If you are organizing a wedding celebration or party in addition to your legal ceremony, you have some work ahead of you. No matter the size or formality of your event, you’ll probably have to at least invite people and find a place to celebrate in. If you want a huge party with tons of people in lovely outfits, flowers, a big cake, party favors and a unicorn; well, that’s going to require a lot of organization. But never fear, librarians are always here to help!
What does organizing your wedding look like? I’d say the answer depends entirely on you and your intended spouse. One thing working in your favor is that, um, you’re not straight. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people have long had the joy -- and the burden -- of defining their own relationships and building their own rules for living. So make your wedding yours. Here are a few resources to help you get started:
Books and articles
There are precious few books written specifically to aid same-sex couples in wedding planning, but the library has a few you may want to consult:
- The Complete Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings provides advice on an array of same-sex-wedding-specific topics like finding gay-friendly vendors and announcing your engagement to your family -- while still acting as a comprehensive guide to planning a more-or-less traditional wedding.
- David Toussaint and Heather Leo's Gay and Lesbian Weddings: Planning the Perfect Same-Sex Ceremony covers everything from advice on determining the length of your engagement to tips for planning your honeymoon -- with emphasis on the special circumstances of gay and lesbian weddings.
- The Gay Couple's Guide to Wedding Planning : Everything Gay Men Need to Know to Create A Fun, Romantic, and Memorable Ceremony, by David Toussaint, is (clearly!) written specifically for gay men who are planning to wed. This book is designed for intense planners, with each chapter addressing the steps you should follow in a year-long wedding-planning process.
Despite their queer focus, these books are all pretty traditional. Folks who are looking for stories and images of trans people and couples, or weddings that center on specific aspects of gay culture and style may not find them in these -- or in any books. That’s not a surprise, but it is a disappointment. If your wedding planning is taking you in a direction that isn’t well-served by the mainstream media, you might want to do some more, shall we say, basic research.
Depending on your needs, you might start with wedding how-to books that were written for a general (yeah, mostly straight!) audience. The library has tons, including books on wedding decorations, wedding photography, making or designing your wedding cake, wedding traditions, making or styling your wedding dress/es. Or, you might want to take a look at general books about costume history, flower arranging or planning a non-wedding type of party. Will your wedding have a theme? Chances are, the library has books, magazine articles, or other materials that will help you incorporate that theme into your celebration -- contact a librarian to get started.
Another useful source for words on weddings is the local magazine PQ Monthly -- they regularly feature stories, opinion pieces, and miscellanea on marriage equality. A recent standout (in my humble opinion) is local fashion writer Sally Mulligan’s column predicting wedding outfit trends -- and offering easygoing advice for brides, grooms and spouses: “Life’s a Catwalk, and the Aisle is an Exception.”
Queer-friendly wedding businesses
Even in the first blush of marriage equality here in the Beaver State, it can be a bit tricky to find trusted, queer-friendly wedding business and other resources. Portland’s Gay Yellow Pages has a short section of wedding listings that includes venues and services. Or, try Purple Unions, a national directory of gay-friendly wedding vendors -- they list a variety of Oregon wedding venues, photographers, wedding planners, and other wedding services and professionals.
Do you have more questions?
Librarians are ready to help you find answers! Whether you’re looking for help finding the perfect queer-positive tailor or you want some inspiration for writing your vows, we are happy to help. Ask a librarian anytime.
And, be sure to check out the library’s booth at the Pride Festival, June 14 and 15 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park!