Five Things I Noticed While Getting Married Yesterday

Five things I noticed while getting married:

  1. Our marriage license, whether read top-to-bottom or left-to-right (the way one reads English, which is the language in which our license is printed), lists the man/husband/groom/father before the woman/wife/bride/mother in every single possible instance.

    This license, from North Carolina, is much prettier and also more egalitarian than ours. But note it still lists the groom’s name first.

    Not only is my new husband’s information before mine when read top to bottom and left to right, but the names of our respective fathers are listed above the names of our respective mothers.  There was no chance to switch any of it around by re-interpreting the word “partner,” either: the form specified the groom’s information went on one side and the bride’s on the other.  (Not surprisingly, this is a state that banned marriage equality via constitutional amendment.)

  2. All the info that came with the license about name changes specified that the name change in question was the bride’s.

    Until men entering a marriage have an equally easy time changing their name to their spouse’s as women have, I’m calling patriarchal shenanigans on this one.

    There was no mention of whether the groom wanted to change his name or not, much less whether that would be as easy for him following a wedding as it would be for her.  (My understanding is that it wouldn’t; our state would require him to petition the court separately, incurring the necessary hours of time, hundreds of dollars in fees, and potential to be charged with a felony if someone came up with probable cause to believe he had lied on the name change form – and he’d still have to do all the Secretary of State and Social Security paperwork as well. Compare that to what I, as the bride, would have to do: sign my new name on the marriage license and make a trip to the Secretary of State and the Social Security office.)

  3. My decision not to change my name is still the number-one wedding-drama subject, even among people who have known my husband and/or me for decades.

    Rawr!

    So far, it has caused more drama among acquaintances to hear I wasn’t changing my name than did my choice to have an immediate-family-only ceremony; to forego any kind of reception; to skip flowers, music, favors, and a “theme” (I started telling people the theme was “dinosaur disco waterslide” just to mess with them); to skip being “given away” by any of my four parents; not to do the cake-smashy-in-the-face thing; to wear a short purple cotton dress I found on the L.L. Bean clearance rack; to omit any mention of God or any other divine power from the ceremony; the fact that my husband and I are not having children; or to serve a gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free carrot cake.  (It was damn tasty.)

  4. It’s hard to find wedding readings that are not about “becoming one life” or otherwise subsuming your identity into another person’s.  It’s not impossible – we managed to come up with five of them – but it’s not easy.

    “When you are two balloons, and your common direction is ‘lazing around a field on a Saturday morning being equally full of hot air,’ chances are you’ve found the right person.” – with apologies to Richard Bach.

  5. Professional porn-esque photos for your new husband: empowering ladybusiness or more of the same “hi, I’m your new sexual property” patriarchy?  Based on my experiences yesterday, I recommend the empowerment of self and pocketbook that comes from bucking expensive wedding trends of any flavor.
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About Dani Alexis

Dani Alexis is the Legal Coordinator at Autonomous Press as well as a freelance writer. When she's not working, she coaches winterguard and waits on the whims of two spoiled cats. Check out her most recent work by subscribing to her Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/noncompliantspace.
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