With all the talk of the freedom to marry, I can’t help but reflect on Lavender’s wedding issues. This time last year, I was working on the first comprehensive wedding issue of my career. I was a basketcase over it. Everything in my life was about the wedding issue…wedding issue this, wedding issue that, I can’t…because of the wedding issue. I was pretty much a bride of a weddingless wedding. All things had to be considered: fashion, venues, caterers, bakers, accessories, etiquette, invitations, jewelry, politics, bars, photography, and family. The magazine was reorganized to span the different facets of weddings: Thinking, Planning, Making, Dressing, Celebrating, and Loving. The usual columns and coverage are only online for these issues, leaving the entire editorial space of the magazine to be all about weddings. I wanted to reinvent the wheel for this community; everything had to be considered.
We won awards for that first wedding issue. It was popular with readers and advertisers. One of my most cherished website comments came from that labor of love:
“Thank you for this issue! Seriously, perfect timing! My partner of nearly three years and I are having a commitment ceremony in May. Honestly, I have had a really hard time with the fact that it is not recognized legally, and it has been stealing my thunder. My friends (mostly straight) and family seem more excited than I am, and I believe it is for the simple fact that I feel like I’m having a dress-up day, not my wedding. My family is amazing and supportive, and all of my best friends are traveling here for the ceremony, and I’m ready to get excited! I guess my real reason for writing, is to say how wonderful and validating it is to see other same sex couples getting married, and to be reminded that it is not about the haters, it’s about us, and how much we love each other.” –Terra G.
While the articles, resources, marketplaces, and how-to guides in each wedding issue are important, my favorite section has been the Real Weddings section. This is where we showcase couples from our own community who commit to each other and throw a party for their friends and family to celebrate their love with them. Like Terra said in her comment above, it’s validating to see others doing what you want to do. I want people to see themselves in our pages…and the Real Weddings are the best way to do that.
We now publish two wedding issues a year; one in Spring for the warmer months and one in Fall for the colder ones. Very distinct styles and themes are necessary for very distinct seasons in Minnesota. That said, I am convinced that the subject of weddings deserves two issues (out of 26 a year) for a community that has be under-represented in the industry. Within a week of each of the wedding issues going to press, I’ve been contacted by someone asking if they could get a wedding into our Real Weddings section. We need two of them to keep up with the rate with which you’re tying the knot.
We need two of them to keep the GLBT community in front of the wedding industry as a reminder that this community matters, regardless of the legal status of the commitments. We need two wedding issues in order to remind the public twice a year that two women or two men on a cover–who are clearly getting married–are visions that society
needs to get used to; marriage may not be legal yet, but that’s definitely not stopping the people in our pages. And, we made sure to take the opportunity to leverage the fact that we had thousands and thousands of fall wedding issues on stands throughout the state the days leading up to Election Day that said “VOTE NO.” That was a pretty dang good reason to have two wedding issues, if I say so myself.
So, this year, I encourage you to participate in our wedding issues. If you’ve been married in the past year, please consider sending us photos of your wedding for the Real Weddings section (the specifics are on our website). If you have a company or service that is a part of the wedding industry, consider advertising in the issues to tell our readers that you are supportive and welcoming of our weddings and our business. Show me your same-sex wedding products in case I want to share them with the community. Send your love stories to me for the Lavender Love section, so we can read about your relationships. This is your community. This is your publication. These are your weddings.
This is the year when it’s crucial to show our legislators that marriage matters to this community. I pledge to do my part.