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9 things people don't tell you about planning an LGBTQ wedding.

One woman's experience planning a wedding shows how far we've come and how far we have yet to go.

True
Modern Love

From the moment I laid eyes on her, I knew that I wanted her in my life.

I swear I fell in love with her in a single moment. We were standing at a table enjoying a drink together when she shied away from a compliment. I could feel something in me come crashing down; for some reason, I felt like I needed her to know how special she was.

And I knew I wanted to marry her just a month into our relationship. A year later, I sent her on a scavenger hunt with each clue leading to a different part of our house and a different moment in our relationship. The last clue led her to me, standing in the kitchen, holding the ring. She said yes.


Our "we just got engaged!" selfie. All photos used with permission.

Now, we are planning our June 2017 wedding together.

I’ll be honest: My friends warned me about the wedding planning process, but I don’t think anything can truly prepare you for how crazy wedding planning can be.

Add to that the fact that we are two women and it makes for an interesting ride.

As an LGBTQ community, we have made great strides during the last year. After all, it’s only been a year since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. But at the same time, we still have so much work to do. Our work is not finished until our trans* friends can exist without fear, until we can all have job and housing security, and until we can feel safe again in the wake of tragedies like Orlando.

So here’s some real talk about what it’s like to plan a wedding with two women.

It’s shown me that we’ve come a long way, but we still have a ways to go. We can all do better at making weddings a safe space for every kind of love.

1. People will probably ask, “Is your fiancée wearing a suit or a dress?”

This is a seemingly harmless question, but I find that it’s asked as a way to place us into gender roles. It falls along the lines of, “Who wears the pants in your relationship?”

But the answer: Both of us are wearing dresses. Because that's what we have chosen to wear. Not because that's what we're expected to wear.

2. People will ask you what day you’re getting married from the moment you’re engaged.

This is a normal one that most people face, but the day after I proposed, everyone asked me if we had set a date. Seriously? I was still nursing my hangover from the champagne celebrations! I was lucky I had put my clothes on correctly that morning, so no, we hadn’t set a date.

I finally found the woman I was meant to spend the rest of my life with — please let me stare at my shiny new ring in peace.

3. People will also ask: “Are you guys going to have kids? Who is going to carry?”

First, this is along the lines of asking me when our wedding date is right after we got engaged. Of course we’ve talked about kids a bit, but we haven’t even gotten married yet!

Second, this is yet another way of trying to place us into defined gender roles. But one of the joys of marrying a woman is that we get to challenge what marriage is “supposed” to look like. We get to make up our own rules.

4. You will have to decide what traditions are important enough to keep.

I want to have my moment in the sun and be the one to walk down the aisle ... but I also want to watch my fiancée walk down the aisle. As a compromise, I hope to walk first and then wait at the altar for her while she walks down the aisle.

And as a feminist, I struggle with the idea of my dad walking me down the aisle at all. I am not his to give away, but I also want him to feel valued. As a compromise, I hope to walk halfway down the aisle with him and then walk the rest of the way by myself. I am also entertaining the idea of doing a dance with my mom at the reception in addition to a dance with my dad.

I’ve realized that, for me, these traditions are important enough to keep ... but I want to put my own spin on them.

5. You will have to come out. Over and over and over again.

Coming out is never a one-and-done thing, but nothing compares to planning a wedding.

I often get caught between wanting to make sure a vendor is going to be accepting and feeling like I shouldn’t have to explain things because it’s 2016.

More often than not, I have to correct people after they’ve referred to my fiancée as “he” or “him.” And that is kind of awkward for everyone involved (#heteronormativity).

6. And even after you say there are two brides, they still might not get it…

This is an actual conversation I had with a caterer. I can’t make this stuff up:

Caterer: Are you the bride?

Me: I am one of the two brides.

Caterer: Oh, is it like a double wedding?

Me: No, I’m marrying a woman.

Caterer: What?

Me: I am marrying a woman…

7. But more often than not, people will welcome you with open arms.

From the moment I knew I wanted to marry my fiancée, I had our wedding venue picked out. After we were engaged, I contacted the location I'd spotted and told them a little about us as a couple and what kind of wedding we wanted.

They immediately responded by sending us an article about a wedding at their venue with a similar vibe and … two brides!

It was a really nice way for the event coordinator to show me that everything would be fine without saying, “We are cool with gays,” (which can be contrived and awkward). That pretty much sealed the deal for me. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the venue is everything I ever dreamed of and more.

8. Wedding planning is only as stressful as you make it.

We started planning really early, and we gave ourselves over a year to do it. Our venue takes care of a lot of the details (seating, dinnerware, glassware, etc.) and we are letting go of control on many other details.

For example, we chose purple, yellow, and gray as our colors. Our wedding party members will find a purple dress or a gray suit and purple tie. And each member of the wedding party can wear either a dress or a suit — whatever they are most comfortable in regardless of gender.

If I could give one piece of advice, it would be this: Find some things you’re willing to let go of and let someone else decide. You’ll thank yourself later.

9. And in the end, despite the roadblocks, it will all be worth it.

Next summer, I get to stand in front the most important people in my life, look into my bride’s eyes, and promise to love her for the rest of our lives.

And in that moment, the cake, flowers, dresses, food, venue, the weird heteronormative conversations ... will all have been worth it. Because this will be the start of our very own family.

As my fiancée and I plan a wedding against the backdrop of Orlando, loving each other loud and proud has taken on a new level of importance.

We will not let hatred stop us from being ourselves or from expressing our love boldly.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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