Photo: Hudson River Photographer
The logistics of planning a gay or lesbian wedding ceremony are a little bit different than setting it up for a heterosexual bride and groom because there is a century of etiquette that dictates the rules of how that works. Gay and lesbian couples are left to make it up as they go along — and that isn't a bad thing! It actually gives brides and grooms the option to do whatever they want without anybody saying they're breaking the rules, but it can still raise some questions if you don't plan ahead for exactly what you want to do. Here, three commonly asked etiquette questions about same-sex weddings.
Who sits where?
You can assign sides (hanging a cute sign on the back of the chairs in the back row if you're not using ushers), or you can keep it an informal "everybody is welcome to sit anywhere except the front row" kind of ceremony. If you want to assign sides, just pick a side. Sometimes both families aren't represented and you don't want that fact to stand out, so you might opt to have a selection of special family and friends fill the front row and no designated sides for any purpose.
How do the brides or grooms get down the aisle?
You may each process down the aisle, or walk in with the officiant, or you could seat your parents, then take your places up front with the officiant. Brides may both want to process down the aisle with their fathers, or you could even walk together hand-in-hand. Grooms may choose to enter together or separately. Or each groom could come from opposite sides of the ceremony venue and meet in the middle. It's a little trickier to orchestrate with photography, but as long as you have two people shooting, it works.
Who participates in the ceremony?
Like any straight wedding, gay and lesbian weddings usually have readings performed by a friend or family members. Sometimes there is a candle-lighting ceremony or a sand blending that involves parents helping to signify the union and the blending of two souls. Involve whoever makes you happy. Reserve the important parts of your day for those who love you and support you the most.
Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.