How to have a feminist wedding

Today’s guest writer is Charlotte from Charlotte Simpson Ceremonies.

Do you feel torn between your feminist values and your wedding day plans? Maybe you’re not sure if ‘proper feminists’ should even get married. Well this feminist believes that falling in love - and celebrating it however you like - is a human right.

It’s true that the history of marriage is more problematic than a Miss World contest judged by Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump - but there’s nothing inherently sexist about two people choosing to commit to each other.

So if you want to get married, of course you can have a loud, proud feminist wedding. Here are some ideas for how…

feminist wedding image 1.jpg
feminist wedding image 4.jpg

Let women speak

And that means you! Speak when you want and how you want. Maybe you want to stand up at the reception and pour out your heart with love and gratitude - or to shock your relations with your filthiest anecdotes. The point is: your voice is important. Of course you can choose not to speak - just don’t be silenced by other people’s expectations.

Whatever your gender, if you’re worried you might be overwhelmed by emotion if you make a speech, here’s a little tip from a celebrant: read it through - out loud, on your own - again and again and again. The emotion gets easier to control the better you know your script.

Inviting women to speak goes for everyone in your wedding party too. If your sister or best friend would do an amazing speech, then ask her. Don’t let patriarchal power structures decide whose voice gets heard. It will change the mood of your whole day when you make choices that involve and include a truly diverse line up of speakers.

In fact don’t determine anyone’s role by their gender!
feminist wedding image 2.jpg

Choose a mate of honour, a best bud, a hodgepodge bridal party of people you want by your side, regardless of which toilets they use. If your dad wants to walk down the aisle with you but you feel uncomfortable about the symbolism, you can ask your mum or another important parent-figure to join you as well. Or why not re-think your entrance altogether and find a different way to enjoy a special moment with your dad? Nothing in a wedding ceremony is set in stone; a good celebrant can work with you to create a traditional feel - if that’s what you want - that has been subtly tweaked to bring it into the twenty-first century.

feminist weddiing image 3.jpg

Words matter

What some people insist on calling political-correctness-gone-mad, others call being thoughtful. I’m hoping that, since you’re reading this article, you don’t think there’s anything over the top about choosing your words carefully to avoid causing pain to others.

From your invitations onwards, the language you use about your wedding will set the tone. It’s not a big job to double-check your words aren’t making assumptions or perpetuating gender stereotypes. Chances are what you’ve got written is absolutely fine!

If you’re having a religious or registrar-led ceremony, you can ask to see the script and explain to your officiant how important equality is to you both. Even if you’re going for a church wedding, the days of promising to obey are long gone.

The lovely thing about working with a celebrant is you can research who’s out there and then choose someone who really shares your values. From suppliers to friends and family, if you give the key roles to people you trust and explain to them how important it is to you that your wedding is a feminist event, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to kick patriarchal nonsense into the long grass.


The Conscious Bride says…

I so agree with all Charlotte’s points, creating your wedding together is all about you two and what and who matter. Plan it however you want, keep or get rid of any traditions you want. I personally had my mum walk down the aisle as her opinion on who I married mattered most to me as she knows me best, my friend recently did the same. My sister did the speech instead of the groom and she rocked it, spent months writing her rhyming speech and practicing in secret, and at the same wedding the grooms grandad did a speech instead of the best man, it was hilarious! I loved throwing my bouquet and it did bring the catcher a new love! But I don’t know anyone else that threw theirs.

More wedding advice…