Open thread: How do you deal with homophobic wedding guests at your gay-friendly wedding?

April 21 2014 | offbeatbride
Our Adorable Cake Topper
Photo by Christy of Carpe Diem Photography
Cake topper handcrafted by Jennifer Walker of The Air Castle
My future husband and I were recently trying to pare down the guest list again (for the 3000th time) and decided to eliminate some non-essential people that we feel have acted homophobic in the past. I like these people, but I don't want any guest at my wedding to feel uncomfortable because some drunk guy in the corner is having a hard time with LGBTQ people dancing and making merriment together.

It's not that I think these bad-belief people would cause a scene, but I would be heartbroken if one of them said something as a side comment that was overheard by one of my friends, or if I overheard something like that — because I would be angry, and sad, and possibly throwing things.

So the homophobic-tendency people are off the list, and I can live with that — but what if this happens anyway, because I missed someone on the list with views I didn't know about?

I know I can't control the moral judgements of all of my guests, but I am not sure what to do if this situation arises at the wedding. I hope I am being anxious for no reason, but I guess I want to have a plan if this really happens. Ordinarily, when I hear someone say something homophobic, I respond. I get that I will likely be too busy to notice, but it would crush me to hear about it later.

Has anyone else ever had a problem like this happen to them? How did you handle it? Do you have family that is prejudiced, and how did you handle knowing about their issues, and reconciling that with your wedding guests? -delicateflower

This is an important issue — we all want ALL our guests to feel comfortable, avoid awkwardness, and enjoy the wedding. Previously, we've addressed the concept of actively supporting marriage equality at your wedding. But now it's time to have a conversation about curbing homophobic discussions amongst your guests.

We decided to ask two readers to weigh in. First let's hear from SparksinKY who has some awesome suggestions from an ally perspective…

I would say at least a quarter of my family coming are anti-gay rights. They will see some of my friends and family with their same-sex partners, but I also expect that they will have the tact not to say anything about it. At some point, you may just have to let go of worrying about who will end up offending whom and protecting guests from other guests.

I wrote several months ago about how I was going to use this idea next to a guest book. I will write a similar gay marriage support letter, place it next to the guestbook, and then have a sheet for them to add their names as a petition. That way they can choose to do it or not. To avoid making the conservatives feel unwelcome, I will probably not make a big announcement about it. Just place it there and let people either acknowledge it on their own or not.

So maybe if you make a declaration in some way about it at your wedding, it will serve as a point to these guests that any negative comments will not be received kindly. -SparksinKY

Now here's reader AnotherMystery (author of our Dress shopping and gender bending: why I'm wearing a suit and a veil) to give us an LGBT perspective…

First of all, thank you for being such a fabulous ally! Us queer folk face hurtful comments (and worse) all the time, and I can't tell you how valuable it is to have friends like you who aren't afraid to speak out on our behalf.

There are plenty of things you can do to make it clear to all your guests that your wedding is a queer friendly event, The posts SparksinKy linked to give some great ideas. Most people will get the message, and keep their homophobic beliefs to themselves.

However, you should resign yourself to the possibility that there might still be someone who says something offensive to someone, and the best advice I can give is to let it go.

I've been on the receiving end of those unsavory comments (even at friend's weddings), and I really think your LGBT friends will just appreciate what a great ally you already are, and they know that your guests views are not your views. -AnotherMystery

Declarations in your vows? Mentions of marriage equality on your wedsite? Asking a cousin to rein in your homophobic aunt? What ways are you dealing with possible homophobic wedding guests issues at your event?

  1. I have a similar dynamic with my super conservative family but my approach is just to trust that no one will say anything either way because they are all super polite. I only have a couple of openly LGBTQ friends and no family (that I'm aware of) so it's not a big problem for us. If someone is openly rude though, my wedding party has my permission to come to me with the problem and I will most definitely evict them for being rude. I'm not the evicting kind at all but I don't like bullying and I won't have my friends/family treated badly. But again, my family is painfully polite no matter how they feel and so apparently is FH's family.)

