When it comes to weddings, it can be too easy to just assume ‘bride and groom’, and that the couple in question will follow the ancient wedding traditions, rooted in patriarchy, as they go on their wedding journey.
But what if that’s not you? We’ve teamed up with Becky Miskimmin, bride-to-be and one half of a same-sex couple, to find out more about what it’s like to be the ‘bride and bride’…
Introducing the Bride-to-Be (One of Them, Anyway)
As a little girl, I grew up thinking to myself: ‘I cannot wait until the day I get married! I will have the biggest Cinderella dress I can squeeze up the aisle and a husband will be there at the top.’
I had every single detail, big and small planned. Naturally these details changed with age, to the disappointment of my inner five-year-old: a bright pink horse drawn carriage with feathers everywhere isn’t quite as cool now as it was back then! The only detail that never seemed to be fully developed was the partner I’d be standing at the top of the aisle with. Then in 2015, something happened that would just make sense and finally my dream wedding was complete. I met the love of my life, Ciara.
Who is This Bride? What’s Her Story?
Hi everyone, I’m Becky Miskimmin and one half of @BridesByTheSea_NI. 2020 wasn’t a normal year for anyone, and whilst most starting baking banana bread or crocheting, I decided to start a blog about my experience wedding planning as a same-sex couple.
Nearly six years ago, as a 23-year-old woman, I wasn’t too sure what I wanted in life; the only way to date was to find matches through dating apps, which is exactly how we met. Our families believed we met through a mutual friend at a bar which she worked at…but really, she didn’t know this friend of mine and I had never set foot into the bar!
We actually matched once before that year, but it just wasn’t meant to be. No matter how much I had tried to forget her, the romantic in me couldn’t and when the opportunity presented itself to match again, I naturally did the only thing you can do… make some kind of sarcastic insult and hope she still liked me.
Well low and behold, it worked! Fast forward a few weeks and our first ‘date’ was memorable for perhaps the wrong reasons. Let’s just say I had a glass of Dutch courage that kept getting topped up and I happened to fall off a stage onto her. What can I say, she swept me off my feet! Well, that’s what she tells everyone we meet, anyway.
Four years on and I thought to myself, we have a house and two dogs and I’m certainly not getting any younger. In LGBTQ+ years, we should have been married with kids and be aiming for retirement about three years previously. Somewhere along the line a thought occurred: why am I waiting? I want to be with her for the rest of my life, let’s make this happen.
Planning to Propose as a Woman
It should be straight forward enough: go get a ring, propose and then plan a wedding. Right? Wrong! Very much wrong. Before you have even decided on anything, if you are in a same sex couple, there seems to be many questions and expectations thrown your way when it comes to marriage and proposals.
Some of the questions I was asked regularly include:
- Who proposes to who?
- What if she proposes first?
- Do you both get rings?
- Do you both get proposals?
I felt out of my depth. I didn’t know where to turn or who to turn to because as a woman, I had not been prepared for these sorts of questions. Like, do grooms get a sit down somewhere along the line and get told these answers?
It’s been instilled into both men and women that society expects the man to propose to the woman, she gets to wear a big white dress and walk up the aisle towards him.
So what happens when you are two brides? I was blissfully unaware that these things needed to be thought of because up until a few years ago, I always assumed I would be proposed to.
Luckily for me, Ciara is used to me blurting out questions in the middle of a conversation. I was able to ask questions such as:
- How do we decide who walks down the aisle first?
- Do you want a best man?
- Do I need to ask your dad for permission to marry you?
- Do you even want a ring?
I should have known the answer to the last question to be fair! But we were able to discuss our thoughts and feelings for each situation.
The Same-Sex Wedding Planning Journey Begins
I decided 28th December 2019 would be the momentous day that my girlfriend’s Facebook status would get upgraded to ‘engaged’. It took blood (metaphorical), sweat (not metaphorical – ever got a ring box stuck in your skinny jeans whilst wearing a Christmas jumper?) and tears (I’m an ugly crier), but she said yes!
After this, the next thing was the excitement of planning a wedding. I thought to myself: I know EVERYTHING you could know about weddings. I’ve read the magazines, I’ve watched (and re-watched) every episode of Say Yes to the Dress, so this planning thing will be a breeze.
But in the year that I’ve been a bride, I’ve learned a few things. Being a bride isn’t as easy as it’s made out to be, and being one of two brides getting married, well. That’s like being in no man’s land.
As a new bride, you just want to think and talk about your wedding, and as one of two brides, there’s twice as much of that. I hope you’ll follow us along on our journey and I can do two things:
- Educate and inspire those who don’t quite fit the cookie-cutter expectations when it comes to weddings
- Make you laugh