In light of many of my posts and Instagrams, the question I have been asked most often lately is "Do you plan gay weddings?"
It is typically followed with something along the lines of: Why isn't there a "gay wedding" section on your website? You should really let people know that you offer same-sex weddings... Have you ever thought of doing a blog about what makes a gay wedding different?
Before you read any further, let me warn you: My stance on this topic may offend you. It may rub you the wrong way. You may not like it, and I know that I might to get some flack from some members of the LGBT community. That's ok, I can take it. Just consider yourself warned and know that you have two choices: Put on your big girl (and boy) panties and hear me out, or skip this and read on to the next blog.
I don't plan "gay weddings" or "same-sex weddings". I do not market commitment ceremonies to lovely lesbian couples, transgendered brides/grooms, pre- or post- op lovers, cross dressers, drag queens, or any mix in between.
What I plan are weddings and celebrations for people in love. Sometimes, those people are two men. Sometimes, it's two women. Most of the time it's a traditional female bride and male groom, but no one holds that against them (insert cheeky wink-wink).
I plan interfaith weddings, interracial weddings, first weddings, second marriages, renewals of vows, and so on. I've helped people get married across the continents and brought friends and relatives together from all four corners of the earth, and intimate weddings with no more than a handful of guests. In all my years as a wedding planner, and through all of those weddings, I have never felt the need to single out any one particular group or pairing. I do not separate one couple from the rest based on any of the physical traits they bring into the their marriages. How strange would it look if I had an "Interracial Couples" page, or an "Interfaith Wedding" package. I can just see the outrage now! The hate mail and the names I would be called! The demands that I apologize, take sensitivity classes, and make amends to the community at large...
And yet in the very same breath I am asked, ne, expected! to segregate and separate my gay couples.
Having been deeply committed to, and an active member of, the LGBT community for many years, I have yet to have a friend or family member talk to me about their gay marriage. Or their gay car, their lesbian luncheon, or their same-sex Sunday paper. (Although I do have a cousin who recently endured having to file taxes as a gay, married woman...We can sidebar on that later.)
The point I am trying to make is this - It is in my opinion that calling attention to the gayness of a couple implies that their same-sex union is somehow different, or less than, or strange. And it is my believe that each and every couple that decides to celebrate their commitment wants the same thing - to love, to be loved in return, and to be embraced by all of those who witness their union.
Now that is not to say that our friends and family have not faced hurdles in the past, that they do not fight on a daily basis for their rights, and that their path has not been lined with experiences that the majority cannot understand. But my truth is...hey, that's life. We all have our paths and our own struggles. We all have baggage that we carry with us, memories both good and bad. Each person who approaches an alter and takes a vow brings to that moment a completely unique set of expectations and dreams. Each couple is celebrating something that no other couple could possibly understand, and it is with that belief in mind that I plan all weddings around the two people (not the two body parts) that are going to be meeting at that end of the aisle.
There are gay couples that are seeking gay wedding planners in Las Vegas and beyond to take their dreams and turn them into historical, ground breaking, beautiful realities. And to them I say, "Go forth and plan!" These couples (just like all couples) should seek and find the best wedding dream team that they can for them. In my experience, I have yet to meet a gay couple that was offended by my use of he term "Bride" or a lesbian couple that didn't like or accept that I work with "grooms". My gays just sort of move around all of that, only feeling the need to deal with planning a gay wedding when confronted with someone form the outside. It hasn't happened that often, and when it has we have taken it as an opportunity to educate, rather than a blatant act of homophobia.
I believe that the singling out of gay couples will happen less and less as time goes on...Making the need for blogs like this less and less likely.
But until then, a toast to marriage - It's so gay!
Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito is often published, with works featured by the likes of BRIDES, Style Me Pretty, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, The NY Times, LA Times, Junebug Weddings, and more. With an eye catching style that shares not only the story, but the soul, of a wedding, Andrea's clients praise her for being their wedding planner, event designer, advocate, and friend.
An internationally acclaimed speaker, Andrea appears and speaks at events for the Engage! Luxury Wedding Summit, NACE, The Knot, the Wedding MBA, and more. Named the Best Wedding Planner in Las Vegas (2013, 2015, 2016), Wedding Professional of the Year (2011) and ranked as one of the top 50 wedding planners world-wide, Andrea works with celebrities, athletes, executives, and all people in love!
Based in Las Vegas, and working as a destination wedding planner world wide, you can learn more at www.AndreaEppolitoEvents.com.