Monday, September 29, 2008

Just As Unique As You Are

I'll admit to reading wedding blogs and watching wedding shows and skimming wedding magazines in the check-out line. It's a fun thing that one is only allowed to do (justifiably) for a few months. It's as if you only get one Christmas in your whole life - you maximize and exploit the opportunity.

In the spirit of over-doing it, it's great to try to get wedding ideas from the mainstream, heterosexual-dominated Matrimonial Industrial Complex. Our wedding will be a lot like straight people's weddings, with the flowers and the music and catering and stuff. Why not take some cues from their awesome celebrations?

But this morning, I learned from a particularly bizarre forum on Weddingbee that apparently many straight people don't want to share their wedding media with us, and they certainly don't want to highlight gay people's experiences on their websites. Apparently bandwidth - and compassion and justice - are in short supply.

But we need our space on those websites and magazines and TV shows - and it's not just to make a political point. Until there is enough gay-specific wedding media out there, you awesome/crazy brides have got to share with us!

Their "cover" argument is that highlighting gay weddings creates a "separate but equal" situation - that since gay people's weddings are just like straight people's weddings, there's no need to give them their own online space. Obviously, this is a strawman. It doesn't take a minute's thought to see why a gay bride or groom might specifically want to look at pictures of a gay wedding.

Here are some of the tricky questions that we have had to navigate, with little guidance from the Knot or Martha Stewart or those ridiculous shows on Oxygen and We:

What do two grooms wear? Should they match or contrast or complement each other? What have other grooms done, and what looks good? Where on earth can we find enough good pictures of enough beautiful weddings to get some ideas?

How do two grooms dance together? Should we play it up, or play it down? Choreography? Just boogie around like a couple of fools? What does a two-groom foxtrot look like? Beautiful or ridiculous? Where can we see examples?

How do two grooms walk up the aisle? How can we capture the traditional spirit of the wedding procession, while acknowledging what's different, but doing it in a simple and subtle way? What have other couples - male and female - done? Who has the pictures and who can explain their line of reasoning?

What are some "new traditions" to replace or supplement the old (but fun!) hetero-normative ones, like the bouquet and garter tosses and the classic Midwestern Shot Line? There must be hundreds of stories of what worked and what didn't - we need to see options that fit our style and our celebration. Show us!

So, we're not being greedy or "political" when we ask for something like Queer Wedding Wednesdays. Maybe there's a money-making idea out there for me to establish my own Queer Weddings version of the Knot (hey - I'm patenting that right this second).

I can't deny that looking at pictures of same-sex and other queer weddings brings the political issues of marriage equality and justice right to the forefront, right in front of your face as you're trying to do something as light-hearted as choose a letterpress printer or a cake flavor. But that's exactly the point - letting us share in the fun in a way that works for everybody will quickly and finally lay all these tensions and debates to rest.

Where are my awesome brides at? LOVE YOU LADIES!


N said...

Another great post, Emerson! I was desperate for same sex weddings when I was planning my own. Part of it was that they made me go "awww" and that was fun, but a big part of it was trying to figure out the logistics like you mentioned. Why shouldn't we benefit from the examples of others? Who wants to reinvent the entire wheel? There was no concern about making the wedding unique enough as I think most brides and grooms worry about. Working without a template was exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. I loved our wedding and I hope that it, along with yours and many others, will be able to help other couples as they too will be faced with the endless sea of straight wedding media and wonder, "But what about us?"

Emerson Beyer said...

Maybe it's the last-minute nerves and emotions but your comment made me a little weepy. It may just be a party, but what we're doing is really good and really important.

Thanks for sharing it with us via the Intertubes from Canada.

Sweet T said...

psst- you know i want first dibs on pictures from your beautiful wedding to post on QWW.


Anonymous said...

This may be oversimplifying. Each wedding is unique unto itself whether it be "from the mainstream, heteroxexual dominated Matrimonial Industrial Complex", or not. Of course there are etiquette "rules", most being gender neutral. Those that are not may be rewritten to fit each unique couple.

In the previous century, I got married in the region, and followed the "region way". A big Catholic ceremony in the morning, CBS reception at the church hall in the evening, etc. I had perused the main stream bride books, and sadly, found little. Everything looked the same, so I settled for following what everyone else did.

Looking back, what happened to the individuality? I now believe that the individuality comes within the ceremony itself. In your case, you and few others before you are setting the example.

In short, you and your partner are setting the "standard" for a new generation of partners joining together in a lifetime committment. The ceremony and party, a public statement to family, friends and the rest of society.

Bottom line, do what makes you happy and comfortable. In the end, you have a memorable occasion and no one can say, "it was just another wedding".

Our wedding was just another wedding in the region, but 30 years later it was memorable, 9/11.

Our love to you both.

QueenRogue said...

Emerson, please contact me i would really like to discuss something with you that pertains to your post. THANKS!

Jennifer said...

I can't claim to understand exactly what it would be like to have no examples of weddings that look like me, but I do find it sad that we have to designate a queer wedding wednesday. It feels like Affirmitive Action gone awry. We shouldn't have to designate, there should just be.
And not to trivialize the issue, because as I prefaced, I can't claim to understand...but what a freeing place you are in! Not to be too "grass is greener" but the roadblocks we hit regularly are in relation to our changing a tradition. But then again, I have piles of traditions to sort through, cut and change....(sigh)

-thatjohnguy said...

here here!

me and my hubs are going to be featured in that very column tomorrow. I was shocked at the amount of negative feedback Thea got for that post but was happy to see a lot of support as well. Great post.

Miss X said...

Back from my wedding weekend (which was fabulous), and I had to check in with my favorite blogs (because as our day got closer I had to limit myself to only reading my faves). Let's just say you had me particularly intruiged with this "particullary bizarre forum", so I headed over to WB. Wow, some people just blow me away.

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you (and Michael) how much I've enjoyed reading this blog ever since Miss ST led me here. Good luck getting everything in order over the next 11 days. I can't wait to hear how everything goes!

Jennifer said...

Blarg. I finally read ALL 120+ comments from Miss ST post last week. I *hope* I didn't come off wrong posting here. I support equal rights and have worked towards affirmitive action for many years now. So my comment, my hope is that some day we won't need to highlight same-sex weddings (just like we shouldn't have to highlight a Black Presidential candidate as something new and neat)that they can just exist and get equal air time on WB and other blogs. SO my apologies to Emerson, Mrs GB and Miss ST (and any others) if I offended you by my previous comment.

Corazon de Oro said...

I don't think there should have to be a day - because you should be recognized all the time. Since that's not happening, maybe a day is a good way to start. I think you'd do great starting your own site! What happens when you want tradition, but tradition is gender specific? Whose name goes first on the invitation? Do both of you walk down the aisle? Do parents give you away?

Sure, you can make your own decisions. But why are these forms of media stifling your ability to discuss the different ways things can be handled?

I admit, I've been looking forward to your wedding since Michael told me you were engaged June 6, 2006. I was worried it would be something too small, too private, where I wouldn't be invited - or that you'd never have an actual wedding because of the fact we have stupid laws which are biased against so much of the population.

I remember worrying about Michael, that he would have trouble dealing with society's biases. I'm just grateful you two are doing this, and we get to go support you and let you know while some people are stupid, and an entire industry hasn't caught up yet, there are those of us who love you. The fact your wedding has no legal value makes it even more valuable to me - it's purely done because of your love and commitment and desire to share it with your community of friends you have built. To me, that is the one thing which makes a wedding amazing versus mediocre - the couple getting married loving each other, and meaning what they say. That, at least, is universal.