Same Sex Weddings - Common Questions and Answers on Planning a Gay Wedding
By Cori Russell
Your relationship may be unconventional, but the premise is still the same: your wedding should be a distinctive expression and celebration of
your love for each other. However, certain questions arise when planning a same sex wedding that don't necessarily apply to heterosexual weddings - and that's
where this guide comes in. Here are thirteen common questions gay couples face when planning a wedding and some useful insight on how to answer
them.Is the term "wedding" appropriate for gay couples?
The term "wedding" is not exclusive to heterosexual couples. But
maybe you don't want to call it that if same-sex marriages are not legal in your state or if it is not an accurate reflection of your experience together. Perhaps you
prefer to call it a commitment ceremony, a holy union, a rite of blessing, or another sentimental phrase. Call it what you want, but "to wed" is to unite as a couple, and
that is exactly what you plan to do.What is an appropriate way to make an announcement?
While tradition dictates telling your
parents before anyone else - who you tell first depends on who is the most supportive of your relationship. If your folks have been anything but encouraging, you may
prefer telling your closest friends first to gain the confidence you may need to break the news to your parents.If same-sex marriage is not legal in
your state, how else can you make it official?
Marriage is more than just a piece of paper. Marriage involves commitment, compromise, even a joint
checking account. Aside from that, you may want to write up a relationship agreement that outlines your emotional expectations to each other and have it notarized,
listing your partner's name on medical paperwork as your spouse, and including each other in your wills.Who should marry you?
same-sex marriage is not legal in your state, then your officiant need not be "official." A judge or a justice of the peace can consent your union symbolically, or a
close friend or family member can do the honor. If you so wish, a man or woman of the cloth can also speak at your ceremony.Is it necessary to let
wedding vendors know that you are a same-sex couple?
It's not necessarily if you don't feel com comfortable, but rest assured that vendors are not
hired to judge you. In fact, letting them know of your unique situation may enable them to infuse creativity into your celebration. You aren't the first couple to plan this
type of event, so your vendors may have some good ideas from other gay weddings.If friends or family members are not accepting of your
relationship, should you invite them to your celebration?
If you really think this person will be uncom comfortable attending, send an invite anyway and let
him or her make the final decision. When it comes down to it, some people may surprise you. Just remind yourself that someone who does not want to attend
because they have a problem with your sexuality is probably not someone you want there to celebrate with you.Should your ceremony deal directly
with your sexuality?
Some couples don't feel it is necessary to draw attention to their sexuality, while others want to call out the fact that same-sex
weddings are not readily recognized. Ultimately your ceremony should reflect the way you feel about each other, and should speak to why your lives will now be
joined in marriage. Include whatever you feel is relevant for your situation and beliefs.What should take place at the ceremony?
There is no set formula for any wedding ceremony, but there are a few key components that should/could take place: the greeting ("we are
gathered here today"), vows, ring exchange, readings, and the pronouncement of marriage, sealed with a kiss. But this is your day, so do what your hearts' desire to
make it personal.How should the processional be arranged?
It is a time-honored tradition for the bride's father to walk her down
the aisle. But what do you do when there are two brides or two grooms? There are a number of options: One partner can wait at the end of the aisle while the other
walks or is escorted down, you can walk down together, or you can create a seating arrangement with two aisles that convene at the altar. Do whatever is most
com comfortable for both of you.What should you wear?
Wear anything that speaks to your style. Women may choose to don the
traditional gowns and veils, but if frills and lace aren't your thing, another style of dress or even a pant suit will do. Men can wear tuxedos or a nice suit purchased
especially for this occasion. You may choose to wear matching attire or separate outfits to complement your individual style.Who pays for what?
No matter your sexuality, this will always be an issue. But before you book a site and start sending out save-the-dates, check with any possible
contributing parties to figure out who can afford what. Maybe your parents will be willing to chip in for a certain portion of the wedding, or maybe not. This is the case
with all marriages - gay or straight. It is important to have this conversation at the beginning of the planning process before you get too deep into the planning
process. Our com complete budgeting guide offers more advice on setting your wedding budget.How should you address your new husband/wife?
While there is no unvarying term to describe your same-sex spouse, there are a few standbys that encompass the legitimacy and intimacy of your
relationship. Say whatever is most com comfortable for you, whether it is husband/wife, spouse, life partner, significant other, companion, or soul mate. Just choose a term
that reflects that a new step has been taken in your relationship, and understand that it is okay to adjust his or her title depending on the circumstances of the
conversation.Should you change your name?
Again, changing your name is com completely optional and up to you. If you feel a
name change is a preferable way to establish your new union, then go for it. Lucky for you, you can choose the better of the two names (or the one that is easiest to
spell and pronounce!). You could also hyphenate both of your last names or even come up with a totally different last name for the both of you to take. Get deeper
insight into the various
elegala go/ideas_advice/for/married_or_maiden_name_behind_the_last_name_changelast name change options and implications
Cori Russell is editor for elegala Elegala and Gala Weddings Magazine. Elegala is a comprehensive wedding planning
resource with a national directory of wedding venues and services, along with articles, expert advice, checklists and photo galleries to lead brides through every step
of the planning process.
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