Wedding Planning FAQs For Friends, Family & Other Allies

“My daughter just told me she wants to have a ceremony with her girlfriend. I feel uncomfortable about this and don’t really consider this a “wedding.” But, she says she wants me to participate. What should I do?”

It’s wonderful that, despite your discomfort, you are willing to seek out advice and explore the possibility of being a part of your daughter’s ceremony. Many parents of gays and lesbians share your same perspective and have the same types of concerns. Without a doubt, the first thing you should do is have a “heart to heart” conversation with your daughter. Open communication will be key to making sure you and your daughter are on the same page and hopefully will help avoid feelings getting hurt in the process. Ask your daughter to be specific about her expectations and exactly how she’d like you to participate in her wedding. In turn, be honest about your hesitations and what you feel you can offer. Through this open dialogue, chances are you will find a middle ground that works for both of you. Additionally, you may also wish to contact your local PFLAG Chapter (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). They are a wonderful resource and may be able to assist with additional questions or concerns that you have.


My (straight) parents do not approve of my relationship with my boyfriend. We want to get married but I’m not sure if I should invite them. What should I do?

One of the most beautiful things about a wedding is the coming together of friends and family to witness your love and to share in your special day. The question you need to ask yourself is: “If I don’t invite my parents, will I look back and regret that choice?” If the answer is yes, then you should invite them. Knowing that your parents do not approve of your relationship, consider calling them before you mail an invitation to them, so you can explain to them how important it is to you that they be there. If a conversation is out of the question, consider including a heartfelt, handwritten note with the invitation. Even if they still choose not to attend, at least you will have peace in knowing that you extended the invitation.

I want to host a bridal shower for my best friend (who is a lesbian). Are there specific games or themes I should be doing? Will she be offended if I throw her a traditional shower?

What a great friend you are! The wonderful thing about gay and lesbian weddings is that there are no traditional rules – we get to make the rules up as we go along! The truth is that there are as many different kinds of bridal showers as there are brides, whether the bride is straight or lesbian. In this day and age, “traditional” weddings showers are a thing of the past: there are brunch showers, tea party showers, night-on-the-town showers, weekend trip to Las Vegas showers and everything in between! You know your friend and her personality, so trust your instincts on what you feel she would enjoy. The only real way to know if she will be offended by a “traditional” shower is to ask her, but chances are she will be honored that you are hosting a party in her honor, regardless of the theme.

My son just “came out” to me and said he wants to spend the rest of his life with his partner, David. I feel a bit overwhelmed about this. What if he wants to have a wedding? How will I tell my friends about this?

It is understandable that you would be overwhelmed at this time. The fact that your son came out to you and told you about his partner shows that he loves and trusts you and wants you to be a part of his life. Having a child come out to you is a lot to process just by itself. Discovering that your son has a partner he wants to spend his life with is another big piece of new information for you to absorb. It’s important for you to know at this time that many parents have walked in your footsteps and there are wonderful resources available to you. PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) is an organization that was founded to assist parents in your situation. Visit the organization online to learn more about how other friends and parents may be able to help you. You might also consider a few books, such as Now That You Know: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding Their Gay and Lesbian Children by Betty Fairchild and Nancy Hayward, to help you on your journey. Last, talk to your son. If you aren’t able to vocalize how much you love and admire him for his honesty with you, at least let him know that you are processing this new information and you need his patience and support at this time.

My lesbian daughter is planning a wedding with her partner. Traditionally, when a man and a woman get married, it is understood that the bride’s parents pay for much of the wedding. My husband and I are supportive of our daughter’s wedding, but we are at a loss for what we should offer to pay for. What should we do?

Congratulations on your daughter’s wedding, what an exciting time for all of you! In this day and age, even straight couples are moving away from the tradition of the bride’s parents bearing the brunt of the financial responsibility of the wedding. Many couples these days, gay or straight, are paying for their own weddings! Let your daughter and her partner know that you are willing to contribute financially to their wedding and ask what their needs are. If you have a specific amount you know can contribute, mention that amount and discuss with your daughter and her partner which items that amount might cover (i.e. if you’d like to contribute $2,000, that may cover flowers and the officiant fee, etc.).

My brother and his partner are getting married this summer. They have been living together for 5 years and already have a fully stocked home. Traditional wedding gifts just don’t seem appropriate for them. Any suggestions?

Weddings gifts were traditionally given as a way to help the newlyweds establish a home together. These days, more and more couples are living together before tying the knot and they already have all the toasters, baking pans and utensils they need!

Many couples in this situation request that a donation be made in their names to a charity or two they support. One organization doing this valuable work is the I Do Fountation. Couples can easily set up a registery by selecting the organizations they’d like their guests to support and can then send a link via email, send guests to the I Do Founation web site, or post the link on their personal wedding web page (if applicable!).

Another creative gift idea is a honeymoon donation. The is a great website that lets couples register by creating a dream honeymoon wish list. For example, the couple might create a registry for a 7 day Hawaiian honeymoon and list items such as “$30 for tropical drinks on Sunset Beach”, “$150 for a honeymoon suite upgrade at the Grand Wailea Resort”, or “$85 for a Polynesian luau”, etc. Guests then log onto the site, view the desired items and donate away! The couple receives a check 2 weeks before their honeymoon for the total amount of the donations. Other creative ideas include a week of maid service (who has time to clean their house when they are busy opening wedding gifts and unpacking from a honeymoon?), offering to pet sit while the couple is on their honeymoon, or a gift certificate for a post-wedding massage for two at a local spa. All of these are gifts that are fun to give and any newlywed couple will love!

My best friend (who is a lesbian) is marrying her partner next year. We grew up together and I always assumed I’d be her maid of honor at her wedding. She recently told me that they are not having a traditional wedding party, so bridesmaids and the maid of honor are out. I want to be supportive, but I don’t quite know where I fit into this wedding.

The notion of bridal attendants and “groomsmen” can become a little confusing when the couple getting married is same-sex. A lot of couples are shirking the idea of a traditional wedding party and are instead creating ceremonies that hold special meaning to them. The good news is there is no shortage of important roles for you to play in this wedding. Many couples are choosing close friends and family members to officiate their wedding, perform readings or religious traditions during the ceremony, coordinate the “day of” events, and much more. Let your friend know that you’d like to be a part of her wedding and see what she has in mind. Given the close relationship you have with your best friend, it’s a pretty sure bet she has a special place for you in her big day.

Do you have a question? Write us!

Contributed by Life Coach, Carey Powell, of Fearless Soul Coaching.