THE BLOG

Why We'll Be Pronounced By Our Names on Our Wedding Day

10/31/2013 10:12 am ET | Updated Dec 31, 2013
amanda chatel

I'm getting married in May 2014. It's really exciting! But, as with any upcoming wedding, there are decisions that need to be made now in order for the big to go smoothly and as magically as any bride would want her wedding day to go.

As I've written before, despite what dreams I had for my wedding as a kid, these days I'm more focused on the love aspect of it all, as opposed to the pomp and circumstance. However, with each day that passes, I'm realizing more and more about not only how I want my marriage to be, but how important the words on my wedding day are; the words that will bind us as we start our lives together.

For starters, there will be no mention of god in our ceremony. Although a few family members may be believers, my atheist fiancé and I are not, and religion has no place in our lives or wedding day. Next, we want to abolish any traditional language from the ceremony. There will not be any promises of "love, honor and obey," because, well, it's not very original, and "obey?" Come on! It's 2013, not 1813. I don't even ask my dog to obey me, so why would I ask my partner?

Overall, our words will be our own, and our officiant, a friend of mine from high school who is similar in our thinking is, of course, willing to oblige to all our requests. While everyone to whom I've spoken has responded positively or neutrally to our amendments to the traditional wedding ceremony language, the one part that seems to be raising some eyebrows is how we'd like to be officially pronounced.

Obviously, "I now pronounce you man and wife," is out. When I tried to find the history behind that terminology, I kept running into biblical reasons, most specifically Corinthians 11:9, which states "for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake." My lack of faith aside, to me, this is offensive, as it clearly states that a woman is a man's property. Um, no way, not in this lifetime, not now, not ever. I'm sure I'm not alone in the interpretation of this, and we can thank equally forward thinking people who helped to make the antiquated "man and wife" a thing of the past, for the most part, in exchange for "husband and wife." But "husband and wife" isn't cutting it for me either.

On our wedding day, we'd like to be pronounced by our names: Amanda and Olivier. Why? Because I'm Amanda first and foremost before I'm Olivier's wife, and the same goes for him. I love this man and want to marry him, but I don't think I have to define myself as his wife just because we've taken the step to make our relationship legally binding. And I know Olivier feels the same way; he has my heart, and I have has his, and we don't need traditional labels to make that fact legit.

Besides, doesn't a rose by any other name still smell as sweet? Shakespeare thought so, and people seem to think he knew a thing or two. I'm going with Shakespeare on this one.

I'm sure, especially from my family, this decision isn't done being questioned, nor has it seen the last of rolling eyes, and that's fine. I never really thought I'd ever get married, it just wasn't something I saw as being part of my life, but now that it is, how we start our life together, and the words we use to do so are very important to me.

Marriage, in itself, is traditional enough as it is, but it's also one tradition I'm excited in which to partake. But as for the rest of it there's nothing wrong with a little spice, and if that spice means my mom dropping her face into her palm when we're pronounced by our names, then so be it. The tower of macarons instead of a wedding cake will smooth that over with the first bite. I've yet to meet a person who doesn't love a proper French macaron.