Dear Queenie: My Family is Against My Gender Role Reversed Wedding
What an amazing website and thank you for spreading the message of love, joy and happiness in female-led relationships.
My partner and I have been together 14 years – I am 41 and she is 56. Since the start, we have been lucky enough to experience being in a female-led relationship and feel truly blessed.
We have put marriage off for a long time, mainly because we want it to be a female-led wedding, and my Mother doesn’t approve, and neither do a lot of elderly relatives; we respect tradition, and we respect them, so we haven’t done anything about it until now. What got us interested again was a beautiful video on Youtube, where the roles are reversed. It is unbelievably inspirational and so very close to what we both wanted.
So, we sent the following letter to prominent members of our family:
We want to say that we love and respect you in every single way, but we have reached a point in our lives where we no longer want to compromise our feelings concerning coming together in marriage, as part of our female-led relationship.
How we feel is no reflection on you – we are blessed to have you in our lives, but we want to have a ceremony that truthfully represents the way we live our lives; anything less than that would feel inappropriate. To give you a brief outline of what we intend to do, Michael will wear the veil, have his own bouquet, and will be given away as is traditional for women – he will not obviously be wearing a dress, but his clothing will reflect his place in our partnership together. He is not the bride, but he will have the option to choose bridesmaids and a matron of honour. He will not only be taking my last name, but will also be taking a new Christian name of my choosing (to be confirmed).
We understand that some of you will feel like pulling out, and may do so entirely – we respect that, and would advise that we intend to have a blessing somewhere in the future which will be more traditional, and in keeping with what you have known throughout your life. We love you all deeply – this is not a game, this is not mocking our lives, family, parents, upbringing or anything else, it’s a visual representation of who we are and how we live, nothing more, nothing less.
All our love, Debra and Michael
It didn’t have the desired effect, and more people have pulled out than we bargained for but we are definitely going to go ahead.
Debra proposed to me on a deserted beach, on a remote Island, last winter – it was so beautiful; the sun actually came out briefly whilst it was snowing, and the sea shimmered in the background. She asked me to kneel, which I did in the snowy sand, and then she read me a long letter that she had written, talking about our lives together and how happy I had made her; we were both in floods of tears to the point of almost not being able to propose and accept! But I did, and it was one of the best days of my life, if not the best.
My Mother begrudgingly congratulated us, but was aghast when I told her that I wanted her to give me away and that I would be wearing the veil. She is half-Irish, quite religious and very traditional – her telling us she was pulling out was expected, but hugely saddening nonetheless (My Father is long deceased).
I don’t join online Forums, write or anything else like that but I enjoyed a lot of the writing here, and could relate to a lot of it – one thing in particular on another post, about not being allowed male friends or female friends the same age, really resonated with me; we don’t have quite the same guidelines, but hobbies that I am permitted, like volunteering for a local charity and coffee mornings, generally bring me in contact with a lot of senior women, a lot of whom I count as close, personal friends. They are very supportive, but generally find our lifestyle amusing!
I called four of them together, Beatrice, Janet, Mavis and Betty, explained everything and said that I needed help, a lot of help – I wanted the lovely, amazing, beautiful, kind-hearted Beatrice as my matron of honour, and the other three as bridesmaids; Debra thinks that I shouldn’t have a stag, I am sort of “the hen” as it were, so she has organized a spa weekend for us all, and has even bought me a Hen Night Veil! I wasn’t sure how the ladies would take it, but they are so supportive, understanding, and excited!
So, dear Queenie, my request for advice comes down to four things:
1.) What do I wear?!!
Jesus, this is a tough one – my partner doesn’t want to know; there are just two instructions – 1) it has to incorporate a veil, either as part of a headdress or attached to a hat and 2) No skirt’s/dresses. I asked her for some guidance but she sees it as my duty to organize it – she did however say that it should be androgynous or gender neutral, and that registry office/second time around brides may be a good source of ideas. Beatrice thinks culottes may be the way to go, but I am quite lost!
2) Should I give up on my Mother?
