I am not a bride

March 5 | Guest post by rorsun1
Wedding Cake Figurines
Photo by laverrue, used under Creative Commons license.
I am not a bride. I am a cisgendered queer man. My partner is not a bride. He is a cisgendered gay man. There is a difference between "queer" and "gay" here, but that's not my focus.

I am not a bride. I don't want to know what dress whatever website or magazine will think is "hot" on me or whatever the "hottest" trend in whatever fashion for brides is because I am not a bride.

I've found the person I want to be with forever and it's almost as if we don't exist.

When we bought our house, the registries were for a bride and a groom. But I am not a bride. He is not a bride. We are neither brides. I loathe the idea of registering again because I don't want to have to tell people to "play around in the search" to find one of us in the wrong category. Macy's and Pier One and Crate and Barrel and Target don't understand that their registries are available in places where gay people get married.

I don't want to have to come out over and over and over again to gift registry associates in stores, to suffer through confused and judging looks simply because I'm not in some glorious mold of who should be married. Because I may decorate, but I'm also a black belt. Because he's a cook, but also handles the power tools. Because we're both neither the femme nor the butch. Because we're us and delightfully both and neither of these things. Because I don't want to have to answer to who's the Bride and who's the Groom. Because I don't want this world that I've entered into to be a square hole to my round peg.

I don't want the softs and pastels and the feminine. That is neither of us. I don't want to be typecast as the Bride because I want to do the decorating and have a vision of what I want.

I don't want to have to go through extra effort to find a photographer who will be able to deal with not having a bride to pose as she's picked up by her husband, or a dress to photograph, or a "trash the dress" session because there is no dress.

And I simply don't understand why it's still stuck like this. Because it's been eight years, EIGHT, since gay marriage became legal in my state of Massachusetts. Because, since then, five more states and DC have joined us. Because other states will be joining us in the next year. Because it's time for it to change. This whole complex, this whole industry, this whole idea of who gets married, who does the planning and who should care about it, needs to change. Because I'm just one couple in a long line of couples who don't fit the mold, even if they are heterosexual.

And I don't understand why, in a field which is stereotypically dominated by gay men in business (fashion, design, food, planning), that there is no inkling that inclusiveness should be something sought for and done quickly instead of dragged out and done hesitantly. Why there isn't a push to change everything to reflect how it is now.

I look at these wedding photographers, which is where I am now in the process, and I'm trying to suss out if they're LGBT-friendly through the pictures they take. Does their emphasis on the bride mean the photographers find the men to be unimportant? Does the lack of LGBT couples even in the background mean that they are avoiding those couples to "beautify" the shot? Does a lack of inclusiveness in the statement on the website mean that they would rather not work with LGBT couples?

And then I have moments where I say to myself, if they don't support LGBT couples, they're not worth it. They'll find they'll lose business. I'll find a business which does support me and what I'm doing. Not on the philosophical "everyone should be married to whomever they wish" level, but on the "I would be honored and love to shoot your wedding! You're such a gorgeous and happy couple!" level.

But I read about these businesses that refuse LGBT business based on their religious leanings. I hear about these horror stories of typical couples finding the right vendor. And I freak out.

I become overwhelmed with fear. I stop looking. I eat some ice cream. I play some MarioKart. I relax my pain away with stupid frivolities until I have to open it all up again later, only to have the same thoughts, anxieties, and pressures.

Rejecting all the Bride-related propaganda is easy because it's not my propaganda. You see, I'm not a bride.

I'm not a bride, and that seems to be my problem all along.

  1. So happy to see this post here. Very well-written, and important to hear. You are important, lovely, and no doubt one half of a beautiful and happy couple, bride or not!

    23 agree
    • Love this post as well! I'm so glad more photographers are LGBT friendly, myself included!

      1 agrees
  2. I agree that registries and the WIC do not make this easy. I don't understand why registries can't just have a "Person One" and "Person Two" designation. It shouldn't be so complicated. They're happy as a clam to take your money but they don't change their terminology. It does sometimes feel like a constant battle to be recognized. Knowing that you have an accepting – and celebrating! – vendor makes a huge difference. I hope you don't give up!

    15 agree
    • OMGosh I most definitely agree with you. The terminology is extremely irritating. But just an FYI, retailers do not charge to use their registries.

      0 agree
      • … but they benefit from the business that having a registry there means…

        5 agree
    • Actually, when my fiancee and I (both female) registered at JC Penney's, we could change the fields to "Bride" and "Bride."

      6 agree
    • My partner (a transman) and I just registered at Boston Store, where their registry is set up as "Registrant" and "Co-registrant." I want to send them a love letter for being inclusive.

