Feminist Bride: Not An Oxymoron

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Image credit: Betsi Ewing Studio

Planning a wedding in the modern age would appear to present a myriad of options for feminist brides and grooms. We live in a world with an Emma Watson book-club, the bell hooks institute, and Beyonce’s Lemonade. Surely, it would offer us the resources to plan a feminist wedding. But the “wedding industrial complex” doesn’t make this easy. With the average NYC wedding costing close to $80,000 and the added pressure to make this the best day of your life, it begs us to ask: does a feminist wedding even exist?

British suffragist Rebecca West famously said, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” This gets to the heart of what most of us have forgotten. For many, an engagement ring signals to their family, friends, and Facebook feed that they have finally achieved their greatest accomplishment. You’ve transformed from a Miss to a Mrs, and you can finally be validated as a woman worthy of a marriage proposal.

Now, this is all nonsense. We are a generation of liberated women! Surely, we know this. But somehow, we’re sucked in, and our identities can become wrapped in the what versus the why. If feminism is about choice, then we (grooms, too) must first be informed about what are choices are. Some of your favored traditions may have precarious roots. So, it’s important to recontextualize. Invest time looking at diverse weddings (Catalyst is a great start) to get an idea of alternative styling. Treat your guests and vendors as an investment in not just the party but the relationship. Make choices that reflect the beauty of your partnership and your community. A feminist wedding will look different for each of us. But above all, it’s time we, as women, with our partners start to champion one another far before the wedding. And what’s more feminist than that?

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Image credit: Betsi Ewing Studio

Amy Shackelford is the Founder & Lead Planner at Modern Rebel & Co., an alternative event planning company that gives back to local NYC non-profits. Planning a wedding? Want to learn more? Check out modernrebelco.com and/or email Amy at hello@modernrebelco.com.

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