How to Host a Feminist Wedding

Two brides at their feminist wedding.

Feminist weddings are growing in popularity, both among straight and LGBTQ couples. A feminist wedding is focused on lessening the patriarchal aspects of getting married and occasionally removing any gender-specific assignments and language. This does not mean breaking tradition completely, however. Rather, you can pick and choose what you feel is appropriate while incorporating your way of doing things at the same time. But most importantly, a feminist wedding makes a clear point that the two partners are equal to one another.

If you’re looking to make a feminist statement at your wedding, there are several ways you can do so. Whatever you choose or choose not to do, always check in with your partner before making any drastic plans (or changes to plans). After all, it is a special day for both of you, not just you alone. By no means should you incorporate all of the following ideas, unless you want to, but if something speaks to you, here are some suggestions that give a boost of girl power to your big day.

Propose to Your Partner Yourself

If you really want to make an impression, why not propose to your partner yourself? It’s a trendy thing to do now and expected to be a big thing come 2020 (it is leap year, after all). Assuming the proposal goes well, it’ll make for a fantastic story to share when you make your bridal speech.

Eliminate Phrases that Assume Gender

You might want to watch your language when addressing wedding invitations to your guests. The same goes for wedding favors and decor. To have a feminist wedding that avoids the assumption of gender, avoid phrases throughout the wedding such as “His” and Hers” and “Mr. or Mrs.” Also, avoid combined names such as “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith,” as some think it showcases ownership of the wife by the husband.

Ditch the Dress (Or the White Dress)

A bride wearing a pink dress.

Of course, you can wear a white bridal dress if you’d like. The same goes for the veil and garter. However, also feel free not to. Many brides are choosing an off-white or colored dress for this very reason. It may also explain why female tuxes and jumpsuits are becoming so trendy. Basically, the fashion rule is there are no rules. Wear whatever makes you happy.

Have Gender-Neutral Vows and Readings

Many traditional vows and ceremony readings mention gender or specific roles for the husband and wife. If this bothers you, you can always change the wording to make it more appropriate to you. You can also lookup a gender-neutral reading if you don’t feel comfortable editing a traditional verse.

Have Mixed-Gender Parties

Many couples are implementing this new trend even without any feminist leanings. This applies to bridal showers, bachelor or bachelorette parties, and bridesmaids or groomsmen. Neither one of these events should be limited to one gender. For example, in lieu of a bridal shower, you can have a couples shower—or you can invite both your girl and guy friends to the event. And instead of having bridesmaids or groomsmen, just call them your “wedding party.”

Revamp the Walk Down the Aisle

A bride walking down the aisle with a female friend on either side of her.

Traditionally, the father walks the bride down the aisle and it’s meant to symbolize him “giving her away” to the groom. Some argue this is archaic and represents ownership, so you may want to alter the practice a bit. Instead of having your dad walk you, you can ask another family member or friend. You can also walk hand in hand with your significant other.

Of course, it is important not to alienate your dad, since it is a moment many fathers look forward to. Make sure to discuss your plans with him at length. As a compromise, you can have him and another person of your choosing, such as your mom, walk you down the aisle together.

Highlight Female Speeches at the Reception

Speeches at weddings tend to be reserved for the male guests, specifically the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man. But why should men have all the fun? Feel free to toss out this custom and choose who you want to speak. You can also have it be an open-mic affair. Or, why not make a speech yourself? More and more brides are braving public speaking and saying a few words at their weddings. You can do it too!

Toss out the Bouquet

Or rather, skip the bouquet toss, which is increasingly becoming an outdated tradition. Some people see it as slightly embarrassing since it singles out females who aren’t in relationships and assumes they want to get married in the first place. Feel free to forget about this age-old practice or put your own spin on it. Instead of making it about marriage, have everyone participate (or choose not to) and make up a whole new meaning to catching the bouquet. For example, you can even say whoever gets the bouquet gets the first slice of cake!

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