If you’re currently planning your wedding, then congratulations! Whether you describe yourself a feminist or not, planning your wedding together with your partner and including some feminist wedding elements is a great way to set the scene for a lifelong equal partnership.
Last year I shared some feminist wedding ideas on planning a wedding day around equality and inclusivity. Since then I’ve been inspired by even more clients and friends who have planned a unique day that included personal touches to emulate their individual personalities and feminist beliefs. So I’ve combined them all in this ultimate list of feminist wedding ideas!
Of course planning your own wedding is about cherry picking what feels right for you. I hope this list is a source of inspiration that gets your creative juices flowing. Most importantly have fun planning your wedding day!
1 Feminist marriage
Who says you can’t be a feminist and get married?! OK so we know the whole tradition of marriage used to be about ownership and property. But times have changed and modern feminist weddings are simply about celebrating love.
2 Feminist engagement
Women who want to take the lead on the engagement can find inspiration from these eight women who proposed. Or this feminist who wanted both herself and her partner to experience the proposal. And sod waiting for the 29th February to come round, you choose the timing!
3 The engagement ring
Some say they signify possession, to ward off other suitors. Others believe they show a giver’s commitment to a proposal. Either way, the choice of giving or receiving an engagement ring is all yours. Personally I think it’s great to see more modern couples choosing or designing bespoke engagement rings together. Previous clients Shan and Rob exchanged engagement rings after mutually deciding to get married. For feminists, the expectation that a man will spend two months salary on a diamond now looks out-dated. And with so many better things to spend money on together (hello wedding party knees-up or honeymoon travelling!), a Haribo ring or Hula Hoop crisp ring might be more your cup of tea!
4 Feminist bridal party
Ditch the Bridesmaids and groomsmen gender roles and choose who you want to be at your side for the parties on the day. You’re a guy and your best mate is a girl? You’re a girl and your bestie is a man? Great! Choose the people who know you best and will keep you relaxed and happy on your big day, regardless of their gender: best woman, man of honour, wedding squad, usherettes and bridesmen all work the same. Ultimately you gotta have people around you that you can trust. Even your dog could get involved!
5 Who pays?
If you have family who want to contribute, happy days! But in our modern times that’s become quite a luxury. Couples now choose to fund their wedding using a variety of sources (check out this blog post for budgeting advice from previous couples). To keep all things equal, why not split the cost of your wedding 50:50 or crowdfund your wedding instead of receiving gifts? However you choose to fund your wedding, get on top of your wedding budget early to keep full control of the spending! Read this blog post here with how to allocate your wedding budget.
6 Equal wedding planning
There has been much discussion about the mental load of household planning and chores that falls mainly on the shoulders of women. A truly equal partnership shares tasks, and this goes for wedding planning too. Divvying up the wedding to do list means you can both be equally involved in planning a day that best represents both of you. Check out my blog post on how to get started with planning.
7 Feminist hen and stag parties
If a giant fluffy pink penis or “LADS LADS LADS” holidays and strippers aren’t your thing, what about a joint party where everyone gets together for a knees up? Most people socialise in mixed groups with their mates and their partners nowadays. Some of my friends organised “Hagfest” – a “hen and stag festival” for all their friends with a marquee, DJs and camping in a field. Perfect!
8 Choosing the venue
The venue is probably the first thing you tick off the list. But it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or an onerous task. Not religious? You don’t need a church. Keeping it simple? Sign the registry office paperwork and celebrate in the pub with your friends and family (FYI pub weddings are my fave!). In more recent years there’s been a big rise in humanist weddings – check out my blog post here on what they are all about.
9 Wedding dress colour
Hands up who’s still a virgin when they get married? OK we know nowadays that most couples live together before the big day and so the traditional wearing of white to signify virginity is pretty dated. If you want to wear a red, purple, turquoise or black dress on your big day then why the hell not. Floral wedding dresses and big splashes of colour on wedding dresses are now becoming more popular. Or don’t wear a dress at all, wear a jumpsuit or two-piece outfit instead – it’s entirely up to you. Check out this blog post on what to think about before you choose what to wear on your wedding day, there are so many options beyond a white dress and plenty of like-minded folk ready to help you.
