Weddings, for many people, are beautiful affairs where we celebrate and witness the blending of two people into a union of one. They are fairytale gatherings as old as time. While a wedding is not always a dream that each of us cherishes for ourselves — it is a celebration that we all enjoy being a part of. Hell, I think more people get ready to scrap it out or feel slighted when they don’t get a wedding invite than they do about catching the bouquet. However, for those getting married, it can also be a stressful season for many reasons. But overall, it comes down to the planning process.
And, though I have yet to plan a wedding myself I imagine even the smallest details become some of the gravest stressors. One little detail that many of us may not consider when planning a wedding or even dreaming of one is tradition. Because if nothing else, weddings are often steeped in tradition. I think these traditions, and whether or not to participate, can prove even more challenging to decide on if you and your betrothed aren’t a traditional pair or are on the more modern side of things. Being a modern gal, in a traditional world, can be frustrating. As a modern woman, I also find that the difficulty lies in really and truly not falling into the binary. I’m somewhere in the middle — I do enjoy the benefits of some gender roles and I do enjoy some tradition.
So what’s a girl to do? First, you can know more about each of these traditions before you jump through hoops when the goal is to simply jump the broom. While there are some people who enjoy full-out tradition regardless of how they came to be, I’m not judging either way. Pinky promise. But for those who fall somewhere in the middle, being informed may be the key to ruling some of them out.
1. Getting the Father's Approval and the Giving Away the Bride Tradition
Both of these practices are rooted in the same patriarchal concepts of possession over women. Historically speaking, single women were viewed as property and their fathers "owned" them until they were married to another man. Asking for a woman's hand in marriage was a tradition born out of the necessity of the father approving the marriage and ensuring that the man asking for her hand could provide a good future for the daughter. In other customs, asking for a father's approval was also a way of establishing some sort of arrangement, like a dowry in exchange for "ownership" of the daughter. Giving away the bride at a wedding ceremony was seen as the person, usually, the father, walking the bride down the aisle and "giving her away" to the groom at the end was a form of blessing the unity.
While it can be a sweet gesture to ask for permission to marry your betrothed from their father or for a father to "give" the bride away at ceremonies, it’s not entirely necessary. Both practices have evolved with the times, offering some creative freedom for ways to include important family members during the ceremony. For example, some brides opt to have their mother or even both parents walk them down the aisle as an honorable gesture for what they mean to them in their lives.
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2. The Tradition of the Bride Wearing White
Wearing white as a bride has been a tradition in Western culture that has spanned hundreds of years. And why do brides wear white? If you guessed that it's because wearing white is derived from purity culture, you were right. Traditionally, white was symbolic of virtue and purity and represented a woman's chastity upon walking down the aisle and meeting her betrothed. Again, the white dress is beautiful and I wouldn’t necessarily mind keeping this particular tradition for my own vain reasoning. However, if you don't want to wear white because of what it represents or because you want to veer away from tradition, wear whatever makes you feel your best.
3. The Bridal Bouquet Tradition
This is going to blow your mind! But, you can do without your bouquets. Really both you and the squad. The purpose of a bouquet traditionally is that of a deodorizer for your B.O. The bridal bouquet came to be to mask the smell of body odor, obviously well before we had deodorant in the 20th century. This tradition is beautiful and does add a certain touch to weddings, but also floral arrangements are typically very pricey. Even the most bougie of deodorants is cheaper than bouquets, which run you anywhere from $80 - $200, according to Brides. Alternatively, if you don’t want to forgo floral arrangements on your big day completely, you might opt for artificial flowers, feathers, or something else in the form of your bridal bouquet.
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4. The Tradition of the Bride's Family Paying for the Wedding
Much like the first two points on this list, this tradition is predicated on women being the property of men. First, their fathers and then their husbands. Women were seen as chattel to trade, and because the most beneficial marriage arrangements were made if and when the bride’s family was able to pay a suitable dowry to the husband-to-be (and his family). This is what I mean when I say marital arrangements were more often about financial gain for the parties directly involved and not love until relatively recently. This differs from now where the financial gain is also commercial – fancy rings, extravagant venues, etc.
