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Getting Started

GDX PhotoYou and your partner have come out (in most cases!), met each other, fallen in love, gotten engaged, and picked a date. Though you’ve covered great distances, you are now finding that you’ve actually only just begun and “square one” is staring you in the face. You are asking yourselves:

“We’ve come this far and know we want to build the gay wedding of our dreams, but what is next? Where do we begin?”

This is actually one of the top five questions we receive from our lesbian brides and gay grooms. And, generally, one of our first answers is: take our site for a spin and find a great book to help you with your planning when you aren’t online. Introductory books can really help you understand the many “moving parts” involved in building the gay wedding of your dreams. I find that most couples are so excited about beginning the process that they jump ahead of themselves and are already shopping for invitations with a date in mind before confirming an officiant or securing a location for the ceremony or reception. Generally, it all works out in the end, but we strongly advise couples to start their planning by discussing these basic questions:

1) How much money do we want to spend? Do we have access to that money or need to consider other options?

2) What kind of wedding & reception do we want to have? Small, medium or large? Day or night? Formal or informal?

3) What time of year do we want to do this?

4) Are we both in agreement on what the day will represent and how we’ll each be involved in the planning and development of the event?

By setting a realistic budget (money goes fast in preparing a celebration like this!), spending time communicating with each other about what you have in mind, and thinking about the parameters of your event, you can then begin taking steps toward finding a location and setting a date. Perhaps, at this point, you may also have realized that you’d like some extra planning support. Wedding planners can be expensive, but, if you want to be able to turn some of the legwork over to someone else, this can be money well-spent. Wedding planners have connections and ideas through their work in this industry and can help you overcome or avoid hard lessons learned the first time you plan a wedding (yours!), which is no small feat, and requires a skill set all its own. Or, perhaps, you realize that doing a bit more research on your own and booking a facility for your reception (which might even include an on-site planner or coordinator) is actually a better course of action for you. Either way, having a good sense of what you want your day to represent and spending some time with the “boring” details early on can make all the difference in how the planning plays out!  

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Wedding innovator Kathryn Hamm (@gayweddingscom) 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, Inc., and president of GayWeddings.com