With the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in New York State, questions are surfacing more frequently from gay couples who face a whole list of issues that they feel are theirs alone. (And yet, perhaps not…!)
A Hudson Valley groom asks: “I’m thrilled that my partner and I will be able to marry legally, and we’re in the throes of planning all the details for our ceremony and reception. Every so often, we come across a tradition that is lovely, but not ‘gay-friendly.’ In particular: the bouquet toss, what the officiant should say instead of ‘And now you may kiss the bride’ (when there is no bride), and what we should do about that kiss.”
(Our answer on next page)
The Wedding Guru answers: First off, congratulations are in order! It’s been a long time coming. Now that it’s legal, there’s no reason to give up any of the traditions that are an integral part of a wedding. I see no reason not to throw a bouquet (unless neither of you is carrying one to begin with). In that case, might I suggest having the florist craft a bouquet that won’t be carried, but can be on-hand to be thrown at the appropriate time in the reception?
As for the officiant’s wording, that solution is simple: He or she can say, “And now you may kiss,” leaving out “the bride/the groom” altogether.
And as for the kiss itself, I’ll tell you what I tell straight couples: The kiss should be a simple peck — not a deep, passionate one. Couples should save the latter for their bedrooms!
When it comes to revising any of these traditions, please consider not only your feelings, but also the feelings of your guests. Keep in mind that, for some, this may be their first gay wedding. Just as I advise everyone, be mindful of your guests’ feelings and you will do just fine!