All weddings have common traditions that couples undertake during the ceremony. When it comes to a same-sex wedding, several things make it different from an opposite-sex wedding. A gay couple will do certain things different from the engagement to the wedding reception.
Are there ways in which gay weddings are different? There are several ways in which a gay wedding is different from an opposite-sex wedding. From families sitting arrangements, the processional part of the wedding including the ‘giving away’ to the difference in wedding attires worn at a same-sex wedding. Having a religious wedding can be difficult as some mainstream religions do not recognize same-sex marriages.
In the United States, the Supreme Court in 2015 gave a decision that legalized same-sex marriages in all fifty states. This decision increased the number of same-sex weddings, and wedding planners had to consider the requests of same-sex couples.
A gay wedding has some similarities to a same-sex wedding, but a few changes are made during planning to suit the same-sex couple’s needs. You will notice the difference through some of the changes the same-sex couple will make on well-known wedding traditions. Read on to find out more about the twelve ways gay weddings are different and how to plan a gay wedding ceremony.
There has not been enough time to develop wedding traditions for a same-sex wedding. Since the legalization of same-sex marriages, couples would alter a few things from an opposite-sex wedding to fit their needs. Here are twelve ways gay weddings are different;
Wedding Attire Rules
The couple needs to look their best at the wedding ceremony. It is a tradition for the bride to wear a wedding gown and the groom to wear a tuxedo or suit in an opposite-sex wedding. In a same-sex wedding, the couple has to be creative in choosing their wedding attires. You should choose the attire that is comfortable for you and your partner.
There are no rules on what the couple should wear at a same-sex wedding; you can decide what you want to wear at the ceremony. Some will choose to wear tuxedos for male couples or wedding dresses for female couples. You can also choose other attires; there is no need to limit yourself to opposite-sex wedding attire traditions.
Wedding Officiant Choices
A wedding officiant is an important person in any wedding ceremony. They have the authority to unite two people, and without them, the marriage will not be legal. You can find a wedding officiant from religious bodies or a civil servant with authority to officiate weddings. Some religious organizations do not recognize same-sex marriage and will not allow their clergy to officiate same-sex weddings.
You can ask a close friend or relative to officiate your wedding. They can go online and get ordained as a wedding officiant. If you are a religious couple and want a religious clergy to officiate your wedding, you can approach them and make your request.
Some religious leaders may be willing to officiate your wedding. If you are getting married outside the United States, you might familiarize yourself with the country’s law regarding same-sex marriage.
As time progresses, most people will allow their venues to be used for hosting a same-sex wedding. However, other people will decline to offer you their venues to host your wedding ceremony because of their beliefs towards same-sex couples. Many places of worship will decline to host a same-sex wedding, especially the mainstream religious organization like Catholic, Islam, Orthodox Jewish, among others.
You should do some research on specific venues that have hosted same-sex weddings. It is important to inform the owners of the venue that the wedding is for a same-sex couple. Giving them the information in the early stages of planning ensures that you avoid awkward situations in the future. Do not force people to host your wedding; respect their decision and move on to the next location. Ensure you make a public review of the place so that other couples can avoid it.
You have to choose a location that will be comfortable for your LGBTQ guests. You should do some research on venues that other same-sex couples have used to host their wedding ceremonies. You do not want to choose a location where people will be staring at your guests instead of serving them.
Wedding Planners and Vendor choices
Planning a wedding can be challenging, and without experience, making all the plans can lead to stress. Some people offer wedding planning services at a considerable fee, to avoid stress, you can seek their services. Many wedding planners have experience planning wedding ceremonies, and they will help you plan for your ceremony.
Since the legalization of same-sex marriage, there have been an increase in wedding planner and vendors who have catered to same-sex couples. There are wedding planners and vendors who have catered to heterosexual couples but can still help you have a perfect wedding. You can guide them on how you want your wedding because it helps them know what you want to be replaced or redefined at the wedding.
Gay couples will experience the same challenge that a straight couple will experience making a guest list for their wedding and fitting all the people they know into the list. Guests at a wedding are very important; you want to share your special day with the people you love. You can invite anyone you want to the wedding, those who want to attend your wedding ceremony will show up. Do not pay any attention to who will say yes to the invitation and who will say no.
Invite only the most important people to you, ignore the pressure to invite all your relatives and friends. There is no need to invite a person you have not spoken to in years or are friends with your parents. You can also have a “no plus one” policy to avoid a bloated guest list. If you would like to have, all the guests attend your wedding, avoid a destination wedding because not all of them could afford the extra costs.
In most religious wedding ceremonies, the bride’s family usually sits on the left side while the groom’s family will sit on the right. The confusion of where families sit comes where there are two brides or two grooms. For some couples, it is important to note where their families shall sit at the wedding ceremony.
Some couples do not care about sitting arrangement and instruct the ushers to direct guests to sit wherever they like. Your families can sit together on both sides to symbolize two families joining together to make one. If you want some distinction in the sitting arrangement, you can allocate sides using your family names.
