Tag Archives: feminist

I Do … & I Don’t: A Feminist’s Guide to Being a Bride – The Perfect Bride

When it comes to the expectations put upon a bride, the patriarchy has done us all a great dirty wrong by creating yet another unattainable standard for women to try to meet. I know— shocking, right? This one tends to go by the cliché of the ‘perfect bride’.

The perfect bride will look the most beautiful she has ever looked on her wedding day. She will be an effortless host to her friends and family: gliding about like a silken swan; laughing in all the right places; glowing when appropriate; accommodating for each individual attending, as if they themselves are her personal guest of honour. And… she will manage all of this on potentially one of the most emotionally-challenging, mentally-demanding, physically-exhausting days of her life, without making it seem like any work at all. The perfect bride, simply put, will not be human. Or, in other words, she does not exist.

Ask yourself… is the thing your friends, family and significant other most love about you the fact that you are perfect? No. It isn’t. And even if you were perfect (which you aren’t, none of us are), let’s be honest… it would probably be the thing your friends and family loved you in spite of, not because of. Who wants a perfect friend? Who can relate to or connect with or be vulnerable around perfection? So why strive for it on your wedding day?

I’m saying this because, though it was magical, memorable, joyous, elating, happy, fantastic, wonderful, special, hilarious, emotional, spectacular and incredible… my whole wedding day was not perfect from start to finish. And I believe I’d be doing the readers of this magazine— and the ethos of what it is to be a Rock n Roll Bride— a disservice to pretend otherwise.

Strike one in pursuit of perfection (and I’m pulling no punches here, reader): I had such bad diarrhoea for the whole morning on my wedding day that we started referring to the downstairs loo as “the scene of the crime”. I’m not sure if it was the gluten the night before or if I just had a nervous tummy, but it was like the scene from Bridesmaids and it was not okay. Strike two: During the journey to the venue, I had my first ever anxiety attack and had to get out of the car.

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I Do… & I Don’t: A Feminist’s Guide to Being a Bride: The Bridal Party

Our real bride columnist Rachel got married in September this year. We’re following her journey of planning a feminist meets rock n roll wedding.

I’m sad to say I’m the only person I know who has ever been “fired” as a bridesmaid. I was eighteen and the bride was in her early twenties. As the big day came closer, I realised I was expected to pay for my own no-so affordable bridesmaid dress, shoes, hair, make-up, travel and accommodation over the wedding weekend, and for the hen weekend, including all the activities and meals out. I absolutely could not afford to do this, and neither could one of the other bridesmaids who was also in her teens.

I constructed a careful message to the bride, explaining that we simply didn’t have the money and asking if we could maybe talk on the phone about how to make it work for everyone. Minutes later, I received an all-caps response telling me “THIS IS MY WEDDING DAY!!! NOT SOME BIRTHDAY PARTY!” and that I needn’t worry because I was no longer welcome at her wedding… “OR HER LIFE!”.

When I responded, she didn’t reply and we haven’t spoken since. I now realise that this probably wasn’t about me at all, there was clearly a lot else going on and she snapped, plus we were all very young. I still think it’s sad that one day became more important than years of friendship, though. I still think it’s sad that when her marriage ended a couple of years later, we were no longer friends.

When it comes to writing this column, there are a thousand directions I could take. I’m going to stick to the thing I’ve known since that experience when I was eighteen… that my friendships with the people I ask to be part of my bridal party are more important to me than one day of my life, even if it is my wedding day.

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I Do… & I Don’t: A Feminist’s Guide to Being a Bride – Finding Your Wedding Dress

Dress: Katya Katya

Our real bride columnist Rachel is getting married in September this year. We’re following her journey of planning a feminist meets rock ‘n roll wedding. You can catch up with the series here, or subscribe to the magazine to read them first!

I’ve watched Say Yes to The Dress with my mum for years, so when the first big COVID lockdown ended and all the bridal boutiques were only allowing one or two people to accompany the bride, I felt fine about not taking a big entourage. More often than not, a big group can end in tears, and not the I-just-found-my-dream-dress kind! My auntie is a keen dressmaker, and generously gifted me a budget for my wedding dress, so I went with her and my mum.

To start with, for me, wearing white (or ivory, whatever) is always how I’ve pictured myself on my wedding day. Not because I want to present myself as pure and celebrate my pre-marriage chastity, but because it’s what I want to do. I also want to wear a veil. Not because I want to demonstrate modesty in the presence of God and my future husband, but because they feel fabulous and look amazing. That’s just my personal approach. Whatever anyone wants to wear on their wedding day, if it makes them feel their most confident, comfortable and happy, they should just do it.

Besides colour, there were four things I wanted to be sure of about my dress:

1. I wanted it to be made by an ethical, environmentally conscious brand that values its employees.

2. I wanted a dress that worked with the parts of my body I am not confident about, without feeling caged-in by corsetry and boning.

3. Given that this is the most expensive item of clothing I’ll ever own – and the fact that wearing anything just once is neither sustainable or responsible, even if it is a wedding dress – I wanted to be able to repurpose the dress and wear it again.

4. I wanted it to make me feel like Galadriel, elf queen of Lothlórien… because I’m a massive geek.

Dress: Katya Katya

For me, the place that offered all of these things was Katya Katya in London. Before I went to Katya Katya, however, I went to Maisie Darling in Lutterworth. My fiancé and I are having a humanist ceremony, which is still not considered a legal marriage in England or Wales (lots of petitions to sign online about that idiocy if you want to look into it). To get the legal bit done we’re heading to the registry in my hometown the day before the big day. I was planning to wear a dress I already own for this, but my auntie’s gift means I’ve been able to find a wedding dress for this ceremony too. I plan to sell this dress after the wedding (on stillwhite.com or bridalreloved.co.uk) and will be donating the money to Girls Not Brides, a global partnership committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls all over the world to fulfil their potential.

When I first saw Katya Katya dresses on Pinterest, I fell in love. And when I discovered their strong ethos – in-house production exclusively using fabrics from Italy and France to reduce ecological footprint; ensuring great working conditions for employees and paying them all a national living wage; offering a dress-shortening service after the wedding so the dress can be worn again – I knew without doubt that I wanted to find my dress with them. Not only that, but pretty much all the elements of their dresses are interchangeable. For example, as someone who doesn’t feel confident about her upper arms, Katya Katya will be adding sleeves to my dress. Female-led, Katya Katya really seem to understand how to help their brides feel their most confident.

Dress: House of Mooshki
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If Jurassic Park Was a Theme Park Full of Cats on Halloween

Julie and Peter’s October 31st wedding was held at a park, local to their home. They used the park’s nature centre (which is actually where they first met. The bride was giving a talk about the black market wildlife trade in Southeast Asia) to host their food and drinks, but the majority of the day was outside. Their wedding date was also four years to the day of their first official date.

“Our wedding theme was if Jurassic Park was a theme park full of cats on Halloween”, the bride told us. “We also brought our values of justice and equity into the
wedding in a variety of ways. It was important that we did not reproduce common
patriarchal wedding norms so that our marriage got off on an equitable footing. We tried to weave messages of love and equity, both explicit and implicit, throughout every aspect of our ceremony and reception.”

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I Do … & I Don’t: A Feminist’s Guide to Being a Bride – Getting Engaged & Splitting the Cost of My Ring

Introducing our brand-new real bride columnist! Rachel is getting married in September so we’ll be following her journey of planning a feminist meets rock n roll wedding, culminating in us sharing the big day in our last issue of the year! Over to you Rachel

The first time I learned about Rock n Roll Bride was at a wedding show in 2015. I was exhibiting with a vintage wedding band and caught sight of Kat’s bright blue hair. I went looking for her, intrigued by this exhibitor, who looked so unlike the wedding industry I’d been used to after five years of wedding singing.

I found the Rock n Roll Bride stand and learned what it was all about: how these friendly people were on a mission to change the face of the wedding industry; to make it more inclusive; to celebrate individualism. With no ring on my finger and no boyfriend(!), I subscribed to the magazine immediately. Five years later, in 2020, it was my turn to be a bride.

Though I believe I would be perfectly happy to be ‘not married’ to this excellent man ’til death us do part, the Disney Princess-loving, Nora Ephron-viewing, Notting Hill-quoting romantic in me really did want to be married to the person I loved. And, luckily, H really wanted it too. “Let’s do it,” we said, “But let’s do it our way.” (Like everyone who reads this magazine says!).

The reason I’d been dubious is feminism. Long and short: I was worried that wanting to be married made me a bad feminist.

I don’t feel I need to explain why I had any reservations about marriage and feminism to the readers of this magazine. If you’re here, clearly you understand that there’s a lot that’s wrong with many marital traditions and you’re up for breaking the status quo in your own special way. One quick Google of the origin of the word ‘wife’ was enough to make me wonder if I was letting the sisterhood down.

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Intimate Feminist Wedding in New Orleans Inspired by Dolly Parton & Mardi Gras

They wanted their New Orleans wedding to be a celebration of their love that wasn’t bound up in ideas about gender or consumerism. Quinn, who married Natan in February, wore a stunning Scotch and Soda suit instead of anything traditionally bridal. They also didn’t have a bridal party, their low key ceremony was in a park and they ended the day with an intimate gathering in one of their favourite restaurants.

“I would not have been comfortable in a traditional wedding dress, nor would I have been comfortable spending lots of money on something I would wear only once”, Quinn explained, “Giving ourselves permission to ignore tradition and precedent meant that we could have a celebration that felt authentic to us.”

She spotted her pink, printed silk suit in a shop window in New York, before they were even engaged. “I kept an eye on it online for several months once we started talking about getting married. Once we officially got engaged, it was my first purchase in preparation for the wedding. I ordered it a size up from what I’d usually buy, just to be safe. We later had the suit tailored by a seamstress for the perfect fit.”

She paired it with jewellery, ‘something borrowed’ from her mum, and a gold platform wedge shoe. Natan wore a dark green ASOS suit, with brass jewellery from their shared necklace collection.

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