The Emotional Landscape

Holman PhotographyAny of you out there who have gotten married or will be getting married can relate. Family expectations and participation (or lack thereof) play a big role in wedding planning and on the day itself — regardless of the gender pairing of the betrothed.

But, certainly, these variables can be guaranteed to play a big role for just about every engaged same sex couple. There may be questions about coming out to some family members; wondering if family members will attend; worrying about what family members might say; trying to figure out how family members might participate or how to tell them you don’t want them to participate.

This is, I would contend, one of the biggest differences between a gay and straight wedding. And navigating the emotional terrain (not to mention every other aspect of planning a wedding) can be exhausting and overwhelming for many gays and lesbians.

Thankfully, the landscape of industry and community acceptance of same sex marriage has changed for the better since we first founded our company back in the last century (it was 1999, to be exact!).

Nonetheless, in this column, I’ll be exploring many of the psychological and emotional challenges of planning a wedding which remain — from the generic wedding stressor to the planning elements unique to gay and lesbian couples.

To guide us on this journey, I’ll be drawing from my years of working with engaged couples and wedding vendors; from my own personal experiences; and from my days as an educator and clinical social worker. I welcome your questions and your dilemmas so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like for me to address a specific concern or question in this column.

And, to help get the ball rolling, my next article will feature a very special personal story which has impacted me greatly, and which I shared recently at the annual Gay Day at the Hillwood Museum and Estate in Washington DC.

So stay tuned!


Photo credit: Holman Photography

Wedding innovator Kathryn Hamm (@madebykathryn) is co-author of The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography (Amphoto Books, 2014), an Education Expert for WeddingWire and Publisher of GayWeddings.com