We take so many parts of a wedding ceremony for granted, especially if we’ve seen a lot of them—at least I know I used to…Of course the couple’s parents will walk them down the aisle – and the couple will thank their parents, hold hands, and surely the couple will kiss at the end of the ceremony. We don’t usually give these customs or gestures a second thought, and yet, for many same-sex couples, thinking about these very traditions can turn joyful wedding planning into an emotional minefield.


Immediately after same-sex marriage was federally recognized in the United States in 2015, the total number of married same-sex couples was 390,000, or 38% of all same-sex couples. Just four months later, 486,000 same-sex couples were married, or 45% of all same-sex couples at that time. This recognition from our country that “love is love” is not always mirrored by acceptance from families. For same-sex couples planning a wedding, this lack of family support can be a source of anguish at worst—or sad resignation at best. After all, weddings are supposed to be a family affair, right?


When I sit down with same-sex couples, I don’t presume that any one of the typical wedding ceremony traditions will be happening. Some fathers don’t want to walk their daughters down the aisle to meet a female spouse-to-be. Other couples, no matter how comfortable they are with their own relationship, can feel terribly uncomfortable when thinking about kissing in front of their religious grandparents or in front of family members who, although present, are less than fully accepting of the couple’s love and commitment. I’ve witnessed many same-sex couples struggle with these issues when planning their ceremony, tearful admissions of hurt and deep disappointment that are heart-breaking to witness.


We’ve come so far in the struggle for full equality and acceptance from our families and from our nation, but wedding planning can expose how far we still have to go. And then what will we call our same-sex couple after their marriage ceremony…well, that’s another post all together.


About the author: An officiant at Journeys of the Heart, Eve Wegner is a people person: warm and caring, fun and animated, calm and reassuring. One of the greatest gifts Eve brings to every relationship in her life (personal and work) is her desire and ability to listen. Her years of experience as a counselor and coach have deepened this natural ability and honed it to an exceptional skill at Journeys of the Heart.