Posts Tagged ‘LGBT Weddings’

Recent Bride Laura Leigh Abby Gives Tips For Planning Your Same-Sex Wedding

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Same-Sex-Couple

Photo: Heather Rice Photography

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the U.S. Constitution in all 50 states. Prior to their decision, same-sex marriage was already legal in 37 states and the nation’s capitol, but was banned in the remaining 13.

It seems as if today in the United States the rights of same-sex couples are always changing. Just as we (finally) win our right to marry, we’re faced with backlash and discrimination from both the private and public sectors. It’s no secret that planning a same-sex wedding can expose you and your spouse-to-be to the possibility of discrimination. This can be determined by where you live and what kind of wedding you’re planning.

I planned a wedding in New York State and most of my vendors were based in New York City, which meant that for many of them, this was not their first same-sex wedding. Though we raised a few eyebrows, and I had to answer many questions with, “There is no groom, the other bride’s name is Samantha,” we were met with joy and excitement that felt truly genuine. We know, still, how fortunate we are, and that many couples face just the opposite.

Lesbian-Wedding

Photo: Rob Spring Photography

Love Your Venue

Your venue is the beating heart of your wedding, with your vendors serving as veins and valves and other metaphorical body parts. Select a venue where you feel comfortable, accepted and celebrated. This is good advice for all couples. Unless you’re getting married in a private residence, you know that other couples have come before and will come after you at your chosen venue. But during the planning process, right through to the minute you drive away post-wedding, you want to feel like the beloved leaders of a fairytale kingdom.

Vet Your Vendors

I’ve read too many stories of the discriminatory baker who wouldn’t bake the “gay wedding cake,” and I’ve watched as these stories propelled unassuming same-sex couples and business owners into the public eye. I can say with certainty that every single time, the couple is humiliated. This is not a feeling we want to recall when we think back on our wedding.

My rule of thumb is ridiculously simple: Look for experience, but also trust enthusiasm. When seeking out photographers, for instance, click on their website and explore their portfolio. Nine times out of ten an LGBT-friendly photographer will have a same-sex couple featured on their site. Of course, this isn’t always the case. I often collaborate with creatives who insist they’d love to shoot a lesbian wedding, but they simply haven’t been asked yet.

Lesbian-Wedding

Photo: Heather Rice Photography

Know Your Worth

We can also spin these discriminatory-cake-baker stories and use our “otherness” to our advantage. We had one vendor willing to drop her prices significantly because she wanted us in her portfolio. I reminded my wife of this often, “Babe, we are two women. I’m wearing a custom green wedding gown, you’re wearing Vera Wang, we’re throwing this big expensive weekend in the woods. We are a prize, so let’s behave accordingly.”

State Your Case

When choosing our wedding photographer—Heather Waraksa—this was my initial email:

“My fiancée Samantha and I are planning a wedding weekend extravaganza at the beautiful Cedar Lakes Estate next September. We are trying to get on top of some of the planning. As two girls, we both have some strong opinions on this wedding, but so far we’re (surprisingly) seeing incredibly eye-to-eye. My one major concern is photography! I don’t really like the look of most wedding photos, and I’d like something a bit different, specifically someone who can snap those magic moments and make it look effortless. We think your portfolio is incredible and would love to learn more about you and let you learn more about us. Our weekend will include a lakeside BBQ, mountaintop toasts, swimming and sports, vows by the lake, a big reception in a gorgeous barn, and an after-party in the tree house. We think it’s going to be spectacular and we’re looking for the right person to help capture the celebration. If you think you may be interested, and of course, available, we would love to meet you.”

This is essentially the email we sent to every single vendor, with a few tweaks of course. We also created a wedding-only email address: “2Brides2Be.” Our excitement was infectious and we had amazing vendors on board pretty quickly. As is reflective of my personality, I wanted to give plenty of information up front. I wanted potential vendors to know what kind of couple we were and what kind of wedding this was going to be.

Lesbian-Wedding

Photo: Rob Spring Photography

Be The Change

My advice is to be up front about: you as a couple, the wedding you want, and the kind of people you want to work with to make it a reality. There are going to be awkward moments—when I told one dress consultant there would be two brides, she asked if it was a “double wedding”—but I’ve never met a single person in a same-sex couple who isn’t used to the occasional awkward moment. I have no problem with those. In fact, I like being able to help others feel comfortable with how to speak to us and become more inclusive in their business practices. If you’re sick of crossing out the word “groom” then suggest to your vendors, “Maybe you should create documents with alternate wording.”

It’s not that tough to change their forms to read:

Spouse #1 ____________

Spouse #2 ____________

Let’s not be afraid to ask.

Lesbian-Wedding

Photo: Heather Rice Photography

Excerpted from “2 Brides 2 Be” (Rare Bird Books, 2017), by Laura Leigh Abby, available on Amazon.com.