Gay marriages are becoming common. Recently the New York Times featured an article entitled “What I Wore to My Gay Wedding” in its magazine. According to reports in the newspaper’s Style section, the lavish celebrations that accompany these events do not differ from the more common kind and cost as much. Gay magazines and gay websites love to feature photographs of these events. The spirit of most gay weddings is particularly ebullient because they are a tangible proof that the new couple has the same rights as everyone else. Your friends will be happy to attend your daughter’s wedding.
I recently had lunch with Veronica B., whose 28-year-old daughter Alison married Italian-born Cristina at a festive wedding held at the Boat House in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Strangely the planning of the wedding itself caused more stress than any of the events that led up to it. The hassle did not involve the couple’s sexual orientation, but the number of guests that the parents and grandparents could invite. Such concerns once more prove that gay weddings are becoming quite ordinary. In the end the problem was solved by the older generation footing part of the bill.
Once these problems were settled, the entire family took great pleasure in planning the celebration. Alison and her partner hired a caterer, but took care of the rest: table decorations, music, invitations, cake, and flowers, the latter purchased at New York’s wholesale flower market and delivered to Veronica’s basement.
A friend of the brides performed the ceremony after she qualified as friend-officiant on the Internet. (Yes, in our obsessive do-it-yourself electronic age, this is an option.) Alison looked radiant in a white gown. Cristina wore a fashionable black jacket and white pants. It was a great party, complete with delicious food, elegant embellishments and music for “older ears.” For Veronica, “the best thing was to see the ridiculous happiness of the newlyweds.”
Veronica, who grew up in liberal New York, was very comfortable with Alison being gay. In fact, she had figured this out by the time Alison was thirteen. “I actually outed her,” she recalled. “Surprisingly, even though I had known, and was OK with it intellectually, I experienced a lot of internal struggle. Some of my reactions were rational, like worrying that Alison’s sexual orientation might make her life so much more difficult, other were not. Perhaps my gut reaction came from the fact my father had been very homophobic. He died before he had to decide what to do about a lesbian granddaughter. My mother embraced Alison’s sexual orientation.”
According to wedding officiant Reverend Samora Smith, most, but by no means all, parents are supportive when their gay children finally get married. Smith feels that as a general rule fathers are less supportive than mothers, especially in the case of daughters. Mothers either are totally supportive or unbendingly opposed. Since not all U.S. states have legalized same-sex weddings, 75% of Smith’s clients are out-of-towners, mostly from Florida, Texas and Georgia. Some couples arrive with members of their family, and others arrive alone because their decision caused “too much drama” at home. Common Ground Ceremonies, Smith’s company, suggests a variety of sites at which the wedding can be performed. New York’s Central Park is a favorite–and it even has a page devoted to same-sex ceremonies on its website.