18 January 2023
Same-sex marriage isn’t any less valid than a traditional one because they’re both legally-recognized unions between two people who are generally sharing an intimate relationship. Both kinds of marriage have couples declare their love for each other and their intention of staying married forever.
That said, weddings, in general, are unique events with their own challenges. Those planning a same-sex wedding might need to take into account a few things that will make their wedding a little different from a straight one.
Similar to traditional marriage, same-sex couples can get married legally by a judge, mayor, or clergyman — but only in some states. In other states, civil unions or domestic partnerships are the only forms of marriage allowed. Check with your local officials about the laws in your state, or consult a lawyer to learn about your options.
The majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, and many states allow same-sex couples to marry legally. Most businesses are willing to serve gay clients, and most vendors won’t turn them away just because of sexual orientation.
However, there are still some who refuse to serve those in the LGBTQ community. These vendors may refuse service because of religious beliefs, fear of losing other valued customers, or they just simply dislike the LGBTQ community. There are lots of LGBTQ-friendly vendors to choose from, so there is no reason you need to waste your time on a vendor who isn’t LGBTQ-friendly and happy to serve you.
The Wedding Attire
Wedding attire decisions are often the hardest part of planning a wedding — simply because there are no rules. There are many types of formal wear available for same-sex weddings. Brides can choose between traditional dresses and suits, while grooms can wear a suit or tuxedo or even a dress (it’s your day and your call.) Every gender can wear any kind of clothing they want.
At the end of the day, you and your partner should feel free to wear whatever makes you feel happy and confident.
The Guest List
The guest list is always an important part of any wedding, and if you’re having a same-sex wedding, you’ll want to think twice before inviting friends and family who aren’t on board with your relationship. It’s best not to invite anyone who might make things awkward or uncomfortable. If your relatives don’t approve of your sexual orientation, having them there may be difficult.
On the bright side, leaving those relatives off the guest list will free up some space for the people who do approve and who are probably the ones you want there anyway.
Every couple customizes their wedding based on their preferences, whether gay or straight. You can choose to walk down together, separately, with both sets of parents, or with just one set of parents. It’s your call. Do what is most meaningful to you. Make sure to let your officiant know how you plan to do it so he or she will know when to tell guests to rise (before the first partner walks in, before the second, or at some other time).
The First Dance
One of the most stressful parts of a wedding reception is planning the first dance as a couple. Because couples get to do it only once, it has to be done perfectly. Just as significant as the dance steps, you shouldn’t leave the first dance music selection to the last minute. Instead of using classic, hetero- love songs, consider finding gay wedding songs that will suit your individual gender identities.
The best wedding images should tell a story of their own. However, traditional wedding photo poses don’t always work for same-sex couples — the lift, the piggyback, the dip, etc. Your photographer should plan your poses with you to make sure that you and your partner will both feel comfortable so your personalities and love for each other can shine through.
The Last Name
In the United States, same-sex couples have the exact same rights as opposite-sex couples when it comes to choosing a last name upon marriage. They can combine both last names, take their partner’s last name, create a new name, or not change their names at all. It all depends on the couple’s preferences.
In some cases, both partners may wish to maintain their own last names, so they go with the hyphenated last name. Some people choose to share both last names for legal validation, such as in case of an emergency. Choose whatever name you want, and remember that you don’t need to explain your choice to anyone.
In the end, no matter how you choose your wedding to be, the most important thing is the commitment you share with your partner. You’ve chosen to spend the rest of your lives together, and you’ll never forget the day you both said “I do.” Remember, your wedding should be one of the happiest days of your lives, so make it yours by letting your personalities and your relationship shine through.
How unique is your wedding, and how do you find it different from a traditional, straight wedding? Share your wedding stories with us at [email protected] and we’ll help you inspire others by sharing them with our community.