Stumped on when to send out your STDs (save-the-date announcements)? Don't know who should be invited to your rehearsal dinner? Get the answers to all your etiquette questions for your gay wedding by submitting your dilemma to
I live in Florida, where same-sex marriage is not yet legally recognized. But my girlfriend and I are planning a wedding here anyways. Our families are being fairly supportive, but my mother is telling me I can’t put the words “wedding” or “marriage” on our invitation, but instead, she tells me I need to use the words “commitment ceremony” and “partnership.” I’m not partnering my girlfriend though—I’m marrying her! What should I do?
A. This is one of those issues that gets me more fired up than a pig at a Hawaiian luau. A wedding is a wedding, no matter the gender of the individuals getting married. You should absolutely, unequivocally use the words that you want to use on your wedding invitation, which ought to include “wedding” and “marriage.” Whether your mother is just living in the Dark Ages or she’s scared of what people might think when they receive your wedding invitation is not the issue here. The problem is that she doesn’t mind you having a public celebration of your commitment to each other, but she doesn’t want to share her traditions and rights with you. Ask her if she’d like you to drink from a separate water fountain, too, and see if she doesn’t then understand the type of discrimination she’s trying to enforce on you.
Do all of the "broomsmen" need to wear the same suit?? Is it OK to tell them to just pick a black pants suit and white button up or do we need to specify type, style, and brand? Two of them will wear women’s and one would wear men’s, so how would we coordinate that? I worry about our pictures if we let them all choose their own! Help!!
A. You’re right to worry. Take control (they'll appreciate your guidance)! Sending them off in their own direction for selecting the same shade of black from umpteen different stores will absolutely result in a gradient of tones for your photos.
It might not matter as much what they wear if you were having them don suits in say, blue or green, where different shades would be OK. But the black suits should match.
Find a style you and your partner like for each set (the ones who are wearing women’s suits and the one who is wearing a man’s), and write down the brand, style number and price, snap a couple of photos on your phone, and e-mail the info and photo to the appropriate broomsmen.
The other option that I like even better is your partner takes her broomsmen shopping for the day. You can pre-select styles for her, if you’re not exactly sure what she’d pick out on her own. The bonding experience for them will be fun, and it’s just another celebration of the wedding to come.
Where to shop? We’ve had excellent luck with the gay-friendly stores of Macy’s and Neiman Marcus (with women shopping in the men’s department, etc.), so you don’t necessarily need to send them to a specialty suit shop if you don’t want to. For gay-friendly clothing stores in your area, check out our Local Resources marketplace.
A few months ago, I married the man of my dreams. It was a beautiful wedding, and I had so much support from family and friends who came to wish us well and be there for us as we exchanged vows.
My brother, however, decided not to come at the last minute because he was uncomfortable attending. I recently found out he was a groomsman for the wedding of one of his friends just a week after my wedding. Seeing him in the pictures of this other wedding party upset me, and I am having a hard time getting over it.
My brother and I were close growing up, and I had grown up expecting he would be my best man. He claimed to be OK with things when I came out of the closet three years ago, and he more recently assured me he would come to my wedding even though it was against his religious principles.
I later found out that he had not been OK with my coming out or engagement, but that he felt pressured into saying he was because he didn't want to damage our relationship. I appreciate that he initially hid his discomfort from me because it demonstrates how much he valued our relationship.
Does backing out in the end mean that he now values that relationship less? And does participating in his friend's wedding mean that he cares more about this friend than me?
More importantly, what I can do to build a better relationship with my brother despite his absence at the most important day of my life?
A Congratulations on your wedding. It is very unfortunate that your brother skipped out on such an important day, especially because you were so close. I deferred to a couple of experts to help you with your questions to guide you through working out your feelings with and toward your brother:
Dr. Ken Maguire, a psychologist at the Council for Relationships in Pennsylvania says, “Weddings are very emotional and powerful moments in our lives. They signal the end of an old way of living and the beginning of a new life joined with someone else. We often feel as if they are the single most important day in our lives, forgetting in that moment all the wonderful things to come. As a result, the behavior of other people about our wedding, like your brother, impacts us strongly. Because our weddings are so important to us, we also feel the effects long after the day is over.”
