What Is A Feminist Wedding?

Heather Saunders Photography

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me catch you up to speed. A recent story by the The Daily Mail called “Rise of the Feminist Wedding,” reported that a growing number of brides are avoiding common wedding traditions because they’re perceived as “anti-feminist”.  The numbers they used came from a 200-person bride survey conducted by WeddingDays.co.uk that concluded 9% of brides aren’t wearing white wedding dresses, 24% won’t have their father walk them down the aisle, and 26% will keep their maiden name after the wedding.

Our findings are similar. We recently surveyed more than 1,000 engaged couples and found that 13% of brides plan to hyphenate or add their husbands name to theirs full names, while just 8% are planning to keep their maiden name. Also, according to our bridal fashion study from 2011, only 4% of brides are wearing a non-white wedding dress.

But is that what a feminist wedding really means? We see couples putting a spin on traditions or creating new ones all the time (from matching personalized Nike dunks to the best friend’s mom escorting the bride down the aisle and couples with flower girls AND boys). Not to mention all of the celebs like Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway and Avril Lavigne who’ve worn colored gowns, and all the bridal fashion designers (like Vera Wang) who have added lots of non-white options to their collections. There could be several reasons for these changes including fashion trends and personal preference, but I think there’s a bigger point to be made here. The meaning of these traditions varies from person to person. While one bride might see a father walking his daughter down the aisle as a tradition that signifies women as property, another might see it as a way for a father to show his love.

So isn’t that exactly what feminists movements fought to do, to give women the freedom and choice to pick the traditions that feel right to them?  Because that’s exactly what I see every day — call it feminist or not.

More, more, more!

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