First Things First: Wedding Planning Edition

Planning is overwhelming, but LGBT Texans face an additional hurdle: selecting vendors in a place without statewide laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Finding a perfect venue, tailoring suits and/or dresses, booking hotel room blocks, crafting loving vows, choosing the music, getting the marriage license—it’s not hard to imagine why some couples find the wedding planning process a bit overwhelming. And LGBT Texans face an additional hurdle: selecting vendors in a place without statewide laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Fortunately, attitudes toward same-sex marriage are changing rapidly for the better, and there’s a great resource out there for finding experienced professionals enthusiastic about working with same-sex couples—this magazine. Hiring a copacetic wedding planner can be a smart move, too. (Full disclosure: I am one.) But before doing any of that, you and your future spouse have three key decisions to make:

1. Decide on a Budget

Weddings are expensive, period. Make a list of elements you do and don’t want to include, come up with a ballpark figure for how much you want to spend in total, and then apportion accordingly. Count on spending at least 50 percent of the budget on your reception, most of which will go toward food/drinks and site rental. And don’t forget to factor in any special features, such as a live band or a high-ticket designer wedding dress or suit.

shutterstock_4304672712. Agree on Your Style

Don’t turn into a crazy person on Pinterest, or at least not until you’re both envisioning the same kind of day. Should it be intimate or huge, black-tie or backyard barbecue? The potential themes are endless. Sit down together and brainstorm calmly but candidly. What are the best ways to celebrate your love?

shutterstock_3510801113. Pull out Your Calendars

Nail down a date or a season, keeping in mind that the choice will impact other decisions down the road. The tulips will be amazing in April, the hotels bedecked in holiday finery in December, and the venue prices lower in August (i.e., when it’s hot as hell in Texas).

Keep in mind that even if some of your answers to the above questions change as you go through the process, you won’t have labored in vain. At the very least, you’ll have a framework for making the many more decisions to come.

Furthermore, the two of you will emerge from the early decision-making process with a better understanding of how to negotiate together. And you’re likely to have plenty of fun dreaming up possibilities for your special day.

Above all, remember that while your wedding is one day (unless it’s a four-day weekend and you’re going big), love and your marriage can last forever. Embrace the process and keep your eye on the prize. Happy planning!

The author owns Christy Matthews Events (christymatthewsevents.com), which provides full-service planning throughout the Dallas–Fort Worth area.

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