Dr. Maguire points out that “this is where you have to choose: Will your brother’s behavior on one day of your life erase the loving relationship you had before you came out and the rest of your life after your wedding? You are probably right in thinking that he hid his discomfort with your being gay because he didn’t want to hurt you. Over time, it seems, his lack of talking about it led to a lot of thoughts and feelings he didn’t know what to do with and he backed out of your wedding party. That doesn’t mean that he values your relationship less. It probably means he just didn’t know how to talk to you and maybe wasn’t talking to anyone who could give him good advice on how to talk to you. He probably still needs to talk to you.”
So are you ready to talk to your brother? “In the end, you need to ask yourself ‘Do I want to build a relationship with my brother after what happened?,’ says Dr. Maguire. “While your wedding may feel like the most important day you have ever had and now will ever have, there are many days to come that you can share with your brother. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to be hurt by what he did. You are hurt and given your relationship with your brother, he should know that. People respond better when they are confronted that they hurt someone than when they are told they made someone angry. And, truth be told, usually it’s sadness underneath the anger we need to share. So if I were in your shoes—get on the phone and call your brother and find a time to talk with him in person. Be honest with yourself about how hurt you are, and tell him. Be prepared for the fact that he needs to say things to you too, which may be hard to hear. But, in the end, your relationship will be more open and honest than it is now. Given the strong foundation your have with him going into talking to him, I think things will go better than you fear.”
Dr. Richard Buggs, a psychologist and dean of alumni at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, weighs in on your final question: What can you do to build a better relationship with your brother despite his absence at the most important day of your life?
“Be prepared to be very patient with your brother and his process of adjusting to your being gay,” says Dr. Buggs. “He has had a mere three years to come to terms with your news and has the added complication of ‘religious principles,’ which undoubtedly require him to choose between his brother and God. He has disappointed you on your special day and your pain is understandable, but I also bet your brother is feeling a fair amount of distress over his decision to miss your wedding.
“It is admirable that you want a better relationship with your brother, but be prepared to do the bulk of the heavy lifting (including forgiving him for hurting you). For most gay people, coming out is necessary in order to live authentic, integrated and healthy lives. Coming out is also a lifelong process that never really ends. Family members may also go through a similar (though less painful process) in coming out about having a gay family member. Your brother is clearly conflicted about this situation as evidenced in his unpredictable behavior. It may take years—or a lifetime—for him to accept you as being gay.
“You can let him know that he was missed at your wedding and that you are trying your best to understand him and what happened. Be open and try to find empathy for him. Let him know the door is always open to having a dialogue and that you’re not giving up on having a better relationship with him.”
My older brother and I have been at odds since my coming out. The rest of my family has been mostly supportive, especially my little sister. Our brother recently got engaged, and it took some prodding from my mother for me to congratulate him considering less than a month before he proposed, he likened me to a pedophile and somebody who practices bestiality. I had a hard time helping my mother understand why I was not excited for the wedding. She convinced me that although I was hurt by what he said, it was still the right thing to express congratulations. So I did. I began to calm down about the whole thing and actually felt a bit excited about their marriage and stupid for getting upset about it in the first place.
Then my sister informed me that our brother wouldn’t allow her to bring her best friend to their wedding as her date because he is gay. When she told me, the anger and hurt from the earlier name calling and arguing returned. I’m not sure what to. Do I attend the wedding of somebody who is clearly unsupportive of me and would not reciprocate the favor? Or do I stand up for what I believe in and respectfully decline the invitation? If I choose not to attend, the rest of my family would be very upset and would accuse me of being childish and making mountains out of molehills. When speaking to my mother about it all, she made a good point; the wedding is not for another 14 months and there is time to iron things out. However, I don’t feel that this is something to be negotiated over with deals made back and forth to appease each side. Any advice would be helpful.
A What a heartbreaking story! I’m so sorry you’ve had to endure such discrimination within your own family. Even the supportive straight members of your family don’t seem to recognize that by forgiving your brother’s behavior (or completely ignoring it), they’re condoning it and saying it’s OK. But it’s not OK, is it?
