Is Planning a Gay Wedding Really Different from a Straight Wedding?
A wedding is a wedding - right? Well, yes and no! LGBTQIA weddings strive for inclusivity and acceptance as normal typical weddings, and as a gay married wedding planner I completely embrace that. However, there are different dynamics at play and different choices with a gay wedding that all wedding vendors should be aware of.
When working with an LGBTQIA couple it's important for a wedding vendor to recognize that familial relationships may not be as accepting as a typical straight couple (although sometimes there are challenges there too!). Don’t assume all parents and grandparents are coming - ask the questions gently and be loving if the answer is “no”.
Also don’t assume that traditional familial roles will be fulfilled. Gay couples may walk in with parents, they may walk in together, they may walk in alone. They may dance with their parents and they may not. They may not even dance with each other. Don’t go into the planning process assuming any familial relationships or traditions - always ask first.
The beauty of an LGBTQIA wedding is that there are no prescribed rules or traditions and couples can choose what to do or not do, or create new traditions all their own. As a wedding vendor your role is to inform couples of all the possibilities without attachment or assumption that they will do any of them and help them make their own decisions!
We once had two guys toss bouquets to all the singles. We have had couples have a “best people” dance instead of parental dances. We had a couple choose to do no posed formal family shots at all as there were missing parents. Be creative and open with your couples and help forge a new way to have a wedding.
It may be a stereotype in straight weddings, but truly the bride does make most of the decisions. In an LGBTQIA wedding there are no traditional role assumptions. Sometimes this can make it more complicated as usually there are two very involved participants with every decision. I always ask my couples how they make decisions as a couple and if they foresee any conflicts or disagreements with decisions.
Parents are often less invovled in gay wedding planning, both in the decision process and with the finances. But again don’t assume. With younger gay couples often the parents are footing the bill just like a younger straight couple and are often very involved in the decisions. When in doubt - always ask!
Forget any stereotypes of clients being bridezillas when planning a gay wedding. In our experience, there is often less drama with LGBTQIA couples. Two brides does not mean two bridezillas! And two grooms is often better than one! Personally we find helping LGBTQIA couples plan their weddings has less stress and more joy and it’s a right that was hard won!
Sometimes, however, there is more anxiety with two grooms as the idea of having a wedding was not something they grew up with expecting. Recognize this and support your client when there are moments of stress. Weddings bring up every emotion and often an outbreak about one thing is often about something completely different! Be sensitive to your clients and support the journey!