So finally Sarah and Sam are engaged. This is an exciting and exhilarating time for a newly engaged couple. It can, however, also be a time filled with concerns and questions about how to plan their wedding ceremony.
Let me tell you a little about Sarah and Sam, my fictional couple for this post. Sarah and Sam just got engaged after being together for several years. They both live in and grew up in Washington State. They are very excited to be taking the step of marriage in their relationship. They are both in their middle to late twenties. Sarah is not very religious but Sam grew up going to church. Some of their family and friends are very happy for them. However there are others who do not support their engagement and upcoming marriage. Sarah’s parents were divorced when she was fairly young and her mom has remarried. Sarah is close to both her step Dad and her father. Sam’s parents have been married for almost 30 years. They are uncertain if they can be supportive of Sam’s marriage to Sarah.
As Sarah and Sam start to think about their wedding day, they have many of the same questions and issues that other couples have. They, as a couple, have never had to consider the aspects of planning a wedding ceremony.
· Who will walk down the aisle with Sarah or Sam? Will it be Sarah’s Step Dad, her father, or both of them? Sarah now needs to think about what this decision will mean to each of her “dads”. Will Sam walk down the aisle with parents or alone? Maybe Sarah and Sam will each walk down the aisle alone or together and not be “given away”.
· Will they have friends and family in their wedding party and if so, how many people? Neither of them wants to alienate any of their friends or family by not choosing one of them. Who will stand up for them and support them? Many they will be unique and have a Man of Honor or a Best Woman.
· Which family members will sit in the first few rows at the ceremony? Will Sarah’s Mom sit in the first row with her husband along with Sarah’s Dad or will this a point of contention? Will family or friends who don’t support them decide not to attend at all? Will Sam’s parents come around and be there for them? How will Sarah and Sam feel about this possibility?
· Will they write their own vows or go with a more traditional ceremony based on Sam’s religious background? Perhaps Sam’s family, trying to be involved and supportive, will give lots of unsolicited advice about what they should or should not do. How will the couple address this in a strong but loving way so they can have the ceremony that they really want and still be respectful of Sam’s parents?
· Who will perform their ceremony and marry them since Sarah does not belong to Sam’s church? Will they even be able to marry in Sam’s church or will they need to consider getting married by a non-denominational celebrant at their reception venue instead?
These are a few of the many decisions Sarah and Sam will need to make for their wedding ceremony. Just the same as other couples, they will have some easy and some challenging moments during their wedding planning. They now can plan their wedding ceremony in Washington State and say “I do”. Until now, this was not a legally recognized option for same sex couples. But now, with some family support, love and good wedding planning, all the details will come together on the day that Sarah marries Samantha.