The Best Party of Our Lives: Stories of Gay Weddings by Sarah Galvin (Sasquatch Books 2015) $19; 226 pp.

Best-Party-of-Our-LivesEven though she always figured she’d end up spending her life with a woman, Sarah Galvin writes that she “certainly had no interest in weddings.” They just weren’t relevant to her, except for an irksome knowledge that much of the wedding industry was biased against LGBT couples.

Later, as a writer for a newspaper in Seattle, she began getting requests to “crash” weddings and she was “blown away by the things” she saw. Weddings — especially for LGBT couples — weren’t what she thought they’d be. Their parties were “the best ones imaginable.” The stories of some she found are in The Best Party of Our Lives.

When a couple looks back on their boy-meets-boy (or girl-meets-girl) story, there’s often an element of surprise. There was an introduction, either traditionally or through modern methods like Craigslist, online or dance rave. Falling in love might’ve begun with bumps and rough spots, followed by the realization of common interests and the happy idea that you can’t get her out of your mind.

No two proposals are alike, although today’s couples almost always have some sort of prior discussion on it. The actual “Will you…” might be romantic and accompanied by one or two rings, or it may be an out-loud wondering of whether moving in together means more than merely sharing a home. And just as the proposals are varied, so are the budgets, which usually leads to a DIY ceremony that more reflects the pair.

Some of the couples in this book had entered into domestic partnerships long before they legally “married.” One couple debated marriage altogether, figuring that there was no reason to wed as an “affirmation of the love they’d known was true” for years. Some invited nearly everyone they knew, while one couple sent “Don’t Save the Date” tchotchkes. There were cakes and cake-toppers, toasts and gifts, and one “thirty-three-year relationship [that] deserved a party.”

So you got engaged over the holidays, or maybe you’ve got love on the brain. How do other LGBT couples make their special days… special? The Best Party of Our Lives is packed with ideas on that. If you’ve got stars in your eyes, a ring on your finger and romance on your mind, you’ll barely notice. For you, newlywed-to-be, The Best Party of Our Lives will fill you with happiness.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2016.