Before the Bells

Marriage equality is becoming a reality across the country, but what is the reality of planning a same-sex wedding? In Before the Bells, PGN editor Jen Colletta offers practical advice from her own wedding-planning experience, detailing challenges same-sex couples may experience, and ways to overcome them. From picking a venue to planning a honeymoon, Before the Bells gives you a first-hand look at one couple’s approach to planning their big day.

After nearly two years of planning, my wedding is now just about two weeks away. It’s been a sometimes-stressful, often-fun, enlightening and exciting two years, with more lessons than I can count.

When I first got engaged, someone told me and my fiancée that the most hectic part of this process was the month or two after the engagement, and the month or two before the wedding — advice we’re finding is certainly coming true. 

The weeks and days before your wedding will no doubt be stressful, but here are some ideas we came up with to help your wedding countdown be a joyful, not dreaded, one.



Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, a time for couples to pay some extra attention to one another and celebrate their relationship. While it may seem like couples in the throes of wedding planning may be extra-focused on their relationship round-the-clock, a romance reminder may be sorely needed.

Once the vows are said and sealed with a kiss, it’s party time. But, before popping the champagne cork, some same-sex couples may need to revise reception standards to ensure their own wedding wishes aren’t being trumped by tradition.

On the night I set aside for brainstorming for this month’s column, I was mired in wedding misery: a DIY guestbook project that fantastically failed … a list of appointments to squeeze in between the holidays, baby showers and other weddings … rumblings about bridal-party disagreements … a fruitless

I’m admittedly not a music person. And my partner’s music stylings range from Britney Spears to Britney Spears. So, when it came time for us to decide on entertainment for our wedding reception, we had more questions than we did for most other parts of the planning process.

Weddings are usually steeped in tradition: From the white dress to the cake to the bouquet and garter tosses, with the complexities that a wedding, especially one on a larger scale, presents, it makes sense, for convenience’s sake if nothing else, to follow a model. But, same-sex couples often fall outside that model and may struggle to fit their event into wedding traditions. However, while same-sex weddings can present their own challenges in the planning process, the upside is that there are fewer expectations for conformity — meaning couples get to buck tradition and put their own unique spin on their wedding.

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