On the flip side, I see a few compelling arguments to have our weddings wherever we damn well please. For starters, there are some logistical challenges that come with planning an out-of-town wedding. The micromanager in me shudders at the thought of not being in the same physical location as my wedding venue because I don’t know if I could oversee all of the details from afar without losing my mind. Then there is the additional expense. This is less of an issue if many of your guests would be traveling to your wedding regardless of where you have it. But, if most of you family and friends live in your home state, moving the whole clan to a more gay-friendly locale could mean a lot of extra money spent on plane tickets and hotels.
For me, the desire to have my wedding in my home state, where same-sex marriage is currently illegal, is twofold. The first part is simple sentimentality. Chicago is where I fell in love with my girlfriend, so marrying her right here would be especially romantic for me. The other part is good old-fashioned subversion. The national debate over gay marriage is the one thing that inspires the (semi-retired) activist in me to come out of hiding. In one sense, the fact that I can’t legally get married in Illinois makes me hell bent on having my wedding here. It would be my way of saying, “Just because you don’t legally recognize my relationship does not mean you can avoid the reality that it exists.” As more and more lesbians and gay men decide to have big public weddings in their own home towns, we may be able to send the message to our opponents that we’re getting married whether they like it or not.
For better or worse, I can see both sides of the coin on the issue of where gay ladies should tie the knot. As I write this, I’m not totally sure what decision I’ll make for myself when the time comes. The romantic in me will want to have my wedding at the sophisticated wine bar with the great view of the Chicago skyline where I’ve always dreamed of getting married. But, the activist in me will want to take the show on the road to make what I believe is a very important statement.
Your turn. What do you think lesbians should have their weddings? Does it matter to you? Do you plan to get married in your home town? Or will you travel to a place where same-sex marriage is legal?
Meg Streit is a full-time freelance journalist in Chicago.