Chapter 7

What Should We Wear?


In my years as a wedding celebrant, I have probably seen just about any wedding apparel you can imagine, possibly even going beyond your imagination! Once you’ve announced your intentions, you will no doubt be subjected to a lot of suggestions from well-meaning friends and family about what your attire should be. Listen to them all, take what makes sense to you, and discard the rest.

The reality is that this is your day, your wedding, and you are the only ones who get to choose what to wear.

GLBT couples have somewhat more flexibility in their sartorial selections than do mixed-sex couples, for the simple reason that marriage equality hasn’t been around for all that long, so there hasn’t been time to build up “accepted” traditions. This offers you a certain amount of freedom, as there are fewer expectations and assumptions about the “right” way to do any of it.

The first and last rule is this: wear something that isn’t too uncomfortable (so you’re thinking of your partner and not of how your dress is scratching your back) and wear something that makes you feel good.

The rest is irrelevant.

Gentlemen, alas, you still have limited choices, unless you prefer a different gender expression. But if not, it’s likely that you’ll stay classic, wearing a suit or perhaps a shirt and khakis for a more informal setting. You still have choices, though. To dress alike or not dress alike. To go all the way and wear tuxedos, or to dress down for that bonfire after the ceremony. Dressing up signifies the specialness of the day, the fact of having stepped out of the ordinary and into something new, magical, and exciting. Dressing down signifies your level of comfort together, your willingness to incorporate this day into the whole fabric of your life together. There’s no right answer here.

Ladies, you do have more choices. You may have both always dreamed of a wedding gown and both want to wear one: there are few things more beautiful, and 40% of lesbian brides still opt for the gown. Perhaps you are informal in your day-to-day life and prefer to remain that way for your wedding. Maybe one of you wants a dress while the other wants a suit. What you want this day to reflect is your delight in each other, and how you dress should reflect that feeling.

No matter who you are and who you’re marrying, you may choose to be creative. Does one of you come from a country or ethnic background where there is a proscribed attire for weddings? You may want to celebrate your past, present, and future coming together by wearing that outfit. I have seen two women who were wearing traditional (and colorful!) Korean costumes. 

And remember who you’re marrying, as well. Complementing your partner’s outfit is something you must consider, so you may wish to embark on a joint shopping trip to try out some varying styles of wedding attire. 

And the creativity doesn’t stop there. Transgender persons looking for something special to wear for their wedding may choose to go the androgynous route, or emphasize masculine or feminine wedding traditions. Tuxedos are a classic wedding garb for transgender men: they make you look handsome and really underline the “gentleman” look.  

The main point is to have one or two—or twenty!—conversations together before you make any plans or buy any fabric. You’re a couple, so while each of you needs to feel right about what he or she is wearing, you also need to feel right about what your fiancé(e) is wearing. Discuss what’s important to you and what you can let go. 

And remember, it’s your wedding day, so by definition you will be perfectly attired!