My name is Hannah and I believe in equality.
This year has been an incredible year for me wedding wise… and when I say incredible, I mean… these people, they really are my jam. It may be down to the social bubble that tends to happen, when the people you attract reflect who you are. Who knows, maybe there is an actual shift happening out there. All I know is that I bloody love weddings, and I particularly love weddings when the couple pick and choose the traditions they want to roll with or new ones they have begun.
With this in mind I wanted to tell you about it… Your wedding is about you and if you don’t fancy continuing the patriarchal traditions that have been on-going for centuries in the UK and beyond… then I’m with you! If you love a tradition, that’s totally cool too. Do what makes you happy and that makes me happy.
Curious to know more of these awesome,
love and gender equality filled weddings?
This is just a short one to tell you what happened during my own engagement. James proposed and it was lush, and I said yes. I got a beautiful ring and I loved it. I couldn’t help but feel he kinda got the short straw on this… what does he get? Me, yes but we already had each other, that was a given. In my mind it was unfair that I got new a shiny and he didn’t. So off I popped to the jewellers and bought him a beautiful watch. He loved it and I loved that we both have a something special to mark the occasion.
Here’s the thing… back in the day couples didn’t live together before they were married and that’s why they got ready separately. These days I’d say 95% of my couples already do. No it isn’t bad luck to see each other. Bad luck is not a thing. I’ve only ever captured two couples that got ready together on the morning of their wedding and it was flipping wonderful. It’s an option, I’m just putting it out there. It is also really lovely to get ready separately to build on the anticipation of getting married.
Franki & Rob got ready together in their wedding bell tent, greeted their guests together before the ceremony and walked in together. Katy & Tanya got ready all morning together until they got into their outfits so there was still an element of surprise. You can read more handy hints for getting ready over here.
walking up the aisle
I’ve got to say I absolutely loved having my Dad walking me up the aisle, I’d never considered it any other way, I was married 10 years ago and I do look back now as a mother myself and think how it’s a shame the mothers don’t get much of a look in when it comes to marriage traditions. Guess what though, you don’t even have to have a parent walk you up the aisle.
Traditionally weddings have had a strong emphasis on a Bride being “given away” like property to her new Groom. I much prefer the phrase “walking up the aisle with” then “giving away” because for me it’s about being supported by your loved ones in a commitment of love to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Nikki had her twin sister walk her in and it was such a wonderful moment.
Alternatively Florence walked to her ceremony with a parent adorning her left and right, whilst Alex waited at the top of the aisle with both his parents too. Once Flo & Alex greeted each other, hugs were distributed all around with both parents and them… how lovely is that?! This is a great option for LGBTQ+ weddings having all parents involved whether it be groom & groom or bride & bride. Katy & Tanya walked to the ceremony room with their mums and then up the aisle on their own hand in hand.
As well as these, lovely aisle walks, another Bride had her 6 year old son walk her up the aisle (soooo cute!). The possibilities are endless. Here are Nat & Ben who followed a procession of their friends in pairs and walked up the aisle together holding hands…
spreading the gender equality love
beyond the two of you and your family
Do you know what else… women have men that are friends and men have women that are friends. You don’t have to choose same gender important people to be in your gang anymore. Alida had all her best friends, men included in her bridal team and her husband had a “groom’s lady” as well as his groomsmen and it was AWESOME!
This leads me swiftly on to tell you another little secret! Women can wear what they want, who’d have thunk it? You don’t have to adorn ivory or white to parade your innocence and purity. You can if you want to, it’s a nice colour and certainly easier to find in bridal shops. (pssssst; You don’t even have to buy one from a bridal shop).
Perfectly demonstrated by the awesome couple below, Greg and Beth in her knock-out gold sequins (most loved dress on my instagram!)
Also, if you’re anything like me you’ll love this one. I cannot walk sharp in high heels, nope, not even with dutch courage. Traditionally women wore heels to make them more attractive to the opposite sex, with longer slender legs. Nope, they hurt and I wobble. If this is you, fear not because trainers are comfy as…
It’s not just brides that benefit from smashing the traditional gender norms when it comes to your outfit goals. Alex’s best people both wore jackets and trousers. A particularly lovely ombré velvet number at that (I had strong blazer envy) and Alex was bedecked in the most fabulous white velvet and floral suit.
Torn between a traditional wedding dress and something off beat? Why not go for a dress change? Nikki did just that. Early evening she nipped off and slipped into this incredible jumpsuit, which is basically the embodiment of her personality in an item of clothing, and she rocked it!
Let’s break the tradition
of words, who can talk and when
Speeches are a funny thing in more ways the one. It has always traditionally been the Father of the Bride, followed by the Groom and then the pièce de résistance, the best man performs a jovial character assassination of the groom. 2018 has been an epic year for this particular patriarchal tradition being side swiped with a flying kick and it’s been bloody marvellous.
Fathers of the Groom…. you can make a speech too, like Stu’s Dad did (thanks Stu’s dad). Trevor’s Mum also made a speech at his wedding with Kelly (yes!!). This is where my heart really starts to swell… when I see the women at weddings standing up to say the most amazing things because, yep they are kind, thoughtful and funny too. Don’t get me wrong I love heartfelt and humorous speeches from the men but tradition has meant it has always only ever been them. I’ve been photographing weddings for almost 7 years and this year something switched. Here are some of those cracking speech shots I’ve captured…
Alida’s chief bridesmaid and brideman performed a duo piece and it was amazing. Alida’s own speech was a proper heart-warmer too.
Florence’s Mum made a great speech as well as Flo herself, Alex, Alex’s best people and Flo’s Dad (high fives all round!)
Kelly commandeered the mic and was brilliant. As did her new Mother-in-Law
Beth quite literally brought the house down with one of the wittiest speeches I’ve ever heard…
That is just a snapshot of this year’s speeches. I love that so many men and women have spoken up and been fantastic.
Traditional wedding vows were about the woman obeying the man… yeah really. Why not write your own vows. you can choose what to omit and include from the legal vows in a church and registrar led wedding to make them more equal.
Or you can opt for a humanist ceremony where the entire ceremony is about you both, your journey so far and super personal. I’ve photographed numerous humanist weddings and I’ve gotta say they are brilliant, interesting and fun. You have a lot more freedom to really personalise it and have your wedding your way.
I could go on, however it’s getting late and I’m a bit tired after all this patriarchy smashing on a wednesday. My final note is about names. I took on my husband’s name, I thought about keeping my original surname as well as his but it looked a bit weird when I wrote it down and sounded too much like a forename… that’s why I named my business after it instead. Couples often go for a double barrel, or choose one or other’s surname for you both to take. Or if that’s still not your bag, you can do what Flo & Alex did and create a whole new name just for you two (and get it on a mug with your mugs)
weddings are about love,
so love everyone, be inclusive
Ultimately having a marriage with gender equality values means being inclusive. There are no wedding police making sure you are following age old traditions, likewise taking your husband’s name doesn’t mean you’re not a feminist either. Work out what is most important for you both. Speak to your family members and ask if they would like a bigger role, your mum might not want to make a speech, heck your dad might not like the idea of public speaking either! Get creative and enjoy!