“Dear the Gay Men Project,
I live in a conservative southern state with my partner of 12 years and we’ve discussed getting married since it’s legal in our state now. I have a large family that love my partner and I, but some of the families or people may not be ok with attending a same sex wedding. I know I shouldn’t worry with those who wouldn’t come, but the truth is that it would really hurt our feelings and the relationship with them in the future. I’m almost wondering if we should just do an extremely small private ceremony and then have a large reception where guests are invited. What should we do?
From the South”
From the Gay Men Project:
First off, congratulations on your (possible) upcoming wedding! When reading your inquiry, two things came to my mind. If you want to do a small private ceremony and then have a larger reception afterwards, go for it. I think this concept has become more popular and I have had several friends who have done it. Some have done it to make planning the event more manageable, others simply because they want a smaller, more intimate event. Whatever the reason, I’ve noticed this as a trend, and you shouldn’t have to worry about your guests trying to guess as to your reasons for having a smaller, more private ceremony.
Me personally, sometimes I would prefer to only go to the party anyways!
But I will say this, if what you want is a large ceremony, don’t let the fear of possible rejection from certain friends or family members deter you from having the wedding you’ve always dreamt of. I’m sure you’ve gone through something similar to this already–when you came out.
I’ve heard over seven hundred coming out stories from all over the world over the past six years, and believe me when I tell you these stories are often more similar than different. Because the general theme is the same. Coming out is someone choosing to be open and free about who they are in spite of the fear of the rejection they may receive for doing so. Almost all the individuals I’ve met and interviewed for the Gay Men Project had a fear of rejection from their loved ones before they came out. But they came out regardless. And I can honestly say, from the stories I’ve heard, about ninety percent of the time that fear of rejection never fully came to pass once they came out. Ok, maybe ninety percent is too high an estimate, point is, the majority of the time things don’t turn out as badly as one would have thought. Of course, I’ve heard my fair share of tragic stories of individuals who have cut off ties with their loved ones or family after coming out, but from the stories I’ve heard, that is the minority.
Point is, not a single person has ever told me they regret coming out. I know planning a wedding is not necessarily the same as coming out, but if fear of rejection and the strain of what this might do to your relationships is what’s keeping you from having the wedding you’ve dreamt of, my advice is to not let this fear win. You didn’t when you came out, why start now?
All the best, and good luck!