I started out writing this series of blogs (it began with an engagement blog) because I do consider myself a feminist and because I’m in a relationship and at that age where you start considering what your engagement/wedding would be like. So for those of you who have feminist leanings or for those of you who just want to put your own personal stamp on your wedding day without having to bow to tradition, read on for our alternatives.
Until I started to look into it more deeply, I was unaware of the symbolism surrounding wedding cake. Traditionally the bride cut the cake alone and handed it out to her guests. The white icing was linked to the purity of the bride and fruit cake was supposed to be a symbol of fertility. So the bride giving out cake would give you luck in fertility. I must admit, I’m not one to turn down cake (feminism or no feminism), but there are some alternatives if you’d prefer something a little different. Why not opt for a wedding cake with flavours and a colour that tie in with your wedding, or just your and the groom’s favourite? You could go for a table of little treats rather than a single cake that guests can help themselves to. Or forgo the formality of cutting the cake and ask the venue to serve it to your guests.
As a bride, the expectation is that you spend hours getting your hair and make up done, don a big dress and put lots of work into making the day special. Once everyone has watched you walk down the aisle, it tends to be the men who have control of the mike, whereas women are seen and not heard. The groom, the best man and the father of the bride all make a speech. Thankfully it is becoming more and more common for a bride or her bridesmaids to have their moment with the microphone too. You could make a speech yourself and encourage any ladies in your bridal party to, including the mums. It’s such a special day for them too, and I know I’ll want to say something if my daughter decides to get married. If you’re very brave you could have open mic speeches, so anyone who feels like it could say a few words! Or you and your new husband could make a speech together. There are many possibilities, so please don’t feel like you have to follow any hard and fast rules.
Wedding Invitations are a must, usually pretty far in advance as people are so busy these days and venues get booked up so quickly. The wording is steeped in etiquette and formality, but there are many ways you can put your own personality a little equality into it. Maybe avoid Mr & Mrs John Smith; it implies that you are already married and there is no reason for his name and not yours to be in there. You don’t need to use Mrs at all, after all, there is no male alternative. Unless your parents are paying for the wedding, there is no need for you to word is as if they are inviting guests on your behalf. As much as they are a nice keepsake, invitations are usually very expensive and tend to be discarded by most people. Why not save the trees and send an email? Do things your own way, it’s your day.
Cigars for the men, sweets for the ladies, we’ve seen lots of ‘His and Her’ details which, while making things personalised is a lovely touch, adding gender where it’s not needed is a little dated. One of my best friends who is a successful bar owner transformed an ice cream van into a mobile cocktail bar and will create you a list of bespoke drinks with names that mean something to you. I thought this would be a great idea for wedding favours, and then guests can just choose their favourite. Or if you don’t fancy cocktails just choose a favour table and let guests pick them.
As I said in my engagement blog, this seems to be a subject that polarises opinion. To some, having their husband’s last name is one of the most exciting parts of being married. To other’s it feels like relinquishing part of who you are. Whatever you decide, go with your heart and discuss it with your partner to find the best solution for you both. In an age where many families are blended, there are often different surnames under one roof anyway, so try not to give in to pressure from friends or family. You could add you husbands surname onto yours and make it double barrelled. You could go for a completely different surname altogether for both of you, and if you’d rather not be defined by a title simply use Ms instead of Mrs.
It’s a fairly old fashioned joke that the bride has duped or forced the groom into marriage and this can sometimes be seen in ‘funny’ wedding signs. Like a page boy holding up a ‘last chance to run’ sign or reference to the ‘ball and chain’. These things imply that the groom is a fun loving guy and the bride is a tiresome nag. If you believe, as many do, that these are harmless gags, feel free to include them. But if not there are hundreds of alternatives.
When a couple get engaged it’s not uncommon for the woman to do most of the wedding planning. Finding the venue, dealing with suppliers etc. – then the man gets to do the fun stuff like cake tasting! Of course, this isn’t a fair distribution of the work load and can lead to frustration, so it’s important to keep this part equal too. This will allow you both to enjoy the lead up to the day and also means the wedding will have equal parts of your personality in it.
So that’s one mammoth round up of ways to keep your wedding day equal, fun and romantic. Try not to feel judged by others, try not to judge other for their choices and above all, embrace the journey. I hope you’ve found it helpful and interesting.