Same-Sex Unions: Etiquette Q&A

same-sex-marriage-chicago-2013We live in a dynamic, beautiful, and ever changing world, and because of this, sometimes long held traditions are replaced by new ones. Learning what to do in these new situations is all a part of the fun, and the same applies to same-sex union and marriage etiquette. Here’s a quick and easy guide to the new way of thinking, so that you don’t have to waste any time guessing.

  1. What Rules Do We Have to Follow?

The short answer? None. In discussions of etiquette and traditions, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to keep and what to throw out. The truth is, all the obligatory rules and mandates are quickly becoming a thing of the past as couples embrace their singular relationship personality. No two people in love have the same relationship – that’s a fact – so, because of that, you have freedom to have the wedding that you want.

On the other hand, it’s important to point out that a same-sex marriage is no-different from a heterosexual one where it counts, as it is based on the ideal of commitment and love between two people who want to grow old together. That is the underlying principle. Everything else is just details.

2. Who Proposes?

In the olden days, the guy in the relationship would get down on one knee, profess his love to the woman he’s with, and ask her to marry him. Nowadays, it really depends on the relationship. Because new roles have arisen, and roles have reversed, anyone can propose to their significant other at any time. So really, the one who proposes is simply the one who’s bold enough – or the one who thinks of it first!

3. Do We Have to Invite Everyone in the Family?

No! Certainly not. Your wedding is a day about you – and this applies to both heterosexual and same-sex marriages. If someone is going to make a negative fuss on your big day, they don’t need to be there.

4. What About Pre-Nups?

Because at this point same-sex unions are not federally recognized, it’s legally responsible to get a pre-nup just in case something happens, it could save you lot of a hassle down the road if you decide to split up.

5. Can We Get Married in a Church?

Of course you can, it’s all a matter of finding the right place to tie the knot. Many faiths support gay marriage – The United Church of Christ, Quakers, and Reform Judaism to name a few – and you’ll especially be in luck finding an officiant in larger cities. If you’re struggling to find a place, however, don’t be dissuaded, be creative! You can incorporate religion into your ceremony wherever it takes place.

6. Who Pays

This is a sticky question no matter what the circumstances – but the easy answer is whoever can. Oftentimes, the soon-to-be-wed couple finances the event themselves, but sometimes they have help from supportive friends and family who love them.

7. Who Walks Down the Aisle?

Both! What’s a wedding without a procession? Many same-sex couples elect to both walk down the aisle, either hand in hand from the beginning, or one before the other. It’s entirely up to you. If you wanted, all of the wedding parties and the marrying couple could come in all at once. You could even dance down the aisle.

8. What Should We Wear?

The options here are endless, and the answer is: whatever you want! It’s not uncommon  for there to be two grooms in matching tuxes or two brides in matching white wedding dresses – or to have one in a dress and one in a tuxedo (or a tuxeda for the ladies). Your wedding outfit shows off your own personal style – and you want to look your best for the man or woman you love, don’t you? Wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in – the design and color are up to you.


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