The most difficult decision Andrew and I faced when planning our wedding was answering the question, “What are we going to wear?” After months of discussions, many of which were filled with me asking, “Why don’t we just elope?”, we finally came to a decision.
It is our hope that this decision will not only make us comfortable, and fill our day with an added element of fun, but will also be fun, and comfortable, for our guests. The journey reaching this decision needs to be told, before I can share this decision.
The journey was an extremely stressful and emotional one. It was also a frustrating one. As I wrote in my introduction to this series, one of the frustrations came as a result of friends asking, “So… have you started to look at dresses?”
There have been a number of people who honestly do not understand why I would find that question so frustrating. I expect strangers to ask that question. To them, I look like any other female, even if I am not overtly feminine. They have no idea that I’m a trans man. However, my friends are fully aware of this fact. So, in my mind, for them to ask me this question would be like if they asked that question of two gay men who are planning to get married, or if they were to ask an expectant cisgender groom if he had started to look for his wedding dress. Just like — right or wrong — I expect them to ask, “Who proposed to whom?”, I expect my friends to ask, “Have you started to think about what you are going to wear?”
The stress and emotion came from a completely different source. I honestly do not understand how people enjoy this aspect of planning a wedding.
For our first weddings, the ceremony part of it wasn’t really what we wanted. Had we had more say, our wedding ceremonies would have been different. It is because of our dissatisfaction with our first ceremonies, that we spent a lot of time discussing the pros and cons of having a ceremony, instead of just eloping — which, originally, was what I wanted to do — during the negotiation process of that phase in our relationship. At one point, discussing the attire put me in tears, causing me to plea, once more, in favor of eloping. When I wasn’t stating that we should elope, I was suggesting, in all seriousness, that we should have a Betazoid wedding, completely getting rid of any need to decide on something to wear. Yes, a Betazoid wedding would probably cull the wedding guests but, in my mind, that would have solved all sorts of problems.
Why was this part of the discussions so stressful and emotional for me?
Because, for me, it is imperative that this day be something we are equally comfortable with. This day must be filled with decisions made without resignation. Every time it appeared as if Andrew was agreeing to a suggestion only to make me happy, the horrible feelings I felt about having no power, or say, during my first trip down the aisle would resurface. I would become overwhelmed, worried that he, too, would end up having those feelings on a day that is supposed to be a celebration. I just couldn’t live with myself if I, and our wedding, was the source of those feelings. So, I’d panic. This would often lead to me declaring, “We are going to elope! It is just that simple!” Once, this discussion left me in tears because I was so worried that he was not going to be 100% content with the decisions we were attempting to make.
Andrew will tell you that his first time around wasn’t as bad as it was for me. For him, his biggest sources of being uncomfortable came from the number of guests, and the attire. For him, there were too many people, and the wedding attire was too formal.
For me, it was my worst nightmare come true.
When I was in high school, my best friend and I spent a lot of time planning my future wedding. He was going to be my best man. I was going to wear a tuxedo with a waist coat and tails, ascot with pin, top hat, and walk with a gentleman’s cane. He was going to wear ankle-length rainbow gaucho pants, and a white crepe cotton shirt. We were going to be fabulous!
I had no idea who else would be in my wedding party. As for attire, I hadn’t thought about it beyond the following: if they were female and wanted to wear a dress, it would have to be full-length, and either burgundy or royal blue.
My best friend was also supposed to give me away.
What ended up happening was a completely different story. The above was my fairy tale wedding. What I got was the traditional fairy tale wedding.
My mother was paying for the wedding, as tradition dictates the bride’s side of the family pays for the wedding, and the groom’s side of the family pays for the reception. And being that my mother adheres to her strict upper-class British upbringing, it also meant that I would not be wearing pants. I would wear the perfect dress, of her choosing, with a long train and full skirt, adorned with lace, pearls and other detailing, long veil, and ridiculous hat, full make-up, and heirloom jewelry.
It also meant that my wedding party would consist of young ladies, none of which were of my choosing. After all, we had appearances to uphold. I had thought that at a minimum, I would get to pick their dresses. I was told the colors I wanted were not suitable for young ladies, neither was the length of the dresses I wanted. So instead of long, period piece, burgundy dresses for the ladies, I got just above the knee, pastel peach, lace-detailed silk dresses.
The roughly 200 guests for my side were not even of my choosing. Instead, the guests were chosen solely for appearances, such as my grandmother’s friends, the entire church, my mother’s friends, the mayor, and town council. My stepdad walked me down the aisle, and gave me away, not my best friend. My best friend wasn’t even in attendance.
The only thing I did have any input on during this process was the attire of the groom and groomsmen.