      14 agree
      • I loved the article but did wonder about the emphasis on cis, it was like, yes you're both men, I already understand how neither is a bride, the guy with an innie is still a guy, if you know what I mean…it still wouldnt've made either of them a bride or wife… I'm still looking for a word for myself that feels right and won't destroy my mother–but yes, some kind of persons getting married 1 & 2 would be helpful and much less binary

        4 agree
        • I put in the nod to be cis-gender because I can only express my perspective from my cis-priveleged viewpoint. I feel that it would be even more complex if one or both of was genderqueer because it would speak to being of a minority in other ways. It was my way of acknowledging the privelege I do still have while also expressing my exasperation as still having to navigate such a heteronormative institution.

          8 agree
          • The alternative to cisgender(ed) isn't necessary genderqueer. As a binary trans man, the emphasis on you both being cis feels like implying that I *would* be a bride.

            0 agree
  3. I think this is my favourite post I've ever read here (and I love it here). As a photographer and a part of the queer community it has been really important to me that the images on my site do reflect the kind of clients I want to have which of course includes queer couples and other offbeat folks. It meant the world to me last year that after a one wedding, the couple (one of whom is transgendered) expressed how much it meant to them that they didn't need to explain themselves and their love and that I just got it. I want all couples of all genders to feel that way and not feel like one needs to be the bride or groom.

    I also really appreciate all of the things you mention you look for in finding a photographer or other vendor. I think these things you bring up are notions that photographers who would like queer clients should reflect on, notice where they may be unintentionally focusing on the bride or on heteronormativity.

    Thanks so much for your post. You've definitely got me thinking of even more ways to make it clear in my work that I welcome couples of all genders.

    16 agree
    • I understand exactly what you mean. I'm the "photographer's assistant" (because my wife takes all the pretty pictures), and I loved this post for the same reasons. And that's so awesome! Thanks to Google Analytics, we know that someone found us by searching "cross-dressing friendly photographer," but they never contacted…and we want them to so badly!

      3 agree
  4. Thank you so much for writing this. Even though my intended and I are heterosexual, I too find the gender expectations surrounding wedding suffocating (and can only imagine it's 1000x times worse for you). It's time for more people to question and expose the ways in which the wedding industry contributes to these stereotypes.

    22 agree
  5. I would like a list of companies that *do* make it easy and convenient for any couple to register for their wedding! This is an issue that never occurred to me and I'd like to avoid purchasing from companies that aren't inclusive.

    It looks like Bed Bath and Beyond uses "Registrant" and "Co-Registrant", but are there any others?

    5 agree
    • REI does gift registries under "registrant" and "co-registrant." They don't even make you call it a wedding; you can call it a "commitment ceremony" or even just an "event." Not to mention you can register for tents, bikes, and canoes if you've got all the dishes and towels you could ever need.

      8 agree
    • Amazon.com has "partner" and you can add stuff from any website to their registry.

      1 agrees
      • Amazon will also let you say that both people are grooms or both people are brides (I tested it)

        It has three options for each person: "Bride", "groom" and "partner" and it will let you use whatever combination of these you want.

        2 agree
  6. AMAZING article! Please don't be discouraged– A lot of people (myself included) stand with you. *sending good thoughts and positive energy towards Massachusetts*

    3 agree
  7. I completely whole-heartedly agree with this post. However, when we registered at Macy's, I don't remember ever having "bride" vs "groom". I think we were just registrant and co-registrant. We also got our marriage licenses not long after NY state legalized gay marriage and our licenses only said "spouse." It's still not easy but these little changes are happening.

    2 agree
  8. Why is it that registries don't say "spouse" or "partner" instead of "husband"? Can you imagine how one big box store changing their verbiage could 1.) effect the industry and 2.) all the new business that store could glean!

    2 agree
  9. As the publisher of Offbeat BRIDE, I can't help but feel like part of the problem here. I've written before about why the site is called what it's called (summary: it's named after my book, which was published by a women's press), but reasons be damned: there's no denying that Offbeat Weddings would be a more inclusive name for this site.

    37 agree
    • Do you have plans to change the name of the website? If not, why not?

      3 agree
      • There is no plan to change the name of the website. Ultimately, it's tied to the title of the book (which cannot be changed). I trust that our five years of content makes our perspectives on identity and gender inclusiveness pretty clear to our readers.

        33 agree
        • I know I had said this before, but I don't want to give the impression that what's up there is an implication on you and this site. I came here because it was an inclusive environment which gives due diligence to all couples. The name of the place, I think, is collateral damage to its association to the book's title. I don't think there's a need to change it.

          6 agree
          • it's funny to forget, though, what "bride" means, and then feel weird about it when i'm recommending offbeat mama to my guy doula friend too and explaining that non-bride i came to it through obb.

            1 agrees
        • Also there's a lot of name recognition tied to Offbeat Bride, and Ariel & team would be starting over from scratch if they changed it.

