Like many of Offbeat Bride readers, I'm a strong-minded feminist. I don't just say “I think all people should be treated equally.” I'm the sort of feminist who's unapologetically in-your-face about my ideals.
Of course, my vision of equality has a role within my relationship. Sometimes my fiancé agrees with my stance, and sometimes he disagrees. But he always listens and supports me. We strive towards an equal, give-and-take relationship. We don't look to the other to fix the parts of ourselves that are “broken.” We aren't each a half of a whole. We are two complete people who are a force to be reckoned with as a pair. And feminism is just one of the many things that has brought us to that place — that unconditional love that can only come from loving oneself.
But just because I'm true to myself, doesn't mean every move I make is a social or political statement. It wasn't until we started planning the wedding that I realized a lot of my closest friends and family were viewing our wedding decisions as some sort of socio-political performance.
It started with the oh-so-popular taking of my husband's last name. One day, a friend casually asked how it felt to be a future Mrs. Mussman. I replied that I decided I was going to keep my last name. His response was, “Ooooh. Right. You're not taking his name. Of course. I should have figured.”
Honestly, it caught me off-guard. See, my fiancé and I have talked about this topic at length. We're both comfortable with our decision. The reason I really wanted to keep my own name had nothing to do with feminist ideals — I simply like the sound of my own name. “Lydia Bell.” It has a nice ring to it, right? In fact, my fiancé even toyed with changing his own name but in the end, we just like our birth names — period.
Of course I felt the need to explain all of that to my friend. I felt a sense of guilt in his assumption that I wasn't open to changing my name purely as a statement. It wasn't about making a statement. It was all about making a decision as a couple.
Needless to say, this was just the first of MANY questions I've answered with similar responses…
- Why are you having a mixed-gender bridal party?
- Will you be wearing white?
- What are your thoughts on strippers at the bachelor party?
- Who will be the stay-at-home parent once you have kids? Wait… ARE you having kids?
I've learned that no matter how I respond, someone will view it as a statement. All we're really trying to do is throw a beautiful and fun wedding with all of our friends and family. Our relationship is a relationship… not a statement open for critique.
So to all my Offbeat Brides and grooms; don't worry about anyone's opinion of your wedding. Sometimes it can be difficult to be in the spotlight when you're a unique couple with strong ideals. Whether it's feminism or something entirely different, it does not define your relationship. Your love and your commitment to your partner is all your wedding needs to be about.
Are people confusing YOUR party plans as politics, your ceremony schemes as statements, or turning your wedding options into opinions?