Queerly Wed: What You Should Know about Same-Sex Wedding Attire

By Azure Nelson, Published Dec 16, 2009

Special to OneWed from Melissa Johns of Queerly Wed Wedding ceremonies have seen some changes over the past 30 years. Of course, some couples choose to have a completely traditional ceremony, too! What hasn’t seen a lot of change is the basic wedding attire. The groom wears a tux and the bride wears a dress. This is the image we are all raised with. When it comes to same-sex weddings, it is no surprise that most everyone wants to know “what are you wearing?” Of course this is a common question often referring to color or style of clothing. Due to the constraints of societal norms, the question also can come down to trying to define who plays what role in the relationship, or: “Who wears the pants?” I have been asked this question from gay and straight alike and it bothers me. I understand why people ask. People are so entrenched in the idea of one man/one woman that it is difficult to conceive of anything else. Indeed, there are same-sex couples that mimic straight culture and have a “butch” or “femme” role. This was particularly pronounced in our society up until about the 1980s until gender roles became more bendable. Of course there are still “butch” and “femme” and today we know that as “gender expression” rather than a subscription to societal norms. Lesbians don’t look for a woman to be her man. Gay men don’t look for a man to be his woman. We may prefer a stronger, protective figure or a person who wants to be protected. It all depends on who will complement our personality. This is true in hetero relationships too! Regardless, this is the rule: in a lesbian wedding, there are two women and in a gay wedding, there are two men. What they choose to wear does not determine their role in their relationship. I happen to have short hair, don’t wear make-up and never wear dresses. My partner has been known to wear dresses or skirts and frequently wears make-up. These are our personal preferences and do not reflect how we relate to each other. My partner has decided to wear a dress for our wedding. I may wear a toga! You thought I was going to say “tux”, huh? Break free of the limitations of tradition!

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