We all know how hard it is to make that first step out of the closet. Although coming out is a big first step, it’s by no means the last time we’ll need to do it. Everyday and in any new environment creates situations where we need to come out in one way or another. There are the nosey co-workers, the pharmacist trying to understand why you’re picking up your “friends” prescriptions, and even the real-estate agent when applying for that awesome apartment you found with your partner.
These crazy scenarios are endless and the conversation that usually follows aren’t much better:
Stranger: “Oh, my brother’s wife has a cousin who is friends with someone that is gay.”
Me: *crickets* (thinking – Cool, I have a brother who is straight. We now have so much in common!)
Eventually there comes a day when you become comfortable with who you are and these moments become something to laugh about rather than stress over.
Then there is another day that happens – you fall madly in love and decide to get married. Planning a wedding, gay or straight, is no easy task. The choices are endless, between food selections, cakes, favours, invitations and the toughest of all, the guest list.
My wife and I decided to invite people we felt comfortable with, ultimately our closest friends and family and we also left invitations accessible to our parents who wanted to invite some friends. It felt like the right thing to do considering they were helping financially with the special day.
After 18 months of wedding planning the big day finally came. With everything planned to a ’T’, we were certain that nothing could go wrong. We even took into consideration the stories of newlyweds spending all their time greeting guests, making small talk and as a result, not being able to experience the reception. This would not happen to us. We were going to enjoy our day.
We intended to give ourselves additional time by taking pre-ceremony photos. In today’s world of weddings, it’s not a rare occurrence for couples to have a “first look/reveal” with their spouse. Taking family and bridal party photographs before the ceremony means you don’t have to leave the guests for an hour or two (missing the cocktail hour).
Our mission now became to greet the entire guest list before cocktail hour was over. We had one hour to complete this mission and we were determined. The plan of action was to stick together and when the time was right one of us would casually slip away giving the other one an excuse to follow, allowing us to move quickly through guests.
I was in the middle of small talk with friends, when Mandi (my wife), slipped away to move on to the next target. She was in a two-foot radius of myself, when my Dad’s work buddy approached her:
Work buddy: “Wow Tara you look great. I haven’t seen you since you were little.”
Mandi: “Thank you but I am Mandi, Tara is right there.” *pointing in my direction*
Work buddy: “Oh sorry, I didn’t know it was a double wedding. Where are the grooms?”
Hearing the situation unfold was more than an excuse for me to leave my small talk conversation.
Me: “Hi, Thank you so much for coming.”
Work buddy: “Wow you cut your hair, I didn’t even recognize you. Where is the lucky groom?”
Me: “Well this is my wife, Mandi.”
Work buddy: “What?”
Me: “We are gay.”
Although my Dad is very supportive of our relationship, I now can assume that the conversation of “my daughter is gay” doesn’t come up very frequently at work. Possibly the situation could have been saved if “work buddy” showed up for the ceremony. Seeing two girls at the alter might have tossed him a hint. Perhaps we should have thought over our guest list more carefully, or maybe we should have gone with the rainbow invitations.
Coming out happens in the most unpleasant and sometimes hilarious moments during one’s life. Mandi and I now have yet another “coming out story” added to our list. I will also add that, although it is completely acceptable to include parents in the guest list selection, it maybe wise to clarify that the friends they invite know what they are actually in for wedding-wise. As unavoidable as it may sometimes be, let our story inspire you to avoid a potential “coming out” experience on your big day.
What bizarre coming out experience is on your list? Are there any creative or nonchalant ways to address your big fat gay wedding?