feature image photo by Klaus Vedfelt via Getty Images
Wedding planning isn’t exactly known for being sexy.
There are attempts to inject some sex appeal into the long and layered process. Some wedding photographers offer boudoir photoshoot add-ons, and even though I wasn’t interested in that service specifically, I had an eye toward finding a photographer who could take, well, horny photos, because hey, those are my personal priorities in life. I want my wedding photos to be hot.
I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, when my fianceé Kristen proposed, it almost reanimated a version of the intoxicating New Relationship Energy experienced at the beginning of hooking up with someone. A honeymoon phase before any actual honeymoon. We’re always extremely into each other and have high sex drives, but the engagement also brought a level of romance back to our daily lives, something that ebbs and flows for all couples. We went on dates, on trips, and found a million different ways to celebrate the engagement just between the two of us.
But then it came time to actually start planning the wedding. Time for spreadsheets and phone calls and a bunch of other nitty gritty logistical things. We were both spread pretty thin — me with my editing work and personal projects, her with finishing a draft of her next novel, not to mention just regular life obligations — so wedding planning got slotted in on the side, on late nights or over the weekend or during morning coffee. I texted my sister, my unofficial wedding planner, at odd hours and sporadically. I attempted to have as many organizational systems as possible, including the aforementioned spreadsheets, but it was haphazard and scattered.
During this time at the beginning of planning, I also encountered a lot of gendered assumptions about who was doing the bulk of the planning. People would ask me — and just me! — how wedding planning was going, even if Kristen was right there. Even though we’re two queer people getting married, we couldn’t escape the heteronormative assumption that I, as the more femme presenting person in the couple, was in charge. My feelings about this were complicated by the fact that, in truth, I am taking the lead on a lot of the planning. But it’s not because Kristen isn’t interested, excited, or willing to help. We just both know I’m more particular in my vision and that one of my favorite things in life is to plan a party, and this is the ultimate party. So, yes, I probably had more to say about how wedding planning was going, and yet I felt resentful they were only asking me.
Wedding planning wasn’t stressful back then, but I did feel an ambivalence about it. In the past couple months though, something changed. I’m loving wedding planning. Kristen is, too. We’re having genuine fun with it. And it all comes down to the solution we found to several things at once. We found a way to make wedding planning 1. More organized, 2. More of a shared experience, and 3. HOT!!!!!!!!! And it’s quite simple, really: We go on wedding planning dates.
Once or twice a week depending on how many tasks we have to get through, we pick one of our favorite date night spots where it wouldn’t be weird to bring a laptop (so more of a bar or cafe vibe versus a restaurant) and go on a date that doubles as a planning session. We make a manageable to-do list for each of these dates, usually focusing on a specific overarching task, like when we were searching for a wedding photographer and used one of these dates to look through potential candidates’ websites and socials, full wedding galleries sent by folks we’d already had consultation calls with, and scheduled calls with others. We order food and drinks, take breaks from planning, and treat it like a real date, making sure to talk about more than just the planning itself, including all the fun stuff we’re looking forward to about wedding weekend. More than once, a wedding planning date has immediately been followed by sex. We’re connecting intimately over the planning, and it’s reminding us why we’re having a big wedding in the first place. We’re obsessed with each other and want to channel that energy into throwing a really fantastic celebration of our love with all the other people we love.
Which brings me to this, the single greatest piece of wedding advice I’ve received throughout this process: Make a new Gmail account for wedding planning. I know, I know, email logistics don’t scream HOT (…for everyone). But this was a tip imparted by a wedding photographer (who we ultimately didn’t go with for budget reasons, but I’ll be forever grateful to her for this advice), and it’s a gamechanger. Make an entirely new Google account for wedding planning purposes. You can give it a cute name or just make it literally your name + your partner’s name + wedding. Start using this email to do all your vendor reachouts and consultation calls. Use the calendar to add important deadlines and payment schedules. Add wedding planning date nights to the calendar, too! Then, when you go on one of these dates, you can open up that email account and not have to also see work emails or other personal emails that might be in your other accounts. It kind of turns wedding planning into its own part time job, which honestly, sometimes it feels exactly like that! Having the shared account where all wedding things are organized makes it a lot easier to focus when planning, which then frees you up to connect in other ways on these dates, because everything is streamlined and easier to keep track of.
Wedding planning dates have made it so Kristen and I have more shared ownership over the process. It feels collaborative and infinitely more organized. It’s also just fun and sexy to plan over a glass of wine and oysters. And these dates don’t have to happen out. They can just as easily take place at home, which we’ve done during busier weeks and when we don’t want to spend too much money (because, hello, weddings are expensive as is!). Make dinner or order in. Keep it simple, keep it sexy. Maybe every time you check something off the list, you get to treat yourselves to a literal treat or…something spicier. If you want a hot, queer wedding, the planning should feel hot and queer, too.