By Douglas Nivens II, For The Baltimore Sun
4:56 PM EDT, May 14, 2013
It didn’t take my fiancé and me very long to decide who would join us down the aisle. We have a small, intimate circle of friends, so choosing them was easy. We settled on having six of our friends who would make up our party: four women and two men. The hard part was finding the right words to call them. The traditional bride/groom format has well-defined roles, traditions and terms for each person in the party. However, when faced with a bride/bride or groom/groom setup, the rules don’t fit so neatly.
We’re both men, so calling us “grooms” was fine. For our closest friends, we couldn’t call them our best men because they were women. The men in our party could be our “groomsmen,” but calling the women our “groomsmaids” sounds awkward. As a party, we tossed around “wedding attendants,” “wedding party,” “Friends of (Groom’s Name),” and other terms we found on wedding blogs. Without tradition to guide us, we had to figure out what sounded best and respected the roles our friends have in our wedding.
Even though we are moving toward a more inclusive wedding environment, the traditional roles of a wedding are still revered and ubiquitous in the wedding industry. These labels appear in the emails we receive from potential vendors, on default pages of our wedding website, and in casual conversations with several event coordinators.
Are we staying in the “bridal suite” at the hotel or will we have a “groom’s cake” at the reception? Such questions reflect the many years of only marriage between one man and one woman. As more gay and lesbian couples plan to marry, the industry has to evolve, and as engaged couples, we have to create new traditions that fit our needs.
For Enrique and I, we settled on having our “best women” lead our “honored attendants” on our wedding day. Our best friends are the best women for the role, and we are honored to have our closest friends join us at the altar.
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