Originally in summer of 2008, I had titled this "California Wedding Cards" as California at that time was enabling gay marriage, an interlude that ended in the November 2008 passage of Prop 8 (really "Prop H8")., then resumed with a June 2013 Supreme Court non-decision decision.
However since June 2015, the Supreme Court has ruled that same sex couples may marry in all states and that all states must give full faith and credit to such marriages legally contracted elsewhere. Thus these cards are now simply "Gay Wedding Cards" , useable throughout the USA, Canada, and a number of other countries.
My yoga teacher got married recently (summer of 2008) to her long time partner. They did not want to miss the window of oppertunity between the California Supreme Court decision and a possible adverse vote on the November 2008 ballot. So of course I wanted to give the happy brides a small commemorative gift (a heart shaped mirror) and a pleasing card.
Below the graphics, the card says "to the unblushing beautiful brides."
The inside of the card readsand below is the byline "Susan B Anthony, telegraph to her nephew & bride , 1897".
" May your independence be equal,
Your dependence mutual,
Your obligations reciprocal "
I consider this an appropriate wedding wish for any couple (gay or otherwise)..
Of course I had to do a groom's card as well. (I know several couples who may well be thinking of marriage.)
The front of the card reads "to the gaily grinning grooms" and the inside is the same as the brides' card, as the wishes are just as appropriate for men.
I've also given a bit of thought to some ceremonial aspects. What follows are merely suggestions that have occurred to me. The actual choices should be purely up to the couple themselves.
Giving the grooms away : perhaps each groom's mother (if still alive) should "give him away" to his partner. It would be a promise by both mothers to refrain from being interfering.
Giving the brides away would seem to me less appropriate, and indeed not very appropriate for straight marriages either. Traditionally and historically , the father of the bride "giving" her to her husband symbolizes transfer of the paternal property rights in the woman to her husband, whose property she now becomes. This comes from the days when a woman, married or not, was regarded as property of father, brother, or husband. Possibly having both mothers of the brides "give" their daughters to each other would have an appropriate meaning as being a promise not to interfere.
In any case, ideally both parents and other relatives of both spouses would be present and obviously supportive of their children, blessing the marriage.
The wedding tent strikes me as a practical item for any wedding. In hot sunny weather it provides shade for the couple and for whoever performs the ceremony. In rainy weather it keeps them dry. (Note : I asked a friend brought up in Islam if Muslim wedding ritual also included a tend. Yes, it does, and probably originating out of the same environmental utility of shade.)
Crushing of the wine glass underfoot symbolizes the breaking of the bride's virginity, and thus it is probably very rarely appropriate today even for straight couples (especially for strraight couples !). It seems irrelevant to gay couples, though I suppose each partner could crush a wine glass simultaneously with the other partner doing so. But filling the glasses with wine and inter-twining arms and drinking it might be a more enjoyable ritual. (Grape juice for me please.)
This is usually (traditionally) a waltz or any other type of slow-dance, ie with body contact. Not that there's anything wrong with some other form of music and dance. (Videos of alternative wedding dances can be seen on YouTube.)
For a pair of brides, let me suggest that they waltz to "She's Always a Woman to Me". Re-writing the lyrics to fit the individuals would be an optional variation. So would simply using the music without lyrics.
Alternative choices could include "Always A Woman", "I Am Woman" (especially for feminists), "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman", or "Peggy And Sue Got Married" (see my version of this song).
Or the old motown "My Girl" (I think there is a line indicating singer is male, which would have to be changed).
Or if you really want to be literary , there are several musical versions of "There is a Lady Sweet and Kind" , including one by Purcell..
For a pair of grooms, let me suggest they waltz to "The Man I Love", perhaps changing the part about "he'll be big and strong, the man I love" to "he'll be kind and wise, with soulful eyes" (or "emerald eyes", "turquoise eyes", "topaz eyes" , etc).
Or the motown "My Guy"
Or , though it's not really slow dance , "Born This Way"
Songs you would NOT want to use would include "Love is Just a Four Letter Word", "I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again" (I added some verses when I was in college) or any of the other songs on similar theme, "I'll Never Fall in Love Again", and "No One Loves a Fairy When She's 40" (British music hall song.)
Of course for lesbian equestrian weddings on horseback, all the music will be chosen for its suitabilty to the horses' performances.. For a dressage pas de deux that culminates with the arrival at the altar, I would offer my own intended Kur music, Mouret's Fanfare, part 1 Roundeau (better known to most as the theme for Masterpiece Theater). Those of you whose equestrian disciplines are more in the cowboy mode will doubtless prefer other musical themes. For lesbians, perhaps the song "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" could be re-written to "Ride a Horse, not a Cowboy" (which is also the theme song for many women, straight or gay or in-between, single, married, or divorced). Or pehaps "Mommas , Don't Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Marry Cowboys" ?)
(And yes, I do know that there are gay male equestrians. The equivalent musical suggestions are obvious They might also check through the musical themes from Brokeback Mountain, though in that movie the men don't marry each other.).
When my 70 + year old mother re-marrired after my father's death, I gave the couple a fig tree and a calculator, the latter attached to the former. The meaning : "be fruitful and multiply" , the only way a naturally infertile (post-menopausal) couple could do so. I had to explain the joke to most of the guests.
Similarly for any gay couple, one might ask what kind of fruit bearing plant would go well in their garden and with their gastronomic tastes. Fig tree or grape vine are quite ancient in connotations : "let every man sit under his vine and fig tree and none shall make them afraid".
Or maybe you'd better just find out what stores they have registered at or ask what kind of gift they'd actually like. Or get something for their dog or cat.
While most flowering plants bear flowers that are hermaphrodites, ie contain both male and female parts, there are some plants on which female and male flowers are on separate plants. For example Sunflowers have very visually distinct male and female plants. The male Sunflower flowers would do well in vases or bouquets ; the much larger female flowers would do well in vases but not so well in bouquets.
As for carrying a "bridal bouquet" later to be thrown to the crowd, the one catching it supposedly to be the next person to wed, for lesbian couples it would make sense that both carry bouquets and toss same. For male couples, it's not clear what might be done for this ritual.. The bouquet equivlents could be in vases, or the men might toss their boutonieres. Or perhaps the ritual is not meaningful or appropriate in our times.
As the introduction indicates, I wrote most of this in 2008. It's now 3/4 of the way through 2013 and a LOT HAS CHANGED. Over a dozen states have legalized same sex marriage, some doing so by popular vote, and the US Supreme Court has negated the most damaging sections of DOMA. Public views have changed a lot towards acceptance of gay couples being able to marry and enjoy equal legal rights.
And updating again, as of 2017. The Supreme Court ruled in June 2015 in OBERGEFELL ET AL v HODGES that the 14th Amendment requires that same-sex marriage must be allowed in all states and that all states must give full faith and credit to marriages legally contracted in other states.www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/obergefell-v-hodges/
The issue of whether a baker can refuse on religious grounds to provide (sell) a wedding cake for a gay marriage is still (as of summer of 2017) up for grabs and is on the docket for the next Supreme Court season. (My own view would be that it makes sense for a couple to only hire (pay) wedding providers who are happy to help make the event a success (or at least happy to earn the fees involved : money maybe "sexy" but money has no gender.) If a baker declined to make and sell a cake for my dog's Bark Mitzvah, either on religious grounds or because the baker didn't feel his artistic skills up to portraying a Bouvier in a yarmuka reading from the Torah, I'd just go find me another baker to do the job.)
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