Letter From The Editor: Tradition

Dear APW,

It’s been an interesting experiment, exploring monthly themed content on APW. When we’re in the weeds of editing, the theme doesn’t often seem that apparent. If something is good content, like Elisabeth’s post What If It’s Not Forever?, we run it, theme be damned. But looking back at a month, you can see the arc of the conversation in the way we couldn’t as day-to-day editors. Last month, Rachel led the conversation by talking about how women are attacked online whenever the seem to have it too good, and how excusing that behavior is just another way of objectifying women and keeping them in their place (this time, enforced by other women). At the end of the month I talked about the goodness that the internet has brought into my life, but how the internet is a fog layer on the real world, and I need unplug from time to time to make sure I dig into that real world goodness. Maddie brought it home with her personal essay about how reading about the good can bring up jealousy and anger, and how she can choose to feed that dark part of herself, or drag it into the light and acknowledge it as human, but damaging.

This month we’re tackling tradition, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that I have no idea where the conversation is going to take us. To be frank, figuring what I was going to write for this month was a little tricky. All of my best stuff on weddings and tradition is in my book, and those are hands down the bits I’m most proud of. (Chapter Three, for those of you following along at home. I mean, it has a both a brief history of American weddings, and a section called “What Is Etiquette Anyway, and Is It Stuffy?”) Those of you who’ve read the book (or APW for a long time) will know that I’m something of a progressive traditionalist. I think that traditions give our lives meaning and power but are ours to claim and shape. My favorite quote in the book on the subject is from Wedding Graduate and theologian Clare Adama, who says, “The Latin origin of tradition, traditio, means not only to hand on but to hand over, and the meanings of practices such as those within weddings are not rigid, but given on to us to value and interpret in our own contexts.” Or as I say in the same section, “We do ourselves a great disservice when we allow tradition to encompass only the things we are sold, instead of the things that have meaning in our hearts.” In short: you can make it yours, while still making it meaningful (for you, and for your granny).

Which brings me to my love of the nuance of etiquette. How when properly done, etiquette allows us to take care of each other, without reinventing the wheel every damn time. I’m sure we’ll also discuss Miss Manners, because contrary to what you might have been lead to believe, she’s one of the smartest and funniest writers currently at work, and nothing at all like Emily Post. (For the uninitiated, go snap up your copy of Miss Manners’ Guide To Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, which in an embarrassing moment, once made me laugh so hard I started crying on the subway. I clearly will reward myself for navigating a new life stage by picking up Miss Manners’ Guide to Rearing Perfect Children.) We’ll also talk about people sharing your vows on Facebook without your consent. (Though I’ll try not to imagine the fire Miss Manners would rather rightly breathe over that, because it’s terrifying.) And then there are your weddings, traditional, non-traditional, and tradition reclaimed.

At a party this weekend, a longtime wedding photographer (and friend), pulled out his phone to read me a direct quote from his clients, which he’d written down for my appreciation. Their Rabbi said, “It’s not your day. Just do what everyone else wants.” David immediately started laughing so hard he looked like he was going to choke. That guy loves him some bluntness (and some Rabbis). This is the dead opposite of what the wedding industry will tell you, but in some nuanced ways, it’s kind of right (and so relaxing). If you have a good relationship with your parents, and they’ve spent the last thirty years thinking about you every single day…maybe just let your mom use that goddamn florist she wants to use. Etiquette and tradition can rather handily act as a speed bump on the way to self-absorbed wedding hell. Because yes, it’s your wedding, but it’s everyone who loves you’s day (elopements excluded!), and sometimes you just have to pick your battles. Or as I like to think about it: Etiquette. That thing that lets me just follow the rules now and then, not worry about it, and then take a nap (while my mom is calling her beloved florist).

As we turned our lens of tradition to Reclaiming Wife content for this month, I was surprised to realize that the same rules apply there as apply to weddings. This month we’re hosting a multi-part discussion on stay-at-home parenting, work-from-home parenting, and the glories of daycare. As I looked at these essays, I realized that just like with weddings, what’s sold as traditional in motherhood is often anything but. And in exactly the same way, that willful misconstruing of history to fit the cultural narrative causes no end of problems (not to mention bad decisions made out of guilt).

Suffice to say, I’m pretty excited about May. Who knows where the discussion will lead us, but since we’re starting with one of my favorite ideas, I’m pretty sure it’s going to take us somewhere good.



