Editor’s Note: This interview is part of our special focus on LGBTQ issues in the month of June.
It’s a wonderful month in the grand ol’ US of A; Pride Month! A month when we all fly our rainbow flags and attend marches and celebrate a beautiful thing: love. Another way to celebrate love: weddings! And coincidentally (or not) June is the start of wedding season, along with Pride Month.
Pride Month and weddings have something in common: they’re both celebrations of love. For Pride Month, people all over the world declare that they love who they love and who they are. At weddings, two people declare their love for each other. That’s a wonderful thing.
But for a time when we celebrate LGBTQ love and the start of a slew of weddings, there seems to be lacking in a representation of both of those together. Laura Leigh Abby noticed this when she planned her own wedding; not much material out there is directed to a wedding with LGBTQ couples. It was because of this that she started 2Brides2Be, a blog full of advice, true stories, and pictures of real, beautiful weddings where yes, the couples are two brides. The blog eventually became a guide book: 2Brides 2Be: A Same-Sex Guide for the Modern Bride.
I wanted to know more about 2Brides 2Be and Laura’s thoughts on the beautiful wedding submissions she’s received to the blog. Read our discussion below.
How did the journey from blog to book happen?
The journey happened quite organically. I was having coffee with a publisher—Lisa Weinert of Archer Lit—and she loved the idea of 2Brides2Be and thought it would make a great book. I agreed that it was time for a new take on the “gay” wedding guide, and we went from there. I really based the layout of the book on what I believed was missing in my own search for a wedding guide when I planned my own wedding.
2Brides 2Be has been described as “the first of its kind.” Did you feel any pressure from this? Did that feeling change before and after the publication date?
The only pressure I felt was to publish a book that I believed was truly going to help couples throughout the process of planning a wedding. There’s a lot nobody really talked about before this book, and that includes topics like coming out to family, walking down the aisle, and what it really feels like to kiss your new wife in front of a crowd of family and friends. My whole outlook on life is one of transparency, and I would have loved to have a book like this when I got engaged.
The book includes input from other brides, as well as wedding professionals so you’re getting a well-rounded look at wedding planing as a same-sex couple.
How often is it that a submission to your website gets you emotional? Any particular couples/weddings/proposals that stand out?
Almost every single submission gets me emotional on some level. Whether it’s a couple who has overcome adversity, a super thoughtful proposal story or two brides who really, truly planned their wedding their way, I love being able to share their stories. The diversity you see on the site is something that really stands out for me. There are a lot of wedding blogs that emphasize a cookie cutter aesthetic and I prefer seeing brides who plan weddings that really celebrate them as a unique couple.
Proposal stories always stand out to me, especially when the details are so personal for the couple. The proposals featured on 2Brides2Be pull out all the stops; there are scavenger hunts, surprise trips, hidden families, hidden photographers, quirky details that celebrate the individuals … it’s inspiring seeing how much effort goes into these engagement stories.
You’ve written for several different platforms. What does it mean to you to share your pieces with an audience? Why is it important to you to be so vocal?
I feel incredibly lucky that there are various platforms on which I get to publish my writing. A lot of my work is about my normal every day life with my wife and child. Some people might not think they can relate to us, but in reality, all families are more alike than we may realize. Any time I can tell you about what it means for me to be a wife or a mother, and any time I can share inspiring love stories between two women, that’s a chance for me to remind the world–or whoever might be reading–that love is the thread that truly connects us all. I am grateful for the opportunity and the support that allows me to be so vocal, because I know there are times when writers like myself are helping to speak for someone out there who may not feel safe or accepted. I frequently hear from people who read my work and say, “Wow, my story is just like yours,” and I feel like I helped someone feel a little less alone in the world.
Do you have any plans for more guides for lesbian couples in the future? Any more from the 2Brides 2Be project?
Nothing in the works yet, but never say never. For now, the website is updated frequently with inspring love stories.
What’s your favorite unique thing that a couple has done for their wedding?
I have favorites from so many weddings. There’s a recent couple that had everyone do a shot at the start of the ceremony, one that brewed all the beer for their wedding, and one that got married on a dock in Alberta. I love when couples spend their wedding day getting ready together, because they don’t want to miss a moment with each other. I love when couples choose to wear what feels right, rather than the expected wedding attire. Some brides have lawn games like cornhole and horseshoes during cocktail hour and others plan tropical destination weddings to celebrate with family and friends. The best thing any couple can do is find out what is best for them and plan the wedding of their dreams together.
Hannah Hohman is associate editor at Foreword Reviews. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.