Dear Wedding Maven,
I am engaged to be married and I am also gay. I plan to get married on a beach at sunset. Traditional yet non-traditional if that makes sense and that’s about all I know. That being said I do not know which wedding traditions to follow and which to let go. Please Help!
Lesbian First-Time Bride
Dear First Time Bride,
I love this question because the issues you raise are so relevant to almost all modern couples, gay and straight. It’s a pity more people don’t ask this question before spending money on wedding dresses, wedding cakes, and reception venues.
If you are getting married in a religious faith then this question should definitely be discussed with your wedding officiant. Your officiant can help you understand the meaning behind the traditions of your ceremony and create a ceremony that’s meaningful to you. The officiant can also help remind you of what’s important in a wedding and in a marriage and keep some of the excessive stress, planning and spending in check.
If you are having a secular service, or simply want to think through some of this on your own, then ask yourself this question: Why are we getting married? Why is this wedding important to us? Which traditions best honor those answers?
Sometimes the answers to these questions may surprise you. If you’re getting married because it provides a historical link to your family then you may find yourself wanting the same big white fluffy wedding cake your mother served. If you’re getting married to show people that love looks the same regardless of gender, you may find yourself echoing traditions like the wedding dress that seem decidedly heterosexual.
Whatever the answers, don’t feel like just because you’re gay, you have to single-handedly rewrite a few hundred years of wedding traditions. A few months ago I profiled a couple who were both atheists and wanted to create a wedding where they only participated in traditions that were meaningful to them. I think their wedding was beautiful and meaningful, but it did seem like quite a lot of work!
Good luck to you!
If you need wedding advice or have a question about wedding traditions, etiquette or relationships write the Wedding Maven at firstname.lastname@example.org.