Unveiling the Outdated: Misogynistic Wedding Rituals That Need a Rewrite

Weddings are meant to be a celebration of love, unity, and commitment. However, lurking in the shadows of this joyous occasion are some outdated and misogynistic rituals that persist in many cultures around the world. It’s time to shine a light on these practices and advocate for a more inclusive and respectful approach to marriage ceremonies.


– Asking Permission To Marry:  Pros – It shows that you respect your partner’s family and acknowledge that they might value this personal trust. It also gives them chance to ask questions – I remember my mother in law to be asking me how I knew that my impending marriage to her son would be different to the one I had left some years earlier. I told her that we can never be certain of the future but it was my intention to take good care of her baby boy – she seemed settled after that.

Cons – Who is it to say when you should be married, to whom and when? You might not have a great relationship with your dad and so this conversation is completely unnecessary and it harks back to times when women were seen as possessions.

Reframing the Future: Perhaps ask your partners family out to  dinner and talk about your intention to get married or announce your engagement, it gives you time to talk about future plans and enlist their support in your shared future. If things get tricky, at least you are on neutral ground and it gives you chance to state your intention for your own future as an adult not a child.

– “Giving Away”:   Pros – It’s a nice moment with family or friends who mean something to you. One of my clients father’s had died and so she asked her dad’s best friend to walk her down the aisle in his place, it was really emotional and special.

Cons: You are not a possession to be imparted to someone else like a dowry.

Reframing the Future: Ask to be walked or escorted down the aisle, maybe utilise other family members. A really touching ceremony is the “First Kiss/Last Kiss” ritual where the couple are walked down the aisle by their mothers and just as those women were the first to kiss them into new born life, they are the first to kiss them into this new future, the moment comemmorated by the giving of roses to the mum’s by the couple as a symbol of  ongoing love.

– The Bride’s Family Pays:  Pros – saves you a few quid!

Cons – Your marriage is not an opportunity for your family to demonstrate their wealth or lack of or to have to demonstrate your worth as a member of another family as a financial package. Also, this is always an opportunity for their money to be exchanged for their wishes for your day.

Reforming the Future: Accept any financial gifts you are offered, if you are comfortable to do so, but be sure that the giver is certain that they are supporting you to pay for the day of your dreams and not to influence your choices. Remember, the set the budget you can manage, one day is not worth saddling yourself with debt for.

– Stag/Hen do’s:  Pros – end your single life with a memorable event, they don’t need to be full of alcohol….

Cons – Has “The Hangover`’ taught us nothing? Stories of being cling wrapped naked to lamp posts are so not 2024! Stag do’s were recorded by the Spartans in 5BC as a night of celebration for the “free man” – enough already!!

Reframe the Future: Share a fun day with friends and family doing something you want to do or maybe splash out on a weekend in the sun to get some colour on your cheeks before your big day – but not too much, no-one wants to look like a tomato in their wedding photos!!


– The “Best Man”:  Pros – you have a buddy by your side for one of the most nerve wracking moments of your life.

Cons: the origin records the Best Man being the strongest friend who was prepared to step in if the bride tried to ‘escape’ or to fight off any unwanted suitors at the last minute!

Reframe the Future: It has been quite common (Thankfully) to not be so gender specific. Instead I am seeing Groomsmen, Best People, Mates of Honour even adapting the other wedding party roles to include Flower Guys and Confetti or Flower Grans – I’m all for it!!

A stunning, hand dip dyed dress from Lucy Can’t Dance, Chelmsford.
Dresses to suit every taste at Saltaire Bridal, Shipley

– The White Dress: Pros – there are some stunning designs in the wedding dress market and more retailers adapting to include plus sized and real bodied women.

Cons – A symbol of Virginity and Purity or simply a trend started by Queen Victoria when she oped to have a white Satin wedding dress instead of the previously traditional red versions.

Reframe the Future: Pick a style and colour that makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Dress or trousers, off the peg or custom made. I love creatives like Lucy Can’t Dance, Rosie Red Corsetry or a suit with a train for that Billie Porter at the Met Gala style.

Photo Courtesy of Rock nRoll Bride
Billie Porter at the Golden Globes

– The Veil:   Pros – an opportunity to have a custom made piece of your outfit created to capture some really personal and meaningful motifs.

Cons – This makes me gag….the veil was originally only to be lifted by the bride’s father or her spouse, however the veil itself represents the thin barrier between the bride and her virginity, the hymen…ewwwwww!!

Reframe the Future: Bin it off!!!

– “Honour and Obey”:    Pros – it shows 100% surrender to the will of another and states loud and proud that you are giving up your independance to subjugation – if that floats your boat.

Cons: It’s not for me to tell you what you should vow, some people fully believe that they are to be subservient to a spouse but just so you know – I will never include that in one of my ceremonies! Hell No!

– The Garter Toss:    Pros – its become a ‘fun’ point of the reception for the garter to be removed, often with the spouses teeth!

Cons: It’s all about sex again……Tossing the garter out the door or to a waiting crowd was a literal symbol that you had consummated the marriage…….ick ick ick!!!

Reframe the Future: Bin it off!!! Strap on a hip flask instead – cheers!

– Carrying the Bride across the threshold:  Pros- Its symbolically quite romantic and a great show of masculinity if that’s your thing.

Cons: Evidence shows that this comes from the Romans who would physically drag their wives off for sex before the reception even started!! Also, it leaves one spouse open to years of lumbar issues if the other is a bit more substantial or reels and reels of video bloopers a la You’ve Been Framed!!

Reframe the Future: Skip it!


My tag line is always ‘Your Day, Your Way’ and it is not for me to tell you what you can and can’t include in your wedding ceremony. As society progresses towards greater equality and understanding, it’s essential to reevaluate and challenge the outdated misogynistic wedding rituals that persist and to at least understand where they came from and their meanings. By doing so, we can create ceremonies that truly celebrate the union of two individuals on equal footing, fostering love, respect, and mutual consent. It’s time to reframe the future and redefine what weddings mean in the context of a modern and inclusive world.