A couple people I know have linked to this post on Jezebel about a couple's "Colonial Africa" themed wedding. I think there are a lot of things worth talking about surrounding this issue, including - many people have said that the couple put their wedding out there, therefore it's fine for everybody to trash them, call them out for being racist, and generally make nasty comments about their insensitive wedding choices - but a lot of the comments don't seem to realize that the blog that Jezebel linked to is their photographer's blog, and not a larger style blog like Style Me Pretty. Also, a discussion that is probably worth having is did the couple realize the waitstaff would be all-Black, because we certainly didn't know what anybody on our waitstaff looked like, and thinking back on it now, I have no idea what any of our waitstaff looked like. Because I think we can all agree that while having a "Colonial Africa" theme is not a good idea, because the couple clearly romanticized colonialism and did not understand it, having a "Colonial Africa" theme and ordering or hand-picking an all-Black waitstaff to accompany it is a worse idea.
Then there is the discussion this led to in the comments of whether or not we should have weddings on plantations. And at what point do we ignore our history in favor of having a really nice venue? And I grappled with this issue a little bit for our wedding. Because two of the venues we looked at both had ties to slavery - the Elkridge Furnace Inn has a slave hut that you can pose for pictures in front of, and the Historic Waverly Mansion has a building that was used as a slave jail for escaped slaves from the underground railroad. We would have had our ceremony right in front of it. And we very seriously considered it, and the reason we didn't go with it wasn't because of the slave jail (although I think I would have moved the ceremony).
So yeah, for those of us who want to have a wedding in a lovely historic mansion somewhere, how do we acknowledge the gruesome history that sometimes comes with it, without celebrating or ignoring it? I know being in Maryland, which I sometimes refer to as the Almost-South, a lot of historic places come with a gritty history when it comes to slavery - but that we often have to pick between that and a hotel ballroom that doesn't feel like it has any history, and as a person who believes in preserving history, I would rather my money went to people who preserve history, gritty or otherwise, because it can't help any of us to ignore it. So how do we do it without being insensitive?