Girlfriends! Forever: Planning your wedding

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Last week, I talked to Herbie Huff and Shannon Docherty about their unique engagement story. Rather than planning a surprise proposal, Herbie and Shannon decided to hike to the same point in Griffith Park–from separate trailheads—and write a letter to each other on the way. At the top, they made the mutual decision to get engaged.

This week, I’m catching up with Herbie and Shannon about planning their wedding. Obviously, planning a wedding can be more complicated for lesbian couples than it is for straight couples. First, there is more of a chance that homophobic family members will be uncomfortable or disagree, or not even come. Second, signing up for marriage can feel a bit like conforming to a tradition that has historically excluded us. Third, what should the brides wear? The fact that there are no answers to these questions can be equally baffling and liberating.

For Herbie and Shannon, what makes them want to get married, in spite of all of this trouble and weirdness, is the idea of having a day with their families to recognize their relationship.

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Much like their engagement, Herbie and Shannon are being intentional about their wedding, always keeping in mind the reason why they are having this day in the first place. “We have a mission statement for our wedding that we wrote together,” said Shannon. “Whenever we find ourselves getting overwhelmed, we can go back and look at it.”

The mission statement is about celebrating their relationship with their families and starting their own. “Our wedding is making our families acknowledge our relationship in a way that they haven’t before,” said Shannon. For Herbie, who never thought she would get married, the day is about being “presented to Shannon’s family as the official person for Shannon,” she said.

Certain family members who have difficulty supporting a lesbian wedding have come forward and said things to Herbie and Shannon that were hard to hear. “Someone told us, ‘This is really hard for me and against my faith, so don’t expect anything,’” said Shannon. Although it was upsetting, Herbie and Shannon said they were grateful for the honesty.

When asked if they worry about homophobia at their wedding, they admitted that has crossed their minds. “At first, I wondered, ‘What if people come to our wedding and they are all scowling?’” said Herbie. “But then if you think about why you go to a wedding and what energy you bring, imagine why other people would come to yours.”

Deciding how to spend money is much more of a real issue than possible homophobia. Having grown up in different socioeconomic classes, Herbie and Shannon said they have always had a hard time making financial decisions together. “The lifestyle that you expect is such a function of the one you grew up in,” said Shannon. “Deciding how much money to spend on stuff has always been hard for us.”

Nothing brings out differing views on how to spend money like planning a wedding. While Shannon wants a photographer, Herbie doesn’t see the point. While Shannon leans toward an intimate, elegant wedding, Herbie’s natural inclination is to have a big, raucous party. Despite their differences, they realized that “in the end, we care about the same things,” said Herbie.

The two are aiming to have something of a compromise between their visions and what their families would like. They want to plan a day that will be about their relationship, but will still make everyone comfortable. Even though they don’t drink, for example, Herbie and Shannon will have a bar for the rest of the reception. It’s a balance between doing things their own way and making sure everyone has fun.

 

Have ideas for LTR topics you want to hear about? Know a great LTR couple we should interview? Send them to LTRadvice@gmail.com.

Caitlin Bergh (@caitlinebergh) is a stand-up comic. Visit www.caitlinbergh.com for more info.

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