(Un)Feminist Guilty Pleasures: Wedding Blogs

As a lot of you already know, I’m getting married (this Saturday, eek). And I’m not going to lie, while there was definitely a lot of feminist-minded thought behind my planning process, there was also a lot of…well, other stuff. I succumbed to buying wedding magazines despite their gross consumerism, bought a pair of nearly-unwearable – though fabulous looking – shoes, and decided to have flower girls even though I didn’t want a wedding party simply because I think my cousins’ kids are adorable. It doesn’t surprise me that I bought into some wedding culture stuff – after all, some of it is fun – but it was wedding blogs that did me in. Truly.
I’ve always been a bit of a dork over design, and wedding blogs were just the thing to bring my love of things aesthetically pleasing together with my control freak planning side. Whether it’s “wedding porn” (yes, people call it that) shots of brides and table settings or DIY madness, I wanted it all. My Google Reader nearly collapsed under the weight of my bridal RSSness.
And though there’s no doubt that some of the blogs I’ve been frequenting buy into the wedding industrial complex in a way that makes me massively uncomfortable (Martha Stewart Weddings, I’m looking at you!), I also found some sites along the way that we’re amazingly helpful not just from a planning point-of-view, but from a feminist one as well. Like A Practical Wedding, Offbeat Bride, and IndieBride (no blog, but the forum is great) – these sites helped me keep my sanity with their sage advice and senses of humor.
When the wedding is over and my planning all finished, there’s no doubt that I’ll have to leave some of these blogs behind – after all, how many wedding cake shots can one look at? But there are a few that I’ll keep reading, because the women who run them are funny and smart and remind me why I love the internet. Also, because I like pretty pictures.
Another guilty pleasure – wedding flowers! The picture above is a sample centerpiece from my dope florist, Sarah of Saipua – who incidentally has a really great and hilarious blog herself. Pretty, no?

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23 Comments

  1. ChibiK629
    Posted September 28, 2009 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I got married on the 18th and I went a bit DIY crazy. I started to make it a challenge for myself to see how much money we could avoid spending. Because I studied a bit of graphic design, I was able to make the invitations, thank you cards, menus, and favors while my partner did all the printing. I looked at one of the blogs you linked and that’s actually where I got the templates for our favor boxes. We didn’t even spend $1000 in the end and the wedding looked far more expensive. That was one of the most enjoyable parts to me lol.

  2. Posted September 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I can definitely relate. I’ve always loved wedding pictures and television shows, but I have so many criticisms of the wedding industrial complex that sometimes watching/reading makes me feel like a masochist. I haven’t ever read any wedding blogs though. Recently, I have taken to reading this really popular “mommy blog” written by an anti-choice, Christian, stay at home mom of four in the midwest… I know that I am not the intended audience but I just can’t help myself.

  3. jdv1984
    Posted September 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Under $1000? :)

  4. s.
    Posted September 28, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I am about to celebrate my one-year anniversary in a couple of weeks, and only recently unsubscribed from most of them. I still have A Practical Wedding and OffBeat Bride in a secret corner of my RSS, because you are exactly right: weddings are pretty, and those ladies are smart.
    Also, flowers were the one thing I also really enjoyed not only because they were beautiful, but our florist was awesome. She made beautiful bouquets and kept dropping off extras the night before the wedding that she had saved from the garbage because they happened to have a couple of bruised leaves. My sister and friend turned them into absolutely gorgeous centerpieces.

  5. ikkin
    Posted September 28, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Feminism means different things for different people, especially women. I applaud you as one of the most popular feminist bloggers to be able to admit when you’re doing something you are not certain is entirely egalitarian or politically correct. I used to love this blog because it was for feminists living in the real world, growing up in the lives we did. More and more, I’ve seen posting reduced and subjects narrowed because we can’t talk about this or forget to talk about that. This gives me hope that the bloggers on here can still crossover and make connections with women who have not yet given up shopping, eating animal products, or wearing clothes made outside of the United States.
    While intend to protest marriage by not having one, I hope your big day is just as your imagination has painted it. I’m glad you’re having fun.

  6. Comrade Kevin
    Posted September 28, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Will you be Mommy blogging soon after that, Jessica? :)

  7. Lilitu
    Posted September 28, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    A feminist friend of mine got married this past summer and while a lot of things about it were fairly traditional, she found a lot of great ideas on IndieBride and similar places. Some great cost-saving ideas came from there, too. One of which involved she and the bridesmaids making all of the bride-designed flower arrangements and bouquets. (We rocked those out in an hour and a half, while drinking. It was great.)
    So, yeah, while I’m definitely not marriage-minded myself, it was very awesome to see how much more personal, feminist-friendly, and how much more of a cooperative, group experience her wedding was than the very traditional wedding all of the same bridesmaids were in earlier in the summer. (Not that the other wedding wasn’t beautiful. It was, and I’ve got the utterly gorgeous photos to prove it. It was just very, very traditional, if entirely secular.)

  8. Tara K.
    Posted September 28, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Can I just out myself and say that I can’t wait to seem some photos of Jessica’s wedding? Really. I read one of her posts about the other day and thought, “Oh, I hope she posts pictures.”
    That’s not me. I’m not a wedding-person. Not a bride-person. But, damnit, Jessica and her wedding have made me go all goofy and wedding-porn hungry.

  9. Yekaterina
    Posted September 28, 2009 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    I would love to see photos of a feminist wedding!
    And, although I’ve never planned a wedding, I think there are many ways to make the whole affair much more feminist – engagement rings for both (or neither) people, a non-white dress, a bridal party without the awkward bride=bridesmaids groom=best men division, which leaves out siblings and best friends of the opposite sex. Planning the wedding together, as opposed to it being a one-woman celebration of her husband-hunting skills. Stuff like that, if, of course, you’re not opposed to the idea of marriage altogether, which I think many feminists aren’t.

