Privilege Blog

High WASP Weddings x Crossing Cultures

I’ve been touched by some recent discussions in the blogosphere. Sweet Tea and Accordions and Lace have both talked about wanting to include family traditions while at the same time planning weddings that reflect them as they are in the country where they have lived all or most of their lives. Sweet Tea also points out that some times people from many generations in America appear to co-opt important symbols from other cultures.

We apologize. That’s not the intent. But High WASPs have rebellious children too. Or non-rebels who want simply to evolve beyond the culture of their origin. The pageantry of the traditional High WASP wedding has been largely co-opted by the Wedding Industry. Martha, I mean you. So we keep looking. We look back to pre-commercial America, to folk art and Etsy and simple bouquets of wildflowers. (Even if they are in fact works of art by the goddess of Saipua. We don’t mind paying for greatness). We look out to other countries, other aesthetics, other spiritual traditions. Our history of colonialism makes this tricky. It’s usually done in good faith.

Bride; spose di gio via Brides
Accoutrements; Wedding theorem from Antiques Journal, etsy (via somewhere else I can’t remember where…), table setting from I can’t remember where, utensils from I can’t remember where, prayer flags from I can’t remember where, flowers from saipua.
Please excuse me. These are old images and I did not know at the time to tag them.

4 Responses

  1. I agree that co-option of other cultures’ traditions is usually done with the best of intentions, in the vein of ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’ As a WASP, but not High, I have often bemoaned my ‘lack of culture’ – when, in fact, our culture is what is judged as ‘normal.’

    However, I think the White Anglo-Saxon Euro-American history of colonialism makes it difficult to borrow from other cultures without echoes of neo-colonialism. It’s very tricky to borrow cultural symbols sensitively. I have occasionally cringed at seeing religious symbols casually decorating, for example, t-shirts or coffee mugs.

  2. I love cultural details in weddings and homes – a great way to keep in touch with the roots. Our family incorporates a lot of Scottish details and traditions into life – I know, not very diverse and still quite WASPY, but they add a nice dimension nonetheless.

    Thanks for your comment yesterday.

  3. I think the irony is that a lot of us immigrant kids spent much of our childhoods trying as hard as we could to be WASPs (actually my sister’s greatest continued form of rebellion against my family has been to be as WASPy as can be). We eventually figured out that we wanted to be ourselves, but only after a fair bit of “why don’t I fit in?” heartache. I failed. You guys definitely have your own culture, as evidenced by my inability to capture it (and by this whole blog!).

  4. This is so true Miss LPC, and AccordionsandLace is spot-on with her observation. “Martha, I mean you” is priceless!


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