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  • I can tell that this month may be uncomfortable for me because for every tradition I love and embrace in my own life (I agree with Meg that tradition give our lives meaning) I consider myself as extremely nontraditional. In part because I have led an nontraditional life and most tradition in my life now, is tradition I have adopted or created myself for my own comfort and happiness and is not tied to a family or good memories as a kid or even loving relationships of my current life. So in a sense, my traditions are mine alone and even trying to share them with my husband makes me feel very protective.

    It’s also why I feel protective of how I thought about my wedding plans and how they differ from the APW theme regarding weddings not just being about the bride and groom. While there is so much damn truth in the idea that tradition, respecting our loved ones opinions, and etiquette makes life – but especially can make wedding planning, so much easier on everyone, I feel compelled to add that this doesn’t work for everyone, every family, every wedding. I also feel compelled to work harder on accepting myself and who I am and not feeling so darn ouchy about the fact that I see things differently sometimes.

    I’m looking forward to learning about how other people’s traditions work, borrowing from those I like and enhancing my own personal traditions. While it can feel lonely not feeling like you come from anywhere and carry no traditions from your past, its also exciting and freeing to be able to choose and create all traditions yourself.

    • That’s one of the things that makes me nervous about my (eventual) wedding planning. In my case, I was raised Catholic, but I don’t really consider myself so anymore. My partner is. . .atheist? agnostic? somewhere on that spectrum. Both of our extended families are strongly religious, so I’m nervous about familial reactions when it our (almost certainly) non-religious ceremony comes to light.

      Compounded on that, many of the traditions that are meaningful to me are connected to my grandparents, some of which were repeated by my parents. . .who are now split up, after a messy divorce. And to embrace things that honor my maternal grandparents without incorporating anything in particular for my paternal family. . . just, ack .

      So all that is to say: we may have different details in our struggle, but I feel you.

    • meg

      I’d love to have you write about that. However, that very much ties in to APW’s (or my, as APW’s executive editor…) ideas of tradition.

    • meg

      Actually, I feel like I need to amend that comment to say two things. One, that I had a Jewish wedding and I grew up in a religious Protestant family, so talk about coming to grips with traditions that had nothing at all to do with my history. And two, I was pretty firmly raised in the counter culture, so I’m REALLY REALLY into what I’d loosely call ‘non-traditional traditions.’ Pagan weddings around a maypole? Hello, my childhood! Handfastings? Possibly been to more of those than weddings.

      All of those facits of my history are probably why I’m as fascinated as I am with tradition.

      Though I still think that if you have a good relationship with your family (many people close to me don’t) letting your mom pick the flowers if she really cares, and you don’t care that much… awesome. ;)

      • Kristen

        “Though I still think that if you have a good relationship with your family (many people close to me don’t) letting your mom pick the flowers if she really cares, and you don’t care that much… awesome. ;)”

        I can’t disagree with that at all and I feel good that as hard as it was for me to do so, there were things I backed down about during wedding planning and was happier for it in the long run.

        I think when you don’t have a family you get prickly at the general assumption people tend to make which is that everyone has a /gets along with/can at least tolerate their/ family. When you’re missing (or had to cut away) an integral piece of what being a human is – where you come from, you feel both alone (because you literally are) and like an outsider because, well, most people just can’t relate, (which is a good thing for the human race).

        Which is why it’s so nice to come here and see how many different types of “normal” there are and how other people have similar struggles and how they’ve overcome them. While I may never meet anyone who can totally understand me and my life, APW definitely makes me feel way more normal and way less alone than I used to and for that, I am extremely grateful!

        • meg

          Not everyone in MY family has had a relationship with THEIR family. Let’s put it that way. So, I totally totally get that, and that’s always built in to the foundation of my writing.

          The reason I find tradition (and this month) so fascinating, is that so many things are true at once with tradition. Like: it isn’t your day… and it also is your day. Tradition can matter to you… with it having no tie to your personal history. You can have a strong tie to your personal history… and reject all of it’s traditions. You can disagree with Miss Manners on tons of stuff, and still adore her writing ;)

          I love writing and discussing concepts that are so complex they make you hold two competing truths in your head at the same time, and NOTHING does that better than tradition.

