Something old, something new: How I planned my queer bridal shower
June is Pride Month.
Welcome to Queer Weddings in 2017! Thankfully, we now have queer couples featured on Wedding Wire, and we have the ability to register for nontraditional baby-making on Zola.
Unfortunately, though, no one has figured out how to crack the age-old mystery of bridal showers. What’s a queer woman to do?
My fiancée and I are the most gender role-y same-sex couple. She mows the lawn and I cook. She fixes things and I break them. She might wear the pants, but I wear the pants. So when it came to our wedding, everything kind of followed that pattern. My mom and I have spent hours over the phone hemming and hawing over centerpieces and favors while my fiancée shouts, “Whatever you like!” from the other room when asked for her opinion. From what I hear, this is also how it goes for a lot of straight couples.
Still, we’ve experienced some hurdles of our own with the whole 2 girls 1 wedding thing.
Making a phone call or sending an email? Be ready to divulge the fact that your fiancée is a woman because, no, we’re not giving our hard-earned cash to some bigot. Making an appointment to try on wedding dresses? Don’t worry, two minutes later you’ll get an auto-reply expressing how excited the bridal shop is for you and your future husband!
So what happens when your mom asks about throwing you a bridal shower?
That’s when I realized how strange it feels to plan a bridal shower when you’re marrying a masculine-of-center woman. My mom, who has been a literal angel throughout this entire process, first broached the topic by asking both of our thoughts on the idea. When she asked if we wanted to have a bridal shower, our first mutual reaction was “NO!” People watching me open gifts for an hour after I’ve had a few mimosas? Hard pass.
As the conversation continued, I started to realize that none of this was about presents or protocol — my mom just really wanted to have a bridal shower for me.
She wanted to celebrate me, show me off, and shower me with love — how could I not get behind that?
So…what does a queer bridal shower look like?
The problem was that none of us knew what this could, should, or would look like. You can Google all the things you want about “lesbian bridal showers,” and there are a billion different answers about how things can be done. You can do it together! You can do it apart! You can invite just your family! You can invite the entire wedding!
My mom, being the angel I mentioned earlier, of course offered to host a shower for both me and my fiancée. She wanted both of us to feel included, and like we each deserved our own special day. She also suggested hosting two separate showers. My fiancée was still a hard “no” on the idea of having one for herself, but she wanted me to go ahead and have my own shower hosted by mom. Is that weird? It felt weird! Are people going to show up expecting to see both of us? Do I invite her family? If I do, how do I explain that the shower is just for me?
That’s when my mom started asking me, “What do you want?” Could I Google that, too? It’s not really a question I’ve heard much in this process; most of our wedding planning has been about what’s supposed to be done, because everything has basically been done before.
But when it comes to queer bridal showers, there is no such thing as “traditional.”
There are no expectations! You can do whatever you want, for better or worse.
My bridal shower will be exactly what I want it to be.
Seeing as how we’ve always had this gender role-y relationship, I really shouldn’t be surprised that I somehow landed on planning the most traditional bridal shower on earth. I’ll be there in white, our family and friends will be our guests, and my fiancée will show up towards the end to kiss babies and carry gifts like the ~manly-man~ she is.
Is that wrong? Nope. Is it what works for us and makes us happy? Absolutely.
It took me long enough to come to terms with the fact that it’s perfectly okay for my relationship to fall into the tropes of traditional gender roles.
I’ve wasted enough time worrying that we weren’t “queer” enough because I wear lipstick and she wears boxer briefs.
While planning my bridal shower, I found myself falling back into the pitfalls of questioning my “queerness” — I allowed myself to doubt my choices and how society perceives them. But my bridal shower is meant to celebrate me and my relationship, so why wouldn’t I want to highlight all of its special quirks and idiosyncrasies (like the fact that you could already mistake us for a 75-year-old married couple)?
Who knows, maybe we’ll even have penis straws at our bachelorette party.