On the most fundamental level, there’s no difference between same-sex and straight weddings. Both consist of two people declaring their love for each other, and their intention of staying together until one or the other drops dead. Whether it’s a man and woman exchanging vows, two men, or two women, that basic truth is the same.
But, as in any type of wedding, it’s the subtleties that make the difference. The bulk of advice given to straight couples getting married applies equally to LGBT couples—how to negotiate your venue, when to send out your invites—but there are a few other things that those planning a same-sex wedding need to take into consideration. Some make things easier. Others, not so much…
Making it easier: Everybody loves gay marriage
A Pew Research Center poll in 2017 showed that a record 62% of Americans support gay marriage. This growing acceptance is reflected in the fact that LGBT couples have much the same access to the wedding industry—venues, caterers, florists, cake designers—as straight couples.
Making it harder: Not everybody loves gay marriage
Yeah, about those cake designers. The same Pew Research poll showed that 32% of Americans still don’t approve of same sex marriage. LGBT couples—especially those living in the more conservative red states—may find that nice vendor suddenly refusing to serve them once he or she finds out they’re same-sex. Practically speaking, it might not be a big deal—there are a lot of cake makers in the world—but emotionally it can be devastating.
Making It Easier: Arguments
Everybody argues, especially when planning a wedding. But there is some evidence to suggest that LGBT couples have it a little easier here. Studies comparing the arguments of same-sex couples to straight couples indicate that, while both can get pretty heated, gay couples are generally less defensive and resolve the issue more quickly.
Making it harder: The Guest List
The guest list is always a bit of a minefield, but some LGBT couples need to factor in the extra wrinkle of family homophobia. What do you do if a relative you know you should invite—your socially conservative uncle, say—made his opposition to gay marriage glaringly apparent over the course of last year’s Thanksgiving dinner?
Making it easy: The Guest List
Of course, it will be painful to know that any of your relatives disapprove of your sexual orientation. But, on the plus side, it will open up some space for the people who do approve—who are the ones you want there anyway.
Making it easy: The Formalwear Decisions
Gay men have an advantage here over everyone else in that the question of a wedding dress never comes up (unless they bring it up themselves). True, they have to coordinate their look—but even the most bespoke suit will be easier to put together and less expensive than a wedding dress.
Making it easy: Same-sex Weddings Are, By Definition, Fabulous.
Ok, ok, we know: this is nonsense, a borderline-offensive stereotype. But it’s fun nonsense. The idea that LGBT people instinctively known how to throw parties that straight people can only dream about was memorably lampooned by SNL back in 2013. It speaks of an anxiety that dodges all wedding planning, no matter what the couple’s orientation: is this whole thing going to be as amazing as we hope? Is it even going to be good?