“Which one is the groom?”: How to Answer Wedding Questions from Well-Meaning Friends and Family

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This story is a part of AfterEllen’s Toast to Marriage editorial series with SKYY Vodka and Freedom to Marry. Now through June, the campaign is encouraging supporters of equal marriage in every state to show their support by raising a Toast to Marriage on social media and encouraging friends, family and followers to do the same.

Even with marriage equality becoming a reality around the world, we still have to field bizarre questions from loved ones every once in a while. They are often well-meaning, but just don’t know the best way to voice their curiosities. We grew up in a society where being gay meant “different,” so there’s a lot of lacking in education, which means a lot of patience in how we handle what comes off as offensive thoughts.

We spoke with Bernadette Smith, an out lesbian and LGBT wedding planner for her business 14 Stories, about some of the questions you might get from friends and family you invite to your same-sex wedding, and here are some ways she suggests to handle your responses:

“Which one is the groom?”

A lot of people only know traditional gender roles, so you might offer that this isn’t the case for your relationship, as well as many others Bernadette suggests saying, “We’re both the brides. That’s what feels right to us.”

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“Why don’t you want to wear a dress?”

Again, some people see “woman” and think “feminine,” which is not always the case. “I don’t wear a dress any other day and just don’t feel like myself in a dress,” Bernadette suggests. “I don’t want to feel uncomfortable on my wedding day. Plus, I’m sure everyone would think it was weird if all of [the] sudden I wore a dress.”

“Why are you both wearing dresses?”

Interestingly, some others might find it odd that there are two dress-donners. Bernadette’s suggested response:  “Because we like dresses and have always envisioned wearing them on our wedding day.”

“What should I wear?”

Just keep it simple, Bernadette says. “We’re requesting that guests wear cocktail attire” or beachwear, casual, etc.—whatever your wedding style requires.

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“Will it even be legal?”

The true answer to this varies by state (until the Supreme Court decides and hopefully changes it to a resounding “YES”), but there will still be those who don’t know, even then, that that is the case. So if you happen to be marrying in a state that does not offer legalized same-sex marriage just yet, explain why that’s the case and why it still matters to you. And if it is legit in your area: “Actually, yes!” Bernadette suggests. “Isn’t that awesome? We’re thrilled to finally have the right to legally marry.”

“What happens at a gay wedding? How should I act?”

Believe it or not, there’s more than one person who thinks “gay weddings” are radically different from those they are used to attending. The best thing you can do is keep it real. Bernadette’s suggestion: “You should just relax, have fun and enjoy celebrating with us. Our wedding will look like a lot of others you’ve been to before.” If you have changed some of the traditional elements of your ceremony and want to explain beforehand, you could add, “But we don’t have to play the role of the bride and the groom, so you may see some slight twists on what you’ve come to expect.”

“Will everyone there be gay?”

Unless that’s truly the case, explain you invited all of your loved ones who are most likely a mixed bag. “No, we’ll have lots of family and friends, straight and gay,” Bernadette suggests. “It’s a great group of people who love us and want to share in our joy.”

“How do your parents feel?”

Depending on how your parents DO feel (and your comfort level with answering this question), there’s likely a way to do this without your having to go into detail if you simply don’t feel like it. Bernadette suggests: “Unfortunately, my parents don’t believe in my right to marry the woman I love so they won’t be attending the wedding. But Jessie’s are so supportive and loving and will be right by our side.” Or if your family is all on board: “They’re super supportive and excited for us! It’s actually kind of annoying since both moms want to take over the planning!”

“You’re both brides, so who is paying for the ceremony?”

Another answer that varies, but has a few simple ways of answering a really kind of rude question. “We’re hosting the wedding ourselves which is why we’re keeping the guest list small,” Bernadette suggests. Or “Both of our parents are helping us out.” And if it’s just one of yours: “Jessie’s parents have always wanted this for her, so they’re taking care of things.”

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No matter what kind of questions you have to answer about your big day, just remember it’s something to celebrate with those who you love and love you back. You can decide who is worth sharing in that love with you, and what line of questioning you are willing ot put up with.

This post is sponsored by SKYY Vodka and #ToastToMarriage. Visit the AfterEllen and Toast to Marriage Tumblrs for stories from married same-sex couples.

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