is though, feminist brides don’t need superstition to ward off bad juju or collect extra luck; you’ve thought long and hard and just know in the pit of your stomach you’re making the right choice to marry and who you marry. Nonetheless here’s the background on this little ditty.