    I think it gets more difficult if you are dealing with more extremes on both sides: as in if you had drag queen friends and then like Westboro Baptist members for family. (I have to admit I wish I was friends with a couple of drag queens because how awesome would that be during the dance party portion of the reception!!) In that case, maybe being open about it BEFORE the wedding. As in putting something on the Wedsite about it might help to put out any drama before it starts. Something nice and polite but along the lines of, "Everyone is required to be polite and get along if even if you can't agree or you will get tossed." Or you could just come out and write, "We support marriage equality and support our LGBTQ friends/family and will not tolerate any rudeness, etc…." If people think they might have a problem with this, they will hopefully just stay away.

  2. My wife and I were married 6 months ago – and this was a big fear of mine. We did have some folks decline likely due to being uncomfortable with a woman marrying another woman – but since we didn't ask for a reason for the decline…who knows? The day of…politeness won. If anyone had issues or was uncomfortable we had absolutely no idea – and there was plenty of LGBTQI lovey-ness besides the two of us…the feedback we received was about how welcoming our non-Roman Catholic Mass was and how good the taco's were!

  3. I'm having a similar issue. I'm bisexual and my fiance's family is unaware of this fact and rather homophobic. FH and I have simply decided that I don't want to tell them as I don't think that it's their business which genders I'm attracted to. If and when it comes up in the future, as I'm sure it will, I'll of course own up to it. But until then, there's the wedding, which will include several same sex couples. For now, I'm just going to assume that their penchant for keeping up appearances will help keep their tongues tied on the subject, at least for that day.

  4. It's been about 7 months since the husband and I had our wedding. The best advice I can give is trust that your guests can be adults. Life is full of people who have opposing beliefs (I refuse to call it a "point of view" when it comes to homophobia). If a guest can't handle that not everyone shares their belief systems, the onus is on them to act like an adult and kindly remove themselves from the situation.

    If you're truly concerned about someone who's less-than stellar about queer issues coming to the wedding because they've been "stealth" on their beliefs, I would put it out there that the event is welcoming to ALL people who're invited and that you know there may be some values and cultural differences, but trust that all invited will show respect because this is YOUR tribes coming together, from all walks of life. I'd put it on the website for the wedding, if you have one, and, also, in any escort table/dining tables/gift table you may have. It puts the onus, more firmly, onto the guest to be an adult and realize that they made the choice to be the way they are regarding different people, but it's not about them.

    If worst comes to worst, kick 'em out. Tell them exactly why, how inappropriate you find it, and boot 'em. You don't need the hate parade and your queer friends will (hopefully) respect you more for sticking to your guns and choosing their side over glossed-over niceness for the sake of "the day".

  5. I recently went to a relatives gay wedding and had exactly the opposite experience! As one of the brides parents went out of their way to make snide remarks trying to call me out because of my conservative religious background. It was very uncomfortable but I think I handled it appropriately when what I wanted to do was to slap the person!

    • As a conservative person it bothers me that many people assume conservative = anti-LBGT. I understand why this happens, but it is frustrating sometimes. My fiance and I are having a Catholic ceremony however, several of our guests are LBGT. We appreciate their love and support of our relationship, just as we love and support their relationships. At the end of the day all that matters is Love and Respect.

  6. I think your concern is good – it's good to be aware and do what you can to make everyone comfortable. Good for you!

    But I also think – that at my wedding nobody wanted to spoil my big day. Adults acted like Adults – and a ton of stuff happened that would have really worried/bothered/annoyed me but everybody acted like an adult and didn't bug me with ANY of it. My day was perfect – and everything went off without a hitch – or so I thought. I heard about a few things about a year later…and by that time everybody was laughing! And it was too late for my worry to do any good at that point so I didn't worry!

    Anyway, that's just how it worked out for me, and for most of my married friends also… I hope that sets your mind at ease…that's all I wanted to do…

    Best of luck on your big day, and for all the days there after…. 🙂

  7. My husband and I invited several of our LBGT friends to our wedding, I myself identify as pan. A lot of these people are more family to me than my own family.

    Nobody seem to have a problem with this or really noticed. Even my somewhat homophobic redneck family members my mother forced me to invite were too busy having fun to care. It was awesome!

    But as I was making my rounds, one of my aunts(who is only 2-3 years older than me) asked me about some of my guests. Specifically she pointed to one of my lesbian couple friends.

    "Who's that?" pointing to my friend M, who was dancing with her partner V.

    "Oh that's M."

    "Are you friends? How do you know her?"(Because I'm totally into inviting strangers to my wedding?)

    "Um… Yes. I work with her."

    "Oh. And who is that person?" pointing to V.

