Chosen family are people you choose to play significant roles in your life although they are not biological or legally related to you. At times, your chosen family can even play a larger role in your life than your biological family. Chosen family has been more popularized recently in the LGBTQ+ community and with more people coming out, chosen families have become a staple in queer circles.
For me, my chosen family has been my saving grace. They were there for me during milestones in my life, the loss of loved ones, and more recently, during my entire wedding season. Having my chosen family surround me during this season was crucial.
My partner and I had been dating for 4 years when we became engaged. Shortly after our proposals to one another we came out to our parents. As we expected, our parents did not accept or support us, and we had years of tough conversations, and quite honestly mental and emotional breakdowns. During this season, we only had our friends who turned into our chosen family to support us. They stood with us, held us, mentored us, and cried with us throughout the toughest times of our relationship. At times, they played the roles of our parents, our siblings, or extended family. Their ability to step into roles where our parents refused to be, was at times the only thing that held us together. It is because of this that I say that they saved our wedding day.
The days leading up to our wedding were brutal. The realization that we would not have certain traditions like a bridal shower was a tough pill to swallow, because it was a reminder that neither of our Mom’s were there. But our wedding party stepped in that week to throw us an amazing butchalorette party that helped soften the blow and surround us with tons of love.
Rehearsal dinners are typically a time where families and friends of the couple are able to meet one another. We did not have that. In fact, my mom did not meet my wife’s dad till years after our wedding. Instead, we had a rehearsal dinner with no family, rather an intimate setting of our closest friends.
They even had a candle ceremony, where we all got into a circle and shared affirmations and they poured into us the night before we said I do.
On our wedding day, Zabrina and I decided to get ready together since our moms were not there to help, so we opted to have a first look with our chosen family instead, which of course was full of tears.
We didn't have the traditional parent roles in the ceremony, or the reception. Our dad’s did not give us away, nor did they dance with us. Our wedding party walked us through each step of the way the entire day. I felt them holding me as I walked down the aisle alone.
They spoke life over us during their speeches sharing in detail what it meant to be our chosen family and even performed a choreographed first dance with us because we chose to not have any traditional dances during the reception. To say the least, they loved us the exact ways we needed, and filled the gaps that our family was supposed to fill.
I think it is really cool that over the course of a week's time, my best friends and Zabrina’s best friends left being each other's best friends. It was like having our two families blend into one.
Our wedding party is still our chosen family til this day. We share and support each other, and they have organically become closer to us than some of our biological family. Two and a half years later, our parents are still not supportive or involved like we would like them to be and I don't know if they’ll ever fully be onboard or supportive, but thankfully the support of our chosen family will always be enough.
Photo Credit: Kenzie Kate Photography