To us, our wedding day means just as much as any legal ceremony. We're toying with the idea of marrying legally in England, but either way, it won't be recognised here in Australia. So our Australian ceremony is for us, for family and friends, and a celebration of our marriage. Legally, it means nothing. But I know I've said this a few times in the blog already, so I won't harp on about that. What this post is about is about some family reactions that have saddened us.
My bride's sister is getting married a few months after us. Their mother is paying for sister-in-law's dress. (And yes, I'm calling them in-laws even though technically they won't be). So I asked Bride whether her mother was paying for her wedding outfit or not.
Sister-in-law is younger than my bride, and still lives at home, which might account for the reason that mother-in-law is paying for her dress. But I also had other ideas.
Is it because it's "not a real wedding"?
Or is it because my bride won't be wearing a long, white pouffy dress? Instead, bride-to-be is planning on wearing a pants suit in ivory (think Ellen & Portia's wedding day) while I'll be wearing a dress.
The more heartbreaking thing happened when Bride's grandparents said they wouldn't be making the trip to our wedding, even though they've already committed to sister-in-law's wedding next year (which also requires travelling). My bride was even going to ask her grandfather to walk her down the aisle.
Oh, it's not that any of these people are anti-gay. Bride-to-be has always been "out", and they've never had an issue with it. They're also very supportive of our relationship, and know it's the 'real deal'. They think I'm part of the family and visit us regularly, invite us to things. I just think they can't get their heads around us forking out money for a wedding day when really... it'll mean nothing.
That's where it's hurtful.
How many weddings have I attended over the years that have been MUCH more than the ceremony? If weddings were simply about the legal and/or religious implications, surely we'd have ceremonies in courthouses or Chapels and go straight home. There would be no need for glamorous receptions, pretty dresses, expensive cakes and gifts. All of that is about symbolism and celebration for the couple making a union.
If I could, I would legally marry bride-to-be, but I can't. So why take away a special day that the two of us can share? It's the closest we'll get to having what heterosexuals have - at least in the near future - so why try to pretend it doesn't mean the same thing?
Bride-to-be and I are certain that on the day, guests will feel the energy, the love and the emotion and will realise that it is the same thing. My own mother refused to call it a wedding until recently when she asked about wedding plans. It may take time, but eventually people will come round. I hope so, anyway.