You Don’t Have to Be LGBTQ+ to Get the Most out of This Book


Author Kirsten Palladino joins us to discuss her new wedding planning book, Equally Wed

by Kate Levy, Marketing Manager

Equally Wed Book in a pile of confetti

As I began planning my wedding last year, I expected to find an abundance of LGBTQ+ resources and vendor options online. Being a gay couple living in the Bay Area, we’re rarely met with anything less than acceptance, yet it quickly became apparent that the wedding industry as a whole had a lot of catching up to do. This seemed surprising since nationwide marriage equality had been the lay of the land for almost two years. I’d already been a fan of APW for years, and loved the diverse, inclusive approach to weddings. I was also looking for a space where I didn’t have to use my imagination at all. A space where I could scroll through all the content and real weddings and exclusively see my community.

Enter Equally Wed. Kirsten Palladino and her spouse, Maria, began Equally Wed in 2009 after planning their own wedding and seeing firsthand the immense problems and lack of resources members of the LGBTQ+ community were facing during wedding planning. I spoke with Kirsten about where she got her inspiration, her recently published book, and how to break down gender roles when planning a wedding.

Q: Tell me a little about yourself and your background.

A: I’ve been a professional writer and editor for fifteen years. I began my career as an art editor at a national print magazine. Since then I’ve written and edited for national and regional newspapers and magazines, as well as digital publications. I live with my spouse, Maria, and our twin six-year-old sons in Atlanta, Georgia.

Even though I’m an entrepreneur and take pride in hitting goals and continuing to challenge myself, I’m also a total dreamer, a hopeless romantic, a complete Pisces. I’m always seeking to be more mindful and self-aware, and usually I get lost in my own world, staring at the trees, the sky, life. I’m a voracious reader (lately, I’m obsessed with Lidia Yuknavitch and Roxane Gay).

Q: What inspired you to start Equally Wed and now write the book?

A: My wife proposed to me on February 29, 2008, the day before my thirtieth birthday. (I may have made some demands of a proposal before I turned thirty.) When we started planning our wedding, the first thing I did was go to my local bookstore and stock up on wedding books and magazines. I was thrilled to dive into the bridal experience that many of my straight friends had gotten to have. What happened though was soul crushing. Among the gorgeous images of multi-layered cakes, bouquets, and distinguished details were people—specifically, cisgender heterosexual people paired with people of the opposite sex. And the language! It was always “bride and groom.” And the directions for the women were all about looking as feminine and landscaped as possible on the wedding day. I wasn’t marrying a groom and she definitely has no interest in looking feminine. Basically, we just didn’t fit in. I went online and didn’t discover any modern digital resources that spoke directly to people like Maria and me.

Because I’d already been a writer and editor for seven years, and Maria had been a graphic designer and website developer for the same amount of time, we decided that we could solve the problem we saw and fill the void of LGBTQ+ couples in wedding media. Thus the launch of equallywed.com, which we launched in March 2010, with daily inspiration and information on wedding planning, tips for traveling in safe areas for LGBTQ honeymoons, proposals, fashion, and marriage equality news. We also include family features on parenting and profiles of real LGBTQ-led families under a vertical called Equally Family, and marriage and relationship advice and essays under a vertical called Equally Ever After.

It’s always been a dream of mine to have books with my name on them in the library. I’ve been working on a memoir for a few years now, and I’ve been putting together a murder mystery in my head in the last couple of years. But I’ve also been considering a book for LGBTQ+ couples, as well as something that could help the wedding industry be more inclusive and considerate of LGBTQ+ couples. For the past seven years of serving as the editor in chief of Equally Wed, I’ve thumbed through pretty much every wedding book available. Some have sweetly mentioned gays and lesbians with a nice little shout-out about how we can do the mental gymnastics and then be able to use the advice for ourselves. Actually, what they say is that everything totally applies to us. But it doesn’t. It “totally” doesn’t. Telling us that using “bride and groom” applies to us is erasing our queer experience, the hardships we endure, the fight we’ve waged to arrive at marriage equality, the challenges we face every time we call for an appointment with a wedding vendor and even in our own families. For the most part, the language in these books (and magazines and websites) assumes that the marriers are straight, with pages devoted to all things bridal—and that’s just one bride, of course.