          I recommend this site to pretty much anyone getting married, but especially if they express doubt about any aspect of weddings and I almost always get at least one person agreeing or telling me they love the site too. If I started suggesting "Offbeat Weddings" instead I imagine that would be lost, at least for a while.

          1 agrees
          • While I understand the issue with Offbeat Bride, I very much prefer it to Offbeat Weddings because this site I feel addresses much more than just the wedding – it addresses the two people who are dedicating their lives to each other, the struggles and joys that that entails, much more than any other site. Making into Offbeat Weddings I feel would pull a focus onto a materialistic side of the site that I think is somewhat downplayed – as well it should be, for this site's influence and aid goes far beyond pretty dresses and shoes for me so far.
            Thanks Ariel!

            3 agree
  10. I'm a queer woman recently married to a straight cisgendered man. I worked very hard to use to find and use queer friendly vendors and service providers. Luckily, I am part of a creative and queer community, so I didn't have to stretch far in many cases. My photographer, for example, whom I recommend up and down six ways to Sunday, was a friend of a friend (she travels, so I'll provide her contact info if you want). I wasn't always successful (I had to rent chairs from a certain vendor per the venue, for example), but overall, I found that reaching out to friends made the whole experience a lot more pleasurable and satisfying. Best of luck to you as you continue to plan and as you live your lives together.

    3 agree
  11. if they can offer bride or groom, why not offer the opportunity to select bride/bride or groom/groom? I understand these are words used for generations and it may be awkward to shift, but registrant and partner would work.
    I'm not saying it's right, but some vendors are supportive of non-hetero couples, yet do not advertise that because they don't want to risk losing the business of "brides" whose religious beliefs are not supportive. weddings are religious occasions for many and, like the author of the post, they want to celebrate and not deal with what they view as negatives. my point being, give people a chance, they may be supportive even if they're not waving a rainbow flag. and if they're not supportive, let them know exactly why they won't be getting your business = $$$
    this site might be helpful, as you are in MA:
    http://www.purpleunions.com/usa/_massachusetts.html
    I live in MA and I am so proud of our state for being the first to acknowledge that all people have a right to marry!
    hope you have a marvelous wedding and an even better marriage!

    1 agrees
    • I understand your point, but I feel like it's the difference between standing up to a bully in public and comforting the victim privately afterwards. One of those options lets you show your beliefs through actions, and one lets you hide them. If you support LGBT couples, why do you want the business of homophobes? Yes, it makes sense for a business to apeal to everyone, but it's not always possible, practical, or in keeping with the proprietor's ethics.

      2 agree
      • Because they suspect or know that homophobes out-number LGBT couples in their area and their buisness isn't big enough that they can afford to lose a significant client base in favour of a minority because of their personal views?

        Especially if they hope that by keeping quiet either way they can attact a portion of both without risking the complete loss of either.

        4 agree
  12. A big part of the problem is probably that the whole industry is geared towards women rather than men (or rather then being somewhat more gender neutral). So it's probably a bit easier for two lesbians than for two gay men. Not as easy as for straight couples of course, but at least most things on offer are targeted at women.

    See previous posts about straight men who have felt left out of the process and ignored by vendors.

    6 agree
  13. Thank you this post.

    I am a cisgender queer femme dyke partnered with a genderqueer, non binary supporting queer partner. We were so frustrated about all the bride and groom stuff during our queer celebration of love planning; we decided to only use LGBTQ identified or outwardly supportive vendors (like our photographer was a gay man who shoots the Denver drag troupes, and our hotel was TAG approved). To all the letters I got addressed Dear Bride and Groom, I had a form letter to email back, thanking them for their interest, but letting them know that we found there lack of inclusivity a turn off, and would not consider them as a vendor. A few wrote back; some to tell me that they really were inclusive, they just didn't want to advertise it (to which I thought "bull fucking shit) and others to thank me for bringing it to their attention. Many didn't write back.

    We registered for places that offered partners or commitment ceremony participants as options. Even places that offered the ability to have two brides or two grooms didn't fit us; I might be able to identify as a bride, but my partner is definitely not a bride…but also not really a groom.

    It's incredibly frustrating, it's true, but in consciously choosing only LGBTQ and ally vendors, and letting them know this was a reason they were chosen, made us feel like we were making a tiny step towards social justice through our super queer wedding.

    I will say, however, that Colorado has neither marriage equality or civil unions. I'm more surprised that MA, which has had marriage equality for so long, has the same void of LGBTQ specific/welcoming vendors, given how many queer couples have availed themselves of legal marriage there.

    11 agree
    • Soooo, question. What exactly does "cisgender queer femme dyke" and "non binary supporting queer" mean? I honestly don't know what half those words are or how to string the concepts together… I'd really appreciate being able to learn something :) and there are so many terms with so many nuances, it'd be nice to know what the differences really are so I don't make ignorant mistakes.

