What is Normal?

One of the questions I often get from couples and clients and reporters and anyone curious about gay weddings is, "what is normal?"  "What does a gay wedding look like?"  This is one of the reasons I developed a seminar for engaged same-sex couples and another seminar for those in the wedding industry hoping to work with them.

I have a lot of answers to this question and will be posting them in the coming week or so.  But this question is coming up in Iowa right now - couples never expected this day will come and don't know what to do to prepare or how to make their wedding special.  In fact, I went to an event last night where I heard a story of an Iowa couple who came to Massachusetts to get married one week before the ruling came down.  For most, the ruling was a complete shock.  And as of this past Monday, same-sex couples in Iowa began applying for their marriage licenses and are now thinking, "Now what?  How the heck do I plan a gay wedding?"

Any wedding, gay or straight, should be about the personality and style of the couple - don't let anyone tell you differently.  The fundamental decisions are the same: you still have to think about how much to spend and who to invite, and where to have the celebration (though with same-sex weddings, those decisions are often complicated by fears related to coming out or homophobia).

But everyone wants to hear about the differences, not the similarities - I'll get into a lot of these but let's start with the rings...  Many (but not all, of course) gay and lesbian couples don't wear engagement rings.  But for those who wear engagement rings, who proposes?  Does that person then get proposed back to with their own engagement ring?  Sorry I don't have any answers on this one.  Many just wear wedding bands, but walking into a jewelry store with your lesbian fiancee or wife looking for a wedding band can be intimidating to say the least, especially if you would like a nontraditional band.  Call around ahead of time to gauge the temperature of your local jewelers about working with same-sex couples.  They may be great, or you may encounter an awkward pause or there may be outright homophobia but at least you are dealing with it on the phone rather than face to face.  So while there is no standard "gay engagement ring" or "gay wedding band", this can be one of the first areas where you as a couple can express your personality through your wedding.  And in the coming week, I'll be talking about many more.

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