Fewer and fewer millennial couples are choosing to get married today for a number of reasons, but one of them is definitely because of how out-dated a traditional marriage often feels. Think about it. As a culture, we’ve held onto some seriously archaic rituals when it comes to tying the knot. The predominant color of wedding dresses is still white, even though the original reason for that was to signify the bride’s purity (and let’s face it, most bride’s haven’t been “pure” for some time). It’s still customary for a man to ask a woman’s father for permission to marry his daughter, because a hundred years ago, they’d need to negotiate things like her dowry.
If you’re a feminist (like I am), you’re probably shuttering at the thought of these traditions that are rooted in misogyny. But how do you go about changing what is so deeply ingrained in our society? Easy — you keep the idea, but change the component that makes it inherently old school. Here’s how you can infuse feminism into a “traditional” marriage while still appeasing your more old-school family members.
1. Switch up the sexes in your bridal party
Traditionally, brides have female bridesmaids and grooms have male groomsmen. The simplest way to update this custom is to throw a few guys in with the maids and a few gals in with the groomsmen. You can still spilt them equally between the bride’s and groom’s side, but no need to designate them as maids and men — just call them all your bridal party.
2. Have a wedding shower not a bridal shower
The bridal shower custom originated in the 1890s, and involved giving the bride items for the home so she could be a better housewife. Can we say ridiculously archaic? Turn this shower idea on its head by making it a joint party for you and your spouse-to-be. After all, there’s no reason you need to be the only one making excited faces over the humidifier from your registry.
3. Get your guy an engagement ring too
Believe it or not, this is a trend that’s begun to take hold over the last couple years. Why should women be the only ones signifying to the world that they’re taken with a piece of jewelry if marriage is meant to be an equal union? If you like the idea of him putting a ring on it, why not put one on him too so the world can see you’re in this thing together?
4. Have your parents (or a friend) walk you down the aisle
More and more, parents are opting to walk their daughter down the aisle as a unit rather than just dad giving away his little girl. It makes sense — they did raise you together, so opting to give you away together seems like a no-brainer. If you want to go really crazy, have your groom’s parents walk him down the aisle too — they deserve just as much attention for making him the man you’re marrying as yours do. No parents? No problem — your best friend will make the perfect escort.
5. Don’t throw your bouquet or your garter
These two wedding traditions where invented to pass on magical wedding luck to the sad singles who are walking the world solo in hopes that they’ll find someone. Anything sound more demeaning to you? Why not do away with these single singling out games and spread the wedding joy to everyone? You can dismantle the bouquet and shower your guests with flowers. Another fun tradition to start might be tossing heart-shaped candy to everyone during a really awesome song.
Wedding traditions don’t have to be synonymous with antiquated rituals that highlight stereotypical gender norms. The more we utilize twists on tradition like these, the less society will expect to see them on our wedding days.