Women who love women are Lesbians. Men, because they can only think of women in sexual terms, define Lesbian as sex between women. –Rita Mae Brown
No, I’m not writing about sex. At least, not today. Instead, I’ve been asked by a few non-gays if it is different planning and plotting a wedding when there are two brides in the planning seat? The answer, in a nutshell, is yes. I do not remember who originally said that “the sex is the same, it is everything else that is different” about living and loving in a same-sex relationship, but I come back to that truism again and again. The way Teri and I relate as two women is one of my most favorite parts of the gift of living my life as I do.
Two brides does NOT mean two people constantly focused on the exact same things. It doesn’t mean two women pouring over bridal magazines or mooning about cake flavors and ribbon colors. What is different is that there are no guaranteed gender differences or divisions of labor due to assumed gender roles. We are not carbon-copies of each other and yet, we have some socialized similarities. In general, we “speak the same language” and I find we communicate pretty well about most of the planning—although not always: I have gone back and forth in my mind about whether I wanted a traditional tiered wedding cake or whether I wanted to have several separate cakes similarly decorated. We talked about it and Teri and I finally decided we liked the idea of separate cakes. But then, I changed my mind back and forth again and mentioned it in passing to her “I don’t know if 3 or 4 tiers would be best?”
With humor, Teri poked, “What happened to separate cakes? I have been imagining clearly these separate cakes on separate stands? Thanks for telling me so I could adjust my thinking…” Crap. I changed my mind again. I DID like the idea of separate cakes and chatting with her reminded me why. Communication…duh.
With two brides, we have to adjust some of the traditional assumptions. We don’t have “groomsmen” really, we have bridesmen; we have “best gals” instead of matrons or maids of honor; and we have given ourselves permission to get creative with what we keep from a traditional wedding and what we don’t.
It really is much like the rest of our lives and the structure of our relationship—we do not pattern our relationship after heterosexual ones that we have known and yet we cannot help but be influenced by that perceived norm. We have to work to avoid some of the trappings of same-sex couples—many of which come from being marginalized and treated as unequal citizens, and some that come from a lack of support and solid role models within our community. We have learned how to pay attention to personality differences, cultural differences and gender similarities, and how they all tangle up together in how we communicate with each other.
As my daughter Lucy once said about her configuration and version of family “It is more of everything good about families,” that is how I feel about planning a wedding with two brides—for me, it is MORE of what is wonderful and delightful about a wedding…