What can be said about our fabulous Invitations by R Squared team, other than they all LOVE love, and absolutely adore every wedding they hear about – even our more non-traditional team members. The marriage equality ruling in the United States, finally, brought forth the statement that love really knows no boundaries, and everyone is entitled to their “happily ever after.”
With every wedding being altogether unique, it’s entirely up to each couple to interpret – or re-interpret, as the case may be – the traditions of marriage to suit their celebration. But if you are running into challenges in planning your big day, these answers to common questions we have received regarding LGBTQ weddings will be sure to help.
When there aren’t traditional bride-groom roles in a same-sex wedding, how do couples decide whose parents pay for what? This is a question almost every couple faces, not just gay ones. That’s because the age-old custom of dividing the costs between the bride’s family (who traditionally paid for everything reception-related) and the groom’s (who covered the rehearsal dinner and honeymoon) is just that: ancient.
Today, many couples of all persuasions are paying their own way to their destination wedding. In fact, a recent survey by the Gay Wedding Institute found that over 80 percent of gay men finance the day and over 70 percent of lesbians do. Still, paying for the wedding usually comes down to who can afford it, and it’s always fabulous when parents want to help with this. As for who covers what, you can split the costs three ways (your parents, your fiancé’s parents, the two of you), or ask each side what they’re most excited about, whether it’s the food, the music, or the atmosphere, and have them invest their money there.
There are tons of vendors out there, and – unfortunately – not all of them are friendly towards an LGBTQ destination wedding. LBGT couples will want to avoid working with people who will make them feel uncomfortable. What’s a good way to make sure vendors are okay doing a gay wedding? Start by browsing the vendor listings on dedicated same-sex wedding directories (engaygedweddings.com and gayweddings.com are two very nice ones), which break down gay-friendly services by state. Not all of the vendors will use LGBTQQ-inclusive language, but all have agreed to advertise on these same-sex wedding sites, so you can be sure they’re on board.
If you’re still having trouble finding a caterer, photographer, florist, or other vendor that reflects your vision, you can go the mainstream route. Once you see someone’s work that speaks to your soul, simply let them know yours is a gay wedding and ask them directly if they’re cool with that.
Some LGBTQQ couples have extended family, on one side or the other (sometimes both), who have made it clear that they won’t attend the wedding. It’s sad, but it happens. One bride’s mother insisted that all family members must be invited regardless. Do couples have to invite unsupportive family members just because one of their parents say so? Well … you can’t please all of the people all of the time. If you two cave in to Mom’s wishes, you’re compromising your own; stay true to yourself, and Mom and Dad will be the miffed ones. Neither is an enviable situation, but to be the most diplomatic about it, follow the who’s-paying-for-what rule. If your parents are footing the majority of the wedding bills, keep the peace and invite Uncle Roger, even if he’s made his anti-gay-marriage views known in the past. (On the plus side, someone that unsupportive probably won’t show up anyway!)
If you and your partner are paying for the day, stick to your guns, explaining to your folks that, in your heart of hearts, you simply aren’t comfortable asking unsupportive people to bear witness to your special day. As your parents, they ultimately just want you to be happy.
Some LGBTQQ couples are having trouble deciding on the wedding procession order. How do you navigate this when there is no bride? Or two brides? The team checked in with several LGBTQQ wedding professionals to get their take on things … Couples of every orientation have been bending the rules to customize their ceremonies so feel free to take a route less traveled to the altar. You can ask a person of mutual importance to escort the two of you on each arm. Or walk one behind the other with your respective parents, though you’ll still have to figure out who goes first (flip a coin? rock-paper-scissors?). If neither one of you is being “given away,” proceed hand-in-hand.
You’re having a fab lesbian destination wedding in Hawaii. The wedding party on both sides is decidedly co-ed. How do you refer to the men standing up for the gender-specific couple? We say: Give your wedding party any label you like; it’s your day, after all, and you can be as traditional or nontraditional as you want. They could be your “bridesmen” or “men-of-honor.” Likewise, grooms may appoint “groomswomen” or “best women.” Or, choose a completely genderless term, such as “attendants” or “party people.”
Some couples plan smaller civil ceremonies in one location, but have the real party at a destination wedding location. A number of these couples are concerned that, after the civil ceremony, another ceremony might feel less than genuine. A ceremony and reception don’t have to occur back-to-back in order for your day to feel like the “big” one. Plan your party as you would if it immediately followed the civil ceremony but with additional sentimental touches.
For example, decorate the venue with images from your civil ceremony to let guests share in your first memories as a married pair. You can create a photo wall of framed shots, display pictures on your guest book station, or arrange a few images among the centerpieces at each table. You could even roll a brief slideshow during cocktail hour complete with pictures, video clips (filmed by a friend or professional), and audio from either the ceremony itself or you and your partner’s reactions after exchanging I do’s.
If your reception will take place months after you become official, consider enclosing an image from the civil ceremony in the mailed envelope. You can also pen a few lines on what the day meant to the both of you to display in an additional enclosure or on your website. Most important, remember that loved ones are grateful for any amount of time they can spend with you to celebrate your happy occasion and are not keeping tabs on what events went missing.
We know that your special day is going to be the most magical and memorable ever. When it’s time to start looking at stationery packages, drop by the store and take a look at the fabulous same-sex stationery suites there. Getting stuck? The team has assembled some really incredible inspiration boards over here at Pinterest. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call for a consultation with the fabulous Fran. We’re here to help, and we want to be there to help make your special day the best ever!