Queeries: 17 Common Q&As About Gay Weddings

by Gretchen Gales, Kimberly Nikole Welsh

Emily Post never gave advice on gay weddings (as far as we know), so how would one approach how it works? Have no fear! We’ll answer 17 common questions you might have about gay weddings!

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1.) Neither of us want to wear wedding dresses. What should we do?
Chances are you’ll already feel nervous on the big day, so don’t force yourself to wear something you won’t be comfortable in! Same-sex weddings are still fairly new and no one has come up with concrete etiquette. This means your wedding could be the trendsetter. Pantsuits are a popular choice for their breathable fabric and can be accessorized with jewelry, neckwear, etc. They also come in a variety of colors.   

2.) Same question, except we don’t want to wear tuxes. Now what?
A nice shirt and dress pants can still look very sharp if you want something simple and comfortable. There are a variety of dress shirts to choose from at a variety of men’s formalwear stores, so ask an associate to help find the best one for you.

3.) We want to wear suits, but want to know how to make them unique while still maintaining a matching look. Thoughts?
Experiment with different styled and colored shirts, jewelry, neckties, ascots, or boutonnieres with your favorite flowers. There’s many ways to alter the look of a simple suit, so have fun and get creative.  

4.) We have rings from our commitment ceremony. Can we reuse them?
Absolutely! Many couples choose to reuse their commitment ceremony rings for their marriage. If you want something new, consider having your rings engraved with your wedding date or other customizations before purchasing brand new rings with the money that you can splurge on the honeymoon!

5.) Can we really not see each other before the ceremony? We’ve lived with each other long before the marriage, so we don’t know if it’s necessary.
Totally up to you, but the reason why it is such a popular tradition is that it’s a magical moment to see the other “for the first time” again. It’s a nice surprise to see your partner in that way, and should be considered, though it’s certainly not mandatory.  

6.) We’re having a commitment ceremony instead. Would it be odd to create a wedding website?
With technology the way it is, it’s best to just go for the website for many big events. It’s a great tool to help keep your guests on track and prepared for the day!

7.) What are some traditions other same-sex couples have started that we can get some inspiration from?
Sure thing! You could always walk down the aisle together. Many same-sex couples do not like the idea of assigning gender roles to the other. If there are two aisles, consider each of you going down one and then walking together at the end of the ceremony. Should there be three, do the same thing, but go down the middle aisle together at the end. Also, to welcome and comfort your guests, consider offering champagne or a cocktail to loosen any tension. Other traditions are waiting to be started by you, so get creative!

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8.) What should we do for engagement photos?
Do them! It helps your wedding photographer get to know you both better and help get the best pictures when the big day arrives. Consider going somewhere special for the both of you, like where you met or a favorite spot you both love.

9.) So, how do we word the wedding invitations?
The person paying for the wedding is traditionally in charge of this. If you both are footing the bill, put your names at the top of the invite, then word your invitations according to how formal or casual your event will be:

The honor of your attendance is requested at the marriage of Erin Robbins Schmidt and Rachael Eliza Delano on Sunday, the fifteenth of April at two o’clock in the afternoon.

Erin Robbins Schmidt and Rachael Eliza Delano invite you to their wedding Sunday, April 15th at 2:00pm.

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10.) Should we have a wedding party?
Some same-sex couples skip the tradition, but that doesn’t mean you should if you want a wedding party. There’s no better way to celebrate marriage equality and your love for each other than by throwing a big bash!

11.) If our event is more casual, should we have a traditional cake?
Have whatever kind of cake makes you both happy! Whether you want a fancy cake or Funfetti, just remember to have enough for all of your guests!

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12.) We want a destination wedding. How do we figure out which destinations are gay-friendly?
We doubt you want to be cooped up in the hotel, so pick somewhere that is gay-friendly both on and off the resort. Some examples are Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bonaire, and Puerto Rico for more tropical destinations. Many European countries are also very gay-friendly, but do some research on GayDestinationWeddings.com and other sites to be sure. However, don’t forget about Virginia! Our fair Commonwealth has some great wedding destinations ranging from big cities, quaint towns and historic venues to breathtaking mountains, breezy beaches and beautiful parks. Keep Virginia in mind when you plan the location of your big day!

13.) We have straight friends attending our wedding. What advice should we give them?
Gay weddings aren’t that much different from straight weddings (other than they can be more fabulous!). If your straight friends know you well enough, they’ll know to expect a wedding that suits your tastes and personal preferences. Remember—they love you and will support whatever type of ceremony you have planned. 

14.) How should we go about seating at the ceremony?
Even at straight weddings, it’s become more popular to allow guests to sit wherever they would like, besides reserved seats for the family. No matter what you decide, make sure your photographer has plenty of space to photograph the both of you, no matter if one or both of you are walking down the aisle.

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15.) Who pays for what?
Lots of couples pay for their own weddings with help from their parents. Don’t feel constrained by traditional bride-groom arrangements when it comes to bill-splitting. The best thing to do is to figure out who is contributing to your cash flow—you both, your parents, relatives, others? Once you figure out how much money you have to play with, you can then start planning the wedding of your dreams!

16.) We want a friend to officiate, so how do they get ordained?
There are ways to get ordained via the internet. If your ceremony is religious, remind them to check the affiliation of the certificate before they apply. Some require paperwork to be filled out. Also check the Secretary of State’s office to ensure the certificate is legitimate. 

17.) What do we do about last names?
A common choice is to hyphenate both names to signify you are both united. One can choose to take the name of the other and make their given last name their new middle name, just as many straight couples do. Or you can both keep your maiden names. This is popular for those that have made their career based on their maiden names. Either way, choose what’s best for the both of you.