      5 agree
  14. This reminds me of the episode of "Modern Family" when everyone treats Cam as a mom on Mother's Day.

    Thanks for the article! I always like a groom's perspective.

    3 agree
  15. Great piece. Same sex marriage has only been legal here for a short time but I've been thrilled to shoot weddings for non-hetero couples and always will be– it's just rarer, so I think few wedding photographers have much in their portfolio. I post all my events on my blog proudly and have been thrilled to have one of my lesbian couples featured here on offbeat bride, but I should update my website proper to communicate more effectively that I'm absolutely LGBT friendly. I'm sure there are lots of us photographers out there that are waking up to this need as a result of your post here, so thanks!

    2 agree
  16. Thanks so much for your thoughtful post. I've been told several times while running a theater group that I should be a wedding organizer or in the bridal industry, and I have to say that your post is the only thing that makes me want to jump in. Just to make sure that people who don't fit the mold of the perfectly happy WASP-hetero etc couple can still have a great day without having to compromise. This is your chance to celebrate your partner, and you shouldn't have to deal with everyone else questioning your judgment! Good luck.

    0 agree
  17. Dear everyone working in the wedding industry: please send this to your boss. There ARE WAYS hitting your "main target market" while still being inclusive. Yes, some people need and deserve niche products, editorial and services, but that doesn't mean most companies can't AVOID MARGINALIZING. We can do this.

    4 agree
  18. What an awesome post!

    I am a gay wedding photographer in New York. So far most of the weddings I have shot have been straight. However, I cannot wait to change that!

    It has even been a learning curve for me. I have to go over everything with a fine tooth comb to make sure it is gay friendly, lesbian friendly, straight friendly. It's not easy. We are still discover the vernacular for gay marriage. Partner doesn't quite seem like the right thing. Spouse is the right thing though not that beautiful of a word, especially when you have to label things Spouse #1, Spouse #2. We WILL get there though.

    Again, thanks for writing the article and thanks to this blog for publishing it!

    0 agree
  19. You still need a photographer? There is a studio in Torrington, CT–Iconography By… They are amazing, and could care less whether you're a bride, groom, or donkey. If you're in love and getting married, they want to shoot your wedding. And they'll travel. Facebook.com/IconographyBy I'm telling you, if you're still looking, look there.

    1 agrees
  20. I work for Patch.com. We're an online news publication focusing on local news in 864 communities across the US. I never really thought about this impacting my work or the news/journalism community, but realized we do engagement and wedding announcements and it's a form that readers fill in themselves. After reading this I just went to look at it.

    It says spouse one and spouse two with options for bride and groom on each box. (So you can choose bride/groom, bride/bride or groom/groom.)

    Feeling a little proud. :)

    6 agree
    • It would be more inclusive if you could use a gender neutral term such as partner or spouse because bride and groom are still gendered words and people who don't fall within the gender binary are not included in those combinations.

      1 agrees
  21. Awesome post! Thank you for sharing and I stand with you in insisting this change. For what its worth: when my friend and I were vendor shopping we didn't specifically point out who was to be married and apparently many of them assumed that we were a lesbian couple planning a wedding (she was helping me plan my hetero wedding while he was not in town). Many of them just never sent the promised information/quotes/were suddenly to busy, but the ones that openly supported what they assumed to be our lesbian marriage where chosen first.

    6 agree
    • I love the times that happens. I did actually marry a girl, but the first time we were at a store registering, the guy totally assumed we were getting married to each other. I wasn't used to people getting it right! Of course, we had to go back for something, and the lady looked from one of us to the other before saying, "So which one of you is the one getting married?"

      1 agrees
  22. Thank you so much for sharing and opening up. I hope you find peace and what you want in celebrating your special day. <3

    1 agrees
  23. Right the heck ON.

    As a wedding vendor, I understand why people can't break entirely free of the "bride" designation (since it invariably makes up the majority of our clientele), but with a little thoughtfulness you can make your wording more inclusive. I'm a queer (female) makeup artist in Massachusetts with "2nd Bride" and "Grooming" designations right on my price list, and I've made a conscious effort to refer to "clients" at least as often as I do "brides."

    OK, funny story time: when I first added pricing to my site, my OWN WIFE read it and said "'2nd bride', what does that mean?" I stared at her open-mouthed until her brain engaged. LULZ. (She considered herself to be the groom at our own ceremony four years ago, so that probably explains it…)

    …then again, clearly I'd better hound my queer clients for photos so I can display them! *scampers off to compose a few emails*

    2 agree
  24. LOVE THIS! My best friend is a soon-to-be-wed gay man and we were talking about this just last night.

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  25. I wanted to throw out there that my FW and I went to a Crate and Barrel registry party in San Francisco, and we were delightfully surprised to see a gay couple represented on their swag pamphlets for registry items.

