Getting Hitched: Lesbian Weddings in Film and TV

In the arc that leads up
to their wedding, Lindsay first proposes to Melanie at her sister’s wedding, to
the shock and dismay of her uptight WASP family. Melanie turns her down at
first, saying that marriage is just a "meaningless heterosexual ritual,
and it’s not legal anyway." Lindsay doesn’t feel that way but decides to
play along. After a while, Melanie realizes that there’s something to be said
for ritual and drops to one knee after their son’s first birthday party.

A bachelorette party
follows, attended by what looks like every lesbian in Pittsburgh —none of whom
we ever see again — as well as Melanie’s hot ex, Leda the motorcycle mama (cue
foreshadowing of three-way).

Played both for laughter
and tears, the lead-up to the wedding includes a painful rejection by Lindsay’s
wealthy parents. Asked to help out with the wedding costs like they did for
Lindsay’s sister’s three weddings, her mother responds that those weddings were

"In what way?"
Lindsay asks.

"Those weddings were
real," her mother snaps back.

Her rejection devastates
Lindsay. After a fortune teller predicts wedding day doom, the caterer cancels,
her wedding gown is destroyed, and the jeweler loses their wedding rings, Lindsay
decides that the fates don’t believe in same-sex marriage and calls the
ceremony off.

Fortunately, the women’s
queer family rallies, and they ultimately march down the aisle after all — butch/femme
wedding outfits, lesbian minister, k.d. lang music playing as the rice showers
down, tissue-clutching friends and all. And that, in the end, is what not only
the wedding story line but the whole series was really about.

In a queer world of unconventional
couples, multiple biological and nonbiological parents, adopted kids, informal
parenting relationships and countless definitions of family, love — all kinds of love — really does triumph over all. It’s
not Lindsay’s parents, who say her wedding "isn’t real," who comprise
her family; it’s the people she has chosen to be in her life who do.

The L Word

The second episode of Season
2, "Lap Dance",
opens with a flashback to the Mendocino wedding of Robin (Anne Ramsay) and
Claybourne (Jill Christensen). While not pivotal to the Season 2 story line,
the wedding was depicted in all its soapy glory, Claybourne’s
up-against-the-wall infidelity with a wedding guest included.

It was in Season 3 that
we had The
L Word
‘s most fully explored wedding story line. Series regulars Shane
(Kate Moennig) and Carmen (Sarah Shahi) decide to say "I do," and they
plan to head for Canada
for a most traditional wedding.

But Carmen’s mother reacts
with revulsion to news of her daughter’s engagement and throws Carmen and Shane
out of her home. At the same time, Shane makes the difficult decision to meet
with her birth father, and ends up inviting him and his wife to the wedding.

The gang takes Carmen
shopping for her bridal attire, and all of them talk, surrounded by mountains
of tulle and walls of mirrors, about their childhood wedding fantasies.


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