Planning a LGBT Wedding in Los Angeles
Congratulations, you’re engaged! Or, maybe you and your beau are planning to be engaged soon, but don’t know here to start. Don’t worry you’re in the right place. If you’re a same sex couple getting married in Los Angeles, we’ve put together a definitive guide for you to help navigate the next steps.
Every wedding is unique, and along with wedding planning comes decision on top of decision. With so many choices when it comes to budget, vendors, guest list, attire, bridal party, and choosing which traditions to keep and which are worthy of tossing, planning can feel overwhelming, And for our same sex couples, these decisions can feel even more diffucult. For many of us, it’s our first time planning a wedding, and it’s hard to know how to navigate these decisions. We are here to help make the decisions that feel right for your wallet, your situation, your family, and your event.
Let’s start with the proposal. If you’re already engaged, congratulations! You can skip down to the next paragraph. If you’re still working up to getting down on one knee, let’s talk about the next step. When it comes to same sex couples, there’s no expectations when it comes to who should propose to who. Lucky for you, you know your partner best, so it’s up to you to decide what feels most natural to your relationship and personalities. For same sex couples who have been together a long time, it can come down to a mutual decision over a bottle of wine, and for some it means months of planning the perfect fairy tale proposal. In the end, there are no “rules”, and you need to decide what works for you and your partner. Will they be sad to have their thunder stolen if they don’t get to propose, or will they be over the moon at your romantic gesture? Maybe you both should be planning separate proposals perfect for you. No matter what, if you’re questioning your decision it doesn’t hurt to have the conversation with your partner about how they envision getting engaged to ensure you’re on the same page. As long as it feels personal and special to both of you, you’re on the right track.
Planning Your Budget
Great, so now you’re engaged and the wedding planning has officially started. So what’s next? A great place to start is budget. For many modern couples, they’ll be footing the bill when it comes to the wedding, but if mom and dad are involved how do we decide whose parents pay for what? For every couple, this can be an uncomfortable topic, but especially in a same sex wedding, this can be tricky to navigate as there aren’t traditional gender roles. As it goes, the bride’s parents traditionally paid for the wedding, while the groom’s covered the rehearsal dinner and honeymoon. Though not many weddings play by those rules today, it’s always nice when parents want to pitch in, and there’s a few easy ways we can divvy up. First, you can talk to each side and ask what they’re willing to invest. Having this discussion with each family separately will help spare any awkwardness or hard feelings if one side is willing to help more. You can ask what they’re most excited about (photographer, food, music), and have them pitch in there. This will help them get excited and feel like they’re involved in the wedding planning. But, be careful with this approach if you’re concerned about mom and dad having too much say in which vendors you choose, as they hold the checkbook and sometimes the final decision.
Finding LGBT Vendors
After we’ve decided who is paying for what, it’s time to start hiring vendors. This is the fun part, but it’s important you have vendors that are on your side and going to be supportive through the planning process. Luckily in Los Angeles, we’ve found most vendors to be LGBTQ friendly. But, an easy way to find vendors perfect for your event is to start with vendor listings on gay-wedding directories like www.engaygedweddings.com and gayweddings.com. These sites break down gay wedding services state by state, so you know they’re good to go. If you’ve found someone you love, and aren’t sure if they’re right for your event, it never hurts to inquire through their site to get all the pertinent information, and set up a consultation if the fit feels right. If you feel the need to bring it up beforehand, a simple one-liner such as “we’re having a same-sex wedding in Los Angeles” in your initial email will do the trick
Now that a date has been set, the vendors have been chosen, and the invitations are ready to go out, it’s time to decide who is on the guest list. Especially if family tensions are high, it’s important to remember this is you and your partner’s wedding day, and you’ll want only your most supportive friends and family around you. Don’t feel pressured to invite relatives who may be less than supportive, because this will just up the stress factor and expenses for you and your other half. If mom and dad are insistent on inviting certain relatives you’d rather not, you can fall back on the rule of who’s paying for the wedding day. If you and your partner are footing the bill, you have a little bit more room to put your foot down, but you can always ask Mom and Dad to cover the stationary expenses at the very least. At the end of the day, remember that the wedding day is for you and your fiance, don’t let anyone steal your sparkle.
Planning Your Ceremony
As wedding planning commences, it’s time to decide on some ceremony details. Though it seems simple, when it comes to walking down the aisle many couples, regardless of orientation, are finding non-traditional ways to meet at the altar. Whether you decide to walk hand in hand, have someone of equal importance to you walk both of you down the aisle, have both your parents walk you down the aisle separately, or use the traditional set-up with one of you at the altar at the start of the ceremony so you can capture both of your first reactions, there is no wrong way. Some couples have even been known to create two aisles so you can both walk down simultaneously, which can be very unique and special, just remember you’ll want a second photographer to capture both of you.
The Wedding Party
When it comes to the people standing up besides you, don’t focus too much on gender or titles. Many couples have bridesmen, groomswomen, men of honor, best women, and everything in between. What’s important is that the people you love the most have a special place in your wedding to help make sure things go right, and most importantly to make you feel loved and supported as you get married. If we’ve learned anything throughout this article, it’s that there are no rules, and this is no exception.
Ok, so now you’re married. How do we decide on a last name? Truly, as with everything, there is no right or wrong answer. You and your partner may want to keep your last names, hyphenate, or create a new family name altogether (yes, that is an option). Keep in mind, each state has its own laws on what’s legally allowed when changing your name, so decide early and do your research.
Again, a huge congratulations on your engagement, and the very best of luck with your wedding planning. If there’s anything you should take away from this article, remember that this is your day and anything goes (well, almost anything…). Happy planning!