What to Expect at a Gay Wedding 

BY Steven Petrow

July 22 2011 9:00 AM ET

THOMAS ROBERTS ANNOUNCES ENGAGED ON TWITTER 560x (SCREEN) ADVOCATE.COMHow do we refer to each other after we marry?
This is the number 1 question I get from both gay couples and their straight friends. For married straight folks, it’s so de rigueur: husband and wife. Of course, once you gay-marry, it’s wonderful to call each other “husband” or “wife” if that’s comfortable for you. Some gay couples are still getting used to these new labels and may find it awkward to introduce “my new wife” at an office function. 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.”

Do we change our names?
You certainly don’t have to, but more and more couples are hyphenating their names (Frank and Mark Roberts-Stasio), using both their names (Frank Roberts Stasio and Mark Roberts Stasio), choosing one partner’s family name (Frank and Mark Roberts, aka “the Robertses”), or creating a new name (how about “the Robios”?). Still, if you’re like most gay couples you’ll stick with your original surnames. The downside of that approach is that it doesn’t give you the instant family identity that a shared surname confers. Regardless of which option you choose, your wedding announcement should make clear how you’d like to be referred to as a couple. For instance, a recent New York Times wedding announcement noted prominently “The couple is using the surname Epstein.”

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