I'm Gay — So Can I Have A Traditional Wedding Anyway?

gay wedding

Gay weddings are relatively unprecedented. In the meantime, I'll make my own traditions.

There isn’t much doubt that marriage will be legal for me in my lifetime. And with all of these steps being taken, I can’t help but consider the questions I have in anticipation of my own wedding day. I want traditional, in the heteronormative sense. But is that possible?

For example, a traditional (heterosexual) wedding might involve five or six bridesmaids. I have several female friends, but most of my close friends are gay men. I’m not a man, so I wouldn’t have groomsmen. Would it be appropriate to have a mix of bridesmaids and bridesmen? Even as I type that, my computer’s spellcheck is telling me “bridesmen” isn’t a word. Would my wedding suddenly turn into a tawdry pride event, simply because I don’t want to exclude my male friends?

Of course, another concern I have is regarding my last name, a common question regarding marriage in the gay community. My stepfather adopted me when I was seven, and my last name means more to me than it would to most people. My last name represents a great struggle in identity, as well as a monument to a man who loved me like I was his biological child, even though I wasn’t. I fought for that last name, as did my family. I’m not ready to give it up. In fact, it’s a name I’d like to give to someone else. My current partner and I have discussed this, and she said she’d like to take my last name. Heterosexual women simply take their marriage certificate to their local Social Security office to make their name change official, rather than applying for a name change within the court system. So, does legal gay marriage make it easier to take a partner’s name?

Because there’s no real precedent for a traditional gay marriage, same-sex couples are left to duplicate the heterosexual marriage if we’re looking for tradition.  But what if that model doesn’t fit? While I know I’ll never have a ceremony in a Catholic church -- like my grandparents did -- I know I want a wedding like I saw this week in the J. Crew ad: conventional, elegant, and stylish — glitter and techno music not included.

How long do you think it will take before gay wedding traditions take hold?