The Dos and Don'ts of Planning a Same-Sex Wedding

Etiquette, Gay Marriage
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Photo: Getty Images

Here comes...two brides! In case you haven't noticed, same-sex weddings are hotter than Hansel right now, and for a very good reason: gay and lesbian couples can officially get hitched in all 50 states (um, can we get a hell yeah!). While you and your partner may cross paths with a few haters in your quest to plan the perfect day, fortunately, putting together a same-sex wedding isn't all that different than a traditional one. Here are some dos and don'ts you may want to take into consideration though.

Do set goals and figure out what your top priorities are.
Gay or straight, setting wedding goals right from the get-go is a must for any engaged couple, says San Francisco-based wedding planner Stacy McCain. "I recently had the opportunity to work with two grooms on their amazing wedding, and the challenges, like with any other couple who decide to marry, are how to begin and where to start," she explains. No matter what you prioritize or hope to achieve, remember that there's really no right or wrong in most of the decisions you're about to make, adds wedding planner Jason Mitchell, author of the book Getting Groomed. "The question you should always be asking is, 'Does this feel like us?'"

Don't feel like you have to plan your wedding as if you were a bride and groom.
Typically, in the traditional wedding industry, everything revolves around the bride, points out Mitchell. "Same-sex couples must find the balance that's right for them." Sometimes it follows the opposite sex example with one being more in charge of the planning and the other taking a back seat, he notes, while some couples plan everything equally. "What's most important is that you agree on a mutual vision of what your perfect day looks like and then work together to achieve it."

Do put your own creative spin on traditions.
Many wedding traditions may have been intended for a man and a woman, but don't let this deter you; instead, use it as an opportunity to get creative. "A great example of this is when couples aren't sure who should walk down the aisle first so they enter together or choose to have bridesmen, groomsmaids best boys and grooms girls," tells Mitchell.

See More: Do You Have to Invite Unsupportive Family Members to Your Same-Sex Wedding?

Don't let outdated vendor websites and contracts discourage you.
Despite what the news would have you believe, nowadays many vendors do consider themselves LGBT friendly, however their websites and/or contracts may not reflect that, says Mitchell. "Clients who've informed their vendor that they're same-sex will still often receive a form that refers to them as the bride and groom. A same-sex couple needs to feel comfortable with their vendors, and decide if some of these missteps are offensive or innocent," he advises. The key here really is open communication and making sure you're treated with respect.

Do help your friends and family to understand and be confident in their roles in the wedding.
Remember, this is all new for them too, and they'll probably need your guidance. For instance, Mitchell recommends figuring out if you want joint showers and bachelorette parties or if these activities even interest you. Will one parent walk you down the aisle, both or none at all? "Once you sort things out, share this information with your wedding party that way everyone is on the same page. Same-sex couples of both genders should also set realistic expectations for their parents and then express those to them," he urges.

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