    V is a totally hot and adorable drag king and tends to dress very dapper and masculine even out of drag. Even though she's a very convincing king, you can tell she's a woman when out of drag. She was in full blown Buddy Holly-mode that night.

    "That's V."

    My aunt gives me a "Why did you invite such a weirdo?" look.

    "Are they… together?" looking at me like – "Did you really invite some of "THOSE" people?"

    "Yeah, they've been together for four years." I looked her right in the eye and gave her my best shit eating grin and a "Oh honey, you have no idea how many of "THOSE" people are in this room right now, and I would sooner toss you out over any of them any day." look.

    "…"

    "…"

    "Oh… Well… I… I went to the bathroom, an' they were in there an' they were totally makin' out!" Like she was a child trying to tattle on them.

    I smiled.

    " Oh. Okay." Then I walked away.

    A few weeks later I told M about what happened, and she had no idea what my aunt was talking about. She and V aren't really into making out in public and they probably gave each other a quick kiss at most.

  8. Tell guests that it's a gay-friendly wedding and that if they have a problem with that, they need to keep it to themselves or stay home. I hope you're not afraid to offend them They SHOULD be called out for their comments and if they aren't going to make any, then you haven't "offended" them. Your fear of offending them is a privilege of your straightness. We didn't have that privilege at our wedding. Make the homophobes uncomfortable for having awful beliefs, not the people who constantly hear that crap from them just for existing. – A Lesbian

  9. I am similarly worried about this issue. My boyfriend and I are not engaged (yet), but barring anything totally catastrophic, we will be within the year. Both sides of his family are VERY conservative Christian, including his parents (his three sibs not so much). My dad's side of the family is quite liberal, but my mom's is mixed and leans pretty conservative, especially among the older members. Pretty much everyone on all sides of the family believes in some sort of God, with the exception of my parents, who are agnostic. Boyfriend and I are both Atheists, and I, more specifically, identify as an Atheistic Pagan. Any ceremony we have will reflect this. On top of that, our likely officiant will be one of my best friends, who is FTM. He passes for the most part, but he also is very alt-looking (tattoos, varying hairstyles and so forth). Families are both about as "boringly" normal as you can get. Of everyone, my parents are, and always have been, wonderfully accepting people, and I am not worried about them at all (they may actually be a lot of help handling all of this). But I am worried about both of our extended families reactions and responses. I am making sure that people all know that Boyfriend and I are Atheists (he informed his parents recently, which went…okay; probably as well as could be expected) ahead of time to try to cut down on shock factor, but I'm worried it won't be enough. :/

  10. My officiant at my wedding has been my best friend since middle school, she's a wonderful speaker, and was accepted to seminary this fall. She also happens to be gay. To top it off, she performed a godless wedding ceremony with untraditional vows at our request.

    She was the only gay person at our small wedding. I also had one of my good friends and her husband attend. She was the only black person there.

    Now, most of my family is pretty conservative. They're all very religious and I often walk out of family reunions to get away from the racist jokes. At my cousin's wedding, I sat in silent discomfort as her priest talked about the "Godly" definition of marriage.

    But I give each one credit for repaying the favor, and not saying anything unsavory at the wedding (at least not that I've heard of) about my best friend, or about the beliefs me and my now-husband have about equality. At the next family event, the unsavory came back, but it was nice to have a break.

  11. I'm having some serious struggles with this right now. A certain family member has been very vocal with me lately about her lack of support for LGBT issues. Some of it is ignorance, much of that is willful.

    But despite a seemingly-cis-woman in a dress and a cis-dude in acceptably-dude kilted attire, my wedding isn't a monogamous straight wedding. Fact is that I could just as easily, and probably more preferably, be marrying a woman. Sure, my conservative family members are not going to have much to complain about, but that actually bothers me a bit because… Because I'm tired of passing, I guess. I feel like significant parts of my life are being ignored and erased. But without additional partners to acknowledge, the poly part of my relationship isn't apparent. Other than my hairstyle, which no one in my family sees as related to sexuality anyway, there's not any apparent divergent sexuality for anyone to put effort into ignoring. And since assistive walking devices hurt my arms more than just fucking walking hurts my legs, my disabilities remain invisible.

    I'm not saying that I'm trying to antagonize my family. But to a certain degree, I don't have to concern myself with whether they're going to be comfortable with my wedding because they're going to very easily be able to ignore the parts of my life that would cause them to create drama. And that feels like hiding to me right now. But I'm not ready to just not invite people or go out of my way to be subversive just to cause the drama either.