There are certain traditions that brides do at the wedding and those that grooms do. When it comes to a same-sex wedding, you might have to redefine some of these gender roles. It is common for the groom to stand at the altar and wait for the bride to walk down the aisle and join him at the altar. If there are two brides in a same-sex wedding, you will have to decide if one or both brides will walk down the aisle.
In a straight wedding, the photographer usually focuses a lot on the bride because of the tradition that the wedding is usually an event for the bride. If there are two brides, then the photographer shall equally pay attention to both the brides. You can find the roles you want to do at your wedding and divide them according to your abilities.
Choosing Wedding Attires
In an opposite-sex wedding, the bride and groom usually pick their outfits separately. The bride will take her maid of honor and a few bridesmaids to a wedding clothing store and look for the best dress. The groom will also shop for his suit or tuxedo separated from his bride.
When there are two brides or grooms, shopping for wedding attire can be done together. Couples choose their outfits together to avoid having the same type of suit or dress. If the brides or grooms decide to wear the same attire, there is no need to do their shopping separately. You can share your ideas and preferences and select the best wedding attire for your wedding.
Wedding Budget – Who pays for the wedding?
The big question when planning a wedding is who will pay for the bill. In a same-sex wedding, the bride’s father or family usually pays for the wedding. However, modern couples decide to pay for their wedding ceremonies because of financial independence and reduce their parents’ financial obligation to pay for the wedding. As a same-sex couple, you can break the tradition of having one party pay for the wedding by sharing the costs of your wedding ceremony.
Just like straight couples, gay couples also have to stick to a budget that they can afford. When changing some aspects of the wedding, the budget of the wedding will also change. For example, the grooms might want to wear tuxedos but not from the same designer making one more expensive. It is important to sit down with your partner and outline how your wedding should be, then set a budget that you are both comfortable with because the promise to love each other for the rest of your lives is the most important thing at the wedding.
Personalized Wedding Parties
It is common to have wedding parties; the bride has her bridesmaids while the groom has his groomsmen. The best thing about same-sex weddings is the freedom the couple has to redefine wedding parties. A groom can have a female play the role of a best man and have females in his wedding party. Similarly, a bride can have her male best friend to play the role of maid of honor.
When planning your wedding, make it clear the roles your best man or maid of honor shall carry out during the wedding. You can also ditch the names best man and maid of honor and refer to them as wedding attendants or honor attendants. Your wedding parties should not be defined by their gender, be creative when choosing your wedding parties.
“Given Away” – Processional changes
For a long time, this tradition has been going on, where the father of the bride’s hands over the bride to the groom during the wedding ceremony. It is a symbol where the father gives the groom his blessing to marry his daughter. Many people use this tradition to have their parents involved in their wedding ceremony. In a lesbian wedding, the fathers of the bride can walk their daughters down the aisle.
In the case of two grooms, their mothers shall walk them down the aisle. If your parents are not around and you want someone to walk you down the aisle, you can select a close friend or relative to do so. If you feel like being given away, tradition is not for you and your partner; you can do away with it altogether. If the grooms want to walk down the aisle holding bouquets, you can do it; the traditional is not reserved for the brides only.
Wedding Vows – Personalized choices
In most religious weddings, you are provided with standard wedding vows that all couples use during their wedding ceremonies. Even in civil marriages, you will have to use the vows provided for by the wedding officiant. In same-sex weddings, there is the freedom to choose your wedding vows.
If your wedding officiants are close friends or relatives, they will allow you to prepare and say your personalized wedding vows. If you go for a civil ceremony, you will have to consult with the officiant before preparing your vows because some registries will allow you to say personalized wedding vows.
Wedding Proposal – Who proposes?
Before the wedding ceremony, one of the couples has to propose. Usually, this role falls under the responsibility of the man. In a same-sex relationship, there are no rules on who will propose. Sometimes, all the parties will want to propose ending up with two engagement rings. If you feel like the relationship needs to move on to the next step, you can ask your partner to marry you.
In a straight relationship, the groom usually asks permission from the bride’s father to propose. There is no obligation to ask your partner’s father’s approval, but if you want to do so, then go ahead. You can both wear engagement rings or not. If you are set on proposing to your partner, be creative, and make the proposal special. After your partner accepts the proposal, you can now start planning the wedding ceremony.
Planning a Gay Wedding
When planning a same-sex wedding, there are several factors that you should consider if you want to have a beautiful ceremony. One of them is the budget; you have to decide how much you want to spend on your wedding ceremony. It is important to choose a budget that you can afford; there is no point in having an expensive wedding ceremony and starting your marriage in debt. You can also decide to ask for financial help from your families; some parents would love to help their children have a perfect wedding ceremony.
Another factor is the guest list; how many people do you want at the wedding? Some people want a huge wedding with many guests while others prefer a small wedding with a few guests. Invite guests you can comfortably serve at your wedding, check your budget, and see how many guests you can have.
The wedding venue is an important aspect of the wedding; most people want to get married in places they have a close connection to. Choose a location that is suitable for you and your partner. Places of worship are favorites in hosting wedding ceremonies, but not all will allow same-sex wedding ceremonies.
Ensure the venue is convenient, affordable, spacious, and most important, you are allowed to hold a same-sex wedding. You do not want to deal with the stress of looking for another venue a few days before the wedding date.
