As same sex couples are now legally allowed to wed, many straight people are wondering what these weddings will look like, what it will mean for the wedding industry as a whole, and what the proper ettiquette is when attending a same sex wedding. I've compiled a list of questions that people have presented me with and have answered them in the best way I can.
Q: Who will walk down the aisle? will both (man/man or woman/woman) walk together? And if not, who will be accompaning them if not their father?
A: First off, it is very important to remember that a same sex wedding is not going to be much different than a straight one. In both gay and straight weddings, the couple customizes their wedding to their preferences. They can choose to walk down together, seperately, with both sets of parents, or with one parent. Whatever is most meaningful to them.
Q: Will we see less destination weddings?
A: Often, gay couples aloped because they want to be married and it wasn't legal where they lived. But I do not feel the recent legalization will affect the number of destination weddings at all. Destination weddings are beautiful and in some cases cheaper than a large wedding at home. For these reasons, more couples are choosing destination weddings than years past. Destination weddings should still be going strong. However, you will certainly be seeing more same sex weddings happening in general, a lot of which will be held in the states because of the legalization.
Q: Do you think weddings will be more or less traditional?
A: Many couples say they want a "traditional" wedding. But the definition of a traditional wedding has changed many times over the decades. Normally what they mean when they say this, is that they'd like to use the basic "wedding template" that guests are used to seeing, but want to incorporate their own unique and new ideas to it. This wedding template for a ceremony usually consists of Father walking daughter down the aisle, a unity ceremony, vows, pronouncement, and recessional. But then different personalized elements come into play. (The father may not be living and so the bride walks with her mother, instead of lighting of the unity candles they couple chooses to do a sand ceremony, instead of recited vows, they read their own. etc.) So while it can still be consdiered a "Traditional style wedding" it is also very "untraditional". Our society is constantly changing tradition to make new tradition. I feel this will be no different for same sex weddings. They can keep some elements and incorporate their own. They can shape the future of tradition.
Q: What first Dances will occur?
A: Same sex couples may choose to dance together or not at all. In regards to Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dances, They can choose to still have them at the same time, or individually, or not at all. Same as straight couples.
Q: Who takes who's last name? Or do they stay the same?
A: Same sex couples will have the same options as straight couples regarding name change. They can choose to take one or the other's last name, or hyphinate.
Q: Will they have traditional wedding parties? Like Bridesmaids and Groomsmen?
A: They will chooseweding parties the same way anyone else does. Likely wedding parties will be composed of close family and friends. A difference you may see however, is more of a mixing of the parties at the alter, rather than the seperation of girls and guys.
Q: Who Pays for the wedding if traditionally the bride's parents would?
A: Weddings now a days are WAY more expensive than they were in the past. The idea that the bride's parents are solely responsible for the cost of the wedding is no longer a reasonable expectation. In this day of age, a straight couple should be able to rely on the support of BOTH families to share the cost of a wedding, or often the couple foots the bill if the families are not contributing financially. Same sex weddings will be no different.
Q: If there is a wedding shower, or bachlorette/bachleor party, is it joint?
A: They absolutely could be! Many straight couples do the same thing. Parties shared with couples are often the most fun!
Q: What are your thoughts when people use the argument that marriage is for one man-one woman
A: I do not seek to change the way people are or what they believe. That is what makes them, them. My opinion is my own, but since I was asked; I strongly believe that marriage is so much more than a wedding. It is a commitment to another person. To love them, honor them, respect them, and be loyal to them for the rest of time. If a man gives their heart and life to a woman with the same sincerity, honesty, and love as a man does to another man or a woman to another woman, then the foundation is the same. They will face the same struggles, fears, achievements, joys, and tears as any marriage. They will grow together, and apart, and back together the same as any individual will. I feel it is unfair to deny anyone of that experience or assume I know more of someone's emotions and feelings than they do.
Q: What do you suggest if a couple has a religious background
A: Many same sex couples are indeed religious. Likewise, there are many churches out there that are open to them. One of my favorite places to find support for same sex couples is Inclusive Life Center in Omaha. They have a wonderful chaplian, Daniel Bush, there. There are also many non-denominational officiants who can create a wedding ceremony that fits the religious needs of all people. I have a liscense to perform such ceremonies by Universal Life Church Monastary. Susie Joyce with Beyond Illusion is a wonderful officiant as well. There are many couples who's religious beliefs differ than that of their spouses. For example, A Hindu bride joining together with a Jewish groom. Or a Catholic bride joining to an athiest groom. When the respect is there for the other person and their beliefs, That they will love and honor them despite their differences, that can make a strong relationship even stronger. The goal is to find someone who is the right fit for you and your future.
Q: I've been invited to attend a gay wedding. What is the proper ettiquette?
A: As a guest at a gay wedding, you will behave no differently than you would at a straight wedding. You have been asked to attend because you are a dear friend or family member of the couple and they want you to be included in their celebration. Have Fun!
Q: How can you make sure the wedding vendors support gay marriage?
A: LGBTQ friendly businesses will usually have some sort of signage or indications on their business, website, or social media pages that they support all couples. They may look like any of the symbols below.
If you're looking for wedding bands, the best place to purchase your bands from is Equalli. Not only do they provide gorgeous pieces and exceptional quality of fine jewelry for every budget, their belief in 'equality for all' is the foundation of their business.
Another way to know if a business is LGBTQ supportive is to contact a wedding coordinator and they will be able to give recommendations for wonderful vendors that will work with their style and budget. If all else fails, you can always simply ask the vendor you are interviewing.
So while its anticipated that wedding vendors should be seeing a spike in weddings and therefore business, the overall feel of the wedding is not expected to change much from a straight wedding versus a gay one. Whether you are planning a gay wedding or a straight wedding; HAPPY PLANNING!