Wedding Etiquette Forum

Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This

If you've been invited to your first gay wedding, you may have some questions about what to think or what it's going to be like. Although every wedding, gay or straight, is unique, I can share with you some insights because I'm about to have my own gay wedding.

Here's a link to a FAQ/Gay Wedding Etiquette page we wrote to diplomatically handle all the questions that our guests have about gay weddings. We've gotten such positive feedback from all kinds of people saying how helpful it is, so I realized that I need to share it with you guys:

http://karenandsarah.ourwedding.com/view/5986617966233485/28725059

We've had people forward it to friends and people we don't even know to help them understand, so feel free to share!

Good luck with wedding planning!

Sarah
RebeccaDW
«1

Re: Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This

  • Mrs.B6302007Mrs.B6302007 member
    5000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 25 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited July 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_invited-to-a-gay-wedding-read-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:87aa24a2-5020-4383-894c-380b5713e113Post:0fe38969-6537-4cb8-9b40-1fc8b9a5b242">Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This</a>:
    [QUOTE]If you've been invited to your first gay wedding, you may have some questions about what to think or what it's going to be like. Although every wedding, gay or straight, is unique, I can share with you some insights because I'm about to have my own gay wedding. Here's a link to a FAQ/Gay Wedding Etiquette page we wrote to diplomatically handle all the questions that our guests have about gay weddings. We've gotten such positive feedback from all kinds of people saying how helpful it is, so I realized that I need to share it with you guys: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://karenandsarah.ourwedding.com/view/5986617966233485/28725059">http://karenandsarah.ourwedding.com/view/5986617966233485/28725059</a> We've had people forward it to friends and people we don't even know to help them understand, so feel free to share! Good luck with wedding planning! Sarah
    Posted by sggeiger[/QUOTE]

    Well, I would assume there would be a couple, some aisle walking, some music, some vows, and some kissing.  What kinds of questions do people have?  A wedding is a wedding, right?
    The Bee Hive Est. June 30, 2007
    "So I sing a song of love, Julia"
    06.10.10

    BFAR:We Defined Our Own Success!
    image

  • In Response to Re:Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This:[QUOTE]If you've been invited to your first gay wedding, you may have some questions about what to think or what it's going to be like. Although every wedding, gay or straight, is unique, I can share with you some insights because I'm about to have my own gay wedding.Here's a link to a FAQ/Gay Wedding Etiquette page we wrote to diplomatically handle all the questions that our guests have about gay weddings. We've gotten such positive feedback from all kinds of people saying how helpful it is, so I realized that I need to share it with you guys:<a href="http://karenandsarah.ourwedding.com/view/5986617966233485/28725059We've" rel="nofollow">http://karenandsarah.ourwedding.com/view/5986617966233485/28725059We've</a> had people forward it to friends and people we don't even know to help them understand, so feel free to share!Good luck with wedding planning!Sarah Posted by sggeiger[/QUOTE]

    Uhh thanks? I didn't realize "gay weddings" needed a special FAQ. The ones I've been to were just the same as "straight weddings" where, you know, two people who are very much in love vow to live their lives together as partners.
  • His pictures were great!  They look very happy and it looks like the reception was a good time.
    The Bee Hive Est. June 30, 2007
    "So I sing a song of love, Julia"
    06.10.10

    BFAR:We Defined Our Own Success!
    image

  • You might be surprised.. We knew we had a public relations crisis when we realized grandma thought we were breaking the law! LOL But seriously, even open-minded people have lots of questions, like about the legal aspects, what we're wearing, etc. And I can't tell you how many times we've been asked "Who's the groom?"

    Sarah

    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_invited-to-a-gay-wedding-read-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:87aa24a2-5020-4383-894c-380b5713e113Post:747dd9c3-7b14-4086-bc68-b7becd4f9bf7">Re: Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This : Well, I would assume there would be a couple, some aisle walking, some music, some vows, and some kissing.  What kinds of questions do people have?  A wedding is a wedding, right?
    Posted by Mrs.B6302007[/QUOTE]
  • pkontkpkontk member
    500 Comments
    So the two of you, an openly gay couple, have been asked by friends and family about the groom?  Or was this by vendors etc.