    • I just wanted to say *hugs* because I'm in sort of a similar place I think. I'm bisexual and the queer community was like a HUGE part of my life in college (still would be but I moved and am now a grad student who doesn't socialize lol). I'm still trying to figure out how to include my queerness as a part of my wedding. I think I'm going to have my officiant use gender-neutral language in the ceremony. But I don't know — my fiancĂ©'s family has had issues with me in the past (because I'm queer and because I'm a survivor) and I don't want it to be like "they win" and I tone myself down, I guess? It's so hard. Plus, my MOH is a lesbian and her partner will be there and if anyone says anything to make them uncomfortable I will lose it. It's very stressful.

      • I sympathize with both of you in the struggle, but I wanted to let you know that you're not alone!

        I'm a bi girl who's out to her friends, but I've never really had the talk with my family. I figured we'd have that talk if I'd ever met a woman who I wanted to bring home to introduce to my parents. They know, however, especially considering little things (mostly me consciously using gender neutral terms to refer to my partners — "Partner" being a perfect example instead of "boyfriend"). Since I'm marrying a man, I've heard lots of little whispers about how I'm "over my little lesbian phase" behind my back.-Which is a whole 'nother issue, but one I just genuinely don't care about; they think 'alternate sexuality' is a choice, so I'd be hearing it to my face if I was out to them.

        I've talked it over with my partner, who is a straight male but has become a fantastic ally, and we're having a queer-friendly wedding. Before we started dating, he saw no reason to participate in the LGBT community; now he actively finds causes I might be interested in supporting. Some things we've decided to incorporate in our wedding were to benefit us planning-wise — pick only TWO wedding colors?! Screw that, have the rainbow, go crazy! — but some we're consciously doing. We're crafting a ceremony with gender-neutral language where we want (I want to be called his wife and he wants to be called my husband, but there will be no "kiss the bride") We're also incorporating the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage into our vows as well.

        I have been worried about family members making comments, specifically about two of my bridesmaids who are married to each other. While I know they won't care what my family says — they have told me before that they are very well aware that I am not my family when situations like this have arisen in the past — but I know that I personally will react badly if something like this happens at my ceremony or reception.

        We're just starting to plan our wedding, so I haven't had the chance to start laying out boundaries with my family yet; I'm planning on telling them that if they have any issues at all with my wedding (godless and gay-friendly versus religious and traditional), they will be missed, but that they need to just save the money and stay home. I'm also planning on asking my parents to ride herd on their siblings for that day, since I'm most worried about my aunts and uncles than about anyone else. Mom and Dad may not give the ideal response to bigotry, but they'll shut it down enough that no one else will notice.

        I'm also going to ask my coordinator to escort anyone out who's being just flat-out ugly, not matter what the reason. Intolerance or intoxication, I don't care — I won't stand for people disrespecting anyone.

  12. I had my own big ol' gay wedding a few years back when I married my partner. Our wedding was full of supportive, loving people. There was one outlier, who complained about the drinking and me taking my partner's name, but he left early.

    One of my friends was married the year before me in a religious and conservative family. and she asked me and another gay friend to watch what we did at her wedding. I typically don't have much to worry about because my butch partner looks so masculine, people often assume she is a man. My friends, on the other hand, were both more feminine leaning. At one point when they were dancing at the wedding, one of the bride's relatives tole the girls that they "were going to hell".

    It caused some drama in the friendships and I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Mostly I feel like everyone needs to be nice to everyone else at a wedding of all places. Respecting everyone's beliefs/lifestyles/choices/who they love. If we were respecting a religion that we did not believe in, then we should be respected, no matter who we were dancing with.

    • I have real honest problems with stuffing myself back into the closet for anyone. If you're inviting me to a wedding, or any event, and inviting my husband, you're inviting us as a couple. Telling me to "tone down" my relationship would be a deal breaker, even there.

      Further, if someone told me that we were going to hell on top of all that? Friendship over.