Then there are the three or so traditionally (not self-published) wedding books for same-sex couples. And those, for the most part, are again solely for cisgender lesbians and gays. When it’s two women, the authors refer to them as two brides and she/her/hers pronouns, and the same for two men, who are assumed to be two grooms and identifying with he/him/his pronouns. But our community is more than that. We’re not all gay or lesbian, and we’re certainly not all cisgender. But I wasn’t seeing the rest of our community well represented in wedding books, not as the standard, the norm, the majority.

I wanted a book just for us, where we don’t have to wonder where we fit in. So I wrote one.

Q: While much progress has been made since Equally Wed’s inception, why do you feel that LGBTQ+-specific sites are still important and needed?

A: You’re right: We’ve had so much progress. When Maria and I launched Equally Wed in 2010, only six states had marriage equality. And while websites and magazines have become more inclusive of same-sex couples (but usually not acknowledging queer or trans people), I’m certain that now more than ever before we need to continue to have our own safe places for information, support, and inspiration. The LGBTQ+ community intersects with many other communities—of color, of faith, of hobbies, and of geography. But in our own pride-filled community we don’t have to continuously come out as LGBTQ+ to each other, we can feel at ease to just simply be ourselves, to not worry about judgment, discomfort, or intolerance. As long as we’re a marginalized community, we need specific sites and places that are devoted to just us and operated by us. That’s why there are sites for Jewish weddings, for Indian weddings, for black weddings, etc.

Q: Equally Wed is clearly geared toward folks in the LGBTQ+ community. But can straight folks read this, too? What can they get out of it?

A: Absolutely. Straight folks are welcome in the Equally Wed community. While we cover a variety of challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people that straight people are privileged to usually not have to worry about, there are takeaways for everyone. Speaking to your family members about a wedding they might not be too thrilled about, broaching the topic of money and if anyone wants to help pay for the wedding, ways in which to walk down the aisle and who can do it (everyone!). And of course, we strive for equality in weddings in every way, so we hope to give people plenty to think about in terms of removing gender assumptions about either of the marriers. One of the largest group of straight readers we have are wedding industry professionals who come to Equally Wed to learn about being more equality-minded and inclusive in their interactions with LGBTQ+ couples as well as in their marketing and their contracts.

Q: Probably one of the very best parts of Equally Wed, and something I appreciate about it, is that it’s written to a gender-neutral reader. Why did you feel this was important?

A: I care very much about nonbinary and gender nonconforming people. They’re left out by society, from bathrooms to checking off a gender box that doesn’t apply to them on every single form in every single place online and in person. It can feel isolating. And I don’t believe that society should be like that. I want us to move beyond the gender construction that society has created—where we’re free to be you and me without the assumption of gender (and all of the expectations that lurk like a shadow over each gender). I’m not saying that we should get rid of female and male identities altogether. I just want to make space for people who don’t identify as either of the two most common genders, male and female, or identify as both or more. When we do that—move away from society’s current understanding of gender—we’ll be freeing ourselves from the assumptions that sit on the shoulders of the male and female genders. Expecting people to behave, look, and think a certain way because of their perceived or known gender is preposterous. And I’m pretty much done with that way of thinking. I wanted to write a book that offers advice on gown or suit shopping, bouquet carrying, boutonnière wearing, proposal asking, ring buying, and name changing all without the assumption that the person who will be doing it is of a certain gender. Gender doesn’t have to be a part of that discussion, of wedding planning.

Q: You talk a lot about the importance of vetting your vendors. Having planned my own gay wedding, we focused on working with vendors in the community or female-owned businesses. But even the most well-intentioned vendors we felt were lacking when it came to inclusivity. For example, their forms or websites just said “bride and groom.” What’s your best advice for vendors who want to work with all types of couples?

A: Congratulations on your wedding and marriage! I hear what you’re saying. In fact, I hear it all the time. Female-owned businesses unfortunately don’t perform any better than male-owned businesses when it comes to inclusiveness. It really comes down to allies who not only are willing to work with us but who openly want to celebrate us and learn how to best include us. At Equally Wed, we operate an education arm to wedding industry pros to become more equality-minded, from on-site training to consultations about their marketing and contract language. I advise wedding pros to get rid of “bride” and “groom” from all of their communications: from their website, their brochures, their wedding shows, their mouths, even their inner dialogue. Start using gender-neutral language everywhere. Call your couples nearlyweds, marriers, celebrants, or clients. It takes nothing away from your cisgender heterosexual clients and gives so much to potential LGBTQ+ clients.