    I think with C&B you have a choice of adding a "co-registrant" and both use the drop down menu of "Groom", "Bride" or "Other" if you choose :)

    0 agree
  26. If I were to ever run a business that ran some kind of wedding registry, I think just to avoid situations like this, it would be "You" and "Other You."

    1 agrees
  27. This is an awesome post. I wish you and your spouse-to-be awesome luck and deity-like patience on your journey to marriage.

    0 agree
  28. I'm not a wedding photographer (yet?) but I'm an aspiring lifestyle photographer who used to follow a bunch of Big Name wedding photographers and got seriously annoyed when I started noticing that not one of them posted queer (of any type) weddings on their blogs. Um, hello!?!?! What year is this? Ridiculous!

    I hope you find an awesome photographer!

    2 agree
  29. There's a furniture shop nearby that has a sign for "Bridal Registry". Every time we visited, I'd loudly complain to my husband about how ridiculous it was to imply that only women got married or cared about furniture. Especially since gay marriage had finally been legalized here. Next time, I'll make an official complaint instead of walking by.

    0 agree
  30. Thank you all for all your support and offers to help. We have since been able to find an AWESOME photographer that we're super excited to work with. One of our biggest selling points was that she treated us like any other couple and wanted to collaborate with us because she knew we'd be offbeat. Thank you all so much, again, we really, really appreciate it.

    3 agree
  31. What an amazing post! As a wedding photographer, I encourage you to dive in when looking for a photographer. Ask some of your favorite other vendors for suggestions! I believe you will find more photographers that are supportive and excited for you than you think. Here is Seattle, I am ecstatically looking forward to the opportunity to finally photograph LEGAL weddings for our LGBT community! Congratulations on your engagement and may you enjoy much happiness in your married life together.

    0 agree
  32. Excellent article, thank you! I'm amazed that businesses in this day and age aren't falling over themselves to be inclusive. Big mistake!

    I'd like to see Bride and Groom changed to Loved One and Loved Too :)

    4 agree
  33. Thank you for sharing this. I can't pretend to relate to your frustrations. But I can tell you that even in a hetero relationship, we experienced the complete dismissal of the male role in the wedding planning industry. We live in the reddest of red states so we experienced some judgement because of the non-traditional choices we made. And while none of that compares to the injustices that non-hetero couples of any gender face, I just want to share with you how worthwhile it was for us to fight for the vendors who wanted to be a part of our wedding. It'll take longer, maybe even cost more (hopefully not) but your day will be so much more special when everyone there is proud to be a part of it. We walked out of a cake store that told my husband that his opinion didn't count because I'm "the bride." We wanted nothing to do with the wedding planner who didn't show a spark of excitement about our reception ideas. I will never regret that decision no matter how awesome that cake or that planner would've been. And my wedding was epic and perfect in every way. You deserve that, so don't give up. Find the one vendor in a thousand that feels like a round peg in a square hole in the wedding complex because that vendor will work their ass off for you. Good luck!

    2 agree
  34. I love love love this article. I am a wedding and event planner and really took all this advice to heart. It is very well written and gives some great points to really think about. Thank you very much for writing this blog. I really enjoyed reading it.

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  35. This article was wonderfully written. Congratulations on finding the person you want to be with and I hope your special day comes together beautifully.

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  36. After reading this post, I was in tears. (yes, real tears. I'm on a bus at the moment and I'm sure my seat-mate is wondering, WTF?).

    I was there at midnight in Cambridge, Mass, on the steps of City Hall, with what seemed like thousands of the closest friends, to celebrate the passing of that all-important law. And even though I am in a het marriage, it's one of the happiest memories I have. I was so very proud to be there. For a moment, the world made wonderful sense.

    I am so, so sorry that businesses, especially wedding-based businesses, just don't seem to get it. You both deserve to be supported and celebrated for your commitment to each other. I'm really glad that you were able to at least find a few vendors who had a clue. I hope that soon, thanks to posts like this, there will be many more.

    (it's not lost on me that my small business caters mostly to women, But that's because I'm obsessed with dresses, not for any gender-direction. I've made dresses for men too and love doing it; everyone should be able to feel as gorgeous on the outside as they are on the inside and if I can help with that with a fabulous dress, then I'm gonna.)

    I wish both of yous the very, very best. Please keep writing and speaking up. Eventually, you'll be heard round the world.

    5 agree
  37. One thing I didn't understand…..
    If you're gay and secure enough in your identity to get married, why would "coming out" to a vendor/employee/whatever be a problem? Surely they would figure out eventually you're a homosexual couple?

