I have mentioned before that my fiance and I are not fans of weddings in general — nothing to do with the nuptials being for opposite-sex or same-sex partners. Once again, though, a friend sent me a formal invitation to his same-sex wedding to his partner of three years. I like the guy a lot, and think his partner is very nice (though I don’t really know him), but was again faced with the dilemma on how to decline the invitation since we didn’t want to go.
I debated about how honest I should be when I replied, and came up with this response, which my fiance thought was gracious and gentle, but also honest:
Dear G and M,
Congratulations very much on your engagement and upcoming plans to be married. [BB] and I also look forward to being married some time this year, as well. I know how you guys must feel — a combination of happiness, excitement, and a touch of nerves with the ultimate result in civil recognition of your relationship by our state. This is a major accomplishment of which I am sure you are justly proud and happy as we are.
[BB] and I extend our regrets on your kind invitation to attend your wedding ceremony and reception. I realized that we could just say, “sorry, can’t make it,” but I know that is not the right thing to do. It could appear that we’re blowing it off or diminishing the significance of your event. Not the case….
We both feel that a same-sex marriage ceremony is more of a civil, legal matter than a participatory event. I know that is different from how most people feel — gay or straight — about weddings. To most, a wedding ceremony is something to witness and applaud. To us, it’s a procedural matter that will gain us long-overdue and deserved equal treatment and recognition of our relationship by the state where we live. Pure and simple — nothing more, nothing less. We’ve been together in a stable, committed relationship for almost 20 years. It would be one thing if we had recently met, courted, then married — like most opposite-sex young couples do. We are a same-sex long-term committed couple. We think that’s different.
Further, both [BB] and I are not fond of wedding receptions. Call us old fogies or party-poopers, but social events like that are not fun for us. As you know, we don’t drink alcohol, don’t dance, and [BB] is not the social sort. Your reception starts in the evening and as you know, I turn into a pumpkin early. I know you may offer counters to these issues, but please accept that party environments of any sort make both of us uncomfortable. It’s not you guys whatsoever. It’s us.
Please don’t take this as being negative toward your wedding and reception. We share your joy in wanting to celebrate your marriage with your family and friends. Our own feelings are just that — about ourselves and how we are thinking about our marriage.
We both wish you guys lots of fun, happiness, and joy on your wedding and for many years to come as a married couple committed to one another through life.
Best wishes always,
[BHD] and [BB]
By the way, lest you think we’re cheap and decline wedding invitations because we don’t want to send a gift, that’s wrong. We will send something nice — and useful.
Life is short: be honest.