As a same sex couple you will run into many bumps along the road while planning your wedding. Maybe you don't even want to call your ceremony a wedding. Particularly if same sex marriage is not legal in your state, you may want to call your ceremony a commitment ceremony or a holy union or some other symbolic name. However, no matter what you wish to call your special day the term "to wed" means to unite as a couple which is what you are planning to do.
Same sex weddings have many of the same elements as traditional heterosexual weddings. However, while there are many similarities, there will be differences as well. We are here to help you along the way to make your special day the best it can be.
Below you will find some common questions and concerns of many same sex couples.
- What is appropriate when it comes to announcing the wedding? Traditionally, you would want to tell your parents first. However, if your parents are not especially supportive of your relationship and/or a wedding, you may want to make the announcement to friends or other family members that do support your union. Once that is done, you will hopefully have the confidence needed to break the news to your parents.
- If your state does not allow or recognize same sex marriage, how can the union be made official? Almost anyone that is married will tell you that marriage is much more than just a piece of paper. There are many ways you can make your commitment "official." You can have a "relationship agreement" that spells out expectations of each partner and have it notarized, you can make a point of adding your partner's name on any medical paperwork as your "spouse," and you can make a point to include each other in your wills.
- Who can/should perform the ceremony? If same sex marriage is not legal in your state, your officiant does not have to be "official." You can even have a close friend or family member perform the ceremony. If you really want to have a religious officiant, you can contact a Universal Life, Unitarian Universalist or Metropolitan Community church. These all support same sex commitments. You can also check into religions that allow the clergy to make the decision on whether to join a same sex couple such as Buddhist, Reform Jewish and some Protestant.
- Should your vendors know you are a same sex couple? Not necessarily, but the vendors' job is not to judge. Many have encountered situations just like yours many times. If you don't feel comfortable telling your vendors, then don't. However, by letting the vendors know you are planning a same sex wedding, they may be able to offer some useful advice and possibly put a unique spin on your celebration.
- Should family and/or friends that do not accept your relationship be invited? If you wish to invite a family member or friend that is not necessarily accepting of your lifestyle, go ahead and send the invitation. At that point they can make the choice on whether to attend or not. Just keep in mind that if a person has issues with your sexuality, you probably don't want them at your celebration. Even if the person or persons in question are very special to you and you would like them to share in your happiness, if they are not accepting of your relationship, they will certainly put a damper on your special day.
- Should the actual ceremony call direct attention to your sexuality? It's really up to the couple. Many couples don't feel the need to draw special attention to their sexuality while some want to put it out there to the world that same sex unions are not generally recognized. What is most important is that your ceremony should reflect your commitment to one another and you should include anything you feel may be relevant to your particular situation and/or beliefs.
- How should the ceremony proceed? The ceremony can be exactly like any other traditional wedding or it can be uniquely yours. Your vows can be very similar to traditional vows or you can write your own. Ultimately, it is your day. Make it exactly the way you think it should be.
- How should the processional go? Of course, there is the tradition of the father walking the bride down the aisle. However, that just doesn't work in a same sex ceremony. There are many different options, however, to deal with the processional. The couple can walk down the aisle together, one partner can wait at the end of the aisle while the other is escorted by a person of their choosing or both partners can enter from either side and meet in the middle. Do what feels right to you.
- What should the couple wear? Again, whatever you feel is right. Some women choose to both wear wedding gowns while others choose to have one partner in a wedding gown and the other in a "tuxeda." Many men choose to wear matching or coordinating tuxedos or nice suits while other couples just choose casual outfits that complement each other.
- Who pays for what part of the wedding and reception? Your sexuality makes no difference in this instance. This is an issue that all couples face and should be addressed prior to any wedding planning. You will need to set your wedding budget and figure out who is paying for what PRIOR TO any actual wedding planning.
- What should I call my new husband/wife? The answer is, whatever you feel comfortable with. You may refer to your partner as your husband or wife, your spouse, your soul mate, significant other...the list just goes on. However, you may want to choose a term that will reflect this step you have taken in making your relationship permanent.
- Should you change your name? Once again, this is totally up to you. Some couples choose to keep their original last names. Others will choose to have one partner change their name. A good thing about same sex marriages is that you can choose which last name you prefer (or the one easiest to spell). You can also choose to hyphenate your names or even choose a whole new last name.
Ultimately, your celebration can be anything you want it to be. You can have groomsmen, bridesmaids and flower girls if you want. Enjoy the planning process, shop for bridesmaids dresses, have a rehearsal dinner and wedding shower. Do anything that feels right to you as a couple and enjoy your special day!
Tags: same sex weddings, wedding gowns, mother of the bride, bridal party, wedding officiants