  13. I am very worried about the same thing actually. In particular we have one genderqueer person and one butch-ish (usually but not always) woman in the party. After a week of bizarrely swapping male for female friends and making speculations about where people would be most comfortable, we decided that the whole gendered bridal party thing was silly. Now we just have his side and my side, both of mixed genders. We're going to give folks the colors and ask them to wear what makes them comfortable in dark blue and silver. Generally, we're both really happy with the situation.
    But, I've started to worry about my very conservative family. They've expressed discomfort at learning that we don't intend to make hetreonormative couples out of the bridal party, but rather have folks walk up in threes.

  14. "However, you should resign yourself to the possibility that there might still be someone who says something offensive to someone, and the best advice I can give is to let it go."

    This. I presume you haven't invited anyone you know is an explicit hater/protester and that if anything does happen it will be along the lines of something clumsy and unintentionally offensive as opposed to out and out purposefully intended to upset. As a gay woman I've been to opposite sex weddings with my partner and had some not hateful but probably surprised looks from older more conservative looking guests, when I have touched her, danced with her etc. I even had someone bowl right up and ask me and my partner the nature of our relationship without out so much hello first.

    It wasn't brilliant but it is part of the every day low level stuff I face when out with my partner in a world that still doesn't realise that is more than one way to be. It's the low level of stuff I personally choose to ignore and let go of. I absolutely believe in challenging homophobia and that it's not my responsibility as the victim to make it easier for everyone by putting up, I don't alter my behaviour for a straight public, I kiss and touch my partner if I feel like it. However, and again this is just my personal level of comfort but I don't make it my life's work to chase down and re-educate every single shocked look we get because that would just exhaust me, I pick and choose and largely save that energy for the bigger battles. Plus, I think by showing that their look doesn't affect me (eye contact and a smile is the last thing they are expecting and makes me instantly the bigger person ) I am re-educating them.

    I think that visible reactions from other less worldly guests (about all manner of aspects of your wedding) are in the realm of things you can't control, you can only choose how to react to and how much you take inside yourself. That said if there is something new for your more conservatives guests to learn (especially if it's about you) then maybe find a way forewarn them (loads of creative suggestions here especially the marriage equality petition), even self-aware open minded types can react badly when surprised…

    • What I meant to say above and what I somehow didn't say in that great slab of writing is that on those occasions when I was with my partner at straight weddings and we got some surprised or shocked looks I didn't consider this to have happened because of bad planning the bride or grooms part. I didn't consider the behaviour of the guests to be the responsibility of the bride and groom.

      At my cousins wedding some ignorant woman related to the man my cousin was marrying tapped me on the shoulder and wagged her finger back and forth between me and my 6 years younger partner, demanding "what is the relationship between you two, are you (me) her mother?". I didn't feel it was my cousins fault that this woman was a) so unable to handle the fabulous lesbianity in front of her that she had some kind of meltdown and had to explain us to herself as mother and daughter and b) had the social grace of flu virus. The man accompanying this woman at least had the decency to look embarrassed….

      The only person responsible for that woman's behaviour was that woman and the person responsible for my happiness and dealing with the situation was me.

  15. While I think it's great that you care so much about this issue and you want to protect your friends from insensitive comments (and protect yourself from the heartache), I think what you really need to focus on is your own anxiety. No matter who you invite, there will be conflict. There will be people who don't like the opinions of other people at your party. And as other people stated, you have to hope and trust that the people you love will respect you enough not to cause problems at your wedding. I had eight guests at my wedding, and two of them offended at least one other. If problems can arise in a reception of ten people, just accept that problems will arise between guests at your wedding/reception, and learn to deal with the stress on you. They're adults; they can handle their own problems. It's not your job to police people's behavior, try to head it off at the pass, or get upset over it later.

  16. At our wedding we were careful with the seating chart, and we included Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health as a reading. The lodge where we were married is owned by a gay couple and I casually mentioned it a few times prior to the wedding, while in the company of the older family members I was concerned about. Everything went fine and by the end, even my conservative family members were hugging it out with the owners. If you are so concerned that someone you are considering inviting would be outright nasty towards LGBT guests, I'd either remind them of the importance of civil rights before the wedding or not invite them.

  17. I have similar worries to the original poster. The ceremony will be mostly godless and performed by a friend, I will be walking down the aisle with all the tattoos showing, and many of our guests are LGBTQ, including a trans groomsman. Not only do I have several cousins who have a tendency to say very stupid racist/homophobic things, but much of my extended family rarely sees me and knows almost nothing about how I live. I live out of state and rarely come home for family events, so none of them really have an idea of what kind of wedding I am having or who will be there. They are used to the traditional Catholic two hour ceremony followed by a heteronormative reception at the local K of C hall. I am wondering if it would be better to prepare them for this in some way, or just let them deal with it. I don't care so much about offending their delicate sensibilities, I just don't want them to do/say something stupid after they have a few beers. Has anyone followed the disclaimer route before? How did you go about it? Do you think it made a difference?

