When it comes to presentation, the little things at your wedding make all the difference. And sometimes you have a vision that doesn’t exactly go to plan. Two points of advice are here strictly to help and learn from our own experience so yours is the best it can be.

Think about the size of your cake topper

To ring in 2019, my fiancé-at-the-time, Matt and I decided to take a small spur of the moment getaway to gay-inviting Kingston, New York. Although we actually didn’t know it at the time, this locale in the Catskill region boasts a few gay bars and even has a crosswalk adorned with the colors of the Pride flag on both sides of the street in one direction and the colors of the trans flag on both sides going in the other direction.

We stopped in at Exit 19, a home furnishings store in one of the main shopping sections of Kingston. There, we saw a mug with a blue sketch of two grooms, one of whom had a word bubble that reads, “I do” emerging from his mouth. As we both love coffee, how neat and different we thought it would be to have that as a cake topper. It was a great looking mug that provided a touch of us. Check that one off the list!

Did you know that a ceramic mug could tilt a cake? We didn’t either, but as we know now, and as no one could foresee, it can. All of this to say, do find something that matches your interests or your vision but don’t use a cake topper of any significantly measurable weight no matter how light you think it is. Bless those guests who brought it to our attention when they noticed it too.

Photo by Kevin Markland of Markland Photography


Prepare for last-minute changes

If you experience even an inkling of a sudden change of heart about anything, acknowledge and respond. You’ll likely thank yourself.

Two weeks before the wedding, we were getting some shopping done at a major mall in the area when Matt asked to stop at a jewelry store. This being totally unlike him, I obliged but also asked him what we were doing.

“I don’t think I like my ring.”

You mean the one we bought seven months prior that he was totally thrilled with at the time? Yep. That one.

Oh. Okay.

Walking off the surprise I felt, we headed to the jewelry store up ahead and did some eleventh-hour wedding band shopping. To Matt’s credit, we were in and out of that shop in thirty minutes with a brand-new ring made of alternative metal and he was visibly relieved upon payment. Fast forward to nearly five months after the wedding, he rarely takes it off and has gotten quite a few compliments on it. Although uncomfortable at the time, speaking up paid off.

In a similar line of events, we had readings all lined up to be said aloud during our ceremony. As a way to pay tribute to traditions of growing up and to older members of my family who like this reading, I initially felt strongly about including the Bible verse “Love is Kind” from the first book of Corinthians.

About eight days before the wedding, I had a personal moment of clarity. For a whole myriad of reasons, this was so not what I wanted. Feeling like it was a rather petty problem during crunch time, I approached Matt. Shaking off his own surprise, we then spent the remainder of that afternoon and all of the following morning scouring the internet for an appropriate replacement.

The website poetryfoundation.org was a wonderful resource that provides collections of poems on specific subjects, including one that’s even comprised of gay and lesbian wedding poems. Through this site, we discovered that Maya Angelou’s poem, “Touched By an Angel,” lends itself beautifully to the experience of growth and finding love as a once-closeted LGBTQ+ person (even if the title feels a little bit Lifetime Movie Network). In the end, even if for nobody else other than us, I am really glad I acted on that voice in my head.

The point here is to (and I can’t stress this enough) listen to your gut. Do so in every situation in this wedding planning process. Don’t commit to that vendor whose vibe rubs you the wrong way during their sales pitch just because their cost is low. Do negotiate with your caterer to make sure you’re getting the best in terms of food options for the guests whose tastes and traditions they do not know but you do. Don’t discard any voice in your head about any change you want to make no matter how close to the big day you actually are. You will not regret that!

William Travers (pen name) and his husband Matthew were married at The Piermont in Babylon, New York, in August 2019. At that point, they had been together for nearly five years. William is a public school teacher on Long Island, and Matthew works at a nearby university. Together they blissfully enjoy shared interests in television, travel and food.