The Lesbian Bride’s Handbook

Is white appropriate? What’s the right term for a groom who’s a woman? And what to say to her mother?

  1. What is the right thing to wear to a wedding? Women have been asking themselves this question for generations and, I suppose, coming up with many of the same answers as I have. Black and gray, the colors I usually wear, are obviously too somber. Red is a bad idea: too garish, too iconic—the whore instead of the virgin—and, as a saleswoman at Saks explained to me, one doesn’t want to draw attention away from the bride. But then I am the bride. Sort of.

    For several months, admitting that detail filled me with a flickering dread. I knew what would inevitably follow: “Why aren’t you wearing white?” Eventually, I realized that, obviously, I could just tell Katie at Barneys or Jen at Chloé, “Because I prefer color.” But at first, I felt compelled to tell the whole mortifying truth: “Because it’s a gay wedding.” Or, if I couldn’t quite get those words out of my mouth: “Because it’s not a real wedding.”

    A real wedding was not something I was raised to want. My parents were bohemians of a sor...

The complete text of “The Lesbian Bride’s Handbook” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on

Originally published in New York, April 2007

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