The LGBTQ community is making some headway with marriage equality in the United States, but where does that leave the entire generation of people who never thought they would ever get married?
It’s bad enough that now that marriage is a viable option, the mirror of relationship ineptitude is suddenly shining a light in the darkest caverns of gay bars. Relationships aside, how do we even go about getting married? I recently attended a lesbian wedding. It was at the perfect location, Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation. This small Boston-adjacent museum has old metal works and funky antiques, and it also had an instillation of sequined headpieces and vintage dresses. It was kismet that this location had provided such a perfect backdrop to this couple made up of a scrappy librarian and her bright color-loving bride.
I teared up as my friend donned her tuxedo, read self-penned vows and danced with her mother. The waterworks really flowed when I saw how elated her mother was doing a jig with her newly married daughter. My friends chose to re-appropriate the Jewish custom of glass-breaking and did it together. But I started thinking, how many marriage customs do we get left out of? What do we choose to observe? Must every LGBTQ couple re-define the marriage ceremony? It’s liberating to be free from convention, but how to do you keep your ratchet friend Tom from sending his entire family of conservatives home with a horrible experience at a gay wedding? What’s to stop you from having the sum of your wedding gifts be homemade vegan cheeses?
As a community, we are at the inception point of defining what these ceremonies can be. Gone are the days of small civil ceremonies at the courthouse, protest weddings or getting married by notable closet-case Queen Latifah (No T, No Shade, Queen). We deserve not only equal rights, but equal access to our own set customs and traditions. Much like Emily Post having a blind eye on how to have polite casual sex, here are just a few possible traditions, customs and double wives tales.
1. Names, Names, Names
What do you call the people getting married? Bride A and Bride B? He-Bride and She-groom? Why not choose our own cool term like the conjugates, matrimonials or the pre-malgams? If not, we could always call future same-sex spouses, “Gabrielle Unions” named for the “Bring it On” and “Being Mary Jane” star.
2. Bachelor(ette) Party Game
The more sexually liberal gay man or lesbian lady may want to concoct a more family-friendly story of how they met. After all, you don’t want Grandma or creepy Uncle Nick to know you met your future husband (or conjugate) at a glory hole. So in between binge-drinking and having balls or titties in your face, why not have your party guests invent a story? The best story wins or it could be a group thing, and depending on your friends, afterward you can have a group thang.
They have to start somewhere, so let’s just write them ourselves. Here are a few to get you started:
No open bar, you both won’t get far.
Met in a stall, get married by fall.
Met on Grindr, send an extra reminder.
Unless you want fighting, no ex-inviting.
If your lesbian wedding gets caught in the rain, be sure not to fret.
After all, it a wonderful blessing because everyone is soaking wet.
If you’re partner’s a stunner, get married in summer; if your partner’s alright, get married at night.
With all the starving artists, aspiring vegan chefs and other new-agey types in the LGBTQ community, it can be hard to guarantee you’ll get something from your registry. In polite culture, you have a calendar year to send a wedding gift. It’s also believed that the gift should factor in the cost of the wedding. So if you go to a fancy-schmancy wedding, you don’t want to give someone a $10 Starbucks gift card. That being said, let’s be real and generous. If you are going to give homemade gifts, etc., at least give something analogous to the cash value of a wedding gift. Ergo, if you’re going to be giving someone a poem for their wedding, you may want to get writing and send them 12 poems for the whole year.
5. Fighting Gender Norms
Very few people have the courage to break with convention and break that last ironclad tradition of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Sure, this is most likely a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top of David’s Bridal’s corporate offices, but we honestly should take it down. Why can’t a bride have a Man of Honor or a bridesman? Conversely, why can’t a groom have his friend decked out in her best Janelle Monáe tux? After all, when we stop subscribing to rigid gender norms, we can break the taboos that oppress people in the LGBTQ community. Plus, there’s always drag!
These are just a few possible traditions we, as a community, can embrace. Here’s hoping in 50 years when people are waiting in line for the new iPhone suppositories or swimming down the street to work they will all know a few of LGBTQ wedding traditions.