          • Kristen

            As a black and white kinda gal, I find holding competing truths in your head at the same time to be frustrating as all get out – but yes, SATISFYING! Tradition is fo sho a biggie and working through these stretches the brain in ways few other things do.

            Another big one is: Cotton Candy is delicious/Cotton Candy is bad for you. That’s my personal albatross. :)

          • meg

            Cotton Candy is MAGIC. That’s a black and white thing. Well, a pink thing. Clearly.

  • Sounds like an interesting month! The husband and I are CBC, and about 95% certain we won’t have kids, but I’m sure the Reclaiming Wife sections will still be interesting.

    • meg

      What’s CBC? I looked it up, but I’m pretty sure you don’t mean the Canadian radio station…

      And we’re ALWAYS looking for posts on people choosing not to have kids. In fact, I’d kill for one this month. That said, I really wanted to have this (much requested) conversation about staying at home or not… I’d just love more perspectives to add.

      • Jenn’s Mom

        Canadian Born Chinese when its not the Canadian Broadcasting Commission.

        In our family we’ve always made traditions very easily – if something was done once and it was enjoyable and special then it becomes a tradition (like ice cream at the airport before flying to see the grandparents). At the same time traditions need to be good to be carried on. So they add structure to things, like Christmas day which we’ve recreated in rental apartments in London and Rome, withoug becoming restricting.

        • meg

          I love this.

        • Rebecca

          Our baby family has made a pretty good go at building airport-ice cream type traditions. My favorite is going out for doughnuts on New Years Day. I’m trying to spread this one.

          Love the idea of tradition as structure rather than restriction!

          • Caroline

            We have a tradition of New Years Roast duck for this type of reason. The first year we lived together, I could tell my partner was seriously bummed about our lack of big New Years Eve plans, so I hurried to the market, and bought lots of random fancy things and gave him like 5 fancy dinner options. One of them was roast duck, and now 4 years later, roast duck is a firmly entrenched New Years Eve tradition. In fact, it is what makes it NYE now for us.

            I love the New Years Day donuts idea though. I wonder if our fave local donut shop is open…

      • Shiri

        I think she might be referring to “childfree by choice” when she says CBC. I’d love to see more writing about that!

      • Oh, sorry – its Childfree By Choice. :)

  • Katy

    What?!? People share your wedding vows on Facebook without permission? I don’t care about the photos so much, and I know that has been discussed somewhere on here before… But the vows? I’m already reluctant and uncomfortable enough about letting our 150 guests hear my deepest feelings of love and devotion. Sometimes it boggles my mind what people think is appropriate for Facebook!

    On another note, I’m hella excited for this month about traditions!! (I just moved to the Bay Area… :p Did I use hella right?)

    • One More Sara

      We are not writing personal vows for precisely this reason. We rarely get into deep emotional conversations, so announcing our innermost feelings in front of almost everyone we know did not seem right for us. I can’t even begin to imagine having those feelings broadcast to people we don’t even know. Oof.

      • CJ

        I think I’m a bit in the same boat. (Well, at least the boat’s blueprints look similar — although the keel hasn’t even been officially laid yet, the lumber’s starting to stack up at the shipyard.) I would be immensely uncomfortable saying personal vows in front of everyone, and at this point, I believe “traditional” vows would fit much better (which strikes me as a bit strange, considering how alien most of the traditional aspects would seem to me).

        That said, I love writing. Poetry, prose, whatever. Writing my own vows seems like something I would absolutely love to do, but not to say them out loud in front of a crowd. I vaguely recall someone saying something about having extra personal vows that they shared with each other while also saying traditional vows out loud for all to hear. That feels like it might be more “right” for us, embracing tradition and including everyone in our vows, but also sharing something special just the two of us.

      • meg

        I love me traditional vows, personally. The reason I wanted to get married to tie me to generations before me for whom marriage was a powerful thing that got them through dark times. So because that was our real reason for getting married, I wanted to say the words everyone else before us had said. The super interesting thing is that we had to pick: David’s ancestors said Jewish vows, mine said Christian vows. Since we had a Jewish wedding, we said Jewish vows, and interestingly that served the same purpose for me. Saying traditional words felt like it tied me to my grandparents and great grandparents, even if the traditional words they said were different ones.

        Besides, yes. For us, possibly surprisingly, our wedding was not about sharing our innermost personal thoughts with everyone, so writing our own vows was always off the table.

