Ciara and Russell Wilson Changed Their Wedding Venue Due to North Carolina’s Transgender Bathroom Law

Ciara and Russell Wilson on their wedding day at a castle in England. (Photo: @ciara/Instagram)

It seems only fitting that Ciara, whose middle name is Princess, would always dream of getting married in a castle. Well, the singer did just that when she wed Russell Wilson in July — but the couple actually originally envisioned tying the knot in North Carolina. In fact, their wedding planner, Mindy Weiss, recently told The Knot she had to plan the event three different times.

“They were first getting married in North Carolina, but they called it off due to the transgender bathroom laws,” Weiss said, referring to the state’s House Bill 2, which has prompted a boycott of the state. (They also tried Paris, but Couture Fashion Week got in the way of that.)

Before the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality last year, there were several celebrities who put their weddings on hold until their gay friends could wed everywhere, but this is the first we’ve heard of someone changing their destination entirely for political reasons.

“Truthfully, I haven’t heard too many stories of couples changing their wedding location because of strong objections,” Kellee Khalil, founder and CEO of the wedding planning app and site Loverly, tells Yahoo Style. “But I totally get it, especially with some of the most recent political puzzles.”

If you find yourself facing a moral dilemma such as Ciara and Russell Wilson’s, chances are you won’t be able to blow thousands of dollars in deposits on a moment’s notice, so this is a decision to be made carefully.

“You’ll most likely need to make your decision by a certain date or be at risk for losing hefty (sometimes nonrefundable) deposits,” Khalil says. “My biggest advice is to reach out to all of your vendors and make your grievances transparent from the get-go. Vendors are people too, and even though money is at stake … [they] might cut you a break or make special concessions.”

If you decide to change your wedding’s location and the invitations have already gone out, be sure to send out a correction card, or communicate via phone or email if you’re cutting it close. You don’t necessarily have to explain your decision to guests, Khalil explains.

“That said, if you’re really passionate about changing the circumstances of your special day and want to have your guests understand, then I would totally open up about it,” she adds. “Surely you’ll have plenty of curious close friends and family who will want to know the scoop!”

Another option that won’t risk the loss of deposits or require guests to scramble to change their travel plans is to contribute money to the cause you’re passionate about. This is along the lines of what Cyndi Lauper and Louis C.K. recently did in North Carolina; instead of canceling their shows — like Maroon 5, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Demi Lovato, and others — they donated proceeds to the LGBT advocacy group Equality North Carolina. 

Regardless of where it’s taking place, you can make a political statement at your wedding if that’s your style. One popular small gesture is to replace traditional wedding favors with cards informing guests that you’ve made charitable donations in their names. Asking for donations in lieu of gifts is also becoming more common.

“There is always a fine line between having a passion and making a statement and going too overboard with pressing your personal agendas,” Khalil says. “However, I think and encourage couples to incorporate their beliefs into their special day. That’s what modern wedding planning is all about — breaking the rules!”

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