Fourteen months is a long time to sort through your feelings with your brother, so I don’t think it’s time to announce your plans to not attend his wedding. Rather, I think it’s time you either make a phone call to him if you’re feeling bold or sit down to write a lengthy letter about how you’re feeling. Personally, I like letters so the recipient can’t interrupt you. Start from the beginning. Tell him everything about how it’s been growing up gay and how you’ve felt along the way. Talk to him about the struggles you’ve encountered, but also the joys you’ve felt when you’ve found love—just as he’s found love now. Be as open and honest as you can without showing your anger. When talking about actions he’s taken, start out with “I feel” instead of “You did this.” At the end of your letter, ask if he’d be willing to set some time aside to talk to you about his feelings. Give him the opportunity to show you how he can be a better man before writing him off completely.
Also take into consideration that his animosity toward you and your sexuality might be stemming from his soon-to-be wife’s point of view on homosexuality.
A very similar situation happened to me 10 years ago. My brother and his pregnant wife told me they didn’t want me to bring my girlfriend around their son once he was born. An e-mail war ensued including him telling me that homosexuality was akin to bestiality. It ended when I told him he was no longer my brother. Nearly a year passed without us speaking. And then I sent him a note to tell him that I missed him. From there, we began to heal. He finally divorced that religious zealot, and we’re so close now. In fact, he walked me down the aisle last year at my über-gay wedding.
Don’t give up faith just yet!
My brother and his wife, Sally, were married for 12 years and have two gorgeous children together, ages 5 and 7. They divorced three years ago, but his ex-wife stayed in good with our mom—even though she (Sally) treated my brother like sh*t. I want the kids to be in my upcoming wedding, and my mom thinks we also need to invite Sally, because she’s “still a part of this family” and “she’s the mother of my grandchildren.” Sigh. I know my brother would be hurt. What do I do?
A Weddings are, at the core, about family: bringing families together as well as creating a new family. When making out your guest list and sending invitations, you should do two things: 1) Respect marriage, meaning you should invite your relatives’ spouses to honor their choices of who they chose to spend the rest of their lives with. 2) Respect divorce. Your brother and Sally chose to end their relationship, severing her relationship with his family. Respect his wishes and choices, and don’t invite her. If your mother wants to continue to hurt your brother and be chummy with the ex, they can socialize on their own time—not at your wedding.
What is the proper etiquette when you are invited to a wedding of a heterosexual couple that did not or would not attend your same-sex wedding?
A I definitely need more information to give you an exact answer, but let’s go through the possible scenarios. We’ll call this straight couple Bruce and Maggie:
1.) You were at a cousin’s barbecue this summer and overheard this couple saying no way in hell would they ever go to a gay wedding. Knowing they wouldn’t attend yours gives you every right to not attend theirs. On principle alone, I say don’t go! Furthermore, I’d suggest sending a short note indicating such along with your response card stating that you and your partner will not be attending their wedding.
2.) You invited this couple to your wedding last year, and they never gave an explanation as to why they couldn’t come or you didn’t believe their excuse that Bruce couldn’t possibly cancel his skydiving excursion even though you gave them the appropriate six-week notice with an invitation and Maggie simply had to be there to watch him land. Since you don’t know for sure why they didn’t come to yours, you don’t have reasonable cause to give them a piece of your mind, no matter how much you were hurt by their actions—or inactions, rather. But you still don’t have to go to their wedding.
Simply send a response card stating that you and your partner won’t be able to make it, and if you wish, follow up with a note that you’ll be applying for skydiving lessons and there’s a chance your jump could be scheduled for the same day as their wedding and your partner simply couldn’t bear to not be there to witness your big day.
3.) You haven’t tied the knot yet … hell, you might even still be single. But you’re bitter as hell that all the straights in the nation are born with the right to apply for a marriage license in any state of their choosing—and you can’t. Your pals Bruce and Maggie are staunch Republicans and you suspect that they could be against marriage equality, but you’ve never dared bring it up to them. Therefore, you’re pretty sure they’d never come to your same-sex wedding, if you were ever lucky enough to have one.