Q: One of the topics your book covers is how to deal with homophobic or transphobic family members, a question we often get here on APW as well. Is that something you had to personally deal with?

A: I’m not in a place in my life where I can elaborate, but the short answer is yes, and it was a major impetus for the creation of Equally Wed.

Q: What is the best piece of wedding planning advice you’ve ever gotten? What is the worst piece of wedding planning advice you’ve ever gotten?

 A: The best wedding advice I received when we were planning our wedding was to not invite anyone who I didn’t see in my life beyond the next five years. It really helped us whittle down our guest list!

Ah, the worst? I think that the idea that you “must do X” or that you simply “have to have Y” is bullshit. My entire book is just suggestions. The only rule I have is that you send handwritten thank-you notes for every gift and assistance you receive.

Q: Since you work in the industry, when you go to a wedding, are you in editor/advice mode? Or are you able to relax and enjoy the day?

 A: For the most part, I really relax and enjoy the day. I certainly take mental notes of elements I love and might cover in the future, but I’m a total romantic sap. I get caught up in the joy of the moment, cry tons of happy tears, and have fun.

Q: What’s next for you and Equally Wed? Do you have plans for any more books?

 A: We’re amping up our educational and diversity training services for the wedding industry and expanding our editorial team to increase our daily content to even higher frequency. I have a few book proposals and half-written manuscripts in the works. I’ll keep you posted!

Q: Thank you Kirsten for the work you’re doing! I loved being able to read through a book and know it was entirely written for folks just like me. It’s so refreshing to not have to mentally replace words, or read asides about how gay folks can adjust it to make it their own, etc. Your site was a great resource for me and my wife, along with A Practical Wedding, so I’m glad there’s a book now too for couples planning their weddings!

A: Thank you so so so much for sharing this with me, Kate! I really appreciate it and happy that you connect with the book and the site!

check out equally wed for more lgbtq+-related content and be sure to pick up a copy of kirsten’s book

Kate Levy

Kate is APW’s Marketing Manager. This Bay Area native built her own business as a wedding hair and makeup artist, before shifting gears to work in marketing. She’s an avid iPhone photographer, loves all forms of social media (especially Instagram, #katesskylog), and makes a really mean chocolate chip cookie. Kate is a collector of spoons, enamel pins, and reusable bags she never actually brings to the store. When not getting sucked into the ASOS app or an Instagram hashtag blackhole, Kate can be found hanging on the Peninsula with her wife, 3 cats and 2 dogs.

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  • toomanybooks

    Stream of consciousness first things that come to mind when considering gay wedding planning struggles:

    -Products that are branded “Mr and Mrs” etc.

    -Trying to figure out how to explain to my now-wife who was taking my name why we wouldn’t both be “Mrs Toomanybooks” because Toomanybooks was already my last name, not a name I was taking as my married name (I realized I could just look to my mom, who kept her name and was a Ms, never a Mrs. But instinctively it just felt very weird to me)

    -Being frustrated that even “same sex inclusive” products would be labeled “Mrs and Mrs” (I’m MS.!!! I’m keeping my last name, she’s changing hers!)

    -Steeling myself for a fight when buying two “hers” ring dishes from a stack of “his” and “hers” ring dishes that were not packaged as pairs but were sold as pairs. The cashier had to check that it was ok and make sure that’s what I wanted, but ultimately I was allowed to do it. This whole experience is maybe a metaphor?

    -Explaining over and over again, aghast, to straight people on wedding forums how insensitive it is to use the speech from the legal decision on nationwide marriage equality for gay couples in their straight wedding

    -Making sure we got dresses that looked good next to each other

    -Explaining to my wife’s grandfather why he couldn’t use a line about how married couples are one soul, part male and part female, in his reading in our ceremony

    -Wondering if my mom is being weird about wedding stuff because I’m gay or because I’m her baby getting married

    -Having the courage to email the church I was baptized in to see if they really won’t let me get married there (official stance of the religion)

    -Announcing in every vendor email that the wedding will have two brides and wondering if that sounds like a gay wedding or like a sister wife wedding

    -Wondering if talking about my gay wedding at work will have secret negative repercussions

    -Wondering if certain people RSVPd no because it was a gay wedding

    -Not being able to tell my grandmother I was getting married

    -My mom asking my why I wouldn’t invite x distant relative because I didn’t know her well and she was homophobic, when y and z other guests who *were* invited were *definitely* homophobic (thanks! Also it wasn’t a political statement, it was me being afraid!)

