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5 Things You Should Never Ask an Engaged Same-Sex Couple

Find out how to avoid an etiquette minefield by not asking these inappropriate questions of your recently engaged LGBTQ friend or family member.

lesbian couple engaged

lesbian couple engaged

Photo: Randy + Ashley

So an important LGBTQ person in your life just announced their engagement — that’s awesome for them! But, even after nationwide marriage equality, same-sex weddings are still not very common, so if their upcoming nuptials will be your first with two brides or two grooms, you want to be sure you’re being respectful. Chances are, your LGBTQ friend or relative is fielding lots of questions about their engagement, so be sure that you’re not adding to the fray with some potentially insensitive comments or questions.

Check out these 5 things you should never ask an engaged same-sex couple!

So, which one of you is the man/woman?

If many same-sex couples had a nickel for every time they’d been asked which one is the man (in a lesbian relationship) or the woman (in a gay relationship)....there would be a lot of nickels. Even though this may seem like an innocent or amusing question, it’s actually pretty offensive. Suffice it to say that if there are two women engaged to be married, there isn’t a man in the relationship. Same goes for two engaged men — neither of them is the woman. While some LGBTQ people may choose gender presentations that don’t match the gender they were assigned at birth (i.e. a woman who is more comfortable in men’s clothing, and therefore chooses a suit or tux for the wedding), unless they identify as trans or gender-fluid, they aren’t becoming another gender.

Will you have a “normal” wedding?

To be fair, LGBTQ commitment ceremonies of the past didn’t closely mirror the celebrations straight couples were hosting. However, as states and, finally, the nation, recognized marriage equality, many same-sex couples began to have pretty traditional weddings with all the fixings of their straight counterparts. This isn’t to say your first same-sex wedding won’t include a few gender-bending or cultural surprises, but it will likely follow the outline of all the other weddings you’ve been to with a short ceremony, cocktail hour and a reception with lots of music and dancing. So, skip this question, RSVP “yes” and get ready to have a good time!

gay engagement photo

Photo: Derek Chad Photography

You won’t be married in a church/synagogue/mosque, will you?

It’s true that many faiths haven’t always welcomed LGBTQ worshippers, but that’s changing rapidly, and many same-sex couples do choose places of worship for their wedding ceremonies. From traditional Hindu ceremonies to weddings infused with Jewish faith traditions to conservative Christian weddings, lesbian and gay couples have lots of options to honor their faith during the wedding. And while many LGBTQ people live secular lives, it can be hurtful to assume that an engaged same-sex couple isn’t religious, or has a contentious relationship with religion.

When do we break into “It’s Raining Men?” Before or after the Gay Chorus performance?

While we can’t say for certain what your friend or family member has planned for their wedding, it likely won’t look anything like a Pride parade or other LGBTQ community event. Don’t expect to witness the sacred exchange of rainbow flags or serenade them to a gay anthem during the first dance. This isn’t to say you won’t hear “I’m Coming Out” or “Same Love” during the reception, or find a little nod to the LGBTQ community at some point in the evening, but it is to say that “pride” can mean vastly different things to different people. For many same-sex couples, LGBTQ culture won’t really factor into their weddings as they choose to instead focus on who they are as individuals and as a couple.

Are you brides-to-be excited about dress shopping?

Wedding attire is one of the most prominent distinctions of LGBTQ weddings, particularly for couples with two women. Just because two of your favorite gals have decided to get engaged, don’t get too excited about the prospect of seeing two traditional wedding gowns. Lots, although not all, queer women will feel more comfortable in wedding attire that isn’t a traditional wedding dress. Often, one bride will wear something more feminine-presenting, like a dress, and one bride will wear something more masculine-presenting, like a suit. Other times, both brides will wear pants or suits. Still other times, both brides will choose dresses, one that is a more traditional shade of white, and one that is another color. The possibilities are endless for two bride weddings, so instead of asking this question, just show up and be ready for the surprise!