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Being a Bridesperson or The Only Tradition is Love

A little less than a year from now, I get to watch one of my best fucking friends in this whole fucking world get married.

Naturally, I could piss myself from excitement.

(But I won’t, because then Kyle would make me clean the couch.)

The bride-and-bride-to-be are Heather and Ann.

For those of you who need a little reminder, Heather is one of my best friends on this whole damn planet. She’s a wonderful person who’d been dating another wonderful person for three years, and I love the both of them. I wrote about them in a blog post last November, voicing my frustration that due to the current Colorado ban on gay marriage they cannot not marry while that mung-sucker Kim Kardashian was free to use the institution of marriage as a 72-day long publicity stunt.

Oh, yeah, and did I mention that I was asked to be a bridesperson?

(Now I have to clean the couch.)

Poor decision-making on their part aside, this is the other part about their wedding (wearing an ugly dress featuring a bow on the butt and trying not to cry during the ceremony being the first part) that I’m really excited about. I’m excited to get to participate in a wedding that will be unlike any other I’ve been to, because there is no precedent for a wedding like their’s.

When I was a newly-engaged bride-to-be, all feverish with excitement and joy, there were entire sections of bookstores set aside to tell me exactly how my wedding should look. There were sections on how the church should be set up, what I should wear based on what time the wedding took place, how to address the invitations and how many envelopes they needed, how to go about choosing a caterer, and on and on and on. Magazine after magazine of other people’s dresses, cakes, flowers. The unimaginative bride could have planned every detail of her wedding right from those books and magazines, and I imagine many do. Naturally, there were a lot of things that Kyle and I chose to do differently in spite of tradition: we were married in a theatre by one of our college professors, for a big ol’ starters. But for nearly every facet of our wedding, there were hundreds of years of tradition and precedent dictating what people could expect from our ceremony that influenced our planning.

For Heather and Ann, however, there is no tradition, no precedent, no expectations, because for hundreds of years it never came up. (The gays were a little occupied, what with the being prosecuted and such.) Sure, there’s a lot of traditions from straight weddings that they can still follow if they so choose, but there’s also a lot that won’t apply. It’s tempting to just designate one of them the dude and one the chick and go on with traditional roles as previously established, but to know Heather and Ann is to know that this is a ridiculous idea; neither one of them is more dude-like than the other because they’re people, not stereotypes. So in every aspect of planning this wedding, they’re making it up as they go along, tailoring the ceremony and celebration to reflect them as people, not as genders. They are wedding cowboysgirls. Unlike any wedding I’ve ever been to, nothing about this one can be assumed other than that the reason for it is love.

I’m absolutely fascinated by the process.

Heather and Ann have already begun to acknowledge the lack of precedent and address the confusion some people might have when it comes to their marriage by answering some of those questions on their wedding website. I’d like to share them with you guys.

Gay Q&A

For all those questions we know you’re thinking, but might be afraid to ask. Here are the answers!

Q: Is same-sex marriage legal in Colorado? Why aren’t you getting married in Iowa, or New York?

A: Same-sex marriage is not legal in Colorado – in fact, there is a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage here. However, civil unions came VERY close to passing through the state legislature this year, and we are very hopeful for a better outcome next year.

Although it would be great to get married legally, a same-sex marriage from another state would not be recognized in Colorado, and we don’t have any plans to move to a state that has legalized same-sex marriage. Besides, we don’t want our wedding to be ALL about watching us sign some legal documents – we want you to come so you can celebrate with us!

Q: If same-sex marriage isn’t legal, why are you having a ceremony?

A: The same reasons that most couples get married – because we love each other, we want to be together forever, and we want to celebrate our love and our commitment with our families and friends. And then we want to follow it up with a big ol’ party, of course! 🙂

Q: Is one of you the “bride” and one of you the “groom”?

A: Nope, definitely two brides here! We aren’t really big fans of the gender stereotypes that society has about same-sex couples. A lot of people think that gay couples have one person who’s “masculine” and one who’s “feminine”, but those labels just don’t fit us or describe us all that well – while Heather is far more likely to be wearing a skirt, Ann is far more likely to run away from any scary-looking bugs. And neither of us wants to be thought of as a guy, so please don’t consider either one of us the “groom” or the “man” in the relationship!

Q: Will there be girls dancing with girls and boys dancing with boys at your wedding reception?

A: Absolutely! That happens at most weddings anyway, so it probably won’t seem all that unusual.

Q: Is this a “wedding” or a “commitment ceremony”? What’s the difference?

A: The difference is pretty much just a semantic one – some couples prefer one term, some couples prefer another. Some religious institutions aren’t allowed to perform a ceremony for a gay couple unless it’s called a “commitment ceremony”. Some couples only want to use the term “wedding” if they’re getting legally married during the ceremony. Some couples prefer “wedding” because they think “commitment ceremony” makes it sound like it isn’t as important.

Personally though, we are using the term “wedding”, and we’d like it if you called our ceremony a wedding as well.

Q: So…what should I call you guys right now? And what do I call you after you get married?

A: Right now you can call us fiancees, or partners.

After getting married, some gay couples prefer to go by “husband and husband”, “wife and wife”, “spouses”, or “partners”. There isn’t any one correct term that applies to all couples – each couple can decide on their own preferred terminology. (Actually, this is true with straight couples too. Almost all go with “husband and wife”, but there are no rules saying you’re required to do that.)

After our wedding, we would prefer to be called either partners or spouses.

There are a few things that I assume I can still expect from Heather and Ann’s wedding. I assume there will tons of friends and family, all of whom love these two people as much as I do. I assume that there will be a reception featuring lots of dancing. I assume that I will drink a little too much during said reception and make an ass of myself. I assume that with the exception of the last bit, I will spend the majority of the day trying desperately not to burst into tears because I’m just so damn happy for my friend. And I assume that the whole reason for this day is because Heather and Ann love each other more than either can express.

Beyond that, all bets are off.

(We’re gonna need a new couch.)

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Charm City Kim July 13, 2012, 12:20 pm

    That’s awesome for your friends! Congrats to them. Going to a same-sex wedding is something I’d love to do. I know some same sex couples and I’ve been pushing them to get married for quite some time. 🙂

  • cindy July 13, 2012, 2:35 pm

    I adore those ladies, and can not wait to celebrate with them!

  • Kate July 14, 2012, 9:15 am

    Awww….how sweet!! Congrats to your friend and her Fiancée!
    We called each other partners for almost a decade before we got hitched; I still use that term now although Ben now calls me “wife.” (where I must pause to remind myself, “oh! That’s me!!)

    • Monster July 14, 2012, 10:05 am

      I like the idea of being “partners.” It has a very “we’re on the same team” feel.

      • Camels & Chocolate July 16, 2012, 10:21 pm

        Team MonsteRawr! I never thought Scott and I would get married–namely because by the time he proposed four years into our relationship, we’d never even brought up the “m” word–so I assumed we would spend a lifetime as “partners” and had starting trying that moniker on for size. Love it.

  • Camels & Chocolate July 14, 2012, 9:11 pm

    When I moved to Holland in 2005, my former roommate K. was still on-and-off with her college love, a dude, and when I came back, she was engaged—and now married to—a chick, and I remember the first thing I wanted to know is “how do you decide who’s the bride and who’s the groom?” (For them, specifically, she wore the dress and her wife wore the suit.) They actually got married at Lake George, and I’m still bummed I lived 3,000 miles away and couldn’t make it! Can’t wait to see pictures from the actual event!

  • willikat July 30, 2012, 6:13 pm

    I love their Gay Q & A! Can’t wait to see photos!

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