    • Use your save the date/ web site and strategic explanations to talkative relatives to spread the word. I'd focus on letting people know what you are doing (rather than focusing on what you are not doing). My personal approach was to present it like I expected everyone to be excited about what we were doing rather than warning them like I thought they would be mad about it. YMMV.

  18. My best friend, who I am planning to ask to be my "man of honor" or whatever you wanna call it, is bisexual, mostly dating men. My grandparents are very super uber religious and stuck in their ways and when my grandma asked who my maid of honor was she was definitely not happy to hear that it wasn't a girl. She doesn't understand it, and probably likes it even less given his sexuality. She keeps calling me trying to convince me to change my mind about who I want and have my aunt be my maid of honor instead. Which just pisses me off even more because I'm sorry, but NOT EVERYONE can be in the wedding party! I love my family, but that doesn't mean they are my best friends! I want to have my best friend by my side as my witness to my marriage, no doubt about it. And I have tried to get her to understand but it's just an impossible task. So then I end up having to say "well it's my wedding, so I'll have who I like in my wedding party", which just makes her call me self centered and all that other fun stuff. Sooo yeah I don't really think that my family will ever understand my decision to have a bisexual man as my "maid of honor", but they don't have to understand because he's not there for THEM, he's there for ME, no matter how much they huff and puff about it. All I can hope for is that they'll see him as by best friend and not "the gay man" on my wedding day, as impossible as that seems.

  19. Luckily our wedding is going to be very obviously pro-LGBTQ from the get go, thanks to the hideous marriage laws we currently have here in Australia.

    Australian law states that marriage is "between a man and a woman" and if the officiant doesn't use that exact wording during the ceremony then the marriage isn't legal. My boyfriend and I are both staunch activists and allies of the LGBTQ community, and we are always really uncomfortable having to hear that line in other people's weddings, let alone our own! So our legend of a celebrant is then going on to say that we both believe the current laws to be extremely unfair and discriminatory, and that we look forward to the day that everyone's love is legally recognised, regardless of their sexual orientation.

    Also, my awesome "Best Woman" is a fairly boyish looking lesbian who'll be wearing a matching suit to my boyfriend and his Best Man 🙂

    If that doesn't set the tone for any covert homophobes to know their hate is totally unwelcome, then I don't know what will!

  20. Our wedding was 7 years ago before people were really talking about same-sex weddings. We did not invite extended family and at the persistance of everyone else I did invite my own parents who opted not to come. As hurtful it was at the time I am really glad they didn't come as it would have really put a different atmosphere on the day. It was such a magical day there was no place for negativity. You only need guest who come with nothing but love in their hearts for you both. You dont have to invite everyone you know or are related to but invite only the people you really really want to be there.

  21. I'm Catholic and am very close with the people I went on a very conservative Catholic mission with a decade ago. I know most of them are definitely not allies, one is straight up homophobic (as in he seems to actually FEAR gay men), and suspect some may be uncomfortable with their kids seeing gay couples. I worried about it and tried to figure out how to "remind" them of my views and the reality that there will be several homosexual couples at our wedding. But saying "so feel free to stay home if this bothers you" is less loving than I want to be. I've opted to use the new Harvey Milk stamps and hope that triggers enough of a reminder for them. If not, it's on them. I hope everyone acts like adults but I will happily tell them where to shove it if anyone is rude.

