To Love is Not to Possess, The Perfect Feminist Wedding Poem

marriage

Eschewing wedding traditions for feminist-friendly revisions requires some research, and my husband and I had a helluva time finding appropriate ceremony readings, with one exception: To Love is Not to Possess, by James Kavanaugh. I stumbled across this poem in 2012 and knew it would be included in our wedding ceremony (three years before it actually happened). Although our wedding has passed,  it still crosses my mind frequently, and I hope some of you might use this reading in your big fat feminist weddings.

To Love is Not to Possess
James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one’s self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another–and to one’s inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon’s own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child’s scars
Or an adult’s deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are–and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.

Which feminist readings did you opt for in your wedding?

Why Marrying A Feminist Is All That Matters

“The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry.”

-Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In and COO of Facebook

I had grand aspirations to write countless posts about our big fat feminist wedding. I was going to regale readers with tips and  tricks on how to navigate the patriarchal state-sanctioned institution of marriage, and in all fairness, I did write a few posts. I talked about picking eco-friendly invitations and getting married before same-sex marriage was legal in Utah (which didn’t end up being the case!), but I didn’t stick to the plan as much as I hoped. As it turns out, planning a wedding is kind of an ordeal.

Blogging be damned, I got married on July 11th.  I walked down the aisle in a blue dress with my best friend as the White Stripes crooned “We’re Going To Be Friends.” We ate Thai food and cupcakes, and drank alllll the sangria. I didn’t throw a bouquet, we didn’t do a first dance, and at the time of writing I still have my last name, but none of the feminist choices we made would’ve meant a damn thing if I didn’t marry a feminist. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s so important to critique and interrogate misogynistic and capitalist traditions, but Sheryl Sandberg was right when she said, “The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry.” Choosing a feminist partner is the most important decision you can make. It’s one of the most important choices you’ll make for your emotional and physical health and for your career. Choosing the correct partner is everything.

(For the record: choosing a partner, or multiple partners, doesn’t require marriage, because sometimes foregoing it altogether is the best thing you can do for your feminist ideology.)

So here’s the thing, plan the hell out of your feminist union. Don’t wear white, be kind to our environment, and make sure you exercise conscious capitalism throughout. But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if your wedding vows omit the words “honor and obey” if one person in the relationship exercises privilege and power over the other. You can’t have a feminist wedding without a feminist partner. End of story. So before you plan a wedding make sure you’ve found the right partner, because it really is one of the most important choices you can make. After that the rest just kind of falls into place.

Does your partner identify as a feminist? Why or why not?

5 Tips for Your Feminist Wedding

feminist wedding

Oh hey there. We are still getting married. I just haven’t had much time to blog about it. Well, if I’m being honest, I had a mild freakout and wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the whole thing at all. Wasn’t feeling too into blogging that whole situation.

Some days I’m still not sure how this whole thing jives with my feminism, but I love my partner, and he loves me, and it all feels right more than it feels wrong. So we’re getting married on July 11th!

We are pretty far along in the process of planning a wedding, and I’ve picked up a few little things on the way that I thought I would share to help you on your big fat feminist wedding journey.

Here’s five things you can do to make your wedding more feminist-friendly:

Hire Vendors in Communities You Support

You need a florist, caterer, photographer, wedding planner, etc., etc. Make it a point to hire a woman! Perhaps a woman of color or a trans* person. Make sure your money goes to the right folks. White cis dudes don’t need anymore money.

Our photographers are a male and female duo. Our caterer is a non-black woman of color. And that’s just two of the professionals we’ve hired so far. Use this chance to support our sisters in business!

Rent A Non-Profit Venue

Checkout local non-profits in your area. Do they have a building you can use in their off hours? Your venue deposit will go toward a great cause, and as a bonus they usually don’t have catering and liquor restrictions like other venues, which translates into less expense.

We opted to use the SLC Arts Hub! 

Use Feminist Literature in Your Ceremony Readings

Chances are you’re not opting for traditional vows (none of that “to honor and obey” stuff here). Well, why don’t you comb through feminist poetry to include some feminist literature in your ceremony? Perhaps a little bell hooks or Adrienne Rich to help express your love.

Opt for Environmentally Friendly Options

The way we treat the Earth is a feminist issue. Are you going to send out save the dates and invites? Take your guest list and double it. Now think of that in terms of planes, trains, and automobiles. Is it really worth it to drive those invites all around town? We opted for Greenvelope. The company is committed to environmentally friendly practices, and they take it a step further with their giving: “To express our commitment towards this goal, we donate a percentage of every sale to Mountains to Sound, a non-profit organization that maintains forests.” You get to save on carbon emissions, donate to charity, and it’s wayyyyy cheaper than traditional invites.

This one is really simple, but think about where your flowers come from. Do you really need flowers from South America? Again, think in terms of carbon emissions. Opt for some local flowers, or forego them entirely. We’re having a flower-free wedding!

Opt for Inclusive Food Choices 

Chances are you have some friends who are Muslim or Jewish–do you have halal or kosher food? What about your vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free friends? Don’t get me wrong: It’s your day, and things can get pricey if you try to accommodate everyone, but at least let your friends know ahead of time if there isn’t a food option for them, and don’t be offended if they opt not to attend.

These are just a few of the things we are doing on our journey. Next week I’ll share with you the sexist traditions we’ve abandoned, and a few that have managed to sneak in.

Let me know if there’s something you did or plan on doing at your feminist wedding! 

The Wedding Industrial Complex: Paying For Your Love

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Hey, fellow feminists. Just checking in to tell you that the wedding industry is pretty ridiculous. It’s over-priced and over-bearing. It tells you that you need things you don’t, and makes you feel bad for trying to leave those things out. How many parties do married people need? Apparently they need an engagement party, a bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette/Jack & Jill, rehearsal dinner, and the wedding. Oh, and a honeymoon. Can’t forget the honeymoon. I’m counting that as six or seven parties (depending on how you do the bachelorette thing), and that just seems ri-god-damn-diculous.

I have to say…I get the feeling more and more that this whole process is just an evil capitalist construct mean to separate me and my partner from our money. I don’t know, maybe I’m just bitter about it? It just seems more and more that this process isn’t about love, but forcing couples to register with the state and give money to people who rent chairs for a living.

What did you forego at your wedding to make it more affordable? Does your romantic relationship still suffer to this day because you decided to pass on the extra cake tier? Tell me here!