    -Being terrified that somehow trump/pence were going to manage to take away marriage equality before our wedding

    -Really just not finding much of a gay wedding planning community online etc. if there was one, it was never as active as non-gay-specific ones.

    -Feeling like if I referred to my future wife while on wedding planning forums, I’d be mistaken for a guy, and feeling like I needed to reiterate a lot that I was a woman marrying a woman

    • Nichole

      “Announcing in every vendor email that the wedding will have two brides and wondering if that sounds like a gay wedding or like a sister wife wedding”

      When we were looking at wedding day of coordinators one of them said they would charge an extra fee for there being two brides, which turned out to be her not understanding that the two brides did not mean two different weddings. (We opted not to go with her.)

      • Jane

        I cannot believe that in this day and age people would guess double wedding or two weddings before same sex wedding. That is mindblowing.

    • HarrietVane

      We had our gay wedding on Saturday and, goodness, everything you said and more! I can’t even think of it all now, but a potential wedding cake vendor assumed we were having a double wedding (2 brides) before we had to make explicit that we were marrying each other.

    • sofar

      What I love about your post is that is spells out so well how heavy and difficult it can be to deviate from the norm for a cultural celebration that has so many ground-in Traditions. Yes, we have marriage equality in theory, but, in actuality, couples like you are still swimming upstream against the current of our cultural norms and assumptions.

      … that would have made me so exhausted.

    • Katharine Parker

      Thank you for sharing this in detail. The cultural narrative of a wedding remains a straight wedding, and challenging that has to be difficult on top of all of the shit that comes with planning a wedding. As a straight woman, I’ve thought about some of these things before (I’ve brainstormed the two dresses question with a friend and her wife, for example), but I have actually never thought about being Ms vs Mrs when one bride changes her name. Planning a wedding involves so many things and planning a gay wedding amplifies them, it seems.

    • idkmybffjill

      Oh man. The Ms. & Mrs. thing just BLEW MY MIND.

    • Jane

      I love how this list shows that there are really big issues (like dealing with homophobic family) but also just every damn detail has an extra hurdle. As if there weren’t already too many BS wedding things you had to deal with.

    • quiet000001

      “-Explaining over and over again, aghast, to straight people on wedding forums how insensitive it is to use the speech from the legal decision on nationwide marriage equality for gay couples in their straight wedding”

      Is this a common thing that bothers people? I googled but didn’t find much that seemed to be objecting to the use, just lots of sites suggesting people use it to explicitly recognize marriage equality.

      Just not an objection I’ve encountered before, and google was not super helpful beyond some comments on Reddit, so I’m trying to understand. No one is required to explain, obviously.

      • savannnah

        So generally some/many in the queer community feel like its an appropriation and that it would be like using a chuppah at a non-jewish wedding but more complicated than that due to the fact its about marriage equality specifically. I will say that my queer twin sister picked it for her reading at my straight wedding so obviously, like all minority groups, not everyone feels the same way- but I’d generally err on the side of don’t with appropriation.

      • toomanybooks

        Oh… I should probably just find what I wrote before… but basically, it’s ridiculous that gay couples JUST got the right to marry and have their weddings recognized nationwide, and even though legally we can get married there are still other issues like I wasn’t allowed to get married in my church etc. And, like, it’s awkward to say, but… we were kept from legal marriage nationwide by straight people… so it’s hard to see a straight couple borrowing the literal text from the recent legal decision allowing us to get married when they could do it all along and still can, anywhere, without worrying about that right being taken away because of their sexual orientation.

        In a word, it could be described as appropriation, I suppose.

        • penguin

          Is it just the reading from the legal decision that’s seen as appropriation? We’re not having anyone read from the legal decision (as a straight couple I think it would feel weird to do, since it wasn’t about us although we were obviously happy about it) BUT we were going to try and include some inclusive language in our ceremony, and I think we’re going to have a lot of it be relatively gender neutral (“the beloveds”, etc). On one hand, I want to be inclusive and make our LGBT nearest and dearest comfortable, but I don’t want to be the jerk who appropriates. Our rabbi is a woman married to a woman, so we’re mostly going with her guidance on this kind of thing.

