real life

Why my feminist wedding is going to sh*t all over yours.







Last weekend I was invited to a friend’s wedding. And by the end of the ceremony my eyes were not so much the size of saucers, as full on all-you-can-eat dinner plates.

And my bewildered shock had nothing to do with the copious amount of liquid grapes I’d glugged. No, it was because of the disturbingly archaic rigamarole I’d been subjected to.

I watched my beautiful, confident, clever and independent friend turn into a 1950s cliche. I hate to use the f-word. I don’t want to use the f-word. I’m sorry but I’m going to have to use the f-word….

The whole wedding sha-bang was a Desperate Housewives kick in the face of Feminism. And it was no ordinary kick. This was a flying, twisty Bruce-Lee inspired high kick to the sisterhood.

(Sorry Feminism, I’m sure it wasn’t personal).

It started with the music: Taylor Swift’s Love Story. Yes. Really. That classic ballad, song of the ages, beautifully composed melody, that includes awesome girl power lyrics like:

“Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone,
I’ll be waiting all there’s left to do is run,
You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess,
It’s a love story baby just say yes.”

And then in walks the bride – my close-since-primary-school friend, who I’ll call Katie* – dressed in a strapless frock just like almost every bride you’ve ever seen (do all brides get some kind of memo about this?)

Naturally, it was white. Bright, bright white. Television toothpaste commercial white.


Now, let me share two critical facts with you about Katie.

(1) Katie is not a virgin.

(2) Katie is not a virgin, many times over.

Also, the woman has never worn white before in her life. Why? Because it doesn’t suit her. She’s a very pretty girl, with very Irish fair skin, who shouldn’t wear white BECAUSE SHE IS WHITE.

But for the sake of some idiotic tradition that says the bride must look virginal in her clean, white dress – Katie managed to camouflage herself very effectively.

A Kate Middleton-esue veil.

Katie also wore a veil; a Kate Middleton-esue floor length piece of tulle.

Her face was covered… she blushed… she was demure and sweet. She was like a present: all wrapped up, hidden from the world and about to be gifted to her soon-to-be-husband.

Gifted by whom, you ask? Her arse-hole dad. And I do not call him an arse-hole lightly. He really is one. (The kind who barely contacted her after the divorce. The kind who missed her birthdays. That kind.)

And yet she asked him to walk beside her during this special moment? Katie – who moved out of home at 18 and avoided her parents like the plague – wanted her dad to ‘give her away’. At 29-years-old she was comfortable with being treated AS IF SHE WERE HER FATHER’S PROPERTY.

Sorry. Something happened with the caps lock there.


The wedding reception just took things from bad to worse. There are dead feminists who are not so much rolling, as doing full on Zumba classes in their graves right now. That’s how unbelievably patriarchal this reception was.


I’ll spare you the gory graphic details and give you the SparkNotes version of how it went down:

(1) There was a garter belt. Which the groom removed with his teeth.

(2) The best man made multiple references in his ‘speech’ to the fun that would be had later in the night. Wink, wink. Nod, nod. Eh? Eh?

(3) None of the scantily clad bridesmaids spoke. Perhaps they were too busy mourning for their lost dignity.

(4) The couple were introduced to the room as Mr and Mrs Scott Palmer*. Which just goes to show that you give an inch on this ‘taking his name’ business and soon enough, even your Christian name is a goner.

Next year, I am getting married myself.

Katie Mrs Scott Palmer will be there and as much as I adore her and we’ve been best friends forever, it’s going to get competitive.

Because: My feminist wedding is going to sh*t all over hers.

I am going to make my wedding into the least traditional affair I can manage. I won’t follow antiquated traditions, I won’t spend a house deposit on a frock, and I’ll wear vintage shoes if I bloody well want to.

Our engagement has begun this whole marriage caper in the way I intend to continue it: there is no ring. I am not wearing a piece of jewelry to show the world that I am ‘taken’. I don’t need a gold band to fend off the advances of leering blokes at the pub – because I can do that myself.


Instead, my partner and I have just agreed to get married because we’re two consenting adults, we’re equals and we respect each other. That’s it. End of story.

I will not be changing my name because I’m getting married.

Why? Because I’m not turning into a new person.

I will not wear white.

I will not wear a veil.

I won’t wear a garter.

I won’t wear something old, borrowed or blue.

Actually, I might wear blue. I quite like blue.

I’m going to do it my way and not let all the bits of me I’m most proud of disappear in the name of tradition. Kate’s wedding was polite and pleasant. But it wasn’t about her. It was about this manufactured, made-up, doll version of herself – one who garners the totality of her womanhood from the person she’s married to rather than the person she is.

And one more thing: Yes. At my wedding there will still be an aisle, which I will walk down.

By myself. Because nobody gets to give me away, except me.

*Names have been changed.

What colour dress did you or would you wear to your wedding? Are you a traditional sort or do you prefer a more modern style ceremony? While you’re thinking, here are a few famous brides who broke the white dress tradition.