At heart a wedding is about nothing more than two people in love standing up and declaring their love to be permanent. But it’s not always that straightforward when it comes time for a same-sex couple to plan their nuptials. Here are 10 ways planning a same-sex wedding can be different.
What sort of wedding ceremony will you be having?
Firstly, you have to make sure your wedding will be legal
There have been many gains across the world of in terms of marriage equality, but there are still some places that will not issue same-sex couples with a marriage licence, including Australia where same-sex couples can only ‘marry’ via civil commitment ceremony. Fortunately, more and more countries are starting to legislate in line with the prevailing community attitudes of acceptance, so you can find myriad beautiful places to say “I do.”
You can cast tradition aside … if you want to
There are realms and realms of traditions that surround a straight-sex wedding, but with a same-sex wedding ceremony there’s no expectation (well, other than two people saying ‘I do’). Instead, it’s all about creating your own traditions to start married life with the perfect combination of the old and new. Want to walk up the aisle unaccompanied? Go for it. Want to toss a silk tie instead of a garter? Totally your call. Want so share a wedding party rather than having separate bridesmaids and groomsmen? Great idea. Just remember: it’s your wedding, so feel absolutely free to claim it in your own special way.
Sadly, discrimination can be an issue
When it comes to your venue, flowers, cake, clothing and anything else wedding related, most wedding vendors are truly lovely, and understand that love is love. But, realistically, you can’t ignore the possibility that even though it’s illegal to do so – with your rights enshrined in legislation – some wedding vendors may not have the most welcoming attitude towards working on an LGBT wedding. It’s a shame, but remember, that sometimes this reluctance may come simply from a lack of experience servicing a gay wedding, so you may find a little guidance is just what the situation requires.
Your fashion for passion can run wild
Two tuxes? Two dresses? Two of something else? The question of what to wear for your same-sex wedding is one you’ll need to ponder – simply because there are no ‘rules’ as such. And how exciting is that? After all, with carte blanche to look and feel exactly how you want, the sky is the limit, be it goth, glam, grunge or something else entirely that is uniquely and unquestionably you.
The guest list can be a little tricky to juggle
No matter the size or tone of your wedding, juggling a guest list can be challenging. But the reasons can be very different for straight and LGBT couples. A bride and groom, for example, might ponder how to fit in everyone they want. An LGBT couple, however, may, unfortunately, also have to focus on who will say ‘yes’ to an invitation, bearing in mind that society covers an extremely broad spectrum of opinions on the issue of gay marriage. However it pans out, you can take heart in the fact that on your wedding day you will be surrounded only by people who wish your union nothing but the best … as long as you both shall live!
Parties are yours to personalise
What could be more fun than a bachelorette or hen’s party for a bride? Two bachelorette or hens’ parties for two brides. Or a combined buck’s night for two grooms. Or something entirely different altogether. Perhaps the groom would much rather have a day of pampering than a night out clubbing? Or maybe the brides have so many mutual friends they would prefer to have a joint long lunch than separate festivities. As with anything wedding related – not just for same-sex couples – it’s all about looking at the options, considering how you would like to celebrate your upcoming nuptials with family and friends (and possibly cocktails), and then going from there.
Making sure your LGBT guests will be comfortable?
Whether it’s a destination wedding or one right around the corner you’ll want to spend a little bit of time making sure that your venues - and honeymoon locations – are all genuinely LGBT friendly – not just in what they can do, but in what they will do to create a real sense of welcome and inclusion. A great way to do this is to chat with the managers, the staff and potential vendors, and also look at their testimonials, to find out their background in same-sex weddings and also the pleasure they take in helping to create dream days. This will help to ensure you pick the perfect places and professionals not only for yourself but also for your LGBT guests so that everyone can relax and enjoy the day in a supportive atmosphere.
You can mix up ceremony seating
In a classic Christian ceremony, it’s customary for the bride’s family to sit on the left and the groom’s on the right. But when you have two brides or grooms, that idea of ‘his’ and ‘hers’ could get a little confusing. So, when planning a gay wedding, a simple but clever way around this is to have sides allocated by your names or, like many modern couples do anyway, just work around a theme like this: “Today, two families become one, so please, pick a seat and not a side.”
Gender roles may need re-definition
A traditional straight-sex wedding has myriad roles or moments that are classically defined by gender. For example, a groom may wait at the altar for his bride to walk down the aisle, the best man may be expected to carry the rings, a photographer may pose a bride and groom in a certain way, there may be a garter toss and bouquet toss, or the groom might look to give a speech on behalf of himself and his new wife. So with the breaks from tradition an LGBT wedding can offer, it’s worth nothing that your vendors, MC and other involved parties may welcome some clear and early communication about how you envisage your big day running, especially as it allows for some professional input. For example, in a straight-sex wedding the photographer might focus most of their pre-wedding time on the bride and less on the groom, but with two brides they might suggest using a second snapper to do both women equal justice.
Budgeting might be different
All couples must stick to a budget when planning a wedding (or at least try to), but for a gay couple, it may come together a little differently than the traditional breakdown of expenses. For example, instead of a wedding gown and a rented tuxedo, a gay wedding may feature two grooms who want complementary but not identical designer suits. Or maybe two brides both dream of arriving at the ceremony in a limousine. And maybe there isn’t a groom’s cake at all. Again, as with anything wedding budget-related, it’s about sitting down from the start, setting a budget, outlining your vision in terms of priority and then working out how to make it happen.
At the end of the day, though, when you put these differences aside, all straight-sex and LGBT weddings share the most important thing of all – the underlying sentiment of two people coming together to pledge undying love. It’s a promise that through it all they will have each other’s backs. And that, no matter who you are, is a beautiful thing.
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