You should also pick out the best wedding decorations. Select themes that support your lifestyle and will make your LGBTQ wedding guests comfortable. Finding wedding service providers to decorate your wedding venue might not be a walk in the park. Some wedding service providers will refuse to offer you their services because they do not agree with or support your choices.
Do some research and find wedding service providers that have worked with other same-sex couples. If a wedding service provider refuses to offer you their services, find another one. Plenty more wedding decorators and photographers will be willing to work with you. Just make sure you leave them a public review so that other couples can avoid that business.
Selecting a wedding officiant is also an important factor in planning a gay wedding. In the U.S., for instance, religious leaders and specific civil servants have the authority to officiate a wedding. Each state issues licenses to them, ensuring that any wedding they officiate results in a legal marriage. In many states, a civilian adult can go online and get ordained as a wedding officiant.
Getting a religious leader to officiate your same-sex wedding can be difficult as most mainstream religious organizations do not allow their clergy to officiate gay weddings. The best option is to choose a close relative or friend to officiate your wedding. You can also have a wedding ceremony without a wedding officiant and later have your marriage legalized by a civil servant.
What the grooms or brides will wear at the wedding is very important. Sometimes the grooms will wear the same tuxedo or suit, and sometimes they will wear different color suits. Brides can also choose to wear wedding dresses or have only one bride wear a wedding dress and the other wear a suit. The best thing about a gay wedding is there are no restrictions on what the couple should wear.
You have the freedom to be creative in what you wear at the wedding. You can choose wedding attire with your partner. It is important to choose wedding attires that are comfortable for you. If you think wearing a different suit from your partner is the best thing, you should do it. Do not worry about stealing the light from your bride or groom; the attention from the guests will be on the two of you.
You also have to consider which wedding traditions you will do away with at the ceremony or which ones you will have to redefine. There are so many wedding traditions that same-sex couples can avoid or redefine during the ceremony. One wedding tradition that you can leave out of your wedding program is waiting until the ceremony to see each other. You can skip this tradition by spending some alone time with your partner before heading to the wedding ceremony.
There are other traditions that you can redefine to suit your wedding ceremony. In an opposite-sex wedding, the groom usually stands at the altar and waits for the bride, who walks down the aisle accompanied by her father. If the wedding has two brides, you can choose to have your fathers walk you down the aisle. If the wedding has two grooms, then your mothers can walk you down the aisle or a close relative to you.
You should also prepare to answer questions from some of your family members and friends. Weddings come with certain expectations, and some people will question your choices. In a same-sex wedding, not everyone in your family or social circle will be supporting your choices.
Some will start to question your choices immediately after they receive that wedding invitation. They will ask you questions regarding your choices, and it might get awkward and annoying after a while. You should be ready to answer their questions, but do not let their opinion dictate how your wedding ceremony should be.
Arranging your wedding parties is also key to planning a perfect wedding. In a straight wedding ceremony, the wedding parties are usually determined by gender. The bride will have a maid of honor and bridesmaids, who are female, while the groom will have the best man and groomsmen, who are male.
In a same-sex wedding, you do not have to follow this rule. You can have wedding parties with mixed genders or have one single wedding party. Feel free to ignore all the rules about wedding parties and set up a wedding party that suits your wedding ceremony.
If you and your partner do not like the concept of wedding parties, you have a wedding ceremony without them. You can have two or three close friends or relatives to help you with planning the wedding.
You can create new wedding traditions for your ceremony. You can write your wedding vows as long as your wedding officiant allows you to do it. You can ask the wedding officiant to use a different pronouncement. After saying your vows, the officiant can simply say, “I now pronounce you married,” it is not a must for the wedding officiant to state your name or gender.
Sometimes parents of a same-sex couple might refuse to attend the wedding ceremony. Couples need to have their parents to attend the wedding as a show of love and support. It can be difficult for a couple to deal with parents who do not want to attend the wedding. If your parents do not want to attend the wedding ceremony, you can make changes to wedding traditions.
If you were looking forward to your father or mother walking you down the aisle, then you can replace them with a close relative who is willing to attend the ceremony. You can also scrap all the traditions that would require the presence of your parents. Your love for your partner is the most important thing at the wedding ceremony, do not let your parents’ absence overshadow it.
You should have a symbolic act once the officiant pronounces you married. In a traditional wedding ceremony, the bride and groom’s most common symbolic act will be their first kiss as a married couple. There are other symbolic acts such as jumping the broom, ring warming, or lighting a candle. You can do any of these symbolic acts or come up with a new act with your partner.
Gay weddings are not that different from straight weddings; there are several things that same-sex couples change to make their wedding ceremonies perfect. Most same-sex couples will change some aspects of their wedding, like gender roles, venue, and wedding officiant. You can change or remove the traditions you want to make your wedding ceremony perfect.
Planning a gay wedding is not an easy task. You have to come up with new traditions for your ceremony and redefine some of the wedding traditions used in straight weddings. Certain factors from a straight wedding are similar to a gay wedding during planning, like budget and wedding vows. Some of the differences are selecting the venue, processional, and sitting arrangement for the guests.