Bride wearing veil

Feminist Wedding & Vows

Feminist Wedding & Vows

There are plenty of reasons to get married (romance, commitment, some sweet, sweet tax breaks), but many modern brides worry about the symbolism of the marriage ceremony, and what it really means. Here's Speechy's Guide to a feminist wedding.

(*Of course, if you’re looking for more than ‘advice’, check out all the different ways the Speechy team can help you write & deliver a great speech. Or check out our new AI-powered team member, SpeechyAI.)

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You see, whilst some wedding traditions are fun and romantic, others just seem old fashioned and, well, a tiny bit sexist.

So is it possible to have a truly feminist wedding?

Well, we think so, yes. And you don’t have to even ditch all the old traditions to do it. You might find some just need reframing.

After all, bridesmaids were traditionally used to confuse the devil so the groom couldn’t run off with the innocent and virginal bride. Now they’re mainly used to show off the bride’s kick ass girl gang.

So when it comes to feminist weddings, the important thing is to think through what feels authentic to you and your partner.

And here are our tips on how to do just that.


Traditionally, for heterosexual weddings, planning has always been the bride’s role- see every episode of Bridezilla, or any wedding movie.

But we feel that nowadays the groom should have just as much say on how the day will unfold. After all, it’s supposed to be the happiest day of both of your lives, right?

Sit down and work out which bits of the day both of you care about the most, and divide the work that way. Whilst you may be super into vintage cars, your partner might be happy to turn up on your big day in a uber. Both options are fine, as long as you talk about it.

Rock and Roll Bride is a great planning resource for all kinds of alternative wedding options. And One Fab Day has collated a great list of groom’s duties for you groom to get started on.

And here’s a 12 month checklist of jobs for planning a wedding you can use as a starting point to delegate tasks.

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The Outfit

Yes, traditionally the white wedding dress was said to represent the bride’s virginity, but clearly, that’s not a thing anymore, or else no white wedding dress would have been seen in the UK since the 1960s.

So can a real feminist still rock a big old Princess Di meringue dress? Of course! If you’ve been dreaming of a big white dress since you were 8 years old, don’t let your politics stop you. Feminism is about being who YOU want to be.

Alternatively, if you want to wear a little black dress, a tux, or a dinosaur costume, this is your day, and you should wear whatever makes you comfortable.

Do make sure that your outfit is practical for what is going to be a pretty long and active day though. For example, you will want to make sure that dinosaur costume won’t impede your Running Man moves in your first dance.

For comfort and style, we’re big fans of these gorgeous Keds for under a wedding dress. Pretty, and also practical to dance in.

And don’t feel like you need to break the bank to look amazing. If you’re going traditional, chances are you’re only going to wear it once. Plenty of places hire out wedding dresses, and Oxfam has a whole range of second-hand dresses available. You may even find an original vintage classic.

If you’re looking for something less trad, why not try some of these sites specifically curated for the more alternative bride.

We’re also big fans of just finding something that makes us feel fabulous on ASOS, and saving the big bucks for extra mojitos on the honeymoon!

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Making Yourself Heard

One of the biggest changes in wedding culture recently has been the speeches. More specifically, we’re seeing more and more brides getting up and rocking that mic.

Yes, we know public speaking is one of many women’s biggest fears, but do you really want men speaking for you?

Get up there and let the people you love know how much you love them. Thank the people you want to thank. And remember, you are in a room full of people who adore you. You will literally never get another audience so delighted to hear you talk. Make the most of it!

If you have no idea where to start when writing a speech, then Speechy can help. Check out our Bride Speech Advice, but if you need extra help we have loads of products and services we offer to help you nail an awesome speech.

Don’t forget to encourage other women within the party to make a speech too. Mother of the BrideMaid of Honour, or big sister, whoever is closest to you would be a great addition to the speeches (as long as you bribe them heavily in advance to keep your secrets safe!).

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A feminist does not take money from their dad, but considering the cost of an average wedding, you could be forgiven for being tempted!

But before you do… have a think.

There’s actually no need to spend such a huge amount of money on a wedding. As a feminist, you know that finding the love of your life isn’t going to be your greatest ever achievement, so maybe you can hold back on spending three months’ salary on seat covers.

There are plenty of tips online on how to have a fabulous wedding on a budget. Here are a few of ours:

  • Utilize the skills of friends. Would anyone be up for baking the cake or being DJ as their wedding gift to you?
  • Keep the guest list short. Think about the people you love and who you’re still likely to be in contact with on your 10th wedding anniversary. Yes, Linda on reception is lovely, but will she still be on any of your WhatsApp groups in 2035?
  • Think about what’s important to you, instead of what you think other people will expect. Prefer cupcakes to wedding cake? Go with that. Love tiny poesies of daisies and wildflowers? You’ve just saved a fortune on a bouquet.

Something old and something borrowed isn’t just for the bridal outfit nowadays. You’re going to be using things for one day only. See what your friends and family already have that you can borrow, or check out sites like Freecycle to save on buying things new. Vintage is in style for a reason!

Even non-traditional weddings can add up, so it could be time for you to start saving. If budgeting isn’t your strong point, then this wedding budgeting tool could be of use.

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The Ceremony

It’s so easy to get caught up in the party planning that it’s easy to forget that this is the important bit! It’s also the bit that’s the most traditional and may feel like it compromises your politics the most.

But it doesn’t have to. There are alternatives even to the ceremony nowadays.

Maybe your father has always dreamt of “Giving You Away,” but this feels antiquated to you. Would it be possible for both him and your mother to walk you down the aisle?

Another alternative is for the bride and groom (or same-sex equivalents) to walk down the aisle together, and to provide another role for both sets of parents.

Or what about a young child (your own or close loved one) leading you down the aisle, as no dad can claim to be cuter than that!

So much of a wedding is about imagery and symbolism for the future of your relationship, so make sure you think about what represents your relationship best.

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The Vows

Now, we know you’re not going to promise to honour and obey anyone. But the vows can be the most beautiful and personal part of a wedding when they are done right.

Do you and your partner want to promise the same things, and therefore write the vows together? Or do you each want to write your own vows? After all, equality doesn’t mean everything being the same. A promise from you to always listen before you talk may be far more meaningful from you than from your already pretty thoughtful partner.

However you want to do it, this is one part of the day we really would encourage all feminists to throw tradition out of the window, and do it your way. As always, there are plenty of tips online for writing your own wedding vows.

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Have Fun and Do It Your Way

If there’s one thing we feminists do well, it’s shaking things up and doing it our way, and a wedding is as good a place to do that as any!

All the people you love the most will be in one place, celebrating the love you share with your partner, and that sounds pretty perfect to us, no matter how you decide to celebrate it.

So if a cheesy first dance is your thing? Then shake that bridal booty. Feel like jumping over broomsticks? Get your wicca wedding on.

A feminist wedding can be traditional, unique, or anything in between, and with a bit of thought, it will hopefully be your perfect day.

The Speechwriting Experts

The Speechy team are TV-trained scriptwriters/comedians by trade & we’ve helped 1,000s of speakers around the world deliver their dream speech.

Our advice has been quoted everywhere from The New York Times to Grazia and from Forbes to The Observer. Our founder has also featured on the BBC Sounds’ Best Men podcast with Jason Manford and written ‘The Modern Couple’s Guide to Wedding Speeches’, published by Little, Brown.

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