    I understand your reasoning and get that you're trying to be helpful, but parts of this do seem a little condescending.  Just because some guests may have never been to a gay wedding does not mean they will not know what to expect, or feel uncomfortable attending.
  • People actually ask who the groom is??  That's kind of rude.  I wouldn't dream of asking that if my gay friends were to have a ceremony. 
    The Bee Hive Est. June 30, 2007
    "So I sing a song of love, Julia"
    06.10.10

    BFAR:We Defined Our Own Success!
    image

  • It's not really a bad thing to add, especially for those that are genuinely curious, even if they would never voice their questions.  My coworker, who is 75 and very openminded and accepting, still asks who the "man" is in couples.  Even though, while it could apply depending on the couple, doesn't apply at all to my lesbian friends.  While the question doesn't offend me to answer, she has it set in her mind that's the way it is.  The section on the website is labeled FAQs, which means that if some people have asked, good chance many others have wondered.  (And if the guests could care less, then they don't have to click.)  I found it interesting to read, even though I've never really had the questions myself, and don't feel it condescending personally.  So I guess it's all in how you interpret the intent.


    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_invited-to-a-gay-wedding-read-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:87aa24a2-5020-4383-894c-380b5713e113Post:8549aad6-bdca-4f3c-b1f4-b6286c54ac86">Re: Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This</a>:
    [QUOTE]So the two of you, an openly gay couple, have been asked by friends and family about the groom?  Or was this by vendors etc. I understand your reasoning and get that you're trying to be helpful, but parts of this do seem a little condescending.  Just because some guests may have never been to a gay wedding does not mean they will not know what to expect, or feel uncomfortable attending.
    Posted by pkontk[/QUOTE]
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Yes, we have been asked all of these questions. Mostly by family and some curious friends. You don't have to be closed-minded to ask all of them. Some yes, but others are more from the fact that its still not common. It's great that some of you already get it, but the reality is that gay couples deal with lots of people who don't. Really. Sarah
  • pkontkpkontk member
    500 Comments
    See, the same could be said about weddings of other cultures that people are unfamiliar with.  We aren't saying that you are wrong to have information about gay weddings on your FAQs, but the tone could be misinterpreted.
  • We've been asked several times who is the guy.  We just laugh and make them guess for themselves!  We've gotten some really interesting answers, that's for sure.  
  • I just....
    Wow. I don't know what to say.  I can't believe that people think it's okay to ask that.
    The Bee Hive Est. June 30, 2007
    "So I sing a song of love, Julia"
    06.10.10

    BFAR:We Defined Our Own Success!
    image

  • I think TK ate my first post.  

    I read through your list, and I get that some of the stuff is personal to you and might be interesting to people (like what you're doing with your names).

    #12 and #13 kind of stunned me though - are you really inviting people to your own wedding who you feel might not be comfortable there??? REALLY??  I'd be less concerned with their comfort about my marriage and more concerned with telling them how many ways they could go fuuuuuck themselves.  Same for explaining it to kids - that's not your problem.  That would be the problem of the bigots you've apparently invited to share your day.
    imageAnniversary
  • We invited several people who we knew were "on the fence" because regardless of opinions they are our family and it would mean a lot to us to have them there. We're talking close relatives here. The whole point of this is that we're NOT telling people to go f*** themselves. We really were trying to reach out. The tone was meant to be lighthearted, comical and conversational, not combative.
  • egm900egm900 member
    500 Comments
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_invited-to-a-gay-wedding-read-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:87aa24a2-5020-4383-894c-380b5713e113Post:eaad2ea1-4132-46f2-b419-c3f5b17cc904">Re:Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This</a>:
    [QUOTE]We invited several people who we knew were "on the fence" because regardless of opinions they are our family and it would mean a lot to us to have them there. We're talking close relatives here. The whole point of this is that we're NOT telling people to go f*** themselves. We really were trying to reach out. <strong>The tone was meant to be lighthearted, comical and conversational, not combative.</strong>
    Posted by sggeiger[/QUOTE]

    <div>I got lighthearted, comical, and conversational.  Although I have several gay friends, some of those questions do go through a person's mind, and by making it funny, I didn't feel like a "bad" or "close minded" person for thinking them.  I'm sure some people, including some of your guests, might view them as combative, but you're not going to please everyone.</div>
  • I thought it was fairly lighthearted, and I imagine that some of your guests will find it useful, and the ones that don't need the explanations won't read it and will understand why you have it (although it also explains your personal rationale for getting married, etc.).  