          • toomanybooks

            The things you’re talking about totally don’t sound like appropriation or inappropriate at all! I mean, if you want to comment with what you mean by inclusive language/gender neutral/etc I’d also be delighted to read that as well – it sounds interesting as a way to make ceremony scripts more inclusive, anyway, because that can be a tough thing to figure out sometimes. (We were deciding what to do with “I now pronounce you husband and wife” – considered “I now pronounce you married” but went with “I now pronounce you wife and wife” and really liked it! Overall I personally avoid anything gender-neutral like the plague when it comes to my relationship, because to do otherwise would feel like hiding my orientation and not being proud of my marriage. We are both women and not gender-neutral. Which is why I NEVER use “partner” unless the sentence construction absolutely demands it somehow.)

            I feel like with wedding ceremony scripts, it comes down to “is this actually relevant to you two and your relationship, but also not to the point of *actively* excluding others with a different relationship?”

            For example, I would never find any fault with the ceremony being specific to the genders of the people getting married “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband/I now pronounce you man and wife/etc” but would cringe at the officiant going on about how marriage is the union of one man and one woman and it’s the balance of the two genders that makes marriage good. Nice sentiment for an opposite-sex couple, sure! But it genders ALL marriage, not just THIS COUPLE’S marriage. Thaaaaat is the thing that would be kind of awkward to sit through. My wife and I were at such a wedding once and we kind of looked at each other like “oh gosh are we even allowed to be here????”

          • penguin

            That makes a lot of sense! Thanks for the response on this. I hadn’t thought about the difference between gendering THIS marriage vs gendering ALL marriage, but that makes a lot of sense and I’ll definitely keep that in mind for our ceremony.

            We don’t have much specific language yet (still working on the ceremony), although we’ve gotten some good ideas from the book “The Jewish Wedding Now” by Anita Diamante. Highly recommend for anyone planning a Jewish wedding.

          • quiet000001

            I kind of feel like there might be a timing issue also – right after the decision, a straight couple including it (with context) as a celebration and to reinforce the social shift makes some sense to me. (‘On this happy day, we are beyond delighted by the recent Supreme Court decision that extends marriage to all, and we would like to take a moment to recognize the legal progress with a reading from…’ blah blah something.)

            But also again, that’s explicitly recognizing the context of the reading and forcing people to acknowledge the politics, not trying to slip it in so that there’s no conflict with more conservative guests.

      • S

        This is 100% my own (controversial) opinion, as a queer person in a relationship with a straight person, living in a country where marriage equality is not a thing yet (so I could get married, but choose not to yet), so this doesn’t really relate exactly to this reading or Americans in general – I sort of feel like nods to how “woke” you are as straight people are just masks to cover up the fact that you’re actively participating in something others can’t. (When similar things happen in Australia I mean!) I wouldn’t walk into a bar that said “No LGBTQIA+ allowed”, no matter how thirsty I am, and yet despite there being no big reasons why anyone HAS to get married in this environment where it’s a legal requirement that the fact that marriage is “between a man and a wife” is stressed during the ceremony, people keep doing it, with this like “throw you a bone” attitude where they make a remark somewhere in the ceremony about how they wish everyone could get married, WE don’t believe in what the officiant is saying, blah blah blah. In Australia, there are very few reasons why you’d need to get married – we have strong de facto laws set up so legally you’re as protected as if you were married. You’re not going to be prevented from buying a home or having kids or seeing each other in the hospital or being in charge of assets when the other dies. My very controversial feelings for Australians in this situation are: if you don’t agree with all the nuts and bolts in a legal ceremony/document, don’t participate in it. You don’t get to cherry pick. You’re participating in something that legally discriminates against others. You don’t get to pretend that that’s not true. Own it, or don’t do it. Don’t hide from it.

        • S

          (I feel like I really want to stress that this is just my opinion, and I could legally marry my partner, so my opinion on this matter isn’t a hugely important one. Lots of other queer people who do not have this privilege will have wildly different feels. We are not all one hive mind and I don’t speak for anyone else!)

        • Sunni

          Very good point. Thanks for the explanation.

        • toomanybooks

          “I sort of feel like nods to how “woke” you are as straight people are just masks to cover up the fact that you’re actively participating in something others can’t.”

          OMG YESSSSS THIS EXACTLY

          I mean, in the US, obvi gay people CAN get married, NOW, but I’ve absolutely had conversations with people who literally said in the same sentence, “We’re doing it to show our support! Also, none of our guests will know what it’s from.” And “It’s just a pretty sentiment about marriage! And don’t you know the man who said it was STRAIGHT??” (Ty for reminding me that it was straight people in positions of power who got to decide whether or not to have compassion for me & my team.)