5. The Wearing a Veil Tradition
Wearing a veil is yet another sexist and really odd, insignificant way of signifying a virginal or pure woman. Interestingly enough, an expert at Brides’ indicates that this is one of the first and oldest “bridal ensembles.” Wearing a white veil in combination with the white gown was the visual embodiment of delivering a bride to her groom as a "modest and untouched maiden." For the woo-woo girls, you might be interested in the fact that it was also thought to keep evil spirits at bay – particularly from attempting to rain on the bride’s parade.
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6. Having a Wedding Party
The point of having people at your wedding was simply the need for witnesses. Back in the day, multiple witnesses (specifically 10 at minimum) were required for a wedding. Over time, this requirement evolved into a more fun, celebratory committee of peers known as the wedding party – made of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Though this is not the most costly arrangement since the parties typically pay for their own dresses – you are paying for flowers and even going through the motions of dealing with other people which can add to the intense planning process.
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Motor City native, Atlanta living. Sagittarius. Writer. Sexpert. Into all things magical, mystical, and unknown. I'll try anything at least once but you knew that the moment I revealed that I was a Sag.
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
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In January, it was announced that feminine-care brand The Honey Pot was acquired by Compass Diversified for $380 million. Black women expressed outrage with commentary on why Black founders “sell out” and stressed their concerns about The Honey Pot changing their ingredients, similar to their outrage when their products went from being listed as "Black-owned" to "Black-founded" in 2022.
As a founder myself, I understand the importance of scaling your business. Scaling leads to opportunity and expansion for your brand, something that The Honey Pot is doing to change the landscape of vaginal wellness for all women.
Years before the acquisition, I was a supporter of the brand. When I first learned of their products in 2017, I was eager to try them as a Black woman searching for Black-owned feminine products. At the time, I just embarked on a wellness journey, and that meant not just physical and emotional wellness, but vaginal wellness also. The dangers of the toxic chemicals often found in feminine care products weren’t discussed when I was growing up.
Now, we live in a world with organic pads, tampons, feminine wash, and even plant-based feminine care. Women are now realizing how sacred our menstruation time is and that the products that we use can either help or hurt us during that time of the month.
My vaginal wellness journey was rooted in a quest for healing. After a relationship where I experienced infidelity, I had issues with my pH levels for over a year. I’d never felt so disconnected from my body and ashamed that I didn’t know why; I was determined to figure out a way to heal from the inside out. After learning that the founder started The Honey Pot after suffering from bacterial vaginosis for eight months, I was intrigued. On the back of the feminine wash, she shared how her ancestors came to her in a dream and gifted her with a vision to heal herself and now others, including me.
My first two purchases from the brand were their organic pantyliners (a product many women who already supported the brand recommended) with mint and sensitive feminine wash. If I’m being honest, I didn’t like the liners; with already having a sensitive vagina, the mint didn’t feel as soothing as I thought it would, but I was sold on the sensitive feminine wash. Almost immediately, I saw a change in my pH balance and sensitivity, and from there, I was hooked.
From there, I started discussing the importance of plant-based care with my mother and my family members. My approach to the idea of vaginal wellness started gentle, and then I started asking and not telling, removing the products that we’d all used previously out of the homes of my mother, godsister, and close friends, and when they’d call and ask me, “What happened to my other products?” I’d remind them of the importance of giving our vaginas the care they deserve. Eventually, they caught on and became supporters themselves, and now when I visit my mother, she has The Honey Pot products in her bathroom that I’ve never even tried myself.
Recently, I was running low on my feminine products, and as I placed an order to have what I needed to be delivered, to my surprise, I discovered The Honey Pot had expanded their product line quite a bit and now had not only intimacy products but also additional feminine washes and supplements that I now use daily.
Check out some of the newest additions to their product line below:
Does your pH feel off? Reduce odor and help maintain a healthy vaginal pH range with this 7-Day Boric Acid & Herbs Suppositories from The Honey Pot.
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