Picture: Amanda the Page Girl and Nick the Flower Man. Image thanks to Gabrielle.
Last week, I sat down to write the final instalment in this series. I wanted to write about how confronting I’d found it, the questions it had raised about myself and the institution, and my reasons for going through with it anyway. I wanted to write about my views on marriage, as distinct from “weddings”. How it marked a leap into an uncertain future. How even though no marriage is guaranteed to last, most of them still form an unbreakable tie (Kim Kardashian excepted, perhaps)… because even though you can divorce a spouse, you can never render that relationship irrelevant.
I ended up abandoning the document half-finished. Because here’s the thing: self-justification is no fun.
But you know what is fun? Getting married. Well - getting weddinged, at least.
A couple of months back, a same-sex marriage advocate friend of mine suggested that one way in which heterosexual couples could be effective gay marriage allies would be to “queer up” heterosexual marriage, whether through ritual, performance or the marriage itself.
We’d already planned most of our wedding at that stage, but when I reflect on the events of last Saturday, I feel like that’s what we did: we “queered” heterosexual marriage. And it was absolutely, positively joyous.
I loved the song we walked in to, our awesome mixed gender wedding party, the fact that we walked in triumphantly and together instead of Mr Musings waiting for me at the end of the aisle. I loved Dr Seuss, that one of our most awesome friends served as the celebrant, that one of my bridesmaids performed a reading from my old Livejournal, and that our Flower Man and Page Girl (pictured above, who threw ripped up bridal magazine confetti at the “congregation”) decided a few days before that they would lead us all in a rendition of ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’
I loved our non-wedding-venue venue – fabulous pre-wedding do-up, and even more fabulous after. I loved our political table names, our wedding quiz, and our spontaneous, failed attempt at a first dance to Gaga’s “Born This Way” (although it did manage to get all the guests on the dance floor). Most of all, I loved our last minute decision to buy some “bouquets” at Coles that morning, and to throw mine not to the single ladies, but to the single men. And those men fought over that bunch of flowers in a manner no female wedding guests I’ve ever seen have.
But even though I have now written five posts on “feminist wedding planning”, our intent in all of the above wasn’t for people to respond, “Wow, what a feminist wedding!” It was to avoid the elements that pissed us off, and adapt those which amused and inspired us.
Which is the thing about norm-screwing, I think: it’s supposed to be fun. We analyse and critique because there are things in the world that don’t seem right to us. But when we are rewriting the world, we should write it as one that brings us joy.
So, if you’re looking to plan a “feminist wedding” – one that circumnavigates the patriarchal and heteronormative nasties that ail you – that’s what I’d suggest you do: use the opportunity to create a union and a celebration that brings you joy.
Maybe for you, that will look like something similar to what we chose to do. Maybe it will mean ditching the legal institution but having a commitment ceremony. Maybe it will mean not getting married at all. Maybe it will look like something more traditional, or something “different” in an entirely different way to ours.
As they say in Rent: “The opposite of war isn’t peace; it’s creation.” And the opposite of destruction isn’t always deconstruction. Sometimes it’s just doing it your own way.