Lesbian and Gay Wedding Processional

Two Rings by Holman PhotographyFrom the moment I signed on a dotted line to write a gay and lesbian wedding book, back in 2004, one question haunted me: “What is the main difference between a gay wedding and straight wedding?” Gay couples wanted to know the answer, vendors—looking to cash in on the market—were curious, and every journalist who interviewed me had it on the top of their notepads.

I hemmed and hawed and philosophized and agonized, doing my professional best to come up with the smartest answer ever. After weeks and months of working on that project, I finally figured out the truth: The main difference between a gay wedding and a straight wedding is that, in a gay wedding, the couple getting married consists of either two men or two women.

Profound much?

Yes, there are major and minor differences when planning a gay wedding. You may have to deal with homophobia, and you’ll have to make sure the vendors aren’t just gay-comfortable, but gay-loving. (If someone’s not too enthused about making your cake, remember there are a million other people who’d be more than happy to take your money.) You’ll also have to make sure that everyone takes your wedding as seriously as a straight wedding, as opposed to a silly little party that doesn’t need an RSVP, a gift, or even attendance.

There’s also the question of finding an officiant, should you be having a religious affair, as well as a house of worship where you can say your “I do’s.” While you’re at it, you’ll probably want to re-evaluate all those traditions to make sure none of them are sexist or outdated or specifically geared toward one sex or the other. Of course, you might need some insight into two tuxes for women, or the etiquette of wearing full drag.

After all that, you’re going to need to find a honeymoon destination where you feel comfortable walking hand-in-hand in the street with your loved one, and where the hotel might even offer you an upgrade or fill the room with chocolates and champagne.

Considering all those differences, why did I not pick one, or all, of those quandaries as my answer? Because any wedding, no matter your sex, race, religion, income, or sexual orientation, is about love.

Legal or not legal, gay weddings are the result of two people who’ve found each other, fallen in love, and have chosen to spend their lives together in a ceremony witnessed by their friends and loved ones. In spite of the noise and brouhaha that often precedes the phrase “gay wedding,” it’s pretty simple, really. Weddings have been happening in this country for more than 200 years, and now gay people are of the age where their trip-down-the-aisle fairy-tale fantasies are coming true.

I hope this column is helpful for your wedding-planning needs, and I welcome your questions and your thoughts and your stories. There will be a time when the word “gay” won’t define a wedding, as the ceremony will stand side-by-side with all the other weddings on planet earth. Until then, I’m here to address your specific needs. So wish upon a star, look up into the heavens, and join your partner for the ride of your life. It is my privilege to be invited.

Photo credit: Holman Photography


David Toussaint is the author of the Gay Couple's Guide to Wedding Planning, Gay and Lesbian Weddings: Planning the Perfect Same-Sex Ceremony, and TOUSSAINT!.