Welcome to Queerly Beloved, a series of personal essays about my journey as an LGBTQ+ person planning for my wedding in June 2023. Through this series, I’ll be sharing my thoughts, experiences, and advice as I navigate the joys and challenges of planning a wedding. I hope that by sharing my story, I can help make weddings for queer couples a little bit easier and a lot more fun. So whether you’re getting ready to tie the knot, have already taken the plunge, or just want to join me on my journey for a bit, I invite you to come along for the ride!
Rachel and I knew from the beginning that we were going to have a small wedding, and for us, that also meant having a small wedding party. When it came to choosing the people who I wanted to stand beside me as I marry Rachel, I took the following questions into consideration:
- Have I known them for a decently long time?
- Did I know them before I met Rachel?
- Were they supportive when I first came out and started dating Rachel?
- Are they “good vibes” people who I know will make me feel better when stressed?
- Are they planners who I know I can count on take care of themselves as well as projects along the way?
Please notice that one (often implied) qualification that was not on my list: they do not have to be a woman! One of the best things about being in a queer relationship is that the norm is already disrupted. There’s a lot more mental freedom to shake things up, and I didn’t want to limit my wedding party by gender any more than I’m limiting my dating options.
Roy, the Best Maid
I’ve known Roy for nearly 35 years…because he’s my older brother! In addition to being siblings, I’m grateful that we’ve become friends. We share a lot in common, from nerdy interests to a love of travel. After years of living all over the world, we’ve both wound up in the Pacific Northwest, and it is such a joy to get to hang out on a regular basis.
When I came out, Roy was the first person I told. Actually, he was asking whether I was into girls before I even knew that I was!
Michal Ann, the Bridesmaid
Michal Ann and I have been friends since we first sat beside each other at seminary ten years ago. We immediately bonded over feeling too progressive for the space, and she has been a confidant, friend, and inspiration ever since.
Although we were far from our seminary-selves when I came out to her, I was still anxious about telling people from the more conservative spaces of my life. She reacted with complete joy, sent me encouraging memes, and never lets a moment pass to tell me how happy she is that I’ve found Rachel.
Both people in my wedding party live outside of Vancouver and will have to travel to my wedding. That’s already a big ask, so I have tried to be generous in other ways to acknowledge their generosity. I also love gifts and taking opportunities to elevate something into a celebration. For me, that has meant:
- Inviting them into my wedding party by ordering gift baskets delivered to their house asking them to be my bridesmaid. Fun!
- Buying cheesy t-shirts with “I Do Crew” on them for our bachelorette weekend.
- Not mandating a certain outfit to be worn. I truly don’t care about decorations or The Look, and I do care about my favorite people being comfortable and feeling good.
If you clocked the last item on my “how to choose a wedding party member” list at the top of the page, I am a checklist person, and I value other checklist people! I knew I had chosen the right people for me when both of them, during our first “You’re in my wedding party!” conversations, asked, “What do you need me to do?”
I was clear from the beginning that I mostly want them to be hype people. I want them to take it on as a job that when I post pictures in our group chat, that they will respond with exclamation points and heart emojis. They have done that amazingly well.
Equally important, I want them to help me when I’m stuck or when something goes wrong. Our first venue bailed on us under very shady circumstances ten months after we had booked it, and my wedding party were the first people I went to (other than Rachel, obviously). They did everything I needed, from empathizing and raging to giving me concrete and practical advice about how to handle the situation.
As we near the wedding date, I may need them for more specific projects, but time will tell and I know they’ll be fully capable of anything I ask of them.
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