Y’all did it: you proposed, and the big day feels like it’s just around the corner. But when it comes to planning a wedding, most of the resources available are overwhelmingly for cisgender, heterosexual couples.
Kirsten Palladino, co-founder of the Equally Wed website, is changing the game with her new book, “Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning your LGBTQ+ Wedding.”
“I wanted to have a comprehensive guide to planning a wedding that could all be in one place,” she said. “I get so many wedding books to review and it’s all bride and groom. While that’s lovely, it’s not very inclusive and I thought that we could include our own inclusive wedding guide without having to do the mental gymnastics of having to picture ourselves in that equation.”
“Equally Wed” will launch this week with a book signing at the Phillip Rush Center, featuring free beer from SweetWater, food and cupcakes. Palladino will also be accepting donations to Georgia Equality. A second meet-and-greet will take place later in June at Athens’ Avid Bookshop.
“It really is a comprehensive guide from right after you get engaged all the way to honeymoon planning, as well as things to take care of after everything is said and done in terms of sending out thank-you notes and giving gifts to all the people who helped you make it happen,” Palladino said.
In addition to a step-by-step guide to making sure the wedding day goes smoothly, “Equally Wed” offers Q&As, perspectives and advice from LGBT community members and wedding industry professionals alike.
For example, how might a woman who is transgender ensure she’s going to have a great experience at a bridal salon? Palladino spoke with a friend of hers who had been in that situation before, and shared tips like calling the salon ahead of time to ensure it’s an accepting place, or how to speak confidently with a seamstress — because depending on a woman’s phase of transition, she may have larger breasts at the time of the wedding than at the time of the dress purchase.
Palladino’s favorite photographers share information about copyrights, famed baker Ron Ben-Israel talks about personalizing wedding cakes, Wedding Paper Divas shares tips on “the art of the guest list” and an inclusive officiant from California gives ways to plan beautiful, inclusive ceremonies.
“Also, [former N*Sync vocalist] Lance Bass and his husband wrote the forward, and they were wonderful to work with,” Palladino said. “They shared some stories about their own wedding and how they made it special, and also some of the struggles of what it’s like to plan a LGBTQ wedding and realizing you’re not following the identical format of a cisgender, heterosexual wedding.”
The book also discusses ways couples can work through homophobia and transphobia while planning their ceremony and reception.
“Other than the ceremony itself, I didn’t have really any idea of what went into a wedding when I got engaged,” Palladino said. “How do I plan this massive party, bigger than anything I’ve ever planned in my life? Not necessarily what are the rules, but what are the elements I should consider?”
“Equally Wed” goes into mind-boggling detail, discussing just about everything a couple could encounter when planning their big day. Different ways to walk down the aisle, how to time the reception and ceremony, how to calculate food and alcohol costs, how to contract with photographers or other vendors — and that’s just for starters.
“There are so many components to a wedding that it can be overwhelming once you start delving into how to plan a wedding,” Palladino said. “It helps to have someone speaking to you like a best friend who already knows all that; who’s already been down that road. And if you don’t have that person in your life, a wedding planning book is the way to go.”