Same-sex wedding planning has its own set of logistics
With more and more same-sex couples getting married these days, the traditions and rules have changed a lot. If you’re thinking about tying the knot, here’s what you need to know.
The Ceremony: What To Do
This is one of the first obstacles for many. If you’re not religious, then the answer is probably obvious. You get a justice of the peace, or JP, to do the deed. But, if you are religious, you may or may not have some trouble getting a priest to agree to a ceremony. It really depends on how progressive the church is.
You can ask a judge or JP to sanction your union, or you can contact an Ethical Humanist officiant to marry you. You can also ask a close friend or a relative to marry you. All of those options work.
Some gay couples even go so far as to have their gay wedding rings blessed. Since you’re throwing heteronormative traditions out the window, feel free to create your own traditions. This is your new life. Make the most of it.
Some basic guidelines should probably be followed, however. The ceremony itself is a binding ritual, so make sure that certain elements are in place, like witnesses, an officiant, and the marriage license. You might also want to draw up an outline if you’re not doing a traditional wedding ceremony.
Maybe you want to write your own vows, for example. Maybe you want to light a unity candle, plant a unity tree, or perform a Native American sand blending.
What You Should Wear
With a heterosexual wedding, there’s obviously the bride and groom. With a same-sex wedding, you might feel stuck for what to wear. The good news is that there aren’t really any “rules” on this. Wear whatever you want. Some lesbian couples walk down the aisle in double wedding gowns. How amazing is that?
Men often choose traditional formal wear or nice suits that they had custom made for the occasion. You can wear matching or complementary attire or wear contrasting colors to mix things up a bit. Black and white suits or dresses would be one idea. But, it doesn’t have to be quite so, well, black and white.
You could choose any color that suits your taste (pun intended for you guys).
What About A Wedding Party?
The wedding party doesn’t have to change from traditional wedding ceremonies. You can ask your close friends and family to be part of the party. You might end up with a lot of bridesmaids or a lot of groomsmen, but that’s fine.
As long as you have witnesses, and they sign the legal marriage document along with you and your spouse and the officiant, the marriage is legal.
The Reception: How To Plan It
Reception planning needs to start at least eight months in advance.
Some vendors, like photographers, need to be reserved at least a year in advance. Some of the best photographers in the marketplace need to be reserved a year out. Always check the work of anyone before you hire them. Ask about formal and informal training. New photographers try to hide their lack of formal education by telling you about the number of shoots they’ve done. This is all well and good, but experienced photographers almost always started with a formal education.
There’s an old saying among old-school photographers: You have to learn the rules before you can break them.
If your photographer majored in photography in college, and then was trained by a senior photographer afterwards before going out on his or her own, odds are the individual is worth whatever he or she is asking.
A good caterer needs to be reserved at least 6 months in advance. And, depending on your cake, you might want to sign a deal with a bakery 6 to 8 months in advance. Good caterers have a professional chef on staff, and are always flexible enough to create what you want within their area of expertise, so always ask about that.
Usually, couples focus a lot on the venue. Making sure you get a nice place is important. But, don’t let the venue overshadow the other elements of the reception. And, don’t forget to ask your vendors important questions about logistics and when final payment is due.
You don’t want any surprises on your wedding night.
Many venues have exclusive contracts or arrangements with vendors, so ask about that. If you’re forced into using a particular caterer with a venue, you’ll want to at least taste the food before you sign a deal with the venue.
Some couples want a traditional reception with a sit-down meal, dancing, and everything you see in the magazines. You can do this, but you don’t have to. You could have a more laid-back reception with a food truck, picnic style, if you wanted.
Or, consider an art gallery or cocktail party in your apartment. Whatever you choose, it’ll be fine. Relax, and enjoy your day.
Trent Anderson is the founder of Equalli.com and Anderson-Beattie.com. He has been in the gemstone and jewelry business for over 14 years, and is passionate about quality, craftsmanship, and ethical production when it comes to his jewelry. His company Equalli specializes in artisan gay and lesbian wedding and engagement rings made with natural rainbow sapphires and other rare gemstones.