It’s pretty much a done deal, but I love her – she has done so much for me, and it truly won’t be the same without her. Giving me away would symbolize our relationship and that she is handing me over to become someone else – I hate the idea of compromising; Debra was going to backtrack on changing my Christian name as well, but has changed her mind and is now 100%.
3) Is there any other examples of female-led weddings?
We don’t expect to find much on it, pictures or examples etc, but we don’t have a lot to go on, other than the fantasy-inspired Youtube video as above. We are honest with ourselves, and know that what we are doing isn’t the norm, but some sort of structure or idea of how to go about it would be very helpful indeed.
4) Is changing my Christian name a step too far?
I was a bit of a nerd before I met my wife – obsessed with Sci-fi and conventions and spending all my money on memorabilia. I had no idea how to use a washing machine or thread a needle, and I always used to wait for my Mother to come in to cook my dinner. My personal hygiene was poor, I had a big, long, straggly beard and never spent anything on clothes – I am amazed my wife was ever attracted to me in the first place. But I made her laugh, and she saw that I had a good heart underneath all this laziness. I refer to my old self in the third person “he” did this, “he” felt that way – I don’t identify with “him”, and I have thoughts of abject terror when I think of what I would have become without her. My wife has changed me completely – I am a wholly different person, and she wants to change my Christian name to reflect that; I understand, and I respect the idea, but again, this has caused another rift within my family.
Thank you again, any help massively gratefully received! Whatever happens, even if we have to cancel everything, we are blissfully happy and I am a better person for knowing and serving her. We want what we want, but we are trying to be respectful at the same time but there has to be some precedent with female-led weddings – there were with civil partnerships, so why not us?
Thank you for sharing such a passionately colorful story! Congrats on sharing such a wonderful love with your wife Debra. I am sure so many men reading this dream of experiencing the same.
Let’s get to your questions.
1.) What do I wear to my gender role reversed wedding?
This is an exciting time for you I am sure but my advice will make it even more exciting. Michael, since there is no other information about gender role reversed weddings out there you have the opportunity to create the standard. Be as creative as you can and choose clothing that makes you feel proud of yourself. Film your wedding and upload it to Youtube so that everyone can see and it can inspire others.
When we don’t have a marker to measure ourselves against, it frees us to CREATE the standard. You have the honor of showing all other men who wonder about this topic how much fun it could be to have a gender role reversed wedding! Have fun with it and be sure to write back and tell us all about how it went, with pictures!
2) Should I give up on my Mother?
I know it can be frustrating when family members won’t support our choices, especially when we know that we are happy. But, you must know that she is not as progressive intellectually as you are and she is still living in the box that society has placed her in taped shut tightly with rigid expectations that only serve to please them.
You can still love your mother and accept her disapproval. If I were you I would create a framed photo of my Mom and walk down the aisle with it. Kiss it before sitting it on a pedestal next to the alter so “she” can watch you get married.
Then later go visit her and tell her how much you missed her being there but you know she’s never far from your heart so matter how stubborn she is. The most important thing to remember is, don’t be mad at her for this. She is just following the rules that someone imposed on her. It’s just like the submissive women who sign up for my training program, no matter how much I try to work with them, they just don’t know how to become dominant. You can’t change who she is. Accept her and love her for that.
3) Are there any other examples of female-led weddings?
Nope. Like I mentioned before, YOU will become the example because you are going to be the first to publicly share this. Everyone after you will look to YOU for advice. You never know, you may turn this venture into a business helping other couples achieve the perfect gender role reversal wedding.
4) Is changing my Christian name a step too far?
Nope. If it delights your wife and you don’t mind, it’s not going too far. It sounds fun to me actually and exciting! It’s a rebirth! Imagine the joy on her face when she calls you by your new name knowing that you have accepted her loving guidance willingly and not only accepted it but you derive JOY from it! You are giving her a precious gift that many women don’t get to experience.
It’s your life and your relationship and if you pledge to support your lady in whatever way she wants, then go all the way! Be bold! Allow her to have as much fun as she wants to with you. It’s all in good fun and most certainly LOVE. Celebrate your LOVE by making her smile again and again and again.
Te-Erika “Queenie” Patterson