Now you’re invited to theirs, and you’re at a loss for what to do. The way I see it, you have three options:
1.) Adjust your attitude: Don’t see their automatic rights as an affront to yours. If you love them, go to their wedding and celebrate their love. When it’s your turn, hopefully, they’ll return the favor.
2.) If they’re close enough friends to invite you to their wedding, then perhaps they’re special enough to meet for lunch and discuss your feelings. Assumptions about what people would do or think can lead to bad decisions. If they give you a line of BS about their morals won’t allow them to support same-sex marriage, then you know what to do.
3.) Check no on the response card. Give no explanation. Sign up for skydiving lessons.
What are your thoughts on registering for cash? My fiancé and I have found a few websites set up for this purpose. We’ve been together for eight years, and we don’t really need a bunch of new gadgets, pots and pans. But we could definitely use cash to help us pay for the wedding, our honeymoon and our life together.
A I’m no elderly hen and the less traditional folks will surely disagree with me, but I find it quite tacky. And many of your guests might find it equally offensive. If you’re in need of some Benjamins (aren’t we all?), why not register for honeymoon assistance? There are dozens of sites for this, but I like HoneyFund.com since there are no fees attached to it. It still might ruffle some guest’s feathers, so be sure to also register for some new-fangled gadgets or new pans (think of it as an upgrade on what you already own). As far as wanting cash to pay for your wedding, it sounds like you might be planning a celebration beyond your means and you might need to scale back your plans or do some of it yourself. For hints on DIY weddings, visit our DIY section for some money-saving tips.
We are getting married next April in New Orleans, and though we are not a same-sex couple, we are strong advocates for LGBT rights. The bride's mom and partner are lesbians, her brother is gay, and the groom's sister is a lesbian, too. The fight for marriage equality is very important to us, and we were wondering how we could be inclusive in our wedding process. We are thinking about linking to a marriage equality group from our wedding website, but we're also looking for other ideas. Any suggestions?
A What a lucky family you have that you’re choosing to honor and celebrate them on a day about you. I’m so glad you asked this question, because it’s one that a lot of our straight allies ask me about outside of this column. One of the best and most influential things you can do is have something meaningful and related to marriage equality in your readings.
A popular choice is the ruling from in the 2003 case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health in Massachusetts, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided that same-sex marriages would be legally recognized in the state of Massachusetts. The writings of Chief Justice Margaret Marshall make quite an effect when read at a wedding:
"Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.
"Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition. It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a 'civil right.' Without the right to choose to marry, one is excluded from the full range of human experience."
To support the fight for marriage equality with a financial contribution, register at HRC’s wedding registry, which allows your guests to donate to the Human Rights Campaign in you and your beloved’s honor. The fun doesn’t stop there. Show your pride with your wedding favors, too. White Knot, a nonprofit organization fighting for marriage equality, offers a White Knot kit for $25, which has supplies for 300 White Knots. Gather your attendants and family to assemble these small white ribbons for your guests to wear at your wedding. An usher can hand them out in a basket with a small explanation prior to your ceremony, or you can have them out by the guest book at your reception with a sign that reads, “Everyone should have the right to tie the knot. Please join us in the fight for marriage equality by wearing this pin at our wedding.”
I’d love to have a father/daughter dance at my wedding, but my new stepmom has completely poisoned my dad’s view on gay marriage, as well as my relationship with Heather, my fiancée. So unfortunately, he’s not coming to the wedding. As much as this breaks my heart, I know I can’t do anything to change his mind. But my lovely wife-to-be does have a great dad who’s coming to the wedding. She’s offered to not do the traditional father/daughter dance, out of respect for me and my situation. But I want her to do it for herself. What do you think? Is it odd for one bride to do the father/daughter dance, and the other to not?
A I’m so sorry about your dad. I know that must really hurt. Not knowing the timeline of your wedding, there may still be time to resolve your problems with him and possibly have him attend the wedding, sans the wicked stepmother, of course. If he doesn’t show, I do think that Heather and her father deserve that special dance, if they want it for themselves. (Many couples have done away with this tradition all together, and hardly anyone except for stuffy Aunt Marge even notices.) Encourage your wife-to-be to embrace this wedding as her own, as well as for both of you. A wedding is a time to strengthen the bonds with the family who love us, and a father/daughter dance is a very special way to demonstrate a proud father’s sincere love and support for his daughter and the woman she’s married. You’re very lucky to be marrying into a family who cares so much for their daughter. Congrats to you both.
