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Should I invite unsupportive relatives to my gay wedding?

August 07, 2013|Anna Pulley, @annapulley | RedEye's sex columnist

I’m getting civil unioned to my girlfriend soon, and I’m wondering, what’s the gay wedding invite etiquette? Do I invite people who don’t know I’m gay or who I know will be morally against it, just to be polite? On the one hand, it’s a convenient way to come out to distant family. On the other, maybe it’s stupid and pointless? I won’t be terribly sad if my crazy aunt doesn’t come, but I’m torn, nonetheless.--Rules of Engaygment

Politeness has its place, to be sure. I’m certainly in favor of it when it comes to things like, not defecating on the sidewalk, but this is your wedding we’re talking about, not tea with the Royal Baby. Aside from the legal-contract-with-the-government business, this is your day to celebrate your big, gay love with friends, family, your exes and your exes’ exes, whom you’ve also dated. Why would you want to invite anyone who wouldn’t want to share in the love and joy you and your partner have for each other?

When making your invite decisions, ask yourself how comfortable YOU are with certain relatives attending your wedding, not on whether you think THEY would be comfortable. If you decide you want them there, then go ahead and send an invite. You’re right that it is a convenient way to come out, albeit a slightly passive-aggressive one, but whatever. Since you’ve probably been subjected to distant relatives’ Annual Christmas Newsletter and Baby Bonanza Slideshow, then they can be subjected to one little engaygement card. It’s only fair. Besides, it’s another way to illustrate to the homophobes of the world that gay people deserve just as much love, respect and gift-registried bath towels as straight people.

But if you’re inviting people you genuinely don’t want to be there, then you’re potentially going to make a lot more people uncomfortable. What if they make a scene? What if they complain the whole time or make disparaging comments about your suspenders? What if they add a lot of unnecessary stress to an already stressful event? In other words, if you send those people an invite as a “[bleep] you,” you might end up actually [bleeping] yourself. So be mindful of that.

If you’re looking for a middle ground, some experts suggest that you host a dinner a week or two before or after the wedding for relatives who love you somewhat but not enough to want to sing “Summer Lovin’ ” with your Bieber-banged dyke friends. Others suggest that you send unsupportive relatives a wedding announcement after the big day, so they get the message that you’re a certified homo, but without giving them a chance to rain on your pride parade.

Good luck! And may your union be so much more than just civil.

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