        I know we’re something of a minority on APW, the traditional vows takers, but hey, represent.

        • k

          I also love traditional vows (and really, how often will a man say to me “with my body I thee worship?” — once, that’s how often), but growing up in an Evangelical church with a Baptist mother and father, they certainly weren’t words I’d ever actually HEARD anyone say at a wedding, despite the fact that they’ve been in the Book of Common Prayer since 1549. So they were traditional vows, but at the same time, kind of not.

        • Writing our own vows wasn’t an option for us, at all (nor picking music, there was no music). What we had to say personally to each other we said later when it was just the two of us.

        • Other Katelyn

          I’m a writer and editor professionally, but we absolutely wanted and used traditional Presbyterian vows for much the same reasons you used traditional vows, Meg. It was my experience that there was a lot of room for making the rest of the ceremony unique to us, and saying the same words my parents said and their parents said was hugely meaningful to both of us. This was actually one of the ONLY components my husband was vocally assertive about during the wedding planning, from the very beginning. Traditional vows!

        • Caroline

          It makes me somewhat sad that we won’t be saying traditional vows. (Well, we will, but they will be modified. I’m hoping they will be fairly similar though.) In my family, traditional vows would be protestant on mom’s side, Jewish on dad’s side, and on his side, Catholic. I would love for us to say the traditional Jewish “vows”/santification, but since he isn’t Jewish, we will need to modify it a bit. Every time you talk about what it means to you to say the same words your grandparents said, Meg, it makes me a little sad we won’t get to do that.

        • Caroline

          It makes me somewhat sad that we won’t be saying traditional vows. (Well, we will, but they will be modified. I’m hoping they will be fairly similar though.) In my family, traditional vows would be protestant on mom’s side, Jewish on dad’s side, and on his side, Catholic. I would love for us to say the traditional Jewish “vows”/sanctification, but since he isn’t Jewish, we will need to modify it a bit. Every time you talk about what it means to you to say the same words your grandparents said, Meg, it makes me a little sad we won’t get to do that.

        • Cate

          I’m excited for our traditional vows. When else will I get to say “thee” in all seriousness?

    • I have never seen anyone do this. Not saying it couldn’t happen, but I don’t think I’ve even remembered the words of other people’s wedding vows, and definitely not long enough to post them on FB, unless I were live-blogging the wedding or something.

      • One More Sara

        I was thinking this too, but it could totally happen via cell phone video clip sharing…

      • Katy

        Haha good point!! Let’s hope not many wedding guests will be live-blogging!

  • Hintzy

    I’m looking forward to see what sort of stories we get this month – but can I just say, that Tevya will be singing in my head for the next 31 days? because Fiddler on the Roof, just yeah, that.

    ::if I were a rich man… *whistles*::

  • Is it just me, or does anyone else find Miss Manner to be…kinda rude? I mean, she’s funny as hell and often (but not always) has the right idea, but sometimes I find her kind of appalling.

    Maybe it’s the classism, and the idea that there is only One Proper Way to do things, and that other traditions are just awful if they don’t fit into her particular worldview. (I guess it is not a surprising view, given that “déclassé” literally means “lower class.”)

    For example, I don’t personally come from a tradition with a money bag or a dollar dance or any of those things, and they would make me extremely uncomfortable to have them at my wedding. But they are not my tradition! I can’t see myself going to a wedding of someone who grew up with that and getting the vapors over it. I *did* grow up with the garter toss. Not going to do that either, but I don’t clutch at my pearls over how “vulgar” it is. (“Vulgar” is one of her favorite words, and another words with some pretty classist origins and meanings. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vulgar)

    I *want* to like Miss Manners more. I just wish she had better manners.

    • meg

      I don’t always agree with her (see: the money bag, which is traditional for tons of my friends), but I love me a blunt talking woman.

      And yes, there are a lot of class issues at play with Miss Manners. They are, however, right there on the surface. And class is a real thing, so I don’t personally have a problem with places where it comes up (we culturally pretend it doesn’t exist, which I think creates even more problems). But also, she’s such a SMART humor writer, agree or disagree. The clutching of the pearls, for example, is a complex little turn of phrase for her to use. MWAH, Miss Manners, MWAH.