My partner and I are in the process of planning our wedding, and we are thinking about having the most fabulous drag show ever seen at a wedding during the cocktail hour of our wedding. My question is, do you think that this would be fun and appropriate for such an elegant event considering there will be straight and gay/lesbian friends and family in attendance?
A Yes, honey! What a fun idea. This is your day to personalize however you want, so if you and your partner have an appreciation for the art of drag—go for it! However, you must establish ground rules with your queens or kings. It’s not the lip singing, the false lashes, the heels, the bean-filled bras and the sashaying men’s hips that’ll make your straight guests cringe. It’s the talking on the mic between the songs that you need to focus on. You know how, ahem, vocal our favorite drag queens can get … talking about tucking, muff diving, tops/bottoms or they single out guests for their looks. It’s all fun and games when we’re watching drag shows in a club and we know what to expect, but it might be more than your straight friends and family can handle. And though you want this to be entertaining for your guests, you also don’t want it to be the main attraction (that’s what you and your sweetheart are). You also have to make sure the standout memory of your entire wedding isn’t how your Uncle Ned nearly choked on his pinot grigio when Miss Alexandria Lovely started picking on him for looking like he doesn’t get laid often enough. So hire performers you can have an open communication with and trust, and then eat, drink and be married!
My wedding’s coming up in a few months, and my partner and I have agreed on everything except how to spend the night before our wedding. I think that since we’ve been living together for five years already, it’s not bad luck to stay together the night before we commit to each other for the rest of our lives. She completely disagrees, saying that not only is it bad luck, but it’s also tradition. I’m already going to be nervous enough about the big day—I think spending the night apart will make it even harder! What do you think?
A I think that it matters what you two think, and that’s it. Don’t give into pressures of society, well-meaning friends or relatives. That being said, you two will most definitely have to come to some sort of agreement before nightfall on wedding eve. Historically, the engaged couple has spent the night apart before their wedding day, but they’ve also spent all of their nights alone, because they’re saving themselves for marriage and they certainly didn’t shack up with their intended before making it official before their friends, family and higher power. But in 2010, modern couples—be they gay or straight or somewhere in the middle—are shacking up before getting married. And I’ve yet to hear from any gay couple who didn’t move in together before their wedding. That being said, I’m all for tradition, and I adore the idea of keeping some mystery between each other—what the other one is thinking (frightful nerves of being on display or filled with romantic fantasies about the rest of your life together); doing (writing last-minute vows perhaps? Or maybe a sweet love poem to slip into her suit pocket just before saying “I do.” Or possibly saving your bachelor/ette party until the night before the wedding and slamming down Jaegerbombs at the local bar (not recommended!); or wearing (trying on your outfit one last time). Imagine not seeing your gorgeous fiancée for 24 hours leading up to your wedding day. All that fun, breathless anticipation! And then when you do lay eyes on her—either at the altar or just before for your couple portraits—how your heart will melt! This is your wedding day. Make it as special as you can. You only get to do it once! So if you can get into that romantic tradition, go for it! If it’s not for you, it’s time to convince your lady how much fun you can show her the night before the big day when she’s still an unwedded bachelorette.
My partner and I were one of the 4,000 couples wed in San Francisco in February 2004. Then we were annulled by the Supreme Court of California! But not before we'd sent out wedding announcements. Now we hope to wed again, but probably not even on the same date. We do celebrate the date now. Do we send out a second announcement after our second wedding or is it better to let it slide under the radar? Nothing worse than seeming to be unable to make a marriage stick! The State has really killed the joy!
