Emma and Regina’s wedding was celebrated in a friend’s pub. There were rose bouquets, best men and bridesmaids. There was proper wedding music and the master of ceremonies stood on a little stage set for the event. Solemn vows were pronounced, rings were exchanged and there were tears of joy during the kiss that ratified the union.
But this wasn’t a traditional wedding. It was a Dudeist one.
What is a Dudeist wedding? As Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, the protagonist of the Coen’s brothers’ 1998 movie The Big Lebowski, would say, “It’s what you want, dude.” The film was so successful that in 2005 the Church of the Latter-Day Dude was created from The Dude and his life philosophy. Today, it counts more than 250,000 priests.
Emma and Regina, who are 31-years old, decided for this atypical celebration for several reasons.
First, they like The Dude’s way of life. The Dude’s mantra is “go with the flow” and “live-and-let-live,” a philosophy that welcomes minorities, such as, in this particular case, a lesbian couple hoping to be married.
According to Regina, as a gay couple, she and Emma have been rejected by Italian legislation. “We simply don’t exist for the Italian law.”
Second, the couple likes Dudeism because developments in accepting gay marriage are slow to come in Italy.
While the number of countries allowing same sex marriage is increasing – now it’s 21 – Italian law doesn’t accept it. This makes it quite an exception in Europe, where the list of gay-friendly countries topped 24 in 2015. Ireland is the most recent to join the club, declaring itself pro-same sex unions through a referendum in May 2015.
According to a 2013 study by PEW Research Center, 74% of Italians are in favour of gay rights. Still, for Emma and Regina things are moving too slow: “Italy is a bit like a weathercock,” Emma explains. “Only when they will think that a change of attitude is convenient, will they change their position. But we cannot wait forever, especially when we can easily marry abroad.”
Finally, the couple chose Dudeism because, while it couldn’t make their wedding official in the eyes of the state, it was still a way to celebrate their love publicly.
“We were already living like a married couple,” says Regina. This is why it was easy, for Emma, to get a “yes” when she abruptly made her proposal. So there they were, two days after, on the pub’s altar, smiling to the bearded hipster who was the master of ceremonies.
A Dudeist wedding is undoubtedly light, but the serious stuff is right there as well: Emma and Regina exchanged rings and made their promises before catching a long round of applause with a final kiss. “I will keep this moment in my heart forever,” Emma says.
“We decided to marry here with the Dudeist church to be with our friends, before moving to Portugal for a recognized union.”
Some months passed from the day of the wedding, and the official one, scheduled for September, is approaching. “We are really busy with the organization,” Regina says. “We booked the hotel, bought the dresses, and of course we are freaking out a bit.”
“I would suggest a Dudeist wedding to everybody,” she adds, noting it only took two days to pull it together. “Besides, organizing a real one is way more stressful!”
by Emanuele Del Rosso