Want to wear a dress, but not a white dress? No problem. Our traditional reasons for wearing white trace back to a particular series of acts involving a man, and woman, and a bloody sheet. These acts don't have much of a place in the gay community, and even if they did, they'd be expressed differently (like really differently, like how Kate Middleton and Lady Gaga express differently). Want to wear white, but not a dress? That's cool. Just pull an Ellen and wear a pants suit with an awesome vest. Don't want to wear white, or a pants suit, or a military uniform, or flowy linen, or whatever else people wear to their weddings? Then don't. Just wear one of these.
Of course, straight couples can make it up as they go along too, and plenty have (see: Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock). But I think it's a little more difficult for them, if only because it's so easy to re-trace a pre-worn path. In today's wedding industry, it's as simple as one bride and groom in, and POP! One wife and husband out.
Of course, the enterprising and ever-evolving wedding industry will soon be fully adapted to catering to gay weddings. But we're not there yet.
Katherine and I decided to start out hunt for wedding dresses at David's Bridal. Neither of us had any idea what we were looking for, but we figured David's--the benevolent overlord of the great American wedding empire--would be a good place to start.
I called to set up an appointment, and a high-pitched, excited voice answered the phone.
"Hello, this is Amber from David's Bridal, how can I help you?"
"Uh, yes, hi," I responded, my voice low and scratchy. I felt a little awkward. I was just getting over a cold, and my voice sounded a little huskier than usual.
"Hello?" She said again. "This is David's Bridal?"
"Yes," I repeated. I cleared my throat. "I'd like to make an appointment for two women to come in and try on dresses at the same time."
"Two women? At the same time?" Amber's voice trailed off. There was a long pause.
"Well, ok," she said. "We don't have too many appointments for at the same time, but, umm..."I could hear her mouse clicking. "How about 4:00 on Wednesday?"
4:00 was fine. We finalized the appointment, and hung up.
4:00 on Wednesday arrived, and we rolled into David's Bridal, Katherine's mother and two sisters in tow. We were greeted at the door by another bridal specialist, this one named Crystal.
"Hi, welcome to David's Bridal!" She exclaimed. Katherine's mother and sisters immediately disappeared with Katherine onto the show floor, and I followed Crystal to the registration table.
"So all I need you to do is fill out this registration form--she pushed a form at me from across the desk--and we'll get you started!"
I quickly looked over the form. There was some standard questions--they wanted my name, address, and phone number-but the second half of the form was all about my groom. His name. His address. His height.
I took a deep breath. We'd arrived at a learning moment.
"Hey sweetheart?" I called out across the showroom. "Can I ask you a couple of questions?"
"Sure!" Katherine called back, peeling a dress in a huge plastic casing off the rack.
Crystal looked at me in alarm. I plunged forward.
"How tall are you, darling?" I called back to her.
"About 5'6''," she replied.
I wrote in 5'6" under groom height.
"What address do you want me to write in here?" I called back to her.
Katherine started to respond, but Crystal waved her off, reach across the table, and put her palm flat across the registration form. "Actually," she said, "Your information is just fine. We'll just skip that part!" Crystal pulled the halfway filled-out registration form back, and slipped it into a desk drawer.
"Why don't you start looking around?" She suggested. She glanced at Katherine and her family, and then gave me a big, genuine smile. "Pick a couple of dresses that you love, and then head over to the dressing rooms in the back. We've put you and your fiancee right next to each other."
Quick recovery. I gave her a giant smile back.
"Thanks!" I said. I stood, up, and headed across the showroom floor to the racks and racks of white wedding dresses.
Next up, Wedding Dresses Part 2: Silk and Suits