Planning a major event such as a gay wedding means juggling a million little details while still keeping your eye on the big picture. It’s no easy task and planning a gay wedding present certain unique issues which should be considered carefully. While most of the issues in planning a gay wedding don’t differ from that of any other marriage celebration, there are some things which require a bit of special attention.
Starting your Happily Ever After
Matching Outfits – Yay or Nay?
Perhaps the most well-known issue for same sex weddings is the clothing you’ll both wear. Whether the couple is made of two men or two women, there are choices well beyond the traditional for everyone. Some women choose to wear matching or complimentary dresses or suits while others have one woman in a dress and the other in a tux. Men can also opt for matching or complimentary tuxedos or suits and, of course, there are always couples who opt to depart from the traditional look entirely.
At the end of the day, your wedding should be a reflection of you. If you have a theme for your wedding, choose outfits that fit in and, if not, simply choose clothes you’re comfortable in and that make you feel good to wear. That can mean just about anything depending on the person, so sit down as a couple to discuss what works for you both.
Make your seating chart simple and easy to follow
Another issue for any wedding is, of course, seating arrangements. For a same-sex couple, this may mean taking into account the political, religious and personal views of their guests. Many same-sex couples find they have a diverse set of friends and family so seating arrangements can be a challenge.
Sort out the people you know you shouldn’t seat together. If your Aunt Kathy is a devout Jehovah’s Witness, it’s probably best not to seat her next to your cousin Tammy who just got became a Wiccan. Similarly, transgendered friends and family may be more comfortable sitting at a table with at least one other trans person or, at the very least, a table free of Republicans.
Assign seating by informing guests which table to use, but not which seat. This allows for some extra freedom for guests and also prevents you from coming off as the seating police. Begin planning your seating arrangements once you have a full guest list and then tweak the plans as RSVPs come in. Leaving it until people have responded will make the task overwhelming.
What’s a wedding without the rings, right? LGBT couples used to have to cobble together wedding sets from disparate rings but today, couples can easily find gay friendly wedding ring sets as well as LGBT inspired jewelry from which to create their own special set. Best of all, these LGBT inspired creations aren’t separated by gender – there are no specific rings for men or women – it’s all about finding the style that truly reflects you and the love you share. Whether that means rings emblazoned with rainbow pride, rings that embrace the strength of LGBT history or gay wedding rings that simply dazzle the eye, there’s something for everyone now.
Names, Phrases and Special Wording
As you both stand in front of your family and friends, you’ll pledge your love to each other through vows and other symbolic phrases. Will you promise to love, cherish, honor and obey or will you pledge to stay on equal footing, help each other and always provide insight and advice? Will you call each other husband or wife or will you opt for partners?
Run through the service options you have and decide not only on whether or not you’ll write your vows yourself, but also how your officiant will word the service. There are dozens of different scripts to choose from and it’s easy to use one as a foundation and then customize it or to read through them for inspiration then create your own.
The Procession and Wedding Party
Speaking of customizing your service, it’s also important to consider your wedding procession and the wedding party, if you choose to have one. There’s nothing wrong with carrying on the traditional option of each person having their own party (Best Man, Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, etc) or sharing a single party or even doing away with it all together.
With or without a wedding party, you each still need to walk down the aisle. This can be done together to show your union right from the start or you can come in separately. Again, this is a personal choice and there’s really no wrong way to do it. Some couples want to be given away by their parents or other meaningful adult while others choose to make the walk arm in arm.
Last, but certainly not least, there are your guests. When inviting people from out of town, include a list of LGBT friendly hotels, bars and other businesses which can make them feel at home. If you have a break between your service and your reception, include local spots of area interest for all our guests so they have some options and don’t find themselves twiddling their thumbs waiting while you’re having your photos taken.
Also keep in mind that for some guests, this will be their first experience with a same-sex marriage. Take some of the worry out of the experience by offering clear instructions on things like seating for the ceremony (will you separate guests based on who’s here for one bride versus the other?) and providing guests with a service program so they know what to expect.