Choosing Authenticity Over Tradition when Planning Your Same-Sex Wedding

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“I Don’t Want to Feel Like I’m Imitating Straight People”  

A popular discussion in our wedding forums that dates back a bit is full of some of the most universal and well-stated insecurities that haunt LGBT couples when they start planning weddings. Among the most powerful observations was “I Don’t Want to Feel Like I’m Imitating Straight People.” In one succinct statement, the anonymous forum member captured the emotional and practical challenges facing same-sex couples forging new territory in a world full of traditions and expectations.

Herein lies one of the ironies of same-sex unions. Couples who fought for, and ultimately earned, marriage equality, fought for the right to be, as “Shannon” in the same discussion terms “completely, authentically ourselves.” Authentic does not mean the same as hetero couples, but there are many people who just don’t get it.

The greater LGBT community fundamentally rejects the more archaic definitions of gender roles, including those represented in some common wedding traditions. Why would gay or lesbian couples feel compelled to conform to things like “one suit and one dress” per wedding, or “one engagement ring” per couple?

The answer is simple, of course. Don’t conform. Choose the traditions that authentically represent you. Prove to your less savvy guests that your relationship is equal – that whether you both wear dresses or you both wear tuxes; whether one of you changes your name, or neither of you does; and whether one of you proposed, both of you proposed, or neither of you proposed at all, your relationship is valid, equal, and genuine just as it is.

Just as designers, blog writers, and magazine editors have had to acknowledge that straight couples come in different races, ages, and sizes, so must society acknowledge that there is no “typical” LGBT couple. It’s going to take society some time to catch up with this “revolutionary” concept – in the meantime, let your wedding reflect who you truly are as a couple. You might teach folks what it actually means to love who you love!

S. Walker is a freelance writer for GayWeddings.com.