    • Class of 1980

      I could be wrong about this, but I think Miss Manners chided someone who wanted to have a money bag at their wedding because it wasn’t from their own tradition. It looks like a self-serving choice to suddenly adopt it. I think she allows traditions that would be considered vulgar in her world if they are really authentic to the couple’s background.

      Agree that Miss Manners represents upper class expectations.

      Then again, people walk through minefields when they get out of their usual element and you end up with people wearing white tie and black tie to the same events, when they were originally designated for different levels of formality, not as different choices in fashion.

      Nothing wrong with Miss Manners pointing that out, but some of her advice won’t actually work anymore. If you take her advice to skip RSVP cards, you are likely not going to get replies from your guests because they’ve been spoiled by them.

      • I didn’t mind her chiding someone for using a tradition that wasn’t their own, except that there are a lot of thing that she considers to be “vulgar” and is downright rude about it. Which…not nice manners, ya know?

        • meg

          I would say she’s HILARIOUS. She writes comedy (though not satire) and it does have to be read as such.

          1980: how I wish that RSVP advice still held true. On my office cork wall, I have my grandmothers RSVP still pinned up, which she wrote out formally in long hand (with a rubber stamp of piglet holding a balloon….)

          • I get that it is funny. I also get that her manners are sometimes lacking.

            So, I wonder this: is the rudeness part of the comedy or does she not realize that she is being rude? Does she actually think she is demonstrating good manners?

          • meg

            I actually think you can be both forcefully opinionated in a way other people might wildly disagree with, and polite. I, in no way at all, find Miss Manners rude. So to answer your question, no, I don’t think she thinks she’s being rude (nor do I). She is, however, being Very Opinionated.

          • the rudeness is indivisible from the manners. at least, it is here in the south.

    • Theodora

      I *love* me some Miss Manners. I’m an old-fashioned type who still writes letters, by hand, on nice paper.

      As Meg wrote, Miss Manners delights in satire. I love Jane Austen, and I get the same flavor of satire with both.

      While Miss Manners might reek of “upper class” (and that most certainly does appear to be her background/life when you read a profile on her), I believe there are many, many things concerning etiquette/manners that cross class lines. One most certainly would have to be “don’t criticize your hosts or the party until you have left the event.” I cannot tell you how many weddings I have attended in the past 15 years or so where guest(s) felt compelled to loudly criticize some aspect of the event. That indicates a lack of class, regardless of whether you’re upper or lower class. At one wedding reception where no alcohol of any sort was served (the bride and groom were on a VERY tight budget), three men in the bride’s extended family nearly revolted, very loudly, over the lack of alcoholic beverages. At another wedding, a male relative of the bride, standing directly behind the father of the bride during the ceremony, proceeded in an almost-normal voice to tear down the bride’s family’s religious affiliation (different Christian denomination than the critical relative).

      I also think that Miss Manners’ take on relatives not giving bridal showers, as well as extravagant showers being a gift grab, is right on the money. I’ve been to many showers, held in banquet halls or large private rooms in restaurants, that would rival weddings, with the except that few, if any men, were present, and there was no music and/or dancing. I find it deadly dull to sit for more than an hour while the bride shows off her gifts and announces who gave what.

      One comment about “tradition” in general I would like to make: in addition to the continuity of tradition, some people find traditions freeing, and not constricting. I’ve known several brides who are in faith traditions where the marriage ceremony is done one way and one way only. There was some small choices to be made musically, but readings, etc. were set in stone. They found that not having to make those choices freed them up to concentrate on other things. Having witnessed other brides stress out over ceremonies that were full of choices, I can easily believe it.

  • Caz

    Wowzers, I’m stoked about Tradition month! I’m an English woman marrying an American man in the UK and am baffled, amused and a little frustrated by some of the traditions we will be made to acknowledge during the course of our wedding planning.

    For example, we went to give notice this morning (to make it all official in the county where we live – mega exciting!) and both had to give our fathers’ names and occupations to appear on our marriage certificate. We asked why our mothers’ details weren’t required. Apparently, it’s not tradition. However, the registrar said that for civil partnerships (still relatively new), both parties are allowed to give both parents names and thinks that in time, civil marriages will follow suit. The only other way you could get your mother’s name on your marriage certificate was if she adopted you as a single parent.
    It made me really cross that neither of our mothers will be named on our certificate and that there is nothing we can do about it. My brother is also married to an American, my sister to a Tajik, and both got married abroad so this is the first time we’ve come across this strange little piece of backward Britannia…

    Can any other UK readers give me a heads up for more Olde English Marriage Traditions I should be aware of?!

