What You Need to Know Before Nuptials

BY Steven Petrow

November 18 2011 9:00 AM ET

 Who pays for the rings? If there’s one prevailing custom today, it’s that most lesbian and gay couples shop for their rings together and pay for them jointly.

What do I call the members of my wedding party? If the ceremony is at all formal, many couples are opting for the catchall phrase “honor attendants” to refer to all of these helpers.

There’s no longer a mother of the bride and mother of the groom, so whose mom has the right to pick her dress first? Ah, yes, traditional manners dictates that the bride’s mother choose her outfit for the wedding before the groom’s. In the new world order, the two mothers-in-law-to-be are just going to have to talk to each other and coordinate.

Must parents walk down the aisle with their son or daughter? No, many same-sex couples who are about to marry are older, and there’s no pretense of them being “given away.”

Do we change our names? More and more couples are hyphenating their names, choosing one partner’s family name, or creating a new name. Still, if you’re like most same-sex couples, you’ll stick with your original surnames.

How do we refer to each other after we marry? This is the number 1 question I get from both same-sex couples and their straight friends. You may prefer to stay with “partner” or to refer to each other one way among your gay friends and another way out in the world. But we’ve worked hard to gain the right to legally marry, so I’m an advocate of letting the world know that someone has officially pronounced us “husband and husband” or “wife and wife.”









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