    Since you put your website out there, might I suggest you read this FAQ about honeymoon registries, if you haven't already?  http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_registering-gifts_thinking-of-honeymoon-registry-2
  • I thought it was great.  We've been asked those kinds of questions more often than we expected (although not the one about breaking the law -- that cracked me up).  And we, too, invited some family who we weren't sure would be comfortable simply because, well, who are we to decide for them or exclude them?  We're not the ones with the problem.  We'd like to see them become comfortable with it, and denying them an invitation wasn't going to do much to foster good feelings.

    Frankly, I'm surprised that there is such a reaction to this.  I read it and was sorry we didn't think to do something like this ourselves.  I didn't find the tone condescending at all. 
    imageWhite Knot Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_invited-to-a-gay-wedding-read-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:87aa24a2-5020-4383-894c-380b5713e113Post:ebd79940-d38e-45c6-967c-8c3b7ea0a5fc">Re: Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This</a>:
    [QUOTE]I thought it was great.  We've been asked those kinds of questions more often than we expected (although not the one about breaking the law -- that cracked me up).  <strong>And we, too, invited some family who we weren't sure would be comfortable simply because, well, who are we to decide for them or exclude them?  We're not the ones with the problem.  We'd like to see them become comfortable with it, and denying them an invitation wasn't going to do much to foster good feelings.</strong> Frankly, I'm surprised that there is such a reaction to this.  I read it and was sorry we didn't think to do something like this ourselves.  I didn't find the tone condescending at all. 
    Posted by jayetheartist[/QUOTE]


    Thumbs up!
    The Bee Hive Est. June 30, 2007
    "So I sing a song of love, Julia"
    06.10.10

    BFAR:We Defined Our Own Success!
    image

  • We have been asked those questions PLENTY of times. 
    Who is the guy? 
    Who is the groom? 
    Why are you bothering to do all of this ... you know it doesn't even really matter, right?  
    Wow, I'm surprised you bothered to put so much money and effort into a wedding that doesn't even count.
    Oh, you are getting married?  I thought you were gay!?  When did you switch back to men?

    and the list goes on and and on and on.
  • but, to add....  we didn't invite anyone to the wedding that is going to have any sort of issues.  If they had any sort of issue with us before, they don't get an invite.  Parents didn't get any input on the guest list.   So, none of the people that ask us these dumb ass questions are being included.

  • I found none of it condescending and a very good way to address some of the questions people may have. I've never been to a gay wedding, but I live with a gay man and I have questions all of the time for him since it's something I'm not used to. I always start with, "I'm so sorry if this is offensive to ask, but I really am curious about.....insert question here." Two of his close friends were supposed to get married back in May, but they were forced to postpone it because of familial issues, some people were unsupportive. I think that your FAQ's would have been very helpful. Congratulations and I wish you guys the best of luck! :)
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    image
  • Stage I actually agree with you and I am gay. I do think it sounds somewhat condescending. And in my experience at least, people who have decided they are uncomfortable aren't going to change their minds because they read some helpful hints. I find that when uncomfortable or homophobic folks attend a queer wedding, they are doing it out our curiosity or to witness a freakshow. I'm happy that there are straight folks that will educate other straight folks. I'm happy that there are activists that have open conversations. I am one of those people most of the time. I just don't want my wedding to be a teaching moment for people who aren't already on board with me. Kudos for OP if she feels happy with educating her extended friends or family at her wedding. I'm still not sure that was the most effective method. I just am not inviting anyone who isn't 100 happy with our decision to have our wedding. That meant excluding some distant friends and relatives, and we were fine with that.
  • Wow! I'm really glad I posted this because I honestly appreciate the feedback. I was really surprised that so many found it condescending because that wasn't at all the intention! Also because we have gotten a ton of positive feedback from people, many of whom don't know any other gay couples, are from small towns or are a bit older. I wouldn't describe them as homophobic, but more curious and unsure and they did appreciate the effort to make them feel more "in the loop".

