Those Patriarchal Wedding Traditions That Don’t Spark Joy? Throw Them in the Trash

All photos by Ziggy Shoots

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If you’re a Catalyst reader then you are probably on board with ditching patriarchal wedding traditions, but let’s face it, given all of the pressure from family, friends, and society to have a “perfect” wedding, saying goodbye to these traditions is easier said than done. That’s why it is so important to find wedding vendors who will share your values and help you take the patriarchal, sexist, and racist ideas about weddings and throw them squarely in the trash. Zig Metzler of Ziggy Shoots is ready to be that wedding photographer for you!

Zig is an Austin and New York City-based wedding photographer who believes it’s time for us to fiercely KonMari the wedding industry. Zig wants to see more couples critically analyzing what traditions bring them joy and be willing to aggressively cut out everything else from your day, especially if those traditions are perpetuating ideas of gender, race, and sexuality that are harmful, and frankly, useless.

Not totally sure how to make this happen in the context of your own wedding? Read on to learn more or hire Ziggy Shoots to capture your day and Zig will be there with you every step of the way ensuring you feel like your amazing authentic selves.

Zig Doesn’t Want Anyone to Feel Othered on Their Wedding Day

Part of Zig’s motivation for wanting to see a major revolution take hold in the wedding industry is that even as a someone who identifies as mostly cisgendered but slightly genderqueer, Zig’s more masculine attire and “tomboy” style has meant that she is constantly othered in the more femme world of the wedding industry. She describes herself as a soft butch or “futch,” and she especially hates that there are unnecessary constraints set around what “women” should look or act like, and she wants to help her clients break through those boundaries.

“I go into gendered spaces and immediately feel, you know, different.” says Zig. “For those that are queer, gender nonconforming, or trans, I know that feeling of being othered has to be so prevalent and alienating in everyday life. I want to do anything I can to remove it. Especially on a day when somebody is celebrating their life and their love, that should be the last thing on anybody’s mind!”

That means that Zig will be more than your kickass photographer, she’ll also be there ready to deal with any wedding guests who might try to bring their own outdated or biased ideas about gender, sexuality, and marriage into your wedding day celebration and stop them in their tracks.

“I hate the idea of someone coming up to my clients at their wedding and saying something that derails their whole day,” she says. “I’m there to stand up for you and also to tell you ‘Hey, you’re not crazy. This sucks, and I’m here for you.’” Let’s be real, you need someone like Zig in your life every day, but ESPECIALLY on your wedding day.

Zig Wants to Photograph Couples That Are True to Themselves and Are Focused on Joy

Zig firmly believes that you don’t have to let someone tell you what to do — on your wedding day or any other day of your life. She loves to work with couples who are going to think critically about which wedding and marriage traditions make sense for them. “I love when my clients create a wedding that is so unique to them that it might not even be recognizable as a wedding to other people,” says Zig. This can take any form, from backyard celebrations, courthouse elopements, or literally anything you can dream up.

“You don’t need to change who you are just because you’re putting on a wedding dress.”

Zig promises to come into your wedding planning process with zero assumptions or expectations, and is ready to let YOU guide the way to a celebration that reflects who you really are. “I won't make you conform to any gender roles or bring any preconceived notions about who you are based on your age, race, body type, gender, or sexual orientation,” says Zig, and that can be a hard thing to find in an industry still so full of assumptions and outdated traditions.

“I want everyone I work with to really feel seen, understood, loved, and supported,” says Zig. “No matter what that means to them. I never want stupid small-minded shit or the worst parts of dominant culture to even enter into people's minds on their wedding day or when they're being photographed.”

She also wants to showcase how her couples are already challenging these norms, from the structure of their wedding day to things as simple as showcasing a woman’s armpit hair in a photo. “You don’t need to change who you are just because you’re putting on a wedding dress,” says Zig. “There is no ‘right’ way to get married. You don’t have to cram your identity into a ‘bridal mold’ and play a role. If you’re going to be the co-stars of a show, do whatever makes you feel beautiful or invincible!” My hairy armpits just rejoiced.

How To Say No to Traditions That No Longer Serve You

Since Zig wants to help couples create wedding days and celebrations of love that are centered on joy, she’ll be there to help you navigate the sea of wedding traditions that people will say you need to stick to. Some of those traditions might bring you joy, like the idea of wearing a wedding dress or having a wedding party made up of your closest friends and family, but if not, Zig wants to help empower couples to cut them loose. “Does it feel meaningful? Does it give you strength, connection, or a sense of groundedness? If not, it might be more of a trapping than a tradition,” says Zig. “Maybe you want to take some time to think about building new traditions and what represents your ties to love, lineage, spirituality, or community.”

Once you remove any unnecessary parts of your wedding day, you might just find that something magical happens.

Zig knows that this can be particularly hard when there is pressure from your family or your community to stick to certain traditions. “If you have traditions that are rooted in your culture or in your family, but they don’t serve you and your personal relationship, it’s okay to express thankfulness and gratitude for what they signify and then opt out of that here. To appreciate how those traditions may have helped others in your life, but then set them aside is ok,” says Zig. “It’s not necessarily a position of contempt you’re operating from, but a process of looking inward and honoring the love you share with another person.”

But even though Zig acknowledges that some traditions may still be valuable to your community, family, and loved ones, she doesn’t believe that ALL traditions need to be thanked as you toss them away Marie Kondo style.

“That being said, not everything deserves to be thanked,” says Zig, thinking specifically about boundary setting, and traditions that uphold the patriarchy, gender norms, and white supremacy or that perpetuate transphobia, homophobia, or fat phobia. “Some things just belong in the damn garbage.”

Zig also knows that sometimes it is hard to identify why a particular part of “traditional” weddings rubs us the wrong way, and that’s why she feels it’s important that couples really take time to listen to themselves. “You know what you want,” she says. “If there’s something that bothers you, but you can’t put your finger on why, trust your gut and ditch it. You don’t need to justify that choice to anyone. Move towards what feels special, validating, and what makes you grin.”

Once you remove any unnecessary parts of your wedding day, you might just find that something magical happens. “I love to see couples who trim away all the garbage from their weddings that doesn’t fulfill them,” says Zig. “Then all that’s left are these morsels of love and joy. You are creating a tiny utopia! And that’s a really exciting opportunity. And it’s what I really love to capture.”

Ready to Work with Zig to Capture All the Joy of Your Wedding Day?

Zig is up for whatever type of wedding brings you joy. Head to her site to learn more about how to hire her for your celebration of love! You’ll be making that “ping!” sound together all day long.


Jen Siomacco is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Catalyst Wedding Co. She works to mesh together her love of feminism, love stories, accessibility, equality, and design into the Catalyst brand. When she’s not traveling the country working to make the wedding industry a more inclusive place, she’s writing on her couch and snuggled up with her husband and SUPER lazy cats.

Photo by Tiffany Josephs Photography