I was never the type of little girl who dreamed of her wedding day. I had a vague idea that I'd one day get married, but the dress, the cake, the flowers and the venue were little more than hazy details. When my Barbie dolls married their beaus (and yes, beaus rather than belles, because of 1990s heteronormativity) I was less concerned about the trimmings than the various storylines of illicit intrigue that threatened the impending nuptials. The event itself was simply a necessary procedure to advance the plot.
Now, as a formerly (and in my defence, intentionally) chronically single adult, I've surprisingly found myself happily affianced. I say surprisingly because I'm still staggered that there is a sane human being walking the same planet who wants to spend the rest of their life with me. My friends and family are too, but I digress. Thusly, I'm one very chuffed half of a mushily loved-up twosome that is planning a wedding.
Do you know how many wedding websites there are? Millions. Do you know how much weddings cost? Millions. And a non-essential organ. Luckily, there are plenty of wedding apps you can buy (just $13.95 plus in-app purchases!) at the app store to help you to keep track of your budget. There are also plenty of "wedding packs" that wedding venues will happily provide to help to relieve you of five figures of savings. Because nothing says "true love" like a second mortgage.
Of the many millions of wedding websites, apps, magazines, information packs and the like, do you know how many feature in their advertising (or even cater to at all) gay couples? Anecdotally, I'd say roughly 5 per cent. We've looked at apps that store all of the important information for the "bride and groom", magazines that feature exclusively heterosexual couples, advertising material from an upmarket Waiheke vineyard that mentioned the "bride and groom" in almost every second sentence and various other bits and pieces of wedding paraphernalia that have all assumed that one of us is of the male persuasion.
If we needed any assistance embracing the grape we could have created our very own drinking game. Another mention of the mysterious groom? Drink!
I'm sure some would protest that since the majority of the population is straight, we should simply suck it up. I wonder how they'd feel if the tables were turned and they, as heterosexual couples, were faced with images, language and assumptions that were almost exclusively gay. I made the decision that there would be no groom in my life years ago, and suddenly they're bloody everywhere.
Gay marriage has been possible in New Zealand since 2013. Before that, thousands of gay couples entered into civil unions. The gays have been entering matrimony, or its lookalikes, for a while now. Our money is worth the same amount. If you're a lesbian couple facing two wedding dresses, two diamonds, and two sets of bridesmaids, it's arguably worth more. Our love is just as special. To be fair, our ceremonies are probably more fabulous. So why are we not being catered to?
Honestly, if there were wedding suppliers (and perhaps there are, though I've yet to come across them – if you know of any, please get in touch!) who specifically catered for gay couples, I would give my money to them in a heartbeat. If I could read "the brides" or simply, "the wedding couple" in an information pack, my heart would sing. They're such simple, little things, but to me, they mean the world. They make me feel like I don't have to squeeze and contort my love to fit into an arbitrary, exclusionary category in which it isn't welcome. They make me feel like the feelings I have for my soon-to-be wife are being afforded the respect that they deserve.
That's not to say that I object to every single groom I see. I love seeing couples of any orientation or make-up so deeply in love with each other that they're ready to commit to being together for the rest of their lives. Though I was such a love cynic until relatively recently that I would've strangled myself rather than suggest that weddings are beautiful things, they are. They are – or at least they should be – joyous and unabashed expressions of deep and abiding love. What's not to celebrate?
Lizzie Marvelly: Stop calling us young, gullible and naive
It would just be nice if we could all see our particular brand of love represented – particularly by people and companies who are seeking our so-called pink dollars. It doesn't take much – just a deepening awareness and a few little changes – but the rewards to both the wedding party and the wedding industry could be substantial.
Particularly when there are two brides involved. Dresses, flowers, champagne, canapes, diamond-encrusted wedding bands, a live orchestra, a four-tiered cake, fairy lights, a doughnut wall and a synchronised swimming performance for the "brides-to-be"? Take my money now!