    0 agree
    • When it's no longer a point where strangers can make a point to judge your moral, ethics and personality based solely on being LGBT, then it is no longer a big deal. We are far from that time. Even more so, while a store worker can be fired for denying us registering, it doesn't mean they have to make the experience pleasant.

      We had this happen when we built our house warming registries. The store associate in one Macy's we went to was rude, resistant and quite ugly to us when we just wanted to start a registry for housewares. We dumped that location and went to another Macy's 30 minutes away, where we were treated with dignity.

      It's not the act of coming out itself; it's the inherent risk in doing so.

      6 agree
    • It's not the "coming out" I believe he is actually addressing.. it's the having to explain that there is no bride and why over and over to vendors. It's frustrating and he's expressing it this way.

      0 agree
  38. I hope your day turns out as special as your love clearly is. Because, reading your post, what is as clear as your justified frustration is the love your have for your partner. Your wedding will be beautiful because your love is. I know, you are not a bride, but try to remember what some brides forget in the excitement: the wedding is but a prelude to a life together. Of course you want a beautiful day to celebrate your love, and you deserve it. Just don't let your frustrations overshadow the celebration of the love you have found. Good luck.

    0 agree
  39. I had a terrible fear that the band might refuse to play for same-sex couples or that the photographer would "just so happen" to not get any pics of our friends in same-sex relationships together. So, I vetted all my vendors for LGBT-friendliness. Easier in NYC than elsewhere, but it also helped me find our FANTASTIC photographer (De Nueva Photography) who definitely travels for work.

    Also, the bridey stuff bugged me to no end as well. So many potential vendors didn't bother with my name but just called me "the bride". I'm sure they meet a lot of people in a day but you got my mother-in-law's name, you can get mine. I have veto power. I didn't want pastels or tulle or even fresh flowers because they're not our style. Why ignore that and push the "bridal" stuff?

    0 agree
  40. My soon to be husband set up our registry at Macy's … He is listed as the registrant and I'm listed as the co-registrant. I can't find anywhere that says bride or groom, but now that you're pointing out the "norm" I'm going to tease him that he's the bride since his name comes first. Also, if you search either name it comes up with the registry no problem- again no bride or groom labels…

    I appreciate you writing this piece, and I wholeheartedly agree that the entire industry is a little whacked but I'm not sure the industry *needs* to change. Even after gay marriage is legal in every state, LGBT weddings will still fall into this offbeat category that is the minority in the industry. EDIT: I am specifically talking about bride focus and pouffy white dresses, NOT how people treat others based on their gender/identity- that to me is not at all industry specific. Just wanted to clarify!

    As far as photographers and finding someone who is a good fit… Interview people whose style you like. LGBT weddings are the minority, so most of what you're going to be looking at won't be a cookie cutter of what your wedding will look like… I'm a big round pregnant bride- I didn't try to look for someone who did great things with maternity bridal, I just found someone whose style I liked who we clicked with.

    Planning a wedding is stressful, don't stress about all this other stuff. It's legal for you to get married, you now know you can register at Macy's without a straight vagina… you can even do it online if you don't want to talk to a nosy registry lady. Take a deep breath, and realize that while you don't fall into the bride propaganda you sure are acting "like a bride" by over stressing yourself on things that are relatively unimportant.

    0 agree
  41. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing :-)

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  42. Great post! I live in a state where Gay marriage has yet to be legalized, but still have recently attended two LGBT weddings and the registries were a nightmare! Now I'm getting married and the registry is still a pain in my butt and I'm straight! Just to vent…Each store has lost it, locked me out and I just got 5 gifts of the same green vase at my shower because one store never updated their registry. While it was funny, my friends found it awkward.
    Marriage and gifts are a multimillion dollar business. They need to step up their game and make it all inclusive! And states are really missing out. Our state is big on tourism. We are suffering terribly in the recession. If we were to legalize LGBT marriage it would bring us more visitors. They could come for the marriage and stay for the honeymoon. Alas… we haven't won this battle yet. But my friends and family are still fighting the good fight!

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  43. I feel as though (if it hasn't been done already) that a separate website needs to be made listing LGBT-friendly vendors in the wedding industry worldwide, a site that isn't just a list on a separate page of another site or something. A giant compilation with links and possibly a rating system (i.e. ranging from "unconfirmed LGBT-friendly" to "several demonstrable examples of being LGBT-friendly" levels). Then that site needs to be publicised like HECK – mentions in press, all over the web, etc. It needs to be a recognisable name. My way of thinking is that big name companies will hear of it and want to get their company on the list to get themselves more business.

    I assume something like this has possibly already been creating, but not being LGBT myself and not planning a wedding I haven't heard of anything like it and have no idea whether it exists. The only downside would be that fundamentalist religious types might try and "boycott" companies on the list. Hmm.

