Monday, April 11, 2011

Gender Neutral Wedding Resources

Focus for this List: Some dear friends of mine are just beginning their wedding planning process. I'm delighted that they are being married in a state that recognizes the fundamental issue of marriage equality -- fairness. This then, is my list of resources that I hope will prove useful to those planning their happily ever after.

My Main Advice?  Before you start planning ANYTHING, sit down and discuss what is really important to each of you. Pick one or two CORE things, and make the rest of the decisions in such a way that they support that core purpose.  Our core ideas were that we wanted to be surrounded by friends and family, and that we wanted all of our guests to be comfortable. We were also determined to stay within our budget. Our key words when it came to the ceremony were Serious & Joyful.  Once you make those decisions, the rest fall in line. Bright yellow flowers for everyone, some grown at home? Joyful, and good for the budget!  :) 

1.  Reality check first, my friends: How Much Will It All Cost?  This is an interesting calculator that may or may not be helpful. Our favorite game was to go through the list and see what expenses we could chop!

2.  Next? Organize all your data.  We used This Workbook, but a dear friend recommends The Google Document System.  Looking back, I wish we'd used Google Documents as it would have been easier to upload / download all of our (laboriously entered) pile of addresses. That said, my favorite part of the entire wedding planning process remains the evening that we shopped through 5 stores in search of the perfect address book in which to merge our lists of family and friends. 

3.  Figure out what you'll promise. I spent a LOT of time thinking about the ceremony, the readings, and the vows. After all, they're what make it a wedding, regardless of what you're wearing.  My most frequently visited resource were the IndieBride discussion boards.  (Yes, I know it says bride in the name, but it has info for everyone!)  My biggest worry in recommending this website is that it seems to be nearing the end of its active life. That said, the depth of the discussion boards is quite helpful, and the tone is generally positive and inclusive. And hey, maybe posting it here will help revive it!  (The Offbeat Bride seems to be an offspring of the IndieBride site.  Enjoy!)  3.5  About those readings, here is another good resource:

4.  Mind your manners.  Weddings tend to exacerbate the inner etiquette maven we all try to deny we possess. So, knowing that this is the biggest party you'll likely ever throw, go ahead and educate yourself. That way, when folks start nattering on about "You should . . ." you'll already know what is considered "proper." Then go ahead and do what you want to do!  Here's a great book: Wedding Etiquette Hell: The Bride's Bible to Avoiding Everlasting Damnation, and the equally wonderful website

4.5   Addressing the invitations: despite my best intentions, we ended up sending double-enveloped invitations, with all the drama that entailed. Here's your reference website.  Yes, people notice. Take the time and do it right. You'll feel good in the morning! 

5.  Now, what will you wear?  I recommend that you buy a good suit or a tux if that's what you're planning on wearing. Everyone needs a good, well-fitting suit. Here's your best resource for doing so without breaking the bank. We've ordered from them, and the quality is good.  If you're going to be wearing a dress, I recommend looking at all the drool-worthy websites, and then contacting for a price quote. They've got fabulous customer service, and truly simplify the buying process. 

6.  Let's party!  Now, on to the stuff that most folks think of when they think of wedding planning: the location, the reception, and the decorations.  The location is so specific to you, that I'm not getting involved. Good luck. Go see places in person -- website photos can be deceptive.  The reception, again, is wildly specific. Now, on to decor and all the millions of DIY projects in which you can easily become enmeshed.
  • Do It Yourself  Massive site.  Enjoy!
  • Ruffled Blog (but if you choose to do the project the link will take you to, I'll smack you. I really will!)
  • If you find yourself needing ink or stamping supplies, these folks won my eternal gratitude for going above and beyond when I was searching for just the right yellow! 

Mind you, this is where my (now) husband's dictum that we would not have piles of "wedding stuff" after the event really saved us some drama. Our main DIY project?  Drinking a lot of wine and beer, and then saving the bottles for flower centerpiece vases! Jam and pickle jars work too, but aren't quite as much fun to empty!

7.  On to Dessert: Cake?  Surely everyone knows about  When you have a great idea for a cake, check here first to see if it's already been covered!  Yes, this is how we knew NOT to try and find a turkey cake! 

8.  The Emotional Side: This may or may not be you, but I've found both of these books to be helpful:  What No One Tells the Bride: Surviving the Wedding, Sex After the Honeymoon, Second Thoughts, Wedding Cake Freezer Burn, Becoming Your Mother, Screaming about Money, Screaming about In-Laws, etc.  Yes, it talks about all the strangeness that is so hard to articulate. Enjoy!

9.  Drama, drama, drama: There will come a point when all you want to do is vent to someone else who is also planning a wedding. Perhaps several someone elses. is the most active discussion board I've found, and it would be a great place to post questions / rants / ideas.  I will, of course, also mention IndieBride again, as their discussion boards saved me, several times, if only by reminding me that it could always be worse!

10.  One Last Piece of Advice: Don't Open a Gift Unless You're Ready to Write the Thank You Note!  (pen, note, stamp, and time all ready!) Yes, this may mean a pile of un-opened gifts may accumulate, but that's ok. Opening a gift is always fun, and that makes the note painless to write. The more traditional route of creating a list of who gave what and opening everything at once may seem efficient, but I guarantee it won't be as much fun, and it'll take a LOT longer.  We started out following our system, and then ended up being pushed into opening a large stack without taking the time to write notes as we opened.  It was fun at the time, but dealing with the list of notes to be written was *ahem* not as much fun. Note: when you get stuck, freshen up your phrases with a google search.  It'll help keep you from feeling like a robot!

Have fun!
Mrs. Turkey


  1. Definitely a great list! I got married almost two years ago, and I am so glad we went simple. I can't imagine the stress some brides must go through planning a large wedding! :-) Thanks for linking up!

  2. Thank you my dear... Your Massachusetts "gays" love you very much, and I can't wait for you to come up and help us celebrate! Love you!!!

  3. You're invited to my "Party in Paris" today.

    Blessing, Renee

  4. I would always marry my husband again, but I'd never want to have another wedding - ours was fun, we just had a big barbecue at the marina and everyone was dressed down, but still, it was too much stress. Even the best planning can avoid that - for everyone getting married: make sure it lasts, so that the effort is worth it ;-)

  5. WOW! Now that is a very comprehensive list!! Anyone thinking about "the big day" would love to have this!!
    I will be married 20 years this year! Even in my time, I had a wedding planner book. It is REALLY necessary!!
    Awesome blog! I'm visitng from Debbie's party, and I'm your newest follower!!

  6. Let's just say, glad I am done with the wedding:) There are so many more choices now, than before. Great tips! Our wedding was a great day, and really nothing to speak of went wrong. THanks for sharing at my newbie party