Drawing on wedding traditions for your special day

wedding_lesbian_slidersBY JENN B.

Congratulations! You’re engaged and now it’s time to plan that wedding. But maybe you’re someone who loves wedding traditions and wondering how to incorporate these aspects into your own wedding. Look no further as I’ve picked out some of the big traditions that are commonplace in weddings.

Full disclosure: I am not married nor have I planned a wedding before, but I have attended many. I am a self professed wedding planning addict as I absolutely love weddings and providing tips and tricks to my friends who are planning weddings is a little hobby of mine.

The entire concept of a wedding is centered around the idea of a man and a woman coming together as a couple. So, there are far more things you may have to rethink and mold to fit your wedding, but below are few of the big ones that most couples like to have in their wedding.

The key to all of these concepts is communication. You and your partner have to be open about what you absolutely do and don’t want in your wedding to make fair decisions about your big day. Also, as a couple, you need to be open with your guests and let people know that you’re having a wedding your way, traditions or not, and the purpose is to come together to celebrate a union of two people who love each other.

Which bride should be at the altar waiting? Who should walk the other bride down the aisle? Before you start to think about these questions, start with deciding on what type of ceremony you want to have for your wedding.

You might want a traditional set up in a church or chapel. If this is the case, you have a couple of options. The traditional configuration usually has each family sitting on a particular side, the wedding party up front, one bride at the altar and the other is escorted down the aisle by a father or parent figure.

Another set up is to have both brides walk towards the center from side aisles to meet in the center together. I’ve always liked a completely opposite arrangement and have guests surround the couple in a circular fashion. First, decide on what you and your partner envision your ceremony looking like, hear each other’s ideas, and go from there.

The wedding party is very similar to the ceremony space. While having a wedding party is a traditional aspect to include in your wedding, it’s definitely not a must. A lot of people decide to have a maid of honor and best man or not have anyone at all. If you decide you want a wedding party, then ditch the labels (best man, groomsmen, etc.) because it will just place folks in certain gender boxes unwillingly. The concept is still there, so collectively as a couple decide on a number, divide it in half and go pick out your closest friends and family to be in your wedding party.

Definitely be sure to make it clear (if you decide on this) that you don’t have a maid of honor and the responsibility of the bridal shower and bachelorette will not fall on anyone in the wedding party. For some people, the anxiety of being in a same-sex wedding may lie in being unsure of what your role is in the entire wedding production. To ease this anxiety with your wedding party, be clear about what you expect and envision form your wedding party for your wedding to be perfect.

So you both want to wear wedding dresses — that’s awesome! Maybe one of you wants to wear a suit — great! Or you both want to do something in between.

Whatever your fancy, pick outfits that you’re comfortable wearing. If you decide to go the traditional wedding dress route, make sure to find one that suits your personal style and the overall theme of the wedding. Stick to a budget on the dress as well, particularly if both brides are wearing dresses as this can be a good chunk of the wedding budget.

If you decide to go the suit route, there are tons of options out there. Everything from a traditional tuxedo to a more laid-back white suit can be found for women to wear.

Regardless of what you decide to wear, the most important thing to is to buy clothes that fit you properly or plan on getting the items tailored. This makes a huge difference, as you will most likely be photographed repeatedly all day and you want to look your best. This goes for the wedding party as well. Keep in mind what your wedding party would be comfortable wearing when deciding on their clothes. When your clothes fit properly and you love what you’re wearing, you feel your best.

If both brides decide to have a bouquet, then you’ll have two to toss at all the eager guests hoping to catch one. My suggestion for this is either toss the bouquets together at the same time, or toss one early on in the reception and the other later.

Now, I’m sure most people don’t see this as a traditional wedding idea, since pretty much everyone has music played at their wedding; however, this is one way to personalize your wedding.

For me, I love the idea of an all-female band (or even better an all-female queer band) as I love supporting my fellow women musicians.

Another suggestion is include more lesbian music artists or female artists to have that female presence articulated through your musical selection. Don’t be afraid to include unknown artists or individuals that people won’t know in your musical playlist. As long as you get people dancing to a groove, no one will care that they don’t know the words.

Picking a honeymoon location is a task many forget to focus on when planning a wedding, but it is one of the most important decisions. After all the action of your wedding, you want to make sure you have a comfortable and safe place to unwind with your betrothed.

The important takeaway here is to select a location that is LGBT friendly. Sadly, there are many locations where homosexuality is a crime or frowned upon. Double check that the country you plan to travel to will be a friendly location for your and your wife to relax and unwind. If you and your partner decide to travel abroad, check out the laws regarding homosexuality and the cultural norms in the country you want to have your honeymoon.

Now that I’ve got your creative juices flowing, check out some of these resources to help plan the wedding of your dreams.

• Popular wedding sites have tons of resources for any type of couple. My favorites are The Knot and Wedding Wire.
• Websites that specifically cater to same-sex couples are great starting points for looking up local resources in your area. Check out these sites Rainbow Wedding Network or Purple Unions for lesbian wedding resources.
• For honeymoon locations, there are many websites that lists out great lesbian-friendly vacation and honeymoon spots. Here are few to check out: Travel and Leisure magazine, Purple Roofs, The Knot gay-friendly honeymoon list and Equally Wed.

Remember, at the end of the day, it’s your wedding and whatever you and your partner decide to include in your wedding should make you both happy. It’s your day of love and it should be as perfect as your union together because true love should always be celebrated.

Jenn B. holds a Master in Public Health with a focus on women’s health as well as a Bachelor’s degree in psychology.

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