Wedding planning can be a lot. It brings out emotions. It brings out stress. For queer couples, all of that can be heightened when it comes to shopping for wedding outfits in an industry steeped in some very outdated traditions. Let’s not forget, it hasn’t even been a full decade since Obergefell v. Hodges gave all couples the fundamental right to marry and the wedding industry is still playing catch up. Ultimately, most wedding vendors (us included) want this amazingly exciting time in someone’s life to be special, fun and stress-free. To help couples navigate the wedding process, we’ve come up with some quick tips to help you start your wedding fashion journey.
You’re the one in control
The most important thing to remember is that when you walk into any wedding shop of any kind, this is your moment. This is your day. This is your wedding. Don’t let the expectations of family and friends put a cloud over what matters most to you. There are no rules anymore about what you should do, so do what you want to do! Opinions are helpful in wedding shopping to help you narrow in on your vision, but make sure you choose the people who will support you and keep your vision in mind when they do provide opinions.
Do your research
Finding the right wedding vendors is a lot like finding the right person (but in a way less exciting way and on a much shorter timeline). Take the time to find vendors that give you “that spark,” will make sure they have your best interests at heart, and will take care of both of you. Check their websites and even set up time to chat on the phone with people too to get to know them. You should let yourself have high expectations and be sure not to let any vendor make you feel less than any other couple. You don’t have to explain your love to any wedding vendors, and if they make you feel uncomfortable ask yourself, is that really the vendor you want to work with? If the vibe isn’t right, find a vendor who will celebrate your day with the same excitement as you feel.
Do more research
If you’re considering a particular garment style, type or design, ask about it! This industry for the most part is filled with good people who want you to be super duper happy. We love what we do and we love celebrating your love. The last thing any vendor wants is for you to feel disappointed. The reality is that most stores don’t have everything, and sometimes that can suck. If you have your heart set on something, make sure to ask before you reserve time to come in! We’re happy to tell you what we do or don’t have. If we don’t have what you’re looking for, odds are we can also help you figure out where to find it! We want to help, so let us.
Every person buying their wedding outfit should focus on comfort, but for LGBTQ+ couples, finding an outfit that makes them comfortable is about more than stretchy or lightweight materials. If you want to wear a suit or a dress, that’s your prerogative. There aren’t rules that one person has to wear a tux, or if you both identify as male you both need to wear suits, or that if one person wants to wear a dress, you both have to. If you wouldn’t wear a dress normally and hate the idea of putting a dress on, then don’t feel pressured to wear one on your wedding day. What we’d suggest if you feel stuck is to think about what outfit makes you feel happiest and the most “you,” then visualize a fancier version of it. That’s probably a good place to start!
Should you match?
This is your call as a couple! (Sensing a theme here?) The question of matching or not is up to you! You absolutely don’t have to both wear black tuxes or the same dress. If you’re not the matchy-matchy type, consider coordinating your look so that you complement each other with similar fabrics, colors, designs or silhouettes. Just like choosing the perfect outfit, looking fabulous can also mean contrasting or mixing it up! Differentiating styles can be expressive of who you each are. You don’t have to wear the same silhouette to feel cohesive. You already are the perfect pair!
Want to shop together?
We’ve had couples want to shop together and it’s honestly super fun! It takes some of the edge off planning and is a nice way to celebrate together. Talk to the store you plan to shop at and talk through how the appointment will work and book in advance to make sure there’s enough staff to support you both. We typically suggest doing the appointments back to back, so each of you gets a chance at the spotlight and you can focus on each other! You can also do your appointment at the same time, which is a fun way to make decisions together! After all, the best part about being partners is making decisions together, right? Sometimes, we have couples who shop at the same time, but then once they’ve narrowed down their top choices, they finish the appointment in private so there’s still some surprises for the special day.
Don’t want to spoil the surprise?
If you both want to make sure the looks are perfect together but don’t want to ruin the “first look” surprise, share the photos with a friend who is attending your partner’s appointment. That way your friend can help turn them in the right direction towards finding the best outfit! Chat in advance of what you do and don’t like, and then no peeking for cell phone photos later!
At the end of the day, we may know the most about dresses, but the best advice we can give any couple planning their special day is universal: trust your instincts and follow them. Don’t worry about any rules because it’s your day.