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    • One thing I would say is the venue I'm planning on using has not yet had a LGBT ceremony or reception. It has only been open a few months, I think they've had less than a dozen weddings total, and I would be sad if someone was discouraged just because there weren't photos of two brides pasted all over the web site. I think that it is not fair to judge based on a lack of information, because I am positive that they would have a ceremony like that if given the opportunity!

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  44. I know that I was trying to find "gay-friendly" vendors to use for my wedding – one of my bffs told me there is a directory (he actually knows this stuff more than I do), but I couldn't find one that wasn't full of random advertisements.
    For me, it's not whether I am or am not, but I think the discrimination is completely ridiculous – so we're only allowed to have certain services at our weddings if we love who "they" think that we should? Insane. Then when I go to find someone who is supposed to not care, they actually look at me like I'm insane because I'm hetero and want a "gay-friendly" vendor?! :(

    As a side note, if you haven't chosen stationary, I actually became a little jealous since on one of the websites (maybe minted??) they had sets with boy-boy, and girl-girl that weren't available for boy-girl, but were really adorable. I also think Bloomingdales will let you register as who you are, and TheKnot has drop-down boxes for role selection for planning things, but I'm not sure whether they make you have a bride and a groom.

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  45. Target has a partner option on their wedding registry.

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  46. I don't remember what movie this was from but the conversation went something like:

    "Which of you is the man?" (Said to a lesbian couple)

    "Um, neither. That's kinda the whole point."

    It's sad that there's still so many who try to push GLBT couples into traditional gender roles. Sadly, I've seen it happen within the community as well (I ran across a website once that was for butch/femme lesbian couples, which is fine in and of itself, but what I didn't like was that they dogmatically said ALL lesbian couples should be butch/femme)

    I wish I lived in Mass. I would love to photograph your wedding. Good luck with your search!

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  47. I was actually thinking about this earlier today. We are planning a queer wedding and both identify as women. We have gotten some interesting responses along the lines of, "Oh, it must be TWICE the fun because you're marrying your best friend! Two brides! Two dresses! Two giving-aways!" Of course we are having fun, but it's disconcerting to have people assume that just because we identify as and appear to be women we are both hoping to be "traditional brides." I was wondering how two people appearing as males would be treated, and later found your post.

    Thanks for writing this. I appreciate your perspective and wish you and your loved one the best. Also thanks to everyone for the thoughtful comments. We are just starting to look at vendors and the tips are helpful.

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    • I found that the vendors were the really most stessful part of everything. We've gotten them *all* settled, and we've even registered a couple place, too.

      I would say that the hardest thing would be making sure that your vendors treat you like any other couple in the sense that there are things you will and will not want to do. Being boxed in by anyone's expectations is frustrating — even more so since wedding traditions are based on such deeply entrenched gender expectations.

      Many of the people on OBB have been REALLY REALLY great at explaining why they've kept or discarded the traditions involved and so long as you work with people who respect your autonomy (no matter how you are gendered as a couple), it is a great relief because you have people to work *with* instead of just to tolerate.

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  48. Thank you for saying what needs to be said. If only it could be heard by so many more.

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  49. First, wonderful article. I know a lot of men that relate and would be happy to read this, so I'm passing it along.

    I'm not sure if anyone has recommended this yet, but have you sought out a local LGBT Community Center? The one in Dallas has recommendations on venues and people to get into contact with when it come to LGBTQUIA-Friendly companies. Good luck to you and your partner!

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  50. Wow! What an awesome article! I have been getting really frustrated as I prepare for my wedding. It seems I have the opposite problem however; too many brides! Everyone is either accusing me of not allowing my partner to wear a dress (if she wanted to wear a dress she would!!) OR assuming she is the groom because she does not want to wear a dress. If I protest that there is not a groom in this wedding then I get ridiculed because she is not wearing a dress so clearly she is the groom. Umm what?? Bride + bride = legitimate marriage, why is this so hard? Just because I have no groom and you have no bride does NOT make our weddings any less valid! I hate how even people who are allies still want to make one of us the "girl" and one of us the "boy." If I wanted to have a groom I would be marrying someone who identified that way! She gets to wear a tux and still identify as a woman, just saying!

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  51. So lets all contact these companies and ask them to add groom/groom bride/bride options! I will call and email today! Then we can support the companies that do! Ill work on gathering this info to make it easy for everyone!

