Following on from her previous column about attending a wedding fair in a same-sex couple, bride-to-be Becky shares more about the questions everyone loves to ask if you’re in a same sex couple…
Weddings are scrutinised enough as it is by family and friends…but hand them something that isn’t ‘normal’ and the panic really sets in.
I remember once being asked (before I had even proposed to Ciara!): “When you get married, will it still be like a NORMAL wedding?”. I was confused. I had to clarify what they meant.
Like did they think a same sex wedding was going to be a big bright colourfest that only gay people went to?
Did they think the ceremony was different? Was it smaller perhaps?
When they realised what they had said, they got embarrassed and tried to apologise on the off chance they had offended me. I for one, am not easily offended at all and I’m hardly going to get offended by someone asking a simple question.
Truthfully, the question took me by surprise, but it made me stop and think. I had actually never been to a same sex marriage at that point and the only ones I had seen on television were either extremely lavish and over the top or extremely small and intimate. Some even just went to the courthouse to get married and that was it.
So how do you explain to someone what it is when you don’t even know yourself?
My reply, “Same sex weddings shouldn’t be the same as anyone else’s. You know why? Because every wedding and love story is unique and special. Therefore, it should be what the couple want. No one else.”
With that being said, let me be a bit of an ‘Agony Aunt’ for this week’s journey and let me answer some of the burning questions you have perhaps asked yourself or wished you could ask/are curious to know…
“Which one of you is the bride?”
I think I will start with my personal favourite question that I’ve ever been asked. The answer: we both identify as female, our pronouns are she/her and our wedding title is ‘bride’ or ‘wife-to-be’. Yep, we are both brides in what will be the most awesome day ever! Yes, I am a bit biased.
“How do you decide who walks down the aisle first?”
Good question! For us, we had talked about marriage from the day and hour we got together. We both grew up dreaming about our big day. We both envisioned being walked down the aisle by our fathers, towards our partner standing at the altar.
This is a moment most brides dream about. There are two key moments in a bride’s journey, being proposed to and walking down the aisle last. So, what did we do? The natural competitive nature within us decided it was only fair to make it into a little bit of a competition. Whoever proposed first, got to walk down the aisle last. Simple! Since Ciara got the first proposal, (yep there is a second to come before 2023), I get to walk down the aisle last. We had to think to ourselves, ‘was there one of these moments that meant more to me than the other?’ Which is not something you expect to think about.
“Will you both be planning the wedding?”
Oh, heck yes. Do you think I am going to let Ciara have all the fun? Not on your nelly! We both grew up dreaming about what our big day will be like. The fun part is coming to some sort of compromise between the two of us.
I want a barn wedding; Ciara wants a stately home. The compromise: A barn wedding.
I want a colourful wedding, Ciara wants calm, pastel tones. The compromise: a colourful wedding!
As they say happy wife, happy life! I’m only messing. We actually do sit down with our Pinterest boards once a week and see what we have come up with. Favours, dresses, bridal makeup etc. are discussed within an inch of their lives and then we decide what is going to suit us as a couple. The day is about both of us and that means it will be made up of both of our ideas.
“Are you getting married in a church?”
Same sex couples in NI were granted the choice of being able to get married in a religious building only recently. We come from different religious backgrounds and we decided that even if we could get married in a church, it wasn’t important to us. We are getting married because we love each other. Plus, we are also really lazy and want everything to happen in the one place.
We did take a long time to decide what sort of ceremony we wanted. Currently we can only get legally married by a registered humanist or spiritualist celebrant or by a registrar. Since proposing and starting our Instagram page (@BridesByTheSea_NI), I have come across so many amazing celebrants and if anyone would like any help, please come on over to our page and say hi! I would be more than happy to send a few your way.
For us we had to factor a few points into our decision. For instance, could they legally marry us in the South of Ireland? Could we acknowledge loved ones that have passed on, but in the sense, they are standing by us on the day? We researched, talked to celebrants and talked to our friends and family but there was only one option for us. We opted for a spiritualist celebrant.
“Do you both have bridesmaids and a best man?”
There is one rule in weddings. You know what it is? THERE ARE NO RULES IN WEDDINGS! I cannot emphasise this enough. You can have whoever you want standing beside you on your big day.
As long as you love them and they you, then have whoever. Want your dad as your best man? Do it! Want your 42-year-old cousin twice removed as a flower girl? Do it! Pick out the most amazing flower crown and send them up the aisle! Want your dog as your chief bridesmaid? Heck yes! Just remember they don’t have thumbs and therefore can’t help you hold your dress when you need to go to the bathroom, but if you can get someone else to do that then you’re onto a winner.
We have decided who will be part of our Bride Tribe but they don’t quite know yet. If they do, they better act very surprised! But yes, there will be bridesmaids and a best man or two on the big day.
“Are you both wearing dresses or will one be in a suit?”
This question has been asked so many times! A little word of advice to anyone who is friends with a same sex couple: think about the couple.
You must know them well enough to know what their style is and that should answer this question. You would just assume that a bride and groom in a heterosexual couple would be straight forward and she would wear a dress and he would wear a suit. Similarly, two men in a same sex couple, you would just assume they would both be in a suit and that question may not get asked.
For us, it seems to be a huge topic. It sometimes comes across that they want you to say ‘yep, one of us will be in a suit because of stereotypes’. I’m afraid to disappoint on this occasion, we will both be in stunning dresses that complement each other. Perhaps we will be in a Carrie Bradshaw worthy suit for day two…who knows.
“Is it going to be a big gay wedding?”
In a sense, yes. We both come from large families and have quite big friend circles. Plus, yep you guessed it, we are both gay. But if you mean our day is going to be the gay equivalent of ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ with rainbows and gay flags everywhere, glitter confetti cannons and drag queens singing Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ then nope.
Don’t get me wrong, it would be the most fabulous wedding Ireland would ever witness, but it’s not for us. Although we will be representing the LGBTQ+ community in subtle ways. For instance, we have talked about having a beautifully decorated cake on the outside and one of the tiers to have rainbow sponge through it or for the tables to be named after LGBTQ+ icons that have paved the way for us. Who knows! Like I said before, there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to weddings.
“Will you get ready together?”
As much as we are very forward-thinking people, we still want to have some of society’s traditions when it comes to weddings. We want to be surprised and only see each other at our first look moment.
The first look was decided because we wanted to be the first to see each other and not be nervous at the altar and not fully appreciate the efforts we have both put in.
“Are you going to have a joint hen do?”
Some of our friends are probably secretly hoping for this, alas they are going to have to suck it up and attend two! I love spa days, dancing and cocktail making classes. Whereas Ciara loves paintballing, whiskey tasting and football.
We both like each other’s choices of activities but the main reason we aren’t having a joint hen do is because we are with each other every day and we want a day all about, well, ourselves. Same sex couples tend to socialise a lot with each other. They pretty much do everything together. So, it’s nice to do things separately for once.
These are only a few of the questions we have been asked within the very short time we have been engaged. We still get the usual same questions as every other couple, like when is the big day? Where will it be? Cake or doughnuts?
Remember, the most important thing about your wedding is that you’re marrying the love of your life! Apart from the decision to have cake or doughnuts…always choose both! Thank you again for following along with our journey – you can stay up to date by following along on Instagram.