Who Says We’re Against Marriage Around Here?

Filthy is trying to plan a nice feminist, secular wedding ceremony, and is looking for suggestions. 

I want my wedding to be special for the both of us, not just a celebration that I got me a man; but I don’t want it to be a five-minute secular deal. I have agreed to let my mother do a reading from the Bible since I love and respect her and her religion as she loves and respects my decision not to have one, but I would like our officiant to share something meaningful with our friends and family sans God and Jesus. 

If anyone has any suggestions for readings, I would love to hear them. I would like something androgynous since I don’t wish to invoke the “standard” of heterosexual couple–none of this man and woman stuff; two people will work just fine. I also don’t want one person being active, the other passive. At my cousin’s wedding, a poem was read, the audience being the bride, who was told that her husband’s hands will essentially serve her. While a romantic sentiment, it simply illustrated the ideas of wives being objects unto which husbands will execute actions. I want it to be about an equal relationship; not archetypes. 

18 thoughts on “Who Says We’re Against Marriage Around Here?

  1. Molly May 4, 2009 at 6:32 pm Reply

    I found some really nice speeches when I was planning my post-modernist wedding at offbeatbride.com and indiebride.com.

    • G.D. May 4, 2009 at 6:45 pm Reply

      Care to share what they were?

  2. shani-o May 4, 2009 at 6:36 pm Reply

    There have to be some good passages about friendship that could apply?

    • G.D. May 4, 2009 at 6:38 pm Reply

      hmmm. i don’t think she’s going for ‘friendship’; i guess the tricky part is finding a passage about romantic love that isn’t deeply gendered.

      • shani-o May 4, 2009 at 6:42 pm Reply

        Right. But what’s the corny quote? Love is friendship set on fire? Or something.

        I’m just thinking a committed, deep, and abiding friendship can have some aspects that are similar to romantic love. A judiciously chosen passage might fit. You know the Bible back and forth, homie…think!

        • G.D. May 4, 2009 at 6:44 pm Reply

          lol. but she doesn’t *want* the Bible.

          You know Whitman back and forth, sis. get on that!

          • shani-o May 4, 2009 at 6:49 pm Reply

            Ohhhh! I totally misread that.

            *breaks out Leaves of Grass*

            Filthy, I got you!

  3. FilthyGrandeur May 4, 2009 at 6:41 pm Reply

    i appreciate any help–i’ve never planned a wedding before, and all my family’s suggestions are gendered and religious.

    yeah, i’m going for love, not friendship, since it’s still a wedding…lol

    • Molly May 4, 2009 at 6:43 pm Reply

      Check the “vows” section in the “kvetch” part of the the indie bride site. I found a lot of great material there…

  4. universeexpanding May 4, 2009 at 6:47 pm Reply

    I don’t know if you’ll be able to use any of it but there’s a Rilke quote on marriage that I love, love, love and if I ever decided to marry someone I’m pretty sure I’d mention it in some capacity. Here:

    “The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”

    • blackink12 May 4, 2009 at 7:32 pm Reply

      That’s money. Love that … “if they succeed in loving the expanse between them.”

  5. ladyfresshh May 4, 2009 at 7:54 pm Reply

    i like plato’s symposium:

    foudn acopy on about.com:
    Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of the ills which prevent us from being happy.

    To understand the power of Love, we must understand that our original human nature was not like it is now, but different. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. There were three sexes then: one comprised of two men called the children of the Sun, one made of two women called the children of the Earth, and a third made of a man and a woman, called the children of the Moon. Due to the power and might of these original humans, the Gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. They sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them.

    It was at this point that Zeus divided the humans in half. After the division the two parts of each desiring their other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of humankind.

    Each of us when separated, having one side only, is but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half. Those whose original nature lies with the children of the Sun are men who are drawn to other men, those from the children of the Earth are women who love other women, and those from the children of the Moon are men and women drawn to one another. And when one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight even for a moment. We pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.

  6. ladyfresshh May 4, 2009 at 8:04 pm Reply

    oh and on ehow:


    i really liked #4
    “Skip the tradition of the father walking the daughter down the aisle. This tradition dates back to the days when the bride was literally property that was being handed over from one man (the father) to the other (the groom). Both parents can walk both the bride and groom down the aisle (a tradition in Jewish weddings). Or the bride and groom can walk down the aisle holding hands, or each walk down separately. You can also skip the whole aisle concept.”

    there were 10 steps though

    oh and another favorite quote from Khalil Gibran

    Then Almitra spoke again and said, “And what of Marriage, master?”
    And he answered saying:
    You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
    You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
    Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
    But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
    And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
    Love one another but make not a bond of love:
    Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
    Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
    Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
    Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
    Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
    Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
    And stand together, yet not too near together:
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

    • t May 4, 2009 at 9:08 pm Reply

      This Gibran piece was used at my wedding. I loved it nine years ago and I love it now.

    • quadmoniker May 4, 2009 at 9:56 pm Reply

      That’s really nice! I’m normally not a huge poetry fan.

    • FilthyGrandeur May 5, 2009 at 7:55 am Reply

      these are awesome suggestions. i’m getting a lot to work with i think.

      i had already decided against my father walking me down the aisle, mostly because i don’t care for him. i thought about asking my stepfather since he’s more of a father to me, but i didn’t want an argument, plus still the property thing. so i decided to have my brother do it. you can bet he isn’t going to be asked the “who gives this woman” question, because he doesn’t own me either.

      i was telling some friends of the family about my plans, and some of them were already mad i had asked my brother to walk me down the aisle (not give me away–i’m watching my language). they suggested that i could have my dad and stepdad walk me down the aisle, and when i said i wasn’t owned by anyone and i want it to reflect my feminist ideals, they gave me a look like i just said a bad word. so, i’ll probably piss some people off, but i don’t care. me and my fiance will do it our way, and he’s not against any of my feminist ideas since he knows i’m his equal.

      actually, my uncle got married last year and had a pagan wedding. while i don’t have any religion myself, i commend him and his wife for doing it their way and not worrying about pleasing the rest of the family. it was still a lovely ceremony.

      • ladyfresshh May 5, 2009 at 2:35 pm Reply

        congratulations and good luck

        i noticed that weddings are bride centered i’ve always thought that was unfair to grooms. so if you can, allow your partner to have equal attention and let them express themselves as well

  7. Haley May 5, 2009 at 10:40 am Reply

    Our wedding was a quickie 5 minute secular thing, but we did have an excerpt of Whitman’s Song of the Open Road read. For us it really encompassed how we saw our marriage and our relationship. The word Camerado, Whitman’s way of saying you: the confidant in my life, my intimate comrade, is just a really great word and conception, and is nicely gender neutral.

    Listen, I will be honest with you
    I do not offer the old smooth prizes
    But offer rough new prizes
    These are the days that must happen to you:
    You shall not heap up what is called riches,
    You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve.
    However sweet the laid up stores,
    However convenient the dwelling, you shall not remain there.
    However sheltered the port, however calm the waters, you shall not anchor there.
    However welcome the hospitality that welcomes you,
    You are permitted to receive it but a little while Afoot and lighthearted, take to the open road
    Healthy, free, the world before you the long brown path before you, leading wherever you choose.
    Say only to one another:
    Camerado, I give you my hand!
    I give you my love more precious than money; I give you myself before preaching and law:
    Will you give me yourself?
    Will you come travel with me?
    Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

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