Because of both of our experiences during our first weddings, the most important thing to me was that we have equal power and say during the process. If either one of us didn’t fully like an idea, the rule was we were to immediately say so, without fear or reservation. After all, this day belongs to us both. And, if we were going to have a ceremony, something neither of us initially wanted, more so me than Andrew, it really needed to be our “fairy tale” wedding, or I would insist on eloping.
Neither one of us had any real ideas about what we wanted, as neither one of us ever thought we would again want to have an actual ceremony. But we did know what we didn’t want. We didn’t want something traditionally fancy, but instead something relaxed, without being casual. We didn’t want a large number of guests, instead we wanted something small, intimate, and, most importantly, fun.
Accomplishing relaxed, without being casual, was tricky. Andrew’s idea of getting dressed up — slacks and a nice shirt — is my casual attire, so that was out of the equation. As much as I would love to wear what I wanted to wear the first time, that would have been too formal for Andrew, so that was out of the equation. Andrew would have been happy with jeans and a t-shirt, but I don’t even own a pair of jeans, and I knew that I wouldn’t be happy with anything “normal” and “every day.” Also, I wasn’t too keen on “traditional,” unless it was over-the-top and fabulous. And, of course, a dress was completely out of the question, so “traditional” meant traditionally masculine.
Naturally, this led to the discussion of having a theme wedding. My first thought was to dress in traditional oriental dress– any region and any period– as the clothing choices for men and women are equally luxurious, and that left us both with many gender-neutral to masculine choices. Plus, the attire suits all body types, and it would allow guests a wide range of styles and fabrics from which to choose. Low cost was also a bonus, even if cost wasn’t an issue. I’m just very frugal.
Andrew didn’t immediately love the idea. Because of this, I wanted to take it off the table. But he assured me that he didn’t hate the idea, just that he had to sit with it for a bit. It was so foreign to him, and he had never worn anything remotely similar, whereas I had. He needed time to decide if that idea — one he liked in theory — would be an idea he was comfortable with in practice.
A couple months had passed, and Andrew had yet to make a decision, nor had he offered any other ideas. Once again, I was making declarations about eloping, or, alternatively, having a Betazoid wedding.
Then, it hit me! The perfect idea. I do not know why it took me so long to come to it.
We are having a United Federation of Planets wedding.
Though, very fittingly, it is Star Trek based, as Star Trek is largely responsible for helping our relationship to develop, it isn’t exactly a Star Trek themed wedding. There is a slight different to our United Federation of Planets theme, that makes it not the Star Trek United Federation of Planets.
The reason this theme is so perfect is because our wedding will be consisting of two cultures, plus it will be a celebration of gender diversity.
Both Canada and the United States of America are countries filled with a variety of cultures and ethnic groups, even if we approach them differently.
So, our United Federation of Planets wedding will be different from the Star Trek United Federation of Planets in that people will dress in tradition attire from their favorite culture, real or fictional, from any genre. Yes, even the guests have to come in costume. The reason for this will be explained further in a future post.
So, we may have Romulans and Cardassians — not part of the United Federation of Planets, but you never know, one day they could very well be — with Storm Troopers, vampires, wizards, etc., and people from Earth cultures, spanning decades. The culture must be different than the guest’s own culture. Just like the United Federation of Planets embraces diversity and respects individual cultures, with the inclusion of the Prime Directive, our wedding will be a celebration of diversity in all its forms.
Andrew and I think this is something every one will be comfortable with, instead of pigeonholing them into one culture, or “theme” like Star Trek, and making them wear something they really are not comfortable wearing, like we were the first time we got married.
In case you are curious as to what cultures Andrew and I have decided to celebrate, originally, we came up with three ideas. The first idea was that we were both going to be Vulcans. Then, Andrew pointed out that he was too emotional to be a Vulcan. So I suggested that he be a Romulan and I will be the Vulcan. The idea amused him, but he didn’t think it was the perfect fit for him. Then, we came up with the perfect idea.
This is perfect for so many reasons, the least of which is because, in a lot of ways, I’m like Spock. But, who doesn’t think a slashfic wedding is fun? Also, Kirk and Spock are one of the most powerful couples in science-fiction, regardless from which lens you wish to view their relationship. But most importantly, for Andrew and I, this idea is simply perfect and it will be a day neither of us will end up regretting, or wishing was different in some way, even if slight. Now, we only need to figure out which era of Kirk and Spock.
Still to come in my geeky-queer wedding planning series:
- The wedding party, and how family members will be involved
- The guests
- The ceremony and reception, including vows and legalities, and the process of going through a legal name change and the reasons behind that need
- Last names and culture
- The location
Once again, there may be a number of aspects of the planning process that may interest you, but I have not included them above, because I have not thought of them. Or, this post has created a lot of questions in your mind. If that is the case, I want to know. Tell me, what has you curious? About what would you like to see me write? If you let me know, I will endeavor to do my best to include it in a post.
Also, if you were to re-marry, or renew your vows, how would you tackle the dreaded question of what to wear?