A Queer Ladies’ Guide to Wedding Attire


This October, I am getting married to an amazing woman. We’ve been together for eight years, so the news of our engagement came as a shock to exactly zero people. And even though my mom has come a long way over the years, talking to her about my (very gay!) wedding (to another woman!) still makes me feel kind of like I have acid swirling around in my belly.

She recently sent me a letter about wedding planning, and the damn thing nearly moved me to tears. Here was my traditional, Catholic mother telling me in her big, loopy, retired-kindergarten-teacher handwriting just how happy and excited she was for me and my fiancee. It was pretty perfect, right up until I got to this line:

“Please let me know when you want me to come down for dress shopping. I know the rules: no bows, no fancy stuff, no fru-fru—simple.”

Hold up. My mom’s sentiment is undeniably sweet, but… a wedding dress? I don’t consider myself particularly butch or femme—I’m just me and I wear what I like. This means that there are times (especially sticky August days in DC) when I like to wear sundresses. There are other days, however, that the idea of wearing anything feminine makes my insides itch.

So, what’s a semi-androgynous, slightly neurotic girl to do? Make elaborate pro/con lists outlining all possible wedding outfit options- that’s what. (Side note: I scribbled “heteronormative” as a negative for wearing a suit, but my fiancée countered with “gender-conforming” under the dress column—so you know we’re meant to be.) Utilizing my extensive moderate limited knowledge of fashion and trends, I compiled my pro/con list findings to create the following wedding attire guide.

The TraditionalJanelleMonae

This look might be for you if: You tend to identify as more butch than femme. You’re a sharp dresser—you may even have your own, personal tailor.

Style icon: Janelle Monae, because duh, have you seen her? The woman can wear the fuck out of a suit. (Honorable mention to Paige McCullers and her cake-topping tux from outer space on Murder Train night.)


This look might be for you if: You’re on the traditional side. Perhaps you were the type of little girl who dreamed of your wedding dress? (If that’s the case, you probably don’t need this guide and, also, I’m jealous that you have things figured out.)

Style icon: Callie Torres, back when things were simpler and the only things to worry about were traumatic car crashes or natural disasters. (Honorable mention to Portia de Rossi’s beautiful wedding gown.)

Period PiecesHG

This look might be for you if: You’re not a fan of dresses, but a formal tuxedo also sounds a little bit like torture. There’s a chance you’ve always wanted to be an extra in a Mumford and Sons or Lumineers video.

Style icon: H.G. motherfucking Wells. If I can somehow walk down the aisle with 1/5 of her swagger, I will call it a success. (Honorable mention to half of that adorable lesbian wedding on tumblr that maybe made me cry. You know the one.)


This look might be for you if: You enjoy going to Renaissance fairs and don’t mind a corset. Bonus points if you and your partner sometimes sing about thinly veiled sexual innuendo (but, really, who doesn’t?).

Style icon: Tara (and, to a lesser degree, Willow) in “Once More With Feeling.” I have never understood their outfits from this musical episode, but whatever, man. They are pulling. Them. Off. (Honorable mention to Dr. Lauren Lewis’s little French number.)


This look might be for you if: You give zero fucks about traditional wedding attire. You also have a deep-seeded love of denim.

Style icon: Shane McCutcheon, but maybe don’t look to her for any other wedding advice. (Honorable mention to all the lesbians I’ve ever seen out at clubs that I think seem way cooler than me.)

Did I miss any outfit possibilities? (I am sure I did.) Have any tips for me as I try to decide on my own wedding attire? (I hope you do.) Let me know in the comments!

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