Roundup: Femme Wedding Style

"We are all born naked, and the rest is drag."

Years ago, when my mom divulged to my eighty-something grandpa that I was dating women, he replied, “Well, hell’s bells, is she a butch or a rose?” I don’t know if femmes were also known as roses in his day or if he made that up, but I’m more than happy to identify as a rose, too. My grandpa accepted the news of my sexuality better than anyone, which is partly why years later my partner and I took his last name as our new family name. My grandpa gave me another new name as well: these days he calls me “Rosie the Tattoo Lady.”

Not everyone in the queer community ascribes to or even likes the terms butch and femme. There is a complicated history behind these terms and how people identify (or don’t) with them has caused much consternation among feminists and thoughtful LGBT folks everywhere. Plus, those of us who do identify with the terms are like queer snowflakes. We are all different.

So, for the purposes of this post, I’ll explain only what femme means to me. RuPaul once said, “We are all born naked, and the rest is drag.” Femme is simply the drag I prefer. And like all of my favorite drag, mine is a little over the top. It’s colorful, sparkly, big hair, and false eyelashes. It used to also be high, high heels but then I turned thirty and had two babies and now fanciful flats are just fine. Ultimately, femme for me is “salad bar femininity” in which I greedily pick and choose the fun parts of what femininity offers and (mostly) pass on the unappetizing, oppressive bits.

When I got married, my dress was electric blue with tiny crystals glued all over the top. To make it easier for my bridesmaids, they each wore a black dress of their choosing. It was lovely but if I had it to do over, there would be more color and way more sequins.

1. This would be my ideal dress if I had another wedding… (from the Elie Saab Spring ’12 collection, price not available) 2.  Oh here’s a four-piece set. Done. But only if they’re ethically sourced! (Peacock Feather Hair Accessories, $80) 3. I want the blue dress (dress by Arthur Mendonca, price not available) 4. LOVE these bridesmaid dresses. Sensing a theme? (Mismatched sequin bridesmaid dresses featured in this wedding) 5. False eyelashes a must ($16 from Sephora; check out how to apply them in this APW tutorial) 6. Yellow flats for the bride  7. Southern Magnolia flowers for bouquet, because obviously 8. This was our cake topper. It’s sex-neutral. I mean, we all know which one is the femme here but you know. (Custom-made by Ann Wood Handmade, prices vary)

For more Femme wedding style, check out our Queer Wedding Style Pinterest board

Aly Windsor is a news editor, mom to two little rascal kids, partner to a sociologist, and blogger. She’s been illegally wed for six years.

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  • eulalia

    Sorry to be the Grammar Police – but do you mean ‘reviling’ or perhaps ‘reveling’ in the intro? I was very confused for a minute… Thanks for the awesome post!

    • marbella

      Surely this is supposed to be ‘reveling in’? Since reviling effectively means ‘hating on’?

      • AmandaS

        I actually thought it was supposed to be revealing. If they meant reveling they also forgot the “in” as in “Today we’re reviling (reveling in) one of my favorite things in the whole world.”

  • ” It’s sex-neutral. I mean, we all know which one is the femme here but you know.”

    Well, hmm. It’s birds, so the plain one must be the femme and the bright blue one is the butch. Right? ^.~ I love this.

    (And now I have “My Conviction” from “Hair” stuck in my head.)

    • Aly Windsor

      Good point about the birds! We’re bird-lovers and I’m always pointing out how the males are more colorful to our little boys. I’m hoping they internalize a little of that flair (or a lot!).

  • Karen

    The Pinterest board is fabulous! Thanks for putting it together.

  • Rachel

    Ummm, I love that entire first paragraph a whole lot! And that sequined green dress…oh MY.

    Funnily enough, I was just thinking to myself yesterday that when it comes to my hair and makeup, I would love to be like…the drag queen version of myself…who, coincidentally, I’m quite certain would probably look a LOT like RuPaul…WHO (now that we’re on the topic!) I actually met and got an autograph from when I was 12 years old. It’s actually one of my last memories with my dad before he got sick. So…that’s even more reason I’d like to femme it up RuPaul style more often.

