Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post comes from Lindsay Marie MacAllister. Lindsay Marie works for an anti-poverty non-profit agency as the Program Coordinator. She attended the Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counselor and Advocate program at George Brown College as well as school for Psychology at Queen’s University. Lindsay currently lives in a small town in Northern Ontario in Canada with her two dogs and partner. You can follow her on Twitter @LindzMcAllister.
Since I am getting married in two weeks, and at this point, can barely go a few minutes without thinking of something I still need to do, it would be the most appropriate topic for me to write on. When my partner and I decided to get engaged, I knew I would need to incorporate my feminist beliefs into the ceremony and planning process. As I mentioned we decided to get married together, there was no pressure for a huge proposal on my male partner or expectation that I wait quietly and patiently for him to propose when I was not willing to do so. We knew we wanted to spend forever together and that was all that mattered to us. We both got each other an engagement ring, only fair really, and went about sharing the news with our friends and family, together.
Planning a wedding involves a lot of compromise between the bride and groom; it is a big day for both people, not just the Bride. In our case, my partner cared about one thing beyond the two of us spending the rest of our lives together, that his parents and siblings be there at the ceremony. Through discussion we decided that if I gave up my dream wedding in Jamaica on the beach and had it locally, the rest of the details could be my choice. We chose to go with a toned down Scottish themed wedding, a rustic outdoors affair, with brown as the main color, a favorite for both of us.
Watching an obsessive amount of bridal television shows, such as “Rich Bride Poor Bride” and “Say Yes To The Dress,” helped me to pin-down some of the ideas that seemed to fit well with our dream day. Those combined with some good old fashioned research into the traditions surrounding weddings also helped me figure out what I really didn’t want. The first thing my partner and I both agreed on was that since we were paying for the wedding ourselves, we would not be controlled by the wishes of family; all decisions were to be ours and ours alone. Parents were only allowed to invite friends when we determined how much room was still available after our guest lists were complete. It is after all, our day, and we only want people who truly love and support us in every way to share with us in this celebration.
The second thing I knew I didn’t want was to be given away by anyone. Many brides love this tradition but I cannot ignore that the historical significance of this directly points to the fact that women used to literally be owned. Owned like a piece of property or livestock was. The father was required to give his permission for the young woman to be married and at this time, ownership was transferred from the father to the now husband. As a result, my choice is to walk up the aisle alone and independent. Finally, the veil, which is based on the tradition of arranged marriage and the bride and groom literally not seeing each other until they are married or the wedding. So needless to say, I won’t be wearing a veil.
One thing we still plan on doing is making a donation to an organization that supports the effort to allow true freedom of choice when it comes to marriage, which to me means allowing same-sex marriage. We have not yet selected our charity of choice so if you have a suggestion and some information on the non-profit agency, please post the information in the comments section. My final thoughts; when planning a feminist wedding remember your strength as an individual, your love as a couple and never forget your priorities; this is after all, your life and your choice.