The amazing story of two 40-something women on the path to matrimonial bliss

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

What’s Different with Two Brides?

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…

1 comment:

  1. Well, crud..I clearly stated I was "a proud Matron of Honor" in my letter to Martha Stewart. I am proud, but, I don't feel matronly. I love the term "Best Gals" and will gladly claim that.

    Having planned my own wedding, and having been involved in several others, (all from the straight woman's perspective), I have to say that I think two brides is exactly the right amount of bride. Hopefully, that statement will make perfect sense in a moment.

    Men, by and large, do not comprehend the emotional investment women attach to their wedding. Women tend to see weddings as an emotion-invoking process. They enjoy discovering and revealing the little details that make their wedding intensely personal.

    Most women truly do not want their wedding day to be just about the bride. They are marrying the person they believe is going to be their partner in life. Brides tend to hope the wedding will make some lasting impression on their intended, and often try to involve their mate in the wedding plans. They don't want their partner to simply show up on the day of the wedding and say "I do."

    Women want to share the planning process, but somewhere between picking a palette and ordering invitations, between finding the dress and choosing the music for the first dance, planning becomes more than just planning. At some point, details become emotionally symbolic, reaching a level that men typically do not, or cannot embrace. Maybe men get lost in the shuffle. Maybe women are overly emotional, but then again, we're talking about weddings!

    A wedding is a huge emotional investment because it isn't just an event you agree to attend. A wedding is symbolic of all the moments, (from that day forward), that you will spend as a recognized couple, and of the relationship you'll need to nurture through the good, the bad, and the 'every' days.

    I know I'm going to land in hot water over this, but I don't think many men want to be emotionally invested in their weddings..which brings me back to my earlier statement. I think two brides is exactly the right amount of bride for a wedding.

    Oh, and regarding the cake(s): Whether stacked as tiers or displayed as separate-but-equal items, the sentiment will be as sweet.

    Wendy Becher, "Best Gal", aka the Emotional Mrs. Pepper