*Jordann, Sign Language Interpreter & Betsy, Sign Language Interpreter*
It seems fitting that our wedding graduate post this APW Pride week would be a post about how really, gay weddings are exactly like straight weddings. We’ve spent much of the week discussing politics and struggle, but it’s important to remember that, at their core, weddings are weddings. They have the same struggles, the same joys, and the same core of two people that love each other. Though in this case they have hot ladies in the hottest pants suits ever, which I’ll totally take. Let’s do it.
I never wanted a wedding. I knew from an early age that I wanted to elope. I had no desire to spend the money or the time planning a wedding. Being that I am more feminine and she more masculine the last thing I expected was for Betsy to want a traditional Jewish wedding. But after eloping to Iowa (the closest legal state to us), I knew my wife was not satisfied. She has always wanted a traditional wedding with the chuppah, seven blessing, glass stomping and everything else that comes with a Jewish wedding. Being a lesbian was not going to stop her and I was not going to stop her.
Coming from a state where gay marriage is not legal, I was surprised at how little resistance we received to a same-sex wedding. We contacted a variety of venues and vendors, and not once were we told “no” because we were lesbians. Granted I didn’t go to the Catholic Church asking them if I could have my lesbian Jewish wedding there. Although every vendor I called asked me for my groom’s name, I was not offended.
Again, we live in a heterosexual minded society; why would I assume they would ask me the other bride’s name? Yes, they could use the term “partner” but again I was not going to take lack of awareness as homophobia. Instead, I used it as a teaching moment. I explained it was a same-sex wedding and moved on to the point of the conversation. I was inspired by how many people had their own personal stories to share about their experience (or lack there of, but desire to learn) about same sex weddings. One individual shared about his sister marrying her long time partner in the near future.
Although you don’t see same-sex interfaith weddings every day, we faced the same challenges most heterosexual couples face. Not everyone will be happy with all of the decisions that are made. Often times when wedding planning begins, decisions are made based on what a couple feels they are supposed to do, not what they want to do. We went through this same process. In the early stages of our wedding planning we looked into traditional wedding venues that could hold hundreds of people and would provide a bartender, caterer, and a DJ. However, these options were not only not in our budget, they were not what we wanted.
At the conclusion of our wedding planning we were able to use a friend’s house for free, we used our canoe as our “bar,” we ordered BBQ and we borrowed some speakers and plugged in an iPod for our DJ. Enlisting the help of our friends, we were able to create the type of wedding we were comfortable with, including a trip around the lake in our “bar.”
Betsy and I are beyond blessed with the friends and family we have. The day was perfect. We managed to pull of an intimate wedding at a reasonable price. We felt so much love and support by the people that spent time contributing to the wedding and the people that showed up for the day. If one were to look at the guests at our wedding they would never know it was any different from a heterosexual wedding. We had close to every minority on our guest list: gay, straight, Deaf, white, Asian, Mexican, Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic, Mormon, and Christian. Eventually, it all comes down to love.
The Info—Photography: Jordann & Betsy’s friend, Mike Totays / Venue: Smith Family Backyard / Jordann’s Dress: David’s Bridal / Betsy’s Attire: Denver Dressmakers