    • Brenda

      You cannot get away from the “marriage is between one man and one woman” line in civil ceremonies. I was a bit annoyed about that, because we did get a choice of ceremony, but they all had that in there as part of the “this has to be said in order for it to be legal” section.

      Also, only being able to be married in registered venues, not outside, and before 6 pm, and no religion at all in the ceremony unless it’s a religious ceremony.

      I personally recommend doing your civil ceremony separately from the wedding – we had a civil ceremony with a few guests at the registry office six months before our “real” wedding, which will be this summer, and we have a lot more freedom to design our ceremony the way we want – with religious elements in a largely secular ceremony, having it in the evening, and not using language that we would feel uncomfortable saying in front of our LGBT friends.

      I also found the father thing odd, particularly when they asked about their occupations (and ours). I was like, um, he’s had a lot of them! So many occupations now aren’t able to be described accurately in one word!

      • Caz

        I know, right?! A few years ago my dad went freelance and now has several occupations, which don’t necessarily relate to each other (but encompass his many interests and talents) so I went for a generic term to try and cover them all! (and checked with him later; he said what I’d chosen was fine – phew!)

        That’s interesting to know about the “one man one woman” thing – I didn’t realise it had to be in there; whenever I hear it at weddings I feel quite uncomfortable. Hmmm.

        We had quite a lot of backwards-and-forwards about whether to do what you’re doing (congratulations by the way, and I hope this weather can hold out to the summer!) for our wedding but various factors – family and friends coming from abroad, my work schedule, all the registry offices where we live being a bit uninspiring, plus personal reasons for wanting to do it all in one go – mean we’re going for the registered venue. Inside. At 3pm. I did look at the option of having it in a castle, but it turns out we would only have been able to afford to have ourselves and about 5 guests and a whole lot of castle…

        • Brenda

          Honestly we only did it that way because I’m American and we had to be married before my visa expired and we procrastinated too much to plan something my family could attend before the expiration date! But I think it’s worked out well in the end.

          Good luck with all your plans! I’ve got my fingers crossed for the weather – worried we might have used up our two weeks of nice per year these last two weeks :)

          • Caz

            Oh! That’s awesome it’s all coming together in the end! Hoorah!

            Haha, yep, I’ve a sneaky feeling this may be all we see of “summer”. I did have a little eyeball roll when it started snowing in APRIL, a year to the day of our wedding….

        • Elissa

          There’s a similar required line in Australian civil ceremonies – have a look here for a discussion about ways to politely state your opinion in your ceremony -http://offbeatbride.com/2010/01/australia-wedding-recitation

          We’re going for something like “Bride and Groom look forward to the day when marriage is an option available to all couples” just after the bit about the legal definition being about a man and a woman.

          • Caz

            Oh cool! Thanks for this – the article’s really interesting and definitely given me+him something to have a think about before we meet with the registrar.

  • I love the banner. But then I’m traditional in that I also love a good embroidered hanky. Always have at least one with me.

    • meg

      RIGHT? Maddie surprised me with that this morning.

      And you, my friend, should PLEASE write something for tradition month. Please.

  • Laura C

    I’ve really been looking forward to the tradition month. I’ve always been fascinated by tradition (even wrote a dissertation with that word in the subtitle), and then I’m from a family with no particular wedding traditions at all marrying a man who’s more invested in the upper-middle-class, WIC-adjacent wedding model than I am, not to mention that he’s Indian-American, and while there are no specific religious traditions that he wants to incorporate, there are serious size-of-guest-list issues stemming from both a large extended family of people who actually like each other and a culture of very, very, very large weddings.

  • I’m also really looking forward to this.

    I have something I’m trying to shake out and write about tradition and growing up in the South, but it’s refusing to be cohesive. Damn words, misbehaving at all the wrong times.

    • meg

      TRADITIONS IN THE SOUTH. I assume you’ll be mailing me sweet tea to drink while I read it? And possibly fried chicken? THANK YOUUUU.