A Congrats on the longevity of your relationship! So let me see if I understand this correctly. Your 2004 marriage was legally recognized and you sent out wedding announcements after the fact. I’m guessing you didn’t throw a wedding ceremony and reception? Then the State of California retracted recognition of that marriage. Now you’re planning to travel to another state to have another legally recognized union, and you’re wondering if you should send out more announcements? Well, it depends on how you feel about your current relationship. I personally view you as already married. Historically, a marriage was bound by the vows made by the couple in question and the witnesses at the ceremony—not an embossed slip of paper bestowed upon select recipients deemed worthy by the majority of the particular country you’re in. Of course, the government eventually did get involved. But marriage can be a social contract or a legal one. So even if the government in your neck of the woods hasn’t caught up to states such as Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts in terms of marriage equality, your marriage is still valid in the eyes of society—society being your community of friends and family, our straight-but-not-narrow allies and the gay community at large.
All this to say that your affirmation to your relationship in a state that cares about marriage equality is important for many reasons, and it’s definitely something to celebrate with a party back home or just more announcements to let everyone know of this important decision you and your loved one have made. We love the wedding announcements on gay-owned online stationer Outvite.com.
But I’d suggest giving the wording a sense of tongue-in-cheek humor so the recipients understand exactly what’s taken place—that you’ve traveled to another state to have legal recognition of your marriage, not that you separated and have married once again. For example:
David and John are overjoyed to announce that they’re now legally wed in the state of Connecticut, as of June 16, 2010. They’re still happily nesting in their home at (fill in address).
My fiancé and I are getting married in a few weeks. I'm Indian, and we wanted Indian clothes for the ceremony. I went to India with my mom this past winter, and we purchased clothes for all our attendants for the ceremony. Do we still need to get our wedding party gifts, especially those who haven't really been involved much?
A I think it’s both beautiful and meaningful that you and your mother traveled to India together and purchased your wedding party’s attire there. What a personal touch to the day. I’m certain your attendants will be very touched that they don’t have to pay for the clothing, too.
However, it doesn’t save you from giving them a small token of your appreciation, because you are giving them something they are required to wear, albeit gorgeous handmade clothes from India. You don’t have to spend a lot on the wedding party gifts—especially for the people who haven’t been very involved. But these friends and family members are sacrificing their time for you, and etiquette dictates that you give them a thank you gift that doesn’t have anything to do with the wedding (which is why the clothing isn’t enough). That gift doesn’t have to cost much, if anything. It could be a framed photo of you and/or your fiancé with each person or something you’ve made, such as a small painting, a poem about friendship in your own handwriting on nice paper or a potted plant. The message of the gift is more important than the dollar value, and it should say, “I appreciate you in my life and for standing up for me on my wedding day.”
Should both brides get to wear their rings before the wedding day?
A Are you referring to the engagement ring(s)? The answer is yes, absolutely! Or do you mean the wedding bands? If you are asking about wearing wedding bands before the wedding day, traditionally they're exchanged during wedding vows and then worn forever after as a symbol of your commitment that you made to each other on your wedding day.
Many of our lesbian readers have both proposed to each other—at different times. Everyone's different though.
In the situation you're asking about, if one bride didn't get an engagement ring and instead proposed with one, but wants to wear something now to show the world she's engaged, then perhaps that's a hint that she's looking for proposal and an engagement ring, too!
I'm planning on proposing to my boyfriend, and I'm wondering how other men propose to one another? An engagement ring is really for females since they can wear an engagement and wedding ring. While I realize there are no rules, a man with two wedding bands just doesn't make sense to me. Plus, I'd rather purchase rings together (most likely matching) with my partner when we are ready to wed. So what does one propose with? Another ring? A watch? I can't seem to find anything about this online...
A Gay marriage is all about embracing who you are and who you love, which means that you should do what makes sense for you, and if that's wearing an engagement ring, a wedding band and stackable anniversary bands up to your fingernail, then by all means, feel free.
But to give you a proper answer from a man's point of view, we deferred to a groom who's recently been in your situation, Steve Schessler, who makes up half of one our Real Weddings couples in our Spring issue. Read about his and Jonathan's wedding here.
Schessler says, "For our part, I bought an engagement ring for Jonathan after some months of sideways questioning, 'So do you like something like this?' or 'Do you remember your ring size?' Not so indirect, but he somehow still wasn't thinking the proposal was on the horizon, and coming closer. In the end, the main stipulations were no stones, simple design, fairly thin band. I found the perfect one at Cartier, from their 'Love' series.