    For these people it worked, but what I'm realizing is that for people who are at all uncomfortable, the attempts at humor can really sound threatening. That's alarming because, like I said, it wasn't our intent. It was the opposite of our intent. I never meant to ridicule the idea that people have questions or imply that having questions means a person is homophobic--it doesn't. It's only natural, especially if a person hasn't known a lot of gay people, which is most people in this country! I recently heard that 60% of Americans don't know a gay person (or know they know a gay person). In this case, can you really blame people for having questions? I honestly don't, and that's why we made it, to let people know that it's OK to have questions and that we're comfortable calling the situation for what it is: new for most of us. People can be so afraid to talk about it or they get this doom and gloom tone when they do, and the lighthearted tone was an attempt to use humor to diffuse that tension. I see now that we could have done a better job at that.

    So.. I have decided to revise it and especially change the title (I Don't Get It...) and the image. I think those two things are the worst offenders of the page and set up the rest to sound bad. I will say, though, that every question (and even the "I Don't Get It" part) are questions we have actually gotten, some of them word for word. I think its kind of funny that people find it condescending that we're implying some people don't know these things when in fact they are the actual questions that we have gotten! Of course not every question applies to everybody, no FAQ does, but I think there's something in there for everyone no matter who you are, how familiar you are with gay people or how supportive you are.

    So all in all, thanks for the feedback. I do appreciate it. I think it's fair to say that some guests will find it offensive and so I'm changing it. I don't think that most people were annoyed, but I can see how someone could legitimately be annoyed. That's fair enough. I don't, however, think it's fair to be angry or insulting. Even if we didn't do the best job of how we said it, it's still clear that we were just trying to reach out and make our guests feel more at ease with an experience we are asking them to have that we know is new and potentially confusing for a lot of us.
  • Like I said kudos to you !!   Maybe it's because I live in a major city. Maybe it's because I'm older. I dunno.  I teach people by living my life openly and lovingly every day... but, I gave up going out of my way to teach people quite a few years ago. 

    Personally, it's sort of like racism to me.  It's not up to black and brown folks to teach white folks how NOT to be racist. It's up to white people to decide they want to stop being racists and do the work to get there. 

    I WILL answer questions when asked... and I will take the opportunity to teach folks who want to be taught. But, I'm not going out to change people's minds anymore.  However, when they want to change their minds... I'll be available as a resource.
  • sggeigersggeiger member
    10 Comments
    edited July 2012
    OK, so I revised it and hopefully it no longer sounds condescending. Again, thanks for the feedback and if you have any on the update I'd be curious to hear.

    http://karenandsarah.ourwedding.com/view/5986617966233485/28725059
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_invited-to-a-gay-wedding-read-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:87aa24a2-5020-4383-894c-380b5713e113Post:ebd79940-d38e-45c6-967c-8c3b7ea0a5fc">Re: Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This</a>:
    [QUOTE]I thought it was great.  We've been asked those kinds of questions more often than we expected (although not the one about breaking the law -- that cracked me up).  And we, too, invited some family who we weren't sure would be comfortable simply because, well, who are we to decide for them or exclude them?  We're not the ones with the problem.  We'd like to see them become comfortable with it, and denying them an invitation wasn't going to do much to foster good feelings. Frankly, I'm surprised that there is such a reaction to this.  I read it and was sorry we didn't think to do something like this ourselves.  I didn't find the tone condescending at all. 
    Posted by jayetheartist[/QUOTE]

    This times 100.
  • QueerFemmeQueerFemme member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited July 2012
    I think it's better. But, I have to say.... I hate hate hate the following sentence: 

    12. I'm not sure I'm going to feel comfortable. Should I come?

    Let's be completely honest for a second--gay marriages just don't look right.


    I think it would better if you said "Let's be completely honest for a second.  You may think that something is missing or gay marriages aren't what you envision as a "wedding".

    Or something along those lines.  I think it is completely offensive to indicate that somehow our marraiges don't look right... and saying that to people who are already on the fence about this topic, you reinforce that their ignorance should be tolerated or even accepted.

    My motto...  "act as if".  If you don't act like this is a big deal or doesn't look right... people are more likely to get on board.  If you act like somehow, your wedding doesn't really look right... people will think it's ok to continue to think that also.