    • Aly Windsor

      Go listen to RuPaul’s “Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous” and get your drag queen on, lady!


    God that dress in #3 is so…Jessica Rabbit goes knee length. I heart that so much.

  • Margi

    OMG. I heart sequins. so. hard.

    • Aly Windsor

      Crap I just accidentally reported this comment when I meant to ‘exactly’ it and say “ME TOO.”

  • Mel

    We may be style soul mates. So pretty!

  • dysgrace

    “is she a butch or a rose?” – I love your grandpa.

    • Aly Windsor

      Me too. He went on to say to my mother, “I always knew she had balls. She’s a bulldog, like me.” He also regularly likes to tell me about the butches he hired 50 years ago when he was in construction. They were “the best damn workers” he ever had. He even remained friends with one of them and had lunch with her often for a long time after.

      I have some family members who are very unapproving of us and Grandpa makes it a habit to say to me loudly when they’re around that “love is love” and all that he cares about is that I’m happy. Basically, I wonder the gay lottery when it comes to grandpas.

  • Aly Windsor

    MEG! I never in my wildest dreams imagined someone would refer to me as a femme style icon, let alone someone as fabulous as you, especially at this stage in my life–but I’m so honored!

    Dolly Parton is my femme idol. I only hope I can stay half as glittery as her in my golden years…

    • OMG Dolly! She is my LIFE icon.

      Yes, we are like snowflakes. I am more of a sturdy femme than a high femme, but who doesn’t love to look at sequins sometimes?

      • Aly Windsor

        Tell me you’ve listened to My Life and Other Unfinished Business on tape–and if you can’t because you haven’t, order it right now and queue it up for your next road trip. Dolly reads it herself. It’s amazing.

        Re: the many iterations of femme–I confess that in my daily life, I’m a jeans-and t-shirt femme. It’s only when I have something for which I need/want to get fancy that all the sparkles come out.

        • Never heard of it, but just added it to my list! I love all her movies, her voice and songs, her personal story and grit… and perhaps her secret lesbianism?

          My goal is to make it to Dollywood one day.

          Some of my best friends are high femmes of drag queen proportions and I love them and their style dearly. It’s just not something I could (or would want to) pull off. But that’s what makes life interesting — we’re all so unique!

          Love the idea of “salad bar femininity” — think I’ll have to steal that one ;)

  • lindsay

    I’m going to start using the phrase, “Well, hell’s bells…”

  • cmm

    Yay for femmes in colored wedding dresses!

  • Officiellement, le choix du lauréat n’a souffert d’aucun atermoiement, et s’est conclu par “un vote unanime” selon Gatien Meunier, secrétaire de la fédération UMP en Loire-Atlantique. Mardi 15 octobre, la commission nationale d’investiture (CNI) du parti a désigné Laurence Garnier comme tête de liste pour les prochaines élections municipales à Nantes, au terme d’une campagne interne apre et longue.

  • Différents dysfonctionnements ont touché le 787 Dreamliner, qui ont conduit les autorités à clouer au sol l’ensemble de la flotte mondiale en janvier dernier. Les vols des Dreamliner ont repris en avril.Peu de temps après les révélations des méthodes utilisées par la NSA grace aux documents d’Edward Snowden, M. Alexander avait assuré que pas moins de 54 “complots ou événements” avaient été repérés et déjoués “dans plus de 20 pays à travers le monde”, grace, notamment, à ces interceptions téléphoniques. Devant les sénateurs démocrates Mark Udall et Patrick Leahy, il a reconnu que seule un ou deux complots avaient été réellement déjoués, rapporte le site spécialisé The State Weekly.”La preuve ne nous a jamais été apportée que la collecte en vrac de données a fourni des renseignements de valeur ayant conduit individuellement à déjouer des attentats”, avait dit dès septembre M. Udall.La commission du renseignement prépare depuis septembre une loi visant à poser des “limites” à la surveillance des données téléphoniques, tout en “préservant” ce programme de la NSA. Le président Barack Obama, qui avait souhaité cedébat, avait assuré dans le même temps que ce programme était légal.

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