          The bottom line is, if you’re customizing your wedding ceremony by choosing readings, aren’t you making it personal to your relationship? Why include a legal decision about a struggle that was not going to interfere with your own ability to get married?

          • Abby

            The “none of our guests will know what it’s from” negates the “doing it to show our support” part. I was at a straight wedding that used a long excerpt of Obergefell as their reading with ZERO context or announcement of what it was, and talking to them about it afterwards it sounded like they used it as a sneaky way to express their woke-ness while not wanting to ruffle feathers with their conservative family members. But by erasing the context, they let those family members believe it was a reading about straight marriage, and thereby reinforced their worldview that marriage = straight with a reading that was about marriage = human right that cannot be denied to LGBTQIA+. Which is the essence of appropriation. If you really want to show your support, you need to make it explicit.

          • quiet000001

            Yeah, I did see some comments about using it edited to avoid making your wedding political and like – it’s INHERENTLY political. If you want to include the sentiment in any form, it’s political in our current climate, own it.

            I was kind of surprised that I didn’t turn up any articles about the use of it as a reading discussing the issues/concerns. Maybe a future piece here?

          • toomanybooks

            Yeah, to use it but edit it so people can’t tell it was from a legal decision on gay marriage is pretty gross. Like… there aren’t enough readings that aren’t literally arguments for gay rights? There’s not a dearth of readings for heterosexual marriage.

            I certainly wouldn’t mind working with APW on a piece relating to this in some capacity, not even necessarily writing but even interviewing/consulting in some way. There’s queer APW staff, of course, but everybody has a different point of view and I totally feel like I’m coming from a different place (or maybe an in between place) than Najva or Kate, for example, and I feel like it would be nice to see more than “Hey, Crate and Barrel is chill about gay couples using its registry” or “Here are some suits that women can buy” when it comes to queer content. I definitely have Some Feelings about like, ideas about what’s progressive vs how gay people in particular will maybe actually feel about it?

          • Abby

            I think there’s a really interesting article to be written about the space between the oblivious (it’s just a piece about marriage! we can ignore the gay parts and use it to fit our straight wedding!) (ugh) and the obvious (we’re a gay couple and want to use this opinion to celebrate that!) (of course!) here. Namely that there are a lot of straight couples for whom it’s important that the institution of marriage they’re entering is not just a heterosexual thing (even if they could have gotten married under the prior regime and don’t face the same threats to their marriage under the current regime), so they don’t want to use the plethora of reading options out there written explicitly as heterosexual because those go against what they believe the institution of marriage should be. Since that in-between space is also where people are likely relatively aware of and sensitive to the harms of appropriation, an article exploring those issues would be great to see on APW.

          • toomanybooks

            Nah, it gives me an equally uneasy feeling whether it’s someone blithely using it because they think it sounds good, or arguing with me, a gay, about how they’re including it FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME and I should be super impressed with how gay friendly they are.

            I have a longer rant about straight people who reeeeeeally want to show how “not like a usual straight person!” they are by appropriating various gay stuff, but I don’t really want to get into it right now and veer into a whole thing. I mean, I can, if people want to listen. And maybe I’ll submit something, I don’t know. I just don’t want to feel like… a negative Nancy. Lol.

            Also, I am an Internet stranger, so I really can’t tell anyone how to do their wedding and I won’t be there to see it or disapprove! Do whatever, I guess! But I will state that this leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I think a lot of people really don’t realize that doing this might actually not come off as supportive, but as kind of insensitive.

            (Not to mention, there was no way I was going to use this reading in my wedding. I didn’t want to draw attention to how recently our marriage was deemed allowable nationwide, I didn’t want it to seem like a novelty that our wedding was ~legal~, and I’d heard of more straight than gay couples using it for their wedding.)

          • Abby

            I think the not-realizing is exactly why such an article (not by you if you don’t want to! it’s not your job to educate here!) would be helpful, because people don’t realize that they come off as insensitive when they’re trying to be supportive, and I just want there to be more resources out there for well-meaning but blinded-by-their-privilege people to self-educate on this without having to continually test the patience of their networks by re-asking the same questions that you’ve already answered a million times. And on that note, I really appreciate your taking the time to explain as much as you have to Internet strangers (and would absolutely listen to that rant if you want to unleash it!) Thank you.

          • Hannah

            I would *love* to read/contribute to such an article! Yes, please!