  10. pepper
    Posted September 28, 2009 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Honeymoons lead to babies, duh! Didn’t not learning about sex in school teach you anything?

  11. Femgineer
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    My sister and I were groomswomen in my dad’s wedding. :)

  12. Gopher
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    “Recently, I have taken to reading this really popular “mommy blog” written by an anti-choice, Christian, stay at home mom of four in the midwest”
    LOL
    Me too. I read those types of blogs to examine the weirdness of the conservative types. Ie, ‘whats wrong with them?’ and ‘creepy.’ I’m also fond of visiting quiverfull blogs.

  13. katliz
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I’m getting married on 10/31 and owe a lot of my design ideas to Offbeat Bride. I never wanted the big wedding to-do, but my parents and fiancee talked me into it; honestly, it’s been a bitch. Being into design as well, I’ve only kept my sanity through using the experience as a creative outlet.
    I just can’t wait for it to be over. The judgements from vendors have been infuriating: the florist called me an “older bride” (I’m 35) and every single tux shop we went to deffered all decisions to me, when my fiancee has more fashion sense in his little finger than I have in my whole body. I’ve discovered through him that not only is it hard to have a feminist wedding, but it is hard to be an equal-partner groom in an industry only focused on the bride.

  14. ChibiK629
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    My partner and I achieved a pretty feminist wedding which I was very happy about. We were completely equal in the planning, we didn’t bother with engagement rings because I always thought they were for both partners and I figured we didn’t need to spend money on another set of rings. We didn’t have a bridal party or groomsmen. Some things were traditional like my white dress and bouquet. The one thing I absolutely didn’t want was to be given away, partly because I don’t have anyone I’m close to that I would want to walk me down the aisle. My partner and I came down the aisle together in the end and it made the most sense to me that way. Make our entrance together, walk down the aisle together, and then take our vows together :-)

  15. allisonjayne
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Weddings (and marriages) can be so many different things – there are so many different ways to get married (and stay married), and I find them all fascinating. My partner and I got married 3 years ago – we’re Canadian, and our wedding was for most of our guests the first same sex wedding they’d ever been to (it was ours as well!). We heard over and over again after wards that it was so beautiful, and that people ‘just didn’t know what to expect’. Part of that is probably owing to the fact that we are both somewhat ‘unconventional’ women, even aside from the whole queer thing.
    We didn’t have engagement rings (I planted an engagement tree for the proposal), we walked towards each other (two aisles – we got married outside), we wrote the ceremony together (lots of talk about community, social justice, etc), neither of us wore white….
    Anyway, shamelessly – here are our photos: http://vancouverandseattle.tripod.com/ceremony.html

  16. allisonjayne
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Oh, wanted to add for any Canadian feminists who are planning on getting married – http://www.frugalbride.com/babblingbrides.html – the frugalbride message board was really helpful when we were planning our wedding – especially for finding good local vendors. While some of the people posting are definitely traditional, there tend to also be a lot of people who aren’t! I think we planned our whole wedding pretty much using frugalbride and indiebride!

  17. blindirishpirate
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I was married a year ago, but still keep up with A Practical Wedding here and there. I can’t tell you why, except that it is nice to see normal, sane, wonderfully unique people getting married. And the pictures aren’t all cake shots.

  18. Pencils
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Congratulations, Jessica! Enjoy your wedding.
    I was a feminist bride two years ago–my husband and I did the pieces of the ritual (meaning the entire thing, not just the ceremony) that appealed to us, and left out the others. We had a blast. I love design, so it was a creative outlet for me, and I really enjoyed figuring out how to have the best “whatever” for the cheapest price. I kept up with the wedding blogs for a while, but when I got pregnant six months after the wedding (at age 40, you can’t put it off too long) I switched to house porn blogs and celebrity baby blogs. They’re strangely addicting!

  19. Jessica
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Ha, I promise I’ll provide pics! :)

  20. Opheelia
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    My brother had his siblings on the groom’s side, and his wife had her sisters on hers. It was really nice.
    I also just realized something: We’re from a region where it’s common vernacular to say, “I’m standing up in (so-and-so’s) wedding.” So I never called myself a bridesmaid or a groomswoman… I just “stood up.”

  21. Rachel
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I never dreamed of my “big day” since I was a little girl nor have I ever wanted to be a “princess for a day.” In fact, I never thought I’d get married at all, which is why I started accumulating the cats early on. My husband and I went away to be married with only a few people in attendance and then we held an informal reception about a month later for our friends and family. During that time I found myself watching lots of wedding-related shows, especially those that focus on wedding planners. I even watched “Bridezilla,” all the while telling my husband that it would help him appreciate me more.
    Our wedding was deliberately unconventional, but since I’ve never planned a large event or am hip to wedding culture in general, it was my way of conducting research, I guess. I blame the academic in me. After the reception, the wedding watching virtually stopped overnight. I do still watch some of the wedding cake shows and challenges though, simply because I love cake art in general.

  22. InfamousQBert
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    i am SOOOOOO with you! i can’t help it! the design work on some of the weddings you see at martha and other evil sites are freakishly good. and sometimes it’s fun just to fantasize about being able to buy/design whatever you want, regardless of budget. plus, i’ve gotten some really great ideas of things i can DIY for my wedding and save a lot of money.
    but, yah, i do feel kinda guilty sometimes, especially when i get the inevitable “lose weight for your wedding” ads in my gmail or FB sidebars.

  23. Yekaterina
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Hahahaha new favourite quote:
    “In fact, I never thought I’d get married at all, which is why I started accumulating the cats early on”

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