  22. We told everyone coming to our Australian union, "We will be getting legally married in Massachusetts because I support Marriage Equality."
    I refused to have the Australian government's "definition of marriage" read aloud to our guests (a legal requirement for a civil ceremony) or to hear it myself on our wedding day and my partner supported my views. It in no way reflected our definition of what marriage is and is not worthy of us or GLBTQ Australians or anyone really. Neither was the alternative of marrying in a church so we didn't have to hear it if we wanted to be legally married under Australian law. The Federal Government's definition is not required to be said aloud in front of the congregation at a church ceremony, presumably because God is officiating. Too bad for the Marriage Equality supporting atheists I guess.The 2004 Amendment to the Australian Federal Marriage Act is divisive, offensive and discriminatory. I can only hope it is abolished in my life time.
    We repeated our support of Marriage Equality often during the wedding preparations so that by the time the invitations were sent out those people who weren't comfortable could regretfully decline the invitation (and they did) and those who still didn't agree but were coming anyway had plenty of time to practice their manners (which they did) and everything went smoothly, in that regard at least. I think by politely making it clear where we stood before hand it opened up a lot of conversations not just about marriage and our views on it but about legislation and ways that people are marginalized from the law. It also made it really clear to our GLBTQ friends that they were welcome and supported. Some people were upset at my "politicizing" of the event but I think perhaps that's because they didn't really understand who I am, or perhaps they don't understand the history of weddings/marriage. Or maybe they just don't understand equality? In any case the old "it's your day" trick won out in the end and people (rightfully imho) put a lid on their personal views being different to mine because I guess they love me more than they reject equality, or something like that. Maybe it was all those weddings I've gone to where I've not behaved like a dick gave me Brownie points?
    On the day, our celebrant made it known at the start of the ceremony that she was not acting in her legal capacity and would not be conducting a legally binding ceremony. She also spoke of our personal views on what marriage is and how it was a matter of honour and integrity to us not to support a law that discriminates. We slightly edited Judge Margaret Marshall's ruling from "Goodridge v. Department of Public Health" to reflect our situation and had it read as part of both our Australian and our American ceremonies. It is such an inclusive and well written definition which we felt perfectly reflected our views as well as clearly indicating our support of Marriage Equality. We had a lot of songs about rainbows and rainbow balloon clusters all about the place. Anyway whatever we did it worked because gay men danced at my wedding together and nobody got bent out of shape over it.
    Things went great with my "repeat your point of view calmly and often" plan right up until we got Stateside and a close family member (soon to be my in-law) chose the Tuesday before our legal wedding to unleash a tirade at me (in front of my parents and company just to add to the humiliation) of their personal views on marriage equality, the glbtqc community AND my heinous godlessness (the word godlessness was actually used) and how our secular, marriage equality supporting WEDDING wouldn't be legitimate (like I was just sitting around awaiting their approval). I suppose in their defence they'd not had the opportunity to inform me of the error of my ways until then. Still, the timing sucked and whilst I somehow managed to keep a lid on the outrage that was screaming inside me and work through their ridiculous antics calmly but firmly, it definitely cast a pall over the rest of the preparations and our legal wedding day. It was an added stress at a super stressful time and it pretty much sucked the joy out of me having to juggle it. We were fortunate though that our legal wedding ceremony was completely godless and GLBTQ inclusive and went without a hitch. The relative, having unloaded their venom, managed to keep themself nice for the ceremony and behave appropriately at the reception but I spent the day on ninja alert watching them intently in case of a further outburst. Not the greatest way to spend your wedding day. The repeat one line/motto calmly and often option did work well enough and I think identifying who might have issues and either taking the time to specifically talk to them WELL BEFORE the event might work. Or maybe not. (I've been told since that our marriage isn't sanctified by Jesus so it's null and void anyway apparently). Weddings are a hotbed of crazy in my opinion and frankly I think we should have gone with Plan A and eloped but hindsight is always 20/20.

  23. Luckily, we only had one that I was worried about. My step-grandmother. I approached my mom about the situation since one of my best friends in the whole world was going to be there with her wonderful fiancé and my husband and I were planning to play a song especially for them since gay marriage wasn't recognized in our state until about a week ago. Mom and I decided that she probably wouldn't say anything because she's too polite but if she did, mom would kindly escort her outside. The other option was letting my Bridezilla/hormonal pregnant lady side finally come out and kick her out. (Which I would feel bad about later, probably.)

    It turned out that she didn't come to the wedding because her sister was in the hospital, but it was nice to know that someone other than me would, and did, handle any drama that came up before I even noticed it.

  24. Just to note, we've gotten to address this issue with not just helping some relatives understand that they'll be entering a queer space & are welcome, but we understand if they don't attend — But also addressed conflicts about racial justice & issues that have arisen with relatives around #BlackLivesMatter through having an appropriate charity listed on our registry & talking about that. It's not just LGBTQ issues that can cause rifts &/or discomfort…

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.