    The wedding Coordinator,
    Jeri Fain

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  52. Change takes time. Eight years may seem like a long time since the law changed in Mass, but the cultural shift on the grand scale is still very new. Change in general attitudes and lexicon does not change with one or two states changing laws, it has to be on a larger scale, and that is happening right now. While there will always be a contingent of the population opposed, the rest just need to learns what language is appropriate, and that takes patience, and time, and communication on everyone's part. The general public's attitude change in regard to gender roles and orientation has probably been the most rapid cultural change we have experienced in a century. The change is happening so fast many people do not even know how to communicate about it. Most people are not hateful, but just need to learn new appropriate ways of thinking and communicating, especially when marketing services in an industry that is just beginning to even have interactions with couples other than straight men and women. More essays like this will help, but what will really help is not stereotyping or addressing others that need to learn HOW to change with anger or hostility. The wedding industry is not dominated by gay men, despite the stereotype mentioned in this article. There are people from all walks of life, straight, gay, married, single, young, old, suburban, urban, conservative, liberal, and every nationality and cultural background that exists. It is a very diverse industry, despite what you see in most of the traditional magazines. In every state, the wedding industry in particular has had many of the small businesses owners pressure local legislatures to move forward with marriage equality laws. The examples of bigots that refuse service to couples get the headlines, but you never hear about the many wedding industry professionals across the country who call their state reps offices, rent busses to go to state capitals, hold posters to vocalize and meet with state representatives, formed supportive organizations for marriage equality rights and gay wedding resources, and in various ways are regularly pressuring politicians to treat everyone equal under the law. Photographers that have been submitting gay civil unions to magazines and blogs for a long time are just now starting to see them published more regularly in some places. For the major retail stores, Target had one of the first same-sex wedding ads long before most states even began debating marriage equality laws. Change takes time with grassroots efforts by diverse people. So does developing new vocabulary and appropriate language in the wedding industry lexicon will as well. It will take all of the different couples that exist to help the industry learn. For the most part, the overwhelming majority of the wedding industry is ready and willing to learn, but it helps a lot when it can be done in a non-hostile manner. Businesses that have had systems and documents and contracts and everything else to serve "brides and grooms" for years, and in some cases decades, are working on updating everything in their system, but it is not going to happen overnight and mistakes will be made. Is it realistic to expect an entire industry that has basically been calling their clients "brides" for over a century to change so quickly? It is an ingrained habit for the most part, and changing the words you use in your work every day for years and decades takes time to change the routine. The first bump everyone is experiencing is that gay weddings cannot be marketed and sold to couples the exact same way as traditional straight weddings. The services and needs are in fact different. It is okay that they are different, but a lot of the industry is afraid of marketing things different because they are worried about offending out of ignorance, because they need to develop marketing language that is appealing to all types of wedding couples, but with services that specifically appeal to different types of clients. They are worried about being inadvertently offensive if they do it wrong, so they revert to their older models and try to just change the words, but wait that does not work either because gay couples service preferences are actually often very different than straight couples preferences. There is a lot to learn, the industry for the most part is learning. The people who work in this industry are humans, so there will be bumps along the way as change happens. Change takes time, help, patience and communication.

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  53. I feel for you and the struggles you have planning a wedding.

    I'm a wedding photographer in Texas and I'm LGBT friendly. One of my weddings from last year, Andy and Doug, was published here on off beat bride.

    I think there is sooooi much emotion and support at lgbt weddings that vendors who don't participate are missing out on such a wonderful experience.

    Know you are paving the way for future generations and they you are making a difference. Just like those that fought 60 years ago for blacks and whites to marry. There will be bumps but you aren't alone :)

    And congrats on your upcoming marriage.

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  54. This is heart wrenching. It's really sad that couples have struggles with such things when this is supposed to be the happiest day in their life and a celebration. It's an obstacle that traditional bride and grooms would take action against if companies discriminated against them and made their wedding day so hard with the lack of availability. I'm praying for you that you find open hearted people to help you in your wedding planning and that you are surrounded by people who accept and love you on your big day. It's so important that your day is shared with people who will rejoice along with you. Thank you Off Beat for all you do to inspire and encourage all couples regardless of gender.

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  55. I was pretty certain about my wedding photographer.

    Then he posted the most beautiful engagement photos of this stunning lesbian couple. And then their wedding photos. I'm in a cis/hetero relationship, but the two of us really care about that kind of stuff and to see how inclusive he was made us so happy.

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  56. Dear RORSUN1 ,

    I cannot thank you enough for this post! I especially love the bit about wedding photography (which is what I do). To say I am disgusted with the prejudices and bigotry in this nation would be an understatement.

    I have not yet had the honor of photographing a gay wedding, but hopefully I will be given the chance soon. Too many times I have seen egregious posing and story telling done in the photography of gay weddings… These ceremonies are not and should not be treated in the same manner as straight weddings. Photographers should not put one partner in as the bride and one in as the groom just because they do not know an alternative way of doing things.

    A gay couple should never have to "come out" over and over again in retail stores they register in or in interviewing photographers. It should just NOT be a thing! A couple in love is a couple in love. The end.

    I wish you luck in your search for a competent wedding photographer and I sincerely hope they tell your story. I hope you find someone with the confidence and aptitude for photographing ANY couple in love.

    Best of Luck!

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