Same-sex weddings – the difference is in the details
Every wedding is different, and there’s not much difference between wedding planning whether you are gay or straight. The essence of every wedding is the same – two people professing their devotion to each other.
The big day is about the two people getting married and the wedding is as different as those two peopl. Their personalities and styles radiate in everything from the invitations to the last dance. The venue, decorations, food, music and array of elements that fashion a wedding aren’t often obviously gay or straight.
The parts that spotlight traditional gender roles, however, are a glitch for gay couples. These show up on invitations with the prefix Mr. or Ms., on bride and groom wedding favors and in the proclamation of the vows “I now pronounce you man and wife.”
To put these hot topics on ice, several leading wedding websites, like The Knot, Brides.com and Martha Stewart Weddings, have added same-sex marriages into their newsfeed. There are also sites dedicated to same-sex weddings, such as engaygedweddings.com, gay.weddings.com, out.com and equallywed.com.
As traditional weddings become less common, couples that are gay or straight have similar uncertainties navigating these uncharted waters. Here are a few insights:
Who pays for the wedding?
Traditionally, the bride’s family paid for everything ceremony and reception related and the groom’s family paid for the rehearsal dinner and honeymoon. More often, many couples are covering expenses themselves, with the parents offering gifts where they can. An open conversation with the parents can allow each party to contribute equally or to the part of the celebration they most enjoy.
How do we walk down the aisle?
The symbolic gesture of the bride’s father giving away his daughter is as outdated as an arranged marriage. The processional order can be a hang-up for some couples but there are a number of solutions.
You can meet at the top of the aisle and walk down hand in hand or walk behind one other with your respective parents.
If the venue has enough space you can also have dual aisles to walk towards the altar together.
Who takes whose last name?
Ultimately, there is no wrong answer here. Within the regulations of each state, it is the personal decision of the couple. Many couples with children will hyphenate their names together, or one partner will take the name of the other with legal custody. This can make it simpler for schools and medical institutions to understand the family relationship.
Perhaps the biggest question that all couples must conquer is what do I wear???
The traditional, formal apparel of a white dress and black tux is paramount at the wedding altar. If you want to stay classic, there is still a way to do this without one of you dressing in drag.
A good place to start is with what you already like. Choose an outfit that fits well and looks sharp. Wear this outfit when you’re shopping for your wedding attire and compare the fit to what you want to wear at your wedding.
Ask your partner what they love to see you in or ask a friend whose style you regard to help you narrow down your choices. Remember though, this is a special occasion and wearing your favorite outfit may not fit the bill for the style of your special day. In this case, it’s important to stay open minded and try on outfits that you may not expect to work.
For the ladies, the acclaimed wedding of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi is a spectacle to emulate, with one bride in a wedding gown and the other bride in a white linen suit.
Many national retailers, including New York & Company, Express, J.Crew, The Limited, Banana Republic and Calvin Kline, have wear-to-work separates that can create a polished look. Try pairing straight-leg slack and a ¾ sleeve jacket with a cowl-neck blouse or an embellished tank top.
You can also get the look of a tailored suit by altering a men’s slim fit suit. Vintage-era suits were constructed with a more tailored fit and are similar to the body shape of today’s slender, hip woman.
You may think the gay groomsmen is easier to suit up, but that simplicity can lend to more difficult decisions. A big question is “How can we complement each other without wearing the same suit or color?'” By finding the similarities in style to define the overall look, you can highlight your differences in the subtle details.
Carrying on the tradition of white-and-black weddings, one groom could be clad in a light-colored suit and the other in dark-colored suit.
One groom may wear a bowtie and the other wear suit tie. The grooms could also wear the same colored shirt but with different styled lapels.
Just like many of the decisions made when planning a wedding, it’s a good idea to start with one ‘something special’ – a necklace or a cufflink – and build off of that sentimental inspiration.