wedding vows that do not assume the woman is property

Many, many things about weddings really bother me. So many of the symbols and rituals of traditional wedding ceremonies are left over from the age of women-as-property being passed from one man to another… and K & I are just not on board with that (as I’m sure you can imagine).

So, in 2009, when K and I decided to get married, we wanted to be sure to do it our way. We wanted to demonstrated our respect for one another as equals, as well as our commitments to feminist and environmental ethics. Because of that, our wedding looked nothing like any wedding I’d ever witnessed.

We and our 11 guests stood in a circle on the beach in Santa Monica, and each element of the “ceremony” was carefully chosen to say, demonstrate, or honor something or someone in particular. The most important element of the “ceremony” was our vows, which we wrote from scratch over a number of weeks. We wanted our vows to be almost like our constitution, and on each of our 3 anniversaries, we have reread the vows to evaluate our efforts at abiding by these promises… and perhaps promised to redouble our efforts about some parts of them. These vows demonstrate our commitments and our perspectives of the world. According to K, “These vows are a public expression of what we want our lives to be.”

These vows are not perfect, but we think they set up a framework for building a relationship that both feminists and environmentalists can support. We think these vows give a realistic plan for nurturing a healthy relationship between equals….and they seem to be working well for us. (And K is just really awesome.)

Question Time!

What elements of traditional wedding vows (or wedding ceremonies) have you found troubling? Are there any elements of our wedding vows that you find troubling (it’s ok to be honest!)?

What elements of traditional wedding vows (or wedding ceremonies) have you really liked and found meaningful? Are there any elements of our vows that you really like or find meaningful?

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