Following the marriages of Portia de Rossi and Ellen Degeneres, Elton John and David Furnish, Cynthia Nixon and Christine Marinoni, and many more LGBT celebrities, how great is it to learn that Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his partner Justin Mikita are engaged? Announcing it via People magazine, the couple have released an adorable video through an organization called Tietheknot.org that supports equal marriage.
This comes after a gorgeous Elle magazine spread where Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon opens up about her May wedding. In the interview she talks about her dress (Carolina Herrera, of course) and how a same-sex wedding differs from a heterosexual wedding.
It's so refreshing to see celebrities talking so candidly about gay marriage; it's easy to forget that it's only been 15 years since the first lesbian lead character appeared on U.S. television when today, mainstream magazines such as People and Elle are eager to run exclusives on LGBT engagements and wedding photos. I can only imagine what People must have paid for Ellen and Portia's wedding photos, but they certainly would not have been cheap! With the growing number of gay celebrity weddings, soon enough People will have to devote a special issue to them.
To the LGBT community this type of acceptance and exposure through the media is an important step forward. Reading about all these fabulous gay weddings in magazines got me thinking about how different it is for LGBT people when it comes to throwing weddings. As a recent phenomenon, we have to start carving out new traditions.
Gay weddings are big business now that several states in the U.S. allow them, not to mention countries like Canada and the UK. Yes, there continues to be frustrations with wedding suppliers that do not update their documents to allow you to select "Mr. and Mr." or "Mrs. and Mrs.," but for the most part, gay couples go through the same stress as heterosexual couples when it comes to planning a wedding; I know this all too well because my partner and I were married in May... in a castle... in Scotland.
I'm sure that sounds way over the top to most people, but I really think that LGBT people have added pressure to ensure that their special days are extra special. For many people attending the wedding, it will be their first exposure to a same-sex marriage, and what self-respecting gay couple wants to let their guests (gay or straight) down with something run of the mill? We want to set the bar.
Here is some advice for Jesse and Justin and any other gay couple going through
hell this exciting time:
- Jesse and Justin were smart to announce their engagement in People and to tie to charity. This not only got them publicity but garnered attention for a good cause. Savvy move, boys. Off to a good start. For non-celeb couples, don't let not being famous stand in your way. Take out an announcement in your local newspaper. And what's stopping you from highlighting a charity that is close to your heart in the process?
- Do as much research as possible. There are some great wedding blogs and magazines. Obviously, Martha Stewart reigns supreme in the magazine field, but check out wedding blogs such as So You're Engayged and Wed Haute for some inspiration, or to simply drool over the wedding photos.
- Location, location, location. Jesse and Justin can do something quite over the top, like a castle wedding, or take a cue from Portia and Ellen and throw it in their backyard. Wedding guests love to feel a part of either something big or something intimate and exclusive.
- Say yes to the dress. Cynthia Nixon chose a green Carolina Herrera number, and both Portia and Ellen wore Zac Posen. Elton and David kept it quite simple in black morning suits. Jesse and Justin should definitely wear bow ties to draw further attention to their charity.
- Get the best photographer available. Obviously if a magazine is going to spring for the photos, then that's great, but these are your memories, so make sure you have someone whose style you like when it comes to capturing your memories on film.
- The ceremony is the heart and soul of the wedding, so make it personal and try to have it officiated by someone you both know. Portia and Ellen had their ceremony officiated by author Wayne Dyer. Be different, but stay true to yourselves.
- Don't sweat the small stuff. Remember, the day is about the two of you (and your guests), and everyone wants to have a good time. Hire specialists to take care of things, or divide the work between the two of you, but always be sure to check with each other before making any final decisions.
- Relax and enjoy the day, because it goes by so quickly. Take moments throughout the wedding to take it all in, and although all the champagne will be tempting, be sure to take it easy on the booze.
Remember, this is just advice based on my own experience and my insane obsession with celebrity weddings. Do your own thing; after all, it is your day! As more and more LGBT celebrities start to tie the knot (step up, Neil Patrick Harris!), and if the media continues to cover their nuptials, then LGBT people around the world can continue to be inspired to create their own traditions for their weddings instead of relying on the tired old traditions of straight weddings.