10 Guest sides
Which side guests sit on in during the wedding ceremony has never been less relevant. You probably met at a mixed social event with mutual friends anyway. Forgo the formalities and let your guests sit wherever the hell they like. Alternatively, have your guests sit in the middle of the room with an aisle at each side rather than down the middle, walk down the opposite aisle to your partner and meet in the middle!
11 Giving you away
If the idea of your dad handing you over to your betrothed like a property transfer doesn’t appeal, then you don’t need to do it. Perhaps your mum, both parents, a step-parent or your best friend could give you away. Or maybe you want to walk down the aisle as an independent woman?! Check out this wedding of Shan and Rob, where Shan walked down the aisle by herself.
12 Walking down the aisle
Who will accompany you down the aisle? You might decide to walk down the aisle together as a couple, or with both your parents. You might both walk in at the same time from either side. Or you might want to strut your stuff down the aisle alone while high fiving all your mates along the way!
13 Bride on the left
And talking of sides, why should the bride stand on the left during the ceremony? You might not have even noticed this before. But according to The Knot, the groom traditionally stood on the right so he could keep his right hand free to grab his sword and avoid “marriage by capture” should he need to defend his bride from “other suitors who may wish to whisk her off at the last minute”. Of course, you can handle yourself and make your own decisions, so stand on whichever side you want!
14 Feminist wedding vows
The whole spiel to complete the official part of your nuptials is packed full of gender role assumptions that frankly should have disappeared with the dark ages. Honour and obey? No thanks. Write your own vows with personalised promises or take inspiration from these feminist wedding vows that show you and your partner are true equals. If you’re opting for a registry office wedding then you can ask your registrar to mix up who goes first in the exchange of vows.
15 Feminist wedding readings
Wedding readings are a lovely way to include some of your favourite people in the ceremony. But choosing the right words can be tricky. Here are some feminist wedding readings to inspire you.
16 Feminist wedding speeches
Traditional wedding speeches don’t allow for any female voices. Yet often it’s the women who have the best stories to tell. Why not let any parent give a speech, or ask both parents to collaborate. Both parties in the wedding couple give a speech. Or don’t have any speeches. Check out the amazing wedding of Lou and Nick where Lou gave a wedding speech that made everyone cry.
17 Wedding cake
From cupcake trees to blocks of cheese, your cake doesn’t have to be traditional. One of you has a sweet tooth and one prefers savoury? One likes chocolate cake, one likes like Victoria sponge? Have a half and half wedding cake or a tier each. Your cake can fit both of your preferences! Check out my blog post here on what to think about when choosing your cake maker.
18 Cutting the cake
The tradition of cutting the cake stems from the being a wife’s first act of servitude. But it doesn’t need to be that way anymore. I love cake, and I still love the cake cut moment. There’s lots of joy as both of you press the knife in to that spongey goodness. I believe feminism is about choice and parity. So choosing to do something because it will bring both of you joy, is the feminist act.
19 Bouquet toss
If you fancy having a bouquet toss, but the idea of your female mates scrabbling to be the next to symbolically “put a ring on it” might be ludicrous to you, then invite all your single friends up to catch your bouquet.
20 Feminist Surnames
If your surname is important to you, keep it. Pick the surname you both prefer, make up a joint family name, hyphenate or just make up an entirely new family name. There are no rules here. I’m seeing more and more couples choose what they want from their surname, rather than following tradition. Check out the colourful and fun wedding of Jo and Tom, where they both chose to take Jo’s surname.
Don’t want to spend a load of time planning? Elope instead! Registry office, paperwork, DONE. No fuss. I offer wedding photography for short and small town hall weddings, check out a few of them here.
However you both choose to celebrate your love, I hope you have a ton of fun doing it! And if you want colourful documentary-style photos that capture the action and emotions of the day, I’d love to chat to you.