          • jem

            Thank you for saying this!!! We’re both in the legal field, so we thought it would be fun to include a reading from SCOTUS in our ceremony, but felt uncomfortable appropriating Obergefell for our cis het wedding. We chose Griswold v CT, instead (because, uh, that case totally applies to us).

        • I really appreciate hearing someone else articulate why I’ve always felt straight couples including extracts from that speech made me feel so uncomfortable. Even as a bisexual woman in a country with marriage equality, I’d be uncomfortable using something like that because I still have the privilege of being in a heterosexual relationship.

          I think there are subtleties (like Savannah’s queer sister using it in her reading is different, I think, to a straight couple asking another straight person to read it) but it would almost be like a white couple using a segment from the Loving judgement to announce “hey, we both happen to be white but we both totally would have been okay with it if one of us wasn’t except we aren’t but look how woke we are”. It’s not about you, it’s not for you. You can be inclusive without appropriating other people’s victories.

          • annie

            I was actually toying with (and ultimately decided against) using a quote from one of the gay marriage rulings as a way to tweak the noses of the people who are less than thrilled with my interracial marriage. The loving judgement was so dry and decidedly unromantic.

          • Mim

            Omg. EXACTLY THE SAME. Interracial relationship. Wanting to use the loving judgement. But its beyond dry and also…very grudging it felt like. As if it was distasteful to the judges but they knew there was no legal reasons to stop it from happening. Considered using obergefell ruling in ceremony, but it was definitely appropriation and decided against it.

    • S

      Yes! Thank you for this post. …Off topic, but you’re submitting your wedding to APW, right? ;)

      • toomanybooks

        Omg I want to! I have photos but I also have like two more people who I know took a lot of amazing ones who are just tooooooo busy to send them to me lol. But I’m trying to get them in when I can, if not by the end of Pride Month then some other time!

    • Kate Levy

      YES TO ALL OF THIS. Thank you for so articulating out some not typically obvious aspects LGBTQ folks encounter while planning. Unfortunately this post wasn’t geared towards covering a lot of this, but there is DEF room for a post surrounding these. :) (also, please send me your pics when you have them all!! I’d love to see them for me obvs, but also for APW!)

  • Eyema

    I have a question for Kirsten! How out in front do you recommend queer couples being with vendors? For example, I don’t imagine that my caterer HAS to know I’m non binary and my sweetheart is queer, but maybe it would be helpful? How do you feel out who gets the spiel and who doesn’t?

    • toomanybooks

      I’m not Kirsten, but just in case she doesn’t see this, are you two a visibly queer couple? My wife and I are both ~feminine ladies~ who had a ~lesbian wedding~ so anyone who worked with us WAS going to find out soon enough, but I mentioned this in all my vendor emails etc when I was reaching out, just to be upfront so they didn’t awkwardly assume I was marrying a man, or turn out to be homophobic. Wanted to filter out for that immediately!

      If not, it kind of depends on your comfort level and priorities. Like if your #1 priority is to hire super queer friendly vendors, or people in the community etc, then go ahead and mention it! If you’re just like, “oh gosh, this is the only baker I could find in my price range and I really just want this transaction to happen” I think it’s also fine if you just *don’t* really want to bring it up!

      Probably it’s good to keep people more in the loop the more intimately/heavily involved with you on your actual wedding day they will be? For example, a day of coordinator or anyone speaking or things like that will probably do best with a better understanding of you as a couple! If you don’t feel like getting into it with a vendor who’s just going to drop something off and go? That’s totally fine too!

      I totally thought about this myself and for my I was like, sometimes I’m worried something will fall through if someone turns out to be weird about gay stuff! But if they were like, actually going to deal with both of us on the wedding day, They Would Know lol. And I’m really glad I was so out in my vendor emails because then sometimes they get all excited and come out to you too! My harpist was like “I’m gay too!!” Super cool!

      • Kate Levy

        Totally agreed about the priorities – it really depends on the vendor’s role. When I was planning our wedding, florist, photographer, baker, and venue were all very clearly vetted and “in the know” about who we are as a couple. Did I bother explaining it was a LGBTQ wedding with one masculine of center partner to our local chain rentals company? Nah.

        So definitely just figure out what your comfort level is and who needs to know because it’s important FOR YOU. If you’re telling them because you’re not sure their level of acceptance that’s cool too, but I would use sites like APW, Equally Wed, and Catalyst to help eliminate that level of vetting that you would need say from Yelp or another wedding site.

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