image from Juju mama
A post I wrote on Mia Freedman's site, Mamma Mia regarding feminist brides and virginal white, being given away and promising to 'love honour and obey'.
The question posed by Mia was something along the lines of, "were you a feminist bride"... and Mia cited an example of her own interpretation of traditional marriage rites, her bridesmaid carried Mia's son down the aisle, as a fair rejection of the 'well, I'm not a virgin' assumption from days past.
Yeah, I’d like to think I was a feminist bride, even if it wasn’t a conscientious choice to be ‘a feminist bride’ – I just wanted to do things our way.
So… we got married at home, in our backyard, without about 70 or so guests (and that was a massive number blow out). We stood around and had beers with our mates before the ceremony, and then the celebrant asked everyone to assemble outside and we came out together, me, N and my daughters. It was lovely. He wore black jeans, a shirt and volleys, I wore a dress my mother and I made from black fabric and some gorgeous white lace – not what I had originally intended to wear! (I wanted to wear jeans and a tshirt!) But what we created from some fabrics that we found and loved.
We catered ourselves, asked a few friends to make some desserts.
We didn’t have rings. Neither of us are that in to jewellery, so it was a pointless exercise, exchanging rings.
We asked each of our dads to read some hilarious excerpts from a couple of books a friend gave us, ‘dont’s for wives’ and ‘donts for husbands’.
In place of the traditional giving away, the celebrant asked our friends and family if they would support us in our lives together, to which there was a resounding, and heart warming ‘YES!’
There was not a hint of ‘honour and obey’, rather, heartfelt words, and “do you promise to be a fabulous husband”… I laughed and joked the whole way through… it was a beautiful, glorious interpretation of a traditional rite that I had all my life advocated doing away with.
OMG, and the flowers! So N had brought home stacks of fluffy white chrysanthemums from his work, and we had lots of vases of chrysanthemum spread around the house. It was beautiful… I ended up with a bouquet (!) because there was 3 gorgeous roses out the front of my parents house, from a bush called ‘Julia’s rose’ (my sister’s name, I think I gave it to them when she was born?) that the night before I asked my mum if she could cut and bring over for a bouquet.
And we didn’t have a wedding cake – instead a dessert table. Cos I love dessert. So it was amazing, beautiful. A great day had by all. The whole thing was very mutually planned and organised too – I think that’s significant. Because I’m a terrible decision maker and not prepared to shoulder all/the bulk of the responsibility for what is supposed to be *our* day. Plus, obv N wanted a say in it, to us that seemed completely normal but I understand that often, brides don’t want their groom involved at all.
AND WE DIDN’T HAVE BUCK’S/HEN’S NIGHTS. Again, a mutual decision, but this whole ‘last night of freedom’ thing is bullshit, insulting and demeaning to the commitment we were making (and had already made) to each other.
And… I read offbeat bride and East side bride - both fairly religiously, as great blogs that were incredibly reassuring for knowing that it was ok to do things our way, because the important part of the day was not how the photos looked, or whether my shoes or hair or *everything* was perfect, but rather, the vows. The presence of friends and family and the commitment that we were fortunate enough to be able to make to each other.
Incidentally, I have read in a lot of places (particularly offbeat bride, because that's where I frequently read stuff) comments women made about their justification for changing their name being that they 'were not particularly attached to their surname' and that they 'wanted to have the same surname as their children'.
I didn't change my name, never had any intention of doing so, and nor was it expected of me by either my husband or my family. Why? Because I like my surname, I'm quite attached to it because I've lived with it for 31 years, and wasn't about to sacrifice this for another (albeit nice) name in honour of a cultural tradition I don't endorse.
And... I *do* have the same name as my children, because they have my name. If we had more, they would also have my name, it's not really a question for either of us, and as such I wonder if the comments that women make with regard to 'not being particularly attached to their surnames' come from the assumption that they will change their name as they get older?
I don't care if people know or not know that N and I are married; that wasn't the purpose of the exercise. So in this sense, name changing seems like a superfluous exercise.