After the proposal, Jonathan decided he wanted to get an engagement ring for me as well, so we went back to Cartier and found a complementary ring from the same collection, but bigger for my larger hands.
At our wedding in Atlanta, we exchanged these same rings, and had planned to go without a band. We then were invited to participate in a No on Prop 8 fundraiser in San Francisco, where we’d already moved, for our legal California ceremony. As part of that event at the Bently Reserve, Shreve & Co. donated two bands of our choosing—and we now wear both our original engagement bands and the very thin Furrer Jacot rose-gold bands from the legal ceremony.
We have some friends who used engagement rings (with both guys always getting one eventually) and then exchanged them at their wedding as well, while we know a few other couples who did both engagement rings and wedding bands. The biggest difference, I think, is that both of the guys have the same number of rings—either one, if they re-exchange, or two, if they add bands."
We’ve invited everyone in our social circle to our wedding, except one fairly new guy who I—and my fiancé—really can’t stand. He makes mean jokes and drinks a bit too much. We don’t want him at our special event, but it’s gotten rather awkward with our friends, who don’t seem to understand and keep suggesting ways to get him invited. How can we settle everyone down and still come out looking like the good guys?
A You’re under no obligation to invite anyone you aren’t comfortable with at your wedding. Of course, sometimes you may want to keep the peace with people who really matter to you, such as your folks who may be helping foot the bill for your shindig and are insisting that their neighbors be invited. But this so-so friend of yours, or rather it seems a friend of your friends, shouldn’t get an invitation to the exclusive day of yours, and it’s your decision—no one else’s. Often times, friends who haven’t planned a wedding really have no concept of how much money, time and planning goes into the day, and that an extra eater really can raise your costs. But probably most important is that you should only invite guests who you feel a good connection with and want to bear witness to your unwavering commitment to each other for the rest of your days, and this dude clearly isn’t one of those people. Take the ring leader of your friends out to lunch and state your case without insulting the other guy. It’s always easiest to blame the budget—no one can argue that in this economy. Explain how you and your fiancé have to draw the line at some point on the guest list in order to stay within budget, and you’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t invite every Dick and Harry that you have a good time with socially. Be firm, be polite, and don’t feel like you have to apologize. This is your wedding day, and your close friends should want to support you in all your wishes.
We have a wedding website. Can we get the word out by including it on our invitation?
A It's not proper to include it on your official invitation, but you can include an enclosure card in your invitation package. Suggested wording: For more details, like maps, city highlights and hotel accommodations, please visit www.jackieandcindy.com.
My fiancée and I spent all this time registering for amazing products, but now we're not allowed to tell anyone about it. What gives?
A It's true that it's tacky to bring it up to your guests about what kind of gifts you'd like for the wedding. That's what your lovely friends, family and wedding Web site are for—to spread the word. Do keep in mind that your enclosure card in your invitation envelope shouldn't mention your registry (nor should your invitation). Keep it discreet on your Web site with a modest section for Registry. An important thing to note is that wedding gifts aren't required; only shower gifts are (because that's the purpose of a shower). So don't make your guests uncomfortable by acting like you expect gifts. Registering is merely a system of selecting items you'd love for your home as you and your partner build upon your newly committed life together, should your loved ones need suggestions. Don't worry that your guests won't find your registry. If they want to buy a gift for you, they will seek out your registry information.
I have relatives who have made it clear they're uncomfortable with me being gay. But I'm still unsure if I should invite them to my wedding. Am I being the bigger person if I send an invite? I don't want to get my feelings hurt.
A Unfortunately, being related to someone doesn't guarantee fair treatment of gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgender people. And as sad as that is, we're probably all used to it on some level or another and are constantly working to heal those wounds. Your wedding is your day to celebrate your love and commitment to each other with your family and friends—the ones who love you and believe in your love. So why would you want to invite anyone who wouldn't allow themselves to feel the love? If you want to reach out to them to see how they'd feel or behave at your wedding, give them a call and talk to them about your feelings and hesitation. And if that's a bit much for your taste, send them a wedding announcement after the big day. It requires no response, but lets them know you've taken the leap with your—gasp—gay lover.
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