    • Sabee

      Ooooh! I cannot wait to read that! :)
      In the Southern Baptist tradition, weddings have no dancing and no alcohol, and the mere mention of either would garner deep red blushes and evil looks. It baffles me really. Dancing with your husband is a sin, but letting him reach up your dress in front of everyone for the garter toss is totally fine.

      • Class of 1980

        Southern Baptist tradition is only representative of the denomination; not the south itself.

        The south was famous for extravagant wedding celebrations among the rich.

        • Sabee

          Oh, yes, I’m very aware of that. I was only referring to my own experience. ;) I’ve been to Southern weddings on every part of the spectrum.

  • Oooh I am really looking forward to reading those Reclaiming Wife pieces about various kinds of parenting. As someone who is in the middle of pregnancy and trying to figure out how to deal with the upcoming (lack of) maternity leave and what that means for parenting as well as my future career, I can’t wait to read about how people handled their situations.

  • Shiri

    I’m very excited for this month. I tried to wrap my head around writing about how we dealt with tradition in our interfaith – atheist and Jewish – Jewish wedding, and didn’t make it. Can’t wait to see what others come up with!

    • meg

      We’ve still got room… try again? It could be a wedding graduate post!

      • Shiri

        I will try again!

  • My theoretical field for my qualifying exams (and my probable dissertation topic) is actually on tradition (though, alas, traditions surrounding nations and literature rather than weddings!), so I’m super interested in seeing how this theme shakes out over the month. And a little tempted to write you a long, footnoted post with all the critical readings I’ve been doing! ;)

    • I’ve footnoted and annotated blog posts before.

    • Denzi

      Dooooooo iiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

      (Ahem, or just do it and email it to me.)


  • Jessica B

    When you first announced this as the theme I sat down and wrote a few paragraphs, but had trouble connecting it to a bigger picture. It was mostly a big long rant about how I want to be able to respect tradition while still kicking it to the curb, while still making sure people feel comfortable at our wedding, while still throwing tradition to the ground and stomping on it.

    I haven’t really been able to get past it, and in the midst of wedding planning I don’t think I have the perspective to be able to write something coherent and at all meaningful.

  • Elsie

    Love Miss Manners! We have her guide to painfully proper weddings, complete with what to do with a guest’s pet monkey.

  • Caroline

    Ok, I’ve got a draft of what it is like to plan a traditional but not traditional, egalitarian, interfaith Jewish wedding, have mostly non-Jewish parents. (And also how there is this thing called “tradition” in the wedding industry and discussions, which, for as little actual tradition as it can claim, is all from a very specific, dominant culture and religion, and has nothing to do with what is traditional for many other cultures.) I’ll revise and submit.

    I love talk of traditions and am really looking forward to this month.

  • Pingback: Letter From The Editor: Tradition « A Practical Wedding: Ideas for … | Wedding Budget Help()

  • Cate

    Are you planning to have any discussion of appropriated traditions from the point of view of people within the tradition? I am Quaker, and when I went looking to see what was online about quaker weddings – a tradition I cherish – I found a lot of blog entries by non-quakers about what they called their “quaker” weddings. Really, they had adopted one or two outward elements of a quaker ceremony, mixed those with a bunch of other elements they wanted, and came out on the other end with some beautiful weddings. Most of those couple used part of a quaker structure to make a framework for conscientiously secular weddings. I’m all for people picking and choosing and adopting traditions to make a ceremony that works for them. But these couples were all calling their ceremonies “Quaker Weddings,” though they lacked the soul of a quaker wedding, and the foundational elements that are really what it is all about, what it is built upon. They captured bits of our values, but treated the concept of a “quaker wedding” like it was a historical oddity rather than the ceremony of a religion that is active to this day. They do not seem to realize that quakers actually exist outside of oatmeal cartons. There are vendors on etsy who sell “quaker marriage certificates” to couples such as these, with wording that could never be used in an actual quaker ceremony.

    I’m happy for people to borrow from my traditions to make a ceremony that is meaningful to them, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that they show some respect for the traditions they are borrowing from as more than something kitsch or cute, and don’t actively participate in an erasure of the culture or tradition they are borrowing from by claiming the tradition as theirs in name and then changing its substance/the definition of the tradition in the minds of all of their guests (and those that read their blog posts.) Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic but seeing my religion repeatedly reduced to a cutesy anachronism by trendy weddings really got to me. And I would suspect there are others who have felt similarly about a tradition of their own.