As same-sex marriage becomes legalized in more states throughout America, more same-sex couples are finally having the opportunity to celebrate their relationship and make it official. Until same-sex marriage becomes more prevalent though, there are some unique hurdles and questions that same-sex couples need to consider while planning their wedding day and many ways in which hiring a wedding planner can help streamline this process and make it the day you’ve both dreamed of.
Deciding on Who to Invite & Creating Invitations:
While preparing your guest list for a same-sex wedding, one very important question should be asked with each person you consider inviting, are they supporters of not only your relationship, but also supporters of same-sex marriage? If you don’t feel as though they are supporters, don’t feel obligated to invite them, even if they are family or close friends. Your wedding day should be a joyous day and the last thing you want are guests there that could dampen the mood or make you feel uncomfortable about your relationship.
Creating an invitation and wording a same-sex marriage invitation can also be something that we as wedding planners can help produce. If both sets of parents are involved you can phrase like “together with their families, ____&____ invite you”. If one or neither set of parents are not involved with the wedding, you will want to alter some traditional wedding invitation formats to suit your needs. Instead you may want to take out the families and simply say “____&____ invite you”. You may also want to take the fun route and include phrases like “it’s finally happening!” (if you have been a same-sex couple that has been together for years and is not having the opportunity to get married), or phrases like “we’re getting hyphenated”.
Choosing Your Vendors & Vendor Research:
Finding “gay-friendly” vendors is also another element that needs to be considered. Unfortunately, in those states where same-sex marriage is not legal, there are also no anti-discrimination laws regarding same-sex couples. Meaning that a vendor may refuse services to a same-sex couple legally. Though it is sad to say that this is the truth, more than anything same-sex couples should want to work with a vendor that embraces their relationship, who understands their relationship and who will also help them capture their personalities throughout the event. One tip as you are searching for vendors is to have both partners attend all vendor meetings together, making it clear to the vendor and if they choose to not take your business, then it’s their loss and you should be happy to take your money elsewhere.
This is where having a wedding coordinator can also come in handy. We can do the preliminary work for you and find vendors who have worked with same-sex couples before or vendors who are open to the opportunity or even businesses whose owners may be gay themselves and understand the process you are going through. First and foremost, you should be comfortable with the professionals who will be working with you on your wedding day.
Financing Your Wedding & Creating a Budget:
Many same-sex couples may also face different financial issues regarding their wedding. If only one set or neither set of parents is supportive of the marriage, they may not receive any financial help from their family, leaving them with the burden of paying for the entire event. Secondly, since same-sex marriage is only beginning to become legal in certain states, a couple might not have been “saving” for a wedding and this additional cost could come unexpected.
Creating a budget and helping you stick to it, is something that wedding planners help with. Having someone who knows how to get the most for your money can allow you to have the wedding of your dreams while sticking to an affordable price point. By going through what is and isn’t important to you, helping you choose vendors in your price point, and determine what you can DIY, wedding planners can help you keep your budget on track.
Choosing What to Wear:
Depending on the couple and preference of each partner, there are many options regarding what to wear on your wedding day. First and foremost, think about what you will be most comfortable in and what you will feel most yourself in.
Two Males: Will you wear the same suit or different suits? Might one partner wear a black suit and one in a white suit? Is one wearing a tie and one a bow tie? Do you both want to wear boutonnieres?
Two Females: Will you both wear dresses? Will you both wear suits or “tuxedas”, tuxedos made for women? Will one wear a dress and one wear a suit? Will the partner in the suit wear a white or black suit? Will you both be carrying a bouquet, or will one of you?
Should You Have a Bridal Party?:
If you want to, of course! Don’t feel tied into having a best man or a maid of honor or even calling them bridesmaids or groomsmen. They can simply be your “bridal party” or you can even have a best woman or man of honor, if you want some of your best friends or family a part of your wedding, then ask them! Your friends will be supportive and participate in whatever way you want, no matter how you label them.
Ceremony Logistics & Having a Coordinator:
Though most same-sex marriages are not yet allowed to take place in churches, same-sex couples can still add religious elements to their ceremony if they wish. There are also plenty of other ceremonial elements that can join the two together like a unity candle or sand ceremony ceremony. You may also want to include readings that are important to you or that speak to your same-sex union. Other questions that might arise are whether or not both sets of parents will have a special part of your wedding ceremony and what other family will be participating supporters.
Having a wedding coordinator help with your ceremony logistics is also a key aspect that can make your wedding day stress free. From the start, we can help find you a judge or non-denominational wedding officiant that can craft the ceremony you are looking for. We can also brainstorm logistics for the ceremony including how you will walk down the aisle; will both partners be walking down the aisle together or with both be escorted by their parents? What about having two aisles instead of one if your venue setup allows? We can help you think outside the box on how to make the ceremony itself fit for you.
Don’t Be Traditional, We Can Help Make It Fun:
If you opt to not include some of the more traditional wedding elements like cake cutting, parent dances, bouquet and garter toss, you should still incorporate elements that can keep the evening flowing and the guests having fun. Depending on your personality you may want to have other forms of entertainment like photobooths, burlesque dancers, or even drag queens if that’s your style.
As wedding planners, we have an endless amount of contacts for vendors who can add entertainment to your event and we can help incorporate those elements into your wedding day timeline to assure that there is enough time for guests to eat and mingle as well as enjoy the entertainment and dance!
Changing Your Name:
Will you be joining names or hyphenating them? Whose name will be first and whose name second? Will you be formally able to change your name on your license, social security card, etc? If you get married in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, presenting your marriage license is all you need to do to change your name. But, if you get married in a state that does allow same-sex marriage, but you reside in another where it is not legal, you will have to go through the court system to officially change your name as your marriage license in that state will not be seen as legal.
You may feel as though traditional bridal or wedding expos are not going to tailor to your needs or make you feel comfortable, yet you still want a place to begin your wedding research. One of favorite expos, which we participated in this past January, Lovesick, is a wedding expo made for the offbeat or indie couple, which is proud to be earth-friendly, guy-friendly, and same-sex couple friendly. While at the event we met a lot of same-sex couples who never considered how helpful a wedding planner could be for their unique process.
Planning for a Future Together:
Since your marriage will not yet be recognized in other parts of the United States or in certain areas abroad, you may want to look into hiring a lawyer who specializes in LGBT relationships who can help protect your new relationship while your create your new life here in the states or as you travel abroad on a honeymoon. Finding out what rights you can receive if an accident happens is something that a lawyer can help you with.
Until same-sex marriage becomes legal throughout the United States, there are some obstacles that same-sex couples may face in their planning process. Hiring a wedding planner who can help take you through these obstacles or avoid them altogether, can make the wedding planning an easy and stress free time for both of you. If you are interested in working with us to plan your same-sex wedding, reach out to us set up a free consultation!