Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Idle Hands

The one time in my adult life that I served as a member of someone's bridal party, I was pretty happy to have been given something to do with my hands during the pictures and ceremony parts of the day.

I'm kinda fidgety, especially when I'm standing in front of other people, so holding that bouquet was a wonderful distraction for my hands.  If I hadn't had that bouquet, I suppose I could've put my hands in the pockets of the dress (BTdubs...  big friggin' YAY! for dresses with pockets!).  But looking over at the guy side of the wedding party, I see that they didn't put their hands in their pockets so maybe I wouldn't have done that.

Why am I talking about this?  Well, I'll tell ya.  Lately I've been giving more thought to what the members of our wedding party will (or won't) carry during the ceremony.  I've been assuming that everyone wearing a dress (myself included) would carry a bouquet and those not wearing dresses wouldn't carry anything.  But I gotta say, the gender segregation of that situation really irks me.  First there's the association of women with flowers, and that age-old assumption (stereotype?) that women enjoy bouquets, while men can only allow themselves a single flower in their lapel. 

{even when it's an awesome lapel "flower" like this one}

In the last few years a lot of couples have skirted (hah!  It's a pun!) this issue by using a floral alternative. 

This brings up a second issue, though, which is why the alternative item is still only carried by women.  I've searched the interwebz high and low to try and find pictures of weddings where the wedding party members either all carried nothing or all carried the same thing, and I've pretty much come up empty-handed.  (Hehe...  Another pun!  Tired of me yet?).  Now, here's the part where I sound a little hypocritical.  The truth is, I like the look of wedding party members carrying flowers and wearing boutonnieres, and I like the tradition of the bridal bouquet.  I've been looking forward to DIYing anenome bouquets and grosgrain ribbon bouts.

The beauty of incorporating a feminist analysis into your wedding is that you get to think about the traditions, power dynamics, gender assumptions, social implications, and implied messages inherent in these issues and then make an informed decision for yourself.  While doing my research to help inform us of the options, I came across a really beautiful picture that got me thinking in a different direction.

Lanterns are about as non-gendered as you can get in the prop department, and the ambient light they would provide might help with the lighting dilemma in our ceremony space.  It might hurt my heart a little bit, though, if we didn't get to incorporate those anenomes and grosgrain flowers.  Perhaps we could use them in other ways - like clothing accessories or lantern decorations.  But having written those words it occurs to me that maybe those options aren't so different from just carrying them as bouquets or wearing them as boutonnieres.  Or maybe it is, because the lantern component would be more egalitarian...

Obviously we still need to do some more research and some more discussing (with each other and with our wedding party members) before we can make a decision about this.  I'm definitely leaning towards carrying something rather than nothing - just because I know that's what my fidgety hands would prefer. 

But I'm curious - do you have any ideas for non-gendered wedding props?  What do you think about wedding party members not carrying anything?  And are there considerations I'm overlooking?  

1 comment:

  1. I am such a lamer. You are putting forth ideas and questions that I've never even THOUGHT about! I think candles would be pretty cool. I am going to be thinking about this constantly now...


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