On the surface, a same sex wedding or a wedding between members of the LGBTQ+ community isn’t much different from the traditional “bride and groom” situation. You say your vows, sign the papers, and in the United States, you’re legally married – regardless of gender. But, the truth is that so many wedding traditions are incredibly gendered, and planning an LGBTQ+ wedding can mean that there isn’t a standard rulebook for how your day should go. There are plