AfterEllen’s Lesbian/Bi Brides Share Their Tips for Your Big Day


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.


The fact that some of us live in the 13 states that do not yet recognize same-sex marriage doesn’t stop us from putting a ring on it, now does it? Whether you live in New York, Georgia or Texas doesn’t change the fact that love is love, and a wedding is about showing our friends, family and the world how deep and strong our commitments are to each another. Everyone should allowed to toast to marriage, and we are hopeful that June will bring with sweeping changes across this nation. Until then, LGBT citizens and our allies must keep fighting so everyone’s “I do” means the same thing not only in our hearts but legally as well.

So now that you’ve decided to take the plunge together, it’s time to go about planning for your big day. There are a hundred books and websites that can walk you through the process, and you may even find that hiring a wedding planner suits you well. No wedding is cookie cutter, and your ceremony can be whatever you and your fiancée (and your bank accounts) can dream up.

However, there is nothing like good old-fashioned practical advice from people who have been there before. Some of the AfterEllen writers have passed along their sage wedding advice, for both the planning stage and the actual day you say, “I do.”



Tell all your vendors it’s a gay wedding right away. If they give you a bad vibe, find someone else. No one’s cupcakes are that good. Dara Nai

If you find a great gay or gay-friendly vendor, ask them for other suggested vendors. They have people they work with and enjoy working with, and it will make everything smoother! Trish Bendix

While it’s tempting to want to find ways to save money, don’t skimp on some light appetizers if you are having a cocktail hour. The last thing you want are hangry and bored guests. Dana Piccoli

Save money on the open bar. Pick a few beers, a few wines, a customized cocktail or two and anything else the guests want, they can pay for themselves. Free will always win out! Trish Bendix

Expect something to go wrong. Don’t be pessimistic, but nothing in life is ever perfect so rather than worry about something not going the way it is planned, just accept it from the beginning as part of the process. You will feel less stressed! Erin Wilson

If you’re not registering, instruct your guests on what to bring in lieu of gifts; otherwise you’ll end up with a bunch of stuff you don’t want or need.  My wife and I elected not to register, so we expressly stated on the invitation that gifts were not necessary.  However, our planner insisted we offer a suggestion if guests should choose to bring something.  –Emily McGaughy

Find a really good photographer. Trust me. Otherwise, you might end up with only a handful of good shots, like we did. Dana Piccoli

Stay on budget. At the end of the day, it’s just a party. Your friends will have just as much fun eating chicken as they would have eating filet. Dara Nai


The Big Day

Comfortable shoes. I got married in a dress and shoes with a heel. They lasted long enough to have pictures snapped and for me to say “I do” before I threw on some flip-flops so I could dance the rest of the day. My feel thanked me. Lucy Hallowell

Everyone is going to want a minute with you so make sure you find a few minutes for just you and your bride even if it means sneaking to the ladies room just for a few minutes to breathe.  Lucy Hallowell

Eat! You will be so busy with pictures and visiting with guests, you may find yourselves with empty stomachs. Take a moment and enjoy the very expensive meals you paid for. Dana Piccoli

Pick your battles: most of the day really isn’t about you so stop fighting with your parents, your in-laws, your cousin who thinks you should use her favorite bakery for the cake and focus on the things that are truly non-negotiable. Unless it’s something you must have channel your inner Elsa and let it go.  Lucy Hallowell

Have fun. Seriously, it’s supposed to be one of the best days of your life. Dance, eat some cake, have a drink, kiss your new wife even when the guests are banging their glasses with spoons. Dana Piccoli


Keeping it Small

We eloped, which is absolutely the best advice I could give anyone. Our wedding was about us, not about the flowers or the wedding guests or the matching green dresses. It was so romantic and special because it was just about us. Bridget McManus

We didn’t do the typical wedding thing. To save money on having a ceremony and reception, which wasn’t exactly what we wanted anyway, my wife and I got married on a beach in Malibu. It was just us and two other friends, one as a witness/photographer and the other got ordained online and officiated the wedding. We got creative and went to Whole Foods where we bought a perfectly good bouquet of roses for around $20. Using a pair of scissors and some rubber bands, my wife made the perfect wedding bouquet. Erica Feliciano

What advice would you give to brides to be? Any pitfalls to avoid, or good times they shouldn’t miss out on?

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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