Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Guest Post: Gay, Broke, and Getting Married--Am I Asking for Trouble?

Wedding planning can be hard for all of us, for a variety of reasons. At the end of the day, we all want to feel valued, loved, and appreciated, especially by our nearest and dearest.

Sometimes, though, if we make choices that deviate from the choices that our nearest and dearest would make,
or if who we are as people does not match up with others' expectations or hopes, we can feel disconnected and judged.

Matt and I faced general skepticism as we tried to plan a wedding that reflected our budget-minded, eco-friendly, hand-crafted values. For example, I was hurt when my step-dad refused to help us cook the fajitas for our self-catered reception and when my best friend initially balked at helping us pull together our wedding. I faced judgment from colleagues and acquaintances about various things, such as not having an engagement ring, wearing a $15 dress, and opting for a super-simple and practical wedding ring.

But this letter from Kristin reminded me that the wedding planning process can be even more difficult for our LGBT friends in the United States who are trying to solidify their love and commitment within a hostile legal landscape that does not even recognize their fundamental right to choose whom they love. On top of that, as her letter explains, there can be family issues to contend with.

The U.S. recently took a step forward with the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but even that step forward is a reminder that this country's journey toward "liberty and justice for all" is entirely too slow. The fact that the United States still does not guarantee equal rights for all citizens is embarrassing and hypocritical.

Despite the situation, Kristin has maintained such positivity and hope. Her resilience inspires me! Thank you, Kristin, for sharing your journey with all of us. I wish you and your partner the very best with your wedding and, more importantly, your lifelong commitment to each other.

by Kristin Doty

My fiancée and I have been engaged for over three months now. It has been very difficult as a gay couple trying to announce our engagement. Most reactions consisted of the question "How does that work?" We live in Ohio, which has absolutely no marriage rights for homosexuals, but still this reaction seemed to really bother me. To me and my fiancée, marriage has never been about the legality of it all; it has been about the commitment to love and honor each other.

The biggest disappointment that we have faced so far is the lack of participation by each of our parents. We all know that traditionally the Bride's parents pick up the wedding bill, but what happens when you have two brides??

At first we honestly were hoping that maybe each of our parents would step up and offer to help us out a little. We did not expect them to pick up the whole tab, but at least help us out. Right now I am supporting both of us while my fiancée is in her first year of law school, so we really do not have a lot of money to spare. We really would have appreciated anything. So far we have had no offers, and not even a "Hey how’s the wedding planning going?" This really angered and frustrated my partner and me, but we finally came up with some great cost effective and friendly participation ideas.

Although our parents have not been very helpful toward our wedding, our friends and other family members have been more than amazing! I would have to say that without these wonderful people in our life we would not be where we are today. We have so many great people who do not judge us for being gay, but simply love us for who we are.

To be budget-friendly and include these amazingly supportive people, we decided to have a separate ceremony and reception. We searched through venue after venue and nothing really struck us as somewhere we wanted to get married. The bottom line was that we wanted to be married in a very intimate, private location, and somewhere that meant something to us as a couple. Finally we decided on the comfort of our home--what can be more private than that? It is also our first place living together so it means something to us, and when working with a budget you can't beat free! Our wedding party are the only people invited to the ceremony. While trying to keep within a budget and maintain a private, intimate ceremony we both felt this was the best way.

Throughout this whole process we also wanted to make sure that everyone could have a part in our wedding. For instance, our engagement photos we had done by my cousin who is like a sister to me. She is not a photographer, but in every essence an amateur, but she insisted on wanting to borrow her friend’s camera and take our pictures, so I couldn't say no. During the ceremony we decided to save money as well but not having someone to "officiate" the ceremony. Instead we are having each of our wedding party take part in marrying us.

Of course we have not worked out all the details, and each day is a process as we have to make more and more decisions, but one important lesson I have learned so far is that no matter your budget, your sexual orientation, the support or lack of support you may have, the bottom line is that this day is about you and the person you love planning to spend the rest of your lives together. Do not settle, but do not get stuck on the same ideas you had for your wedding as a kid, and no matter what the budget try not to get discouraged because you will find a way....

Kristin helps run a small business wholesale furniture company. When she is not working she enjoys watching British television, discovering new music, and taking pictures. Hannah who is recently out of the army is now a full time law student. When she is not buried in her books she loves making Kristin laugh and spending quality time together. Although many don't believe in it, it was love-at-first-sight for Hannah and Kristin. Kristin was getting ready to move to Michigan and Hannah was about to give up on "Miss Right", when their eyes locked from across the bar they just knew it was right. Almost two years later Kristin proposed to Hannah after they jumped the fence of the closed bar where they had first met.

If you would like to write a guest post to share your perspective with fellow kindred spirits, please e-mail me your topic idea!

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Steven Tyler's PJs said...

Awww, so sweet! If you live in Central Ohio, e-mail me and I will help with wedding ideas - I'm chock full of 'em! jennieboo33 (at) att (dot) net.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for talking about this Sara! I feel so strongly that this is a human rights issue and I wish I could fix it, but it is bigger then me. So, I do what I can: I chose a wedding officiant that also does LGBTQ weddings, I vote, and I talk about this topic to my friends and family. Thank you for bravely addressing this topic!!!!

lizzie said...

such a great post...i'm sorry it seems like people aren't responding well...at least you have this outlet where people understand and support you. you're 100% right about the bottom line. it's not about centerpieces or legal bullsh*t or any of that...it's about the commitment and the thereafter.

Sam and Becky said...

Great post! Me and my wife just celebrated our marriage, and we also had our ceremony at our home, (with friends and family helping with fixing up the backyard to boot!). We had my wife's best friend officiate, we handmade a lot of the decorations and favors. No DJ, just an ipod, drinks were set out and were for everyone to make their own, plus a margarita machine and a taco guy! It was awesome. We also had fire pits out for later and we roasted smores. :D Also check out this AWESOME website, http://www.soyoureengayged.com/

Good luck with the event!

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