Mar 1, 2014

My Feminist Wedding - 10 Things I Won't Do Just Because

I'm getting married this year, and here are ten things I won't do just because:

Lose weight for a dress
No way in hell will I subject myself to this kind of unnecessary pressure! Everyone knows perfectly well what I normally look like, my partner loves and accepts me for who I am, and the time wasted on counting calories will be better invested in finding an outfit that underlines my personality. And who says it has to be a dress I should be wearing in the first place? No need for white, either. (Although I will probably end up wearing off-white.) There's also the possibility of getting a second hand dress, if you're into vintage. Here in Toronto there's a great charity called The Brides' Project that resells used wedding dresses and donates all profits to cancer charities.

Have a hen night 
Oh, the embarrassment! On average, a group of thirteen women spends their day learning how to mix cocktails, lying around with pieces of cucumber on their faces or running their fingers over some Chippendale's abs. In the UK, the cost of hen nights increased by about 50% from £102 to £157 per person in the past five years alone, with travel destinations becoming ever more exclusive: Las Vegas and Barcelona are the new Manchester and Bristol. And aside from the monetary cost, there seems to be a moral one, too; 43% of British women (and 73% of British men) will lie to their partner about what happened that night. The only way I could see myself bidding farewell to my legally single life - that I won't be missing at all - would be a night in with my friends of all genders. Why limit the fun to my female friends?

Keep my last name just for the sake of it
Within 90 days of my wedding, I will legally change my surname to Oliver's. This is not because I want to become his property, but because I like his name better than mine. Simple as that. If my name would have been cooler, he would have changed his. Since we are a bi-national couple, I believe that sharing the same name will simplify legal matters, especially when we are travelling. Should we ever have kids, I want them, too, to have the same name. However, I will never refer to myself as "Mrs. Oliver Dawson-Clark". I am Annina. Annina Dawson-Clark for friends and family and before the law, and Annina Luzie Schmid for everyone else. I'm eager to continue publishing under my maiden name, because this is how people have gotten to know me, and because a pen name creates what I believe to be a healthy distance between your professional and private lives.

Have my dad walk me down the aisle
This is because the tradition of one man handing me over to another is crazy. I am my own woman. And there is a practical problem, too: I have a biological father that I get along with very well, and also a step dad that I get along with equally well. So, if anything, they would have to walk on either side of me, with my mom and step moms somewhere in the picture, too. Like Jessica Valenti. She and her husband Andrew had both their parents walk them both down the aisle. If I did the same, I would have a procession of five just for myself. Pretty awesome, really. 

Serve meat
I'm sure you have read plenty about veganism and vegetarianism in the past year, so I won't give you the whole rundown on why I think that a vegetarian, mostly vegan diet is the way forward. Thanks to my daily, dedicated Ashtanga Yoga practice, I know of the effects that eating meat and dairy have on my body, and I know that animals do not deserve to die for my indulgence. Given the choice, I oppose serving my guests with platters of death. Veggie buffets tend to be easier on the budget, too, and there are plenty of awesome vegan wedding cakes.


Invite people we don't normally see
There's always uncle Jimmy who your mother has very fond memories of showing her the Roman Basilica in 1973. And your neighbour Cynthia who keeps bringing you cookies because she is lonely. These people sure are nice, but they do not need to be at my wedding. I want to spend the occasion with people dear to my heart. A wedding invite is a lovely gesture, but it shouldn't come from a bad conscience. Our wedding day is not the time to accommodate other people.

Save money on the photographer
My friend Jenn advised me that the one thing we shouldn't economize on is a decent photographer. She had held her own informal wedding in the backyard, with disposable cameras put on tables for people to use... And it didn't go well. Jenn said that while she did get a bunch of nice shots from this, the moments most important to her were lost. Being the photography fiend that I am, it didn't take much convincing; I'm pretty sure the photographer we will hire will end up being the single highest expense in the budget. 

Keep a gift registry
One thing I know is: I won't set up shop as a housewife any time soon. (Even though studies show that most people fall back into traditional gender roles pretty much right after they get hitched.) Rather than pressuring people into spending their money on kitchen supplies we won't actually need, I will ask them for something we will always enjoy: a contribution towards the wedding photos, however small. Like that our guests will help us (and themselves) memorize an important day in our lives. That said, a wedding is only ever the first step of a journey, and never the one goal or defining moment of a woman's life.

Read a gazillion wedding blogs - aaaaaaaaaargh!!!
I have limited myself to two: A Practical Wedding for handy advice and Rock n Roll Bride for a somewhat out of the ordinary approach and pretty pictures. I have stayed away from the other stuff because they tend to reproduce patriarch stereotypes, and also because seeing beautiful things on the Internet has rarely ever done anything for me aside from empty my pockets. I am making sure, too, that it's not just me who does all the party planning and organizing. Oliver and I are in this together, and he has agreed to do his share of the pre-wedding work.

Obsess about every detail
Luckily, when it comes to decorations, my mother-in-law has got it all figured out. She's a table setting tornado with a Master's Degree in Art History, and I won't question her taste. I have not set my heart on a particular colour scheme, flower arrangement or whatever the fuck else it is that other brides obsess about. While I like a good general plan about what happens when as to keep our guests entertained, I trust that some room for happenstance will actually improve the party. Like with anything else in life, really. Letting go usually helps lighten up!  :)


If you would like to get to know Oliver and I a little better, check out our YouTube videos and his tumblr

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    I'm getting married this August, and I find such cute and small h personalised badges, which I'm going to buy for my friends and relatives. What were like your gifts for guests?

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