  • sggeigersggeiger member
    10 Comments
    edited July 2012
    I do see your point about that line. In fact, I almost took it out several times because I didn't want to offend my gay friends or make them think I was "selling out". It's a hard line to hear, and it was a hard line to write. But I stand by it. I think it's an important section because it acknowledges that people can have that feeling, even if it's only a tinge, and not be truly homophobic, and that having that tinge doesn't mean that what they're seeing is wrong or that their conscience is trying to tell them something. Some people think this, especially religious people who mistake the discomfort of leaving their comfort zone with a message that God is trying to tell them something is wrong. I'm telling them that it's not that and to not trust that reaction, it's just that we all notice differences if that's not what we're used to seeing. My thinking on this is shaped by my experience as a Peace Corps volunteer. Through that experience I learned that people are thrown by differenes, especially visual ones, and that a situation like a small town person going to a gay wedding is kind of like a small version of culture shock. It doesn't mean you don't like the culture, it just means people get easily overwhelmed by differences and need time to adjust to them. It's the same way that I needed time to adjust to Paraguay and Paraguayans needed time to adjust to me before we stopped seeing each other as strange.

    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_invited-to-a-gay-wedding-read-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:87aa24a2-5020-4383-894c-380b5713e113Post:85a7f21c-564a-4a59-b8f5-1171ccafbc3f">Re: Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think it's better. But, I have to say....<strong> I hate hate hate the following sentence:  12. I'm not sure I'm going to feel comfortable. Should I come? Let's be completely honest for a second--gay marriages just don't look right.</strong> I think it would better if you said "Let's be completely honest for a second.  You may think that something is missing or gay marriages aren't what you envision as a "wedding". Or something along those lines.  I think it is completely offensive to indicate that somehow our marraiges don't look right... and saying that to people who are already on the fence about this topic, you reinforce that their ignorance should be tolerated or even accepted. My motto...  "act as if".  If you don't act like this is a big deal or doesn't look right... people are more likely to get on board.  If you act like somehow, your wedding doesn't really look right... people will think it's ok to continue to think that also.
    Posted by cmgilpin[/QUOTE]
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_invited-to-a-gay-wedding-read-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:87aa24a2-5020-4383-894c-380b5713e113Post:4fa12530-ab30-4367-b783-be63dd59bbc1">Re: Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This</a>:
    [QUOTE]   <strong>It's the same way that I needed time to adjust to Paraguay and Paraguayans needed time to adjust to me before we stopped seeing each other as strange.</strong> In Response to Re: Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This :
    Posted by sggeiger[/QUOTE]

    I totally understand that adjusting to other cultures takes time. And you adjusting to another culture and them adjusting to you, is understandable.  But, that sentence makes it sound like you need time to adjust to your OWN gayness.   If you look in the mirror and find that you are uncomfortable with the vision you see...   and your own wedding doesn't look "right", I'm not sure how other people will ever get on board.  
  • sggeigersggeiger member
    10 Comments
    edited July 2012
    On second though, no. I changed my mind. The whole thing is staying the way it was. I'm not tiptoeing around and dumbing down my sentences so people won't think I'm acting superior because I'm not. If they think it's condescending it probably says more about them and their latent homophobia than it does about me. My goal was never to change the minds of fundamentalists or minds that are already so steeped in hatred they can't see reality; those people are beyond hope. I just wanted to reach out to guests who are basically good people but have never been around gay people and had some misperceptions as a result. My target audience is people who know my FI and I well enough to recognize our voice and sense of humor, and I trust that they will get that from it rather than condescension.

    I revised it for the same reason that I wrote it in the first place--because I love my FI, who is from a small town, and I can't stand the thought of her getting hurt by people she loves and I wanted to do what I could to diminish that. For this purpose and those readers, I think I did that fine the way it was. After I revised it, it just didn't sound like us anymore. I should have stuck to my guns. There's always going to be haters.
  • I'm adjusted, trust me. But I came out 13 years ago. It wasn't like that on day 1.

    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_invited-to-a-gay-wedding-read-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:87aa24a2-5020-4383-894c-380b5713e113Post:960144b6-136e-4df1-b049-06e2acfb5dd8">Re: Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Invited to a Gay Wedding? Read This : I totally understand that adjusting to other cultures takes time. And you adjusting to another culture and them adjusting to you, is understandable.  <strong>But, that sentence makes it sound like you need time to adjust to your OWN gayness.  </strong> If you look in the mirror and find that you are uncomfortable with the vision you see...   and your own wedding doesn't look "right", I'm not sure how other people will ever get on board.  
    Posted by cmgilpin[/QUOTE]
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards