The Good Feminist’s Wedding

Okay, now I’ve got the whole surname issue out of the way, it’s time to tackle the rest of the wedding. Whilst I’m not being a total radical (I’ll talk about my veil and white dress next time…) I’m making some deliberate choices to ensure that my wedding sets the right tone for my marriage.

It’s all about equality and respect.

So you’ve probably already guessed that my wedding won’t involve being “given away”, agreeing to obey Liam or having invitations sent out by my parents on our behalf.

We also won’t be having gender segregated roles like groomsmen or bridesmaids, a best man or maid of honour. (Disclaimer: this is pretty easy to avoid when your only wedding guests are a gay couple.)

Likewise, no speeches exclusively by men, leaving all the women silent. There won’t be any mothers’ or maid of honour speeches, but only because there also won’t be any fathers’ or best man speeches.

For other aspects of the wedding we’re taking a joint approach – after all, isn’t that what getting married is all about? Planning the location and type of wedding, paying for it, deciding who to invite, choosing our rings. These were all 50/50. Suitably for a couple who like to take an equal and slightly unconventional approach, we’re writing our own vows, which will highlight the importance of equality and respect in our marriage.

One feminist principle I’m really taking a stand on is not getting married in England. Yes, you read that right. I won’t get married in England. My reason is that, despite support from David Cameron and a petition with 70,839 signatures, the marriage certificate still only shows the names of the fathers of the bride and groom and not the mothers. Ministers recently rejected proposals to add the mothers’ names, so it doesn’t look like this will change any time soon.

I believe that this is anachronistic in the 21st century. As a heterosexual couple we’re embracing marriage as a bond between two equals. The marriage certificate should also reflect the fact that men and women are equals and not continue to write women out of history.*

So we’ll be getting hitched in New Zealand, the first self-governing country in the world to grant the right to vote to all adult women, where – appropriately – the marriage certificate has space for both parents’ names.

That’s all for this week on my stereotypically feminist wedding choices. Look out for my next post, when I’ll be talking about some of the ways I’m conforming to tradition and why.

* Although this is not the case for civil partnership certificates, the High Court recently ruled that heterosexual couples can’t have a civil partnership, so that wasn’t an option anyway.

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