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Breaking Tradition – 5 ways to make wedding traditions less sexist

3 mins read

The idea of marriage can feel a little patriarchal to many who don’t want the run of the mill heterosexual wedding. While it’s true that the concept of marriage has evolved a lot over the past few centuries, some still feel that it adheres to many sexist ideologies. There are, however, still ways that we can break those traditions.

1. The White Wedding Dress

White wedding dresses traditionally symbolised the ‘virginity’ or ‘innocence’ of the bride. Nowadays, the ‘no sex before marriage’ rule doesn’t ring true for numerous brides, so why don’t we change the dress to reflect that.

Many brides are choosing to opt for cream or variously coloured dresses instead. Not only does this turn the tables on the sexist tradition, but it also allows brides to express themselves more.

2. The Garter Toss

Overall it’s just a bit creepy, isn’t it? Men gathered around to catch a woman’s undergarment. This tradition is supposed to be the male equivalent of the bride’s bouquet toss. However, it’s a lot more sexualised and uncomfortable for everyone involved.

Many couples completely miss out on this tradition, and many brides don’t even wear a garter on their wedding day anymore.

3. The Wedding Party

Within the wedding parties, there is a gendered divide, the bride has bridesmaids, and the groom has groomsmen. The bride has a maid of honour and the groom has the best man. However, many couples may both have women that they want to include in their party or vice versa.

A great way to change this up is by having co-ed wedding parties such as brides men, grooms women and so forth.

4. Taking the Man’s Name

Historically women would take the name of their husband as after marriage she essentially became one of his possessions. This outdated tradition still sticks for many couples.

Ways to change this up include a heterosexual couple both taking the woman’s last name, turning both partners’ names into a double-barrelled surname or even both partners keeping their own last name.

5. Giving the Bride Away

This relates to the point above. Traditionally the bride is walked down the aisle and given away by her father due to her leaving his possession and becoming the possession of her husband.

Now that grown women are not ‘owned’ by their fathers, they can choose how they would like to walk down the aisle. Many still have fathers, mothers, grandparents etc walk them down the aisle as a sign of love and respect instead of the original meaning. A great idea is for both the partners to be walked down the aisle by a close family member as a sign of support and love at a big moment in their life.

Feature image credit: The Gaurdian

4th Year Film, Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling.
Writer, Journalist and movie buff, with a passion for understanding and encouraging representation and diversity.

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