A so-called feminist wedding

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Is this radical? I thought it was par for the course.

I read this article about a so-called feminist wedding the other day in the Guardian and frankly found it a bit depressing that the author feels she’s being cutting edge.

Have we really achieved so little in the past 20 or 30 years that this is considered feminist? Shock horror, the dress isn’t white and they’re going to hyphenate their surnames.I thought this was just normal nowadays.

The DH and I have been married for a while now – I can never remember how long, but there was this big ark, with animals going in two by two…

Here are some of thing we didn’t have:

* a ‘proposal’ (Steve just asked me if I’d marry him on the way back from an antique fair because he knew I’d be in a good mood – going down on one knee was kind of out of the question, given that he was driving at the time)

* an engagement (we’d been living together for years, so that would’ve been a bit daft)

* a ring (six month’s salary for a fucking rock? You’ve got to be joking. Anyway, I have a history of losing jewellery and I have never once seen an engagement ring I like. It took me years to get used to wearing even a wedding ring)

* a church (we’re atheists)

* a cake (there were only four of us, so who would eat it?)

* family (seen the Royal Tennenbaums?)

* some to ‘give me away’ (my dad had been dead a long time, and anyway, he wouldn’t have been invited)

* ‘obey’ (pass the sickbag)

* a ‘ceremony’ (for our non-existent audience) 

* wedding vows (the self-written kind give me the absolute willies) 

* speeches (to whom?)

* bridesmaids (a friend acted as witness)

* flower girls (pass more sickbags)

* pageboys (…and yet more…)

* a best man (Doug did our photos while acting as witness)

* wedding favours

* a reception (for whom?)  

* a honeymoon (couldn’t afford it).

We got hitched in a registry office, had a great meal at a great restaurant, crashed out at the hotel and then went out for the evening. We took the next day off and then went back to work. Selah.

After marriage we hyphenated our names, mostly because I wasn’t sure if I’d remember that Mansfield meant me, not because I had any great attachment to my family name. The Devines are mostly a waste of space from way back. We chose Mansfield-Devine because Devine-Mansfield sounded a bit weird. Most of our friends did something similar as a mark of their new, conjoined status.

I still have trouble remembering my wedding anniversary, not being the romantic sort, and also have trouble remembering the DH’s birthday. Nevertheless we haven’t killed each other yet…

But the thing is, we didn’t think our wedding was in any way radical. Most of our friends didn’t have ‘traditional’ weddings – they married in recessions, with only parents present and then maybe a walk on the beach afterwards: the full-monty white dress, white cake affair was out of the question for most of us in the late 80s. One couple (married 18 years? 20 years?) just went to the pub with their mates. One couple married only for tax reasons, after 17 happy years living together – she still doesn’t like to admit to being a wife. Most of us girls chose a pretty dress that we could wear for evening – something that was a tradition for centuries before the advent of the ‘wedding dress’.

It is very depressing if a whole new generation of women feels they’re being radical just for not having matching napkins, or the wrong kind of flowers – God help us. It must be the rampant consumerism of the past decade with its collagen-plumped lips and fake breasts that makes women feel they’re making some sort of statement just by not wearing white. Do we not have more important things to think about? Equal pay, for instance?

I have nothing against marriage – as Erica Jong said, it’s good to have a friend in a cruel world – but in this day and age, it’s not a goal for a girl to ASPIRE to, surely? Why make such a fuss about it?

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