I same-sex-married my partner, Mandy, on March 14th 2009--though it was not legal--it was a real wedding. Trust me, it cost as much as one. Here are some things I learned along the way.
1) If you win a wedding cake for $50 at a silent auction it might just taste like a $50 wedding cake.
2) Even if you are both girls, some people are going to assume that one of you is the "man" and one of you is the "woman" and they are going to refer to you as the "bride" and the "groom" and expect that the "groom" proposed, will wear a tux, etc... and the "bride" wears an engagement ring, wears a wedding dress, turns into bride-zilla, etc... Mapping is alive and well.
3) Some people will get you bigger presents that they should have--thank them, a lot.
4) Some people won't get you anything--thank them for coming.
5) Some won't show up--but the ones who really love you come and cheer!
6) A lot of people tell you how pretty you are in a wedding dress if they've never seen you in a dress--shock value is amazing!
7) On your wedding, you should do whatever you want. Even it means that your processional song is Madonna's "Cherish."
8) But, remember to compromise with your partner. Compromise, compromise, compromise.
9) Don't comprise so much that the wedding stops reflecting the personality and desires of one partner.
10) Not everyone believes in marriage, but most people believe in love.
11) No matter how hard you try, your partners family might not like you--that applies whether you are LGBTQ identified or hetersexual.
12) It sure would be easier to get your partner's conservative, religious, small-town parents to show up if you were not a same-sex couple.
13) Make sure you give your partner room to grieve over their parents choice to note come to the wedding.
14) Make sure, if your partner's parents do come, to try and play nice.
15) You never know who your allies are--make room for people to surprise and delight you!
16) Some people will disapoint you along the way, love 'em anyway.
17) If you love more people than you can afford to feed make your guests bring food.
18) Say "please" and "thank you" a lot.
19) Make sure you have special time with your partner before the wedding--focus on why you picked each other
20) No matter how tired you are the night of: make love.
21) When you open presents make sure that you write down who gave you what so you that you don't thank Kate for the toaster when she got you plasma screen T.V.
22) Allow your community to support you before, during, and after the wedding.
23) Remember the good stuff!
24) And, when you leave your car at the airport.... don't leave a light on so that the battery is dead when you return from your honeymoon. I learned this one the hard way.
Wishing all of the world love in every way that it comes, marriage, monogamy, polygamy, friendship, lovers, family, pets, higher powers... just love!
25) When things get hard in the planning process, here are two tips: 1) Plan the honeymoon; and, 2) Remember that this just a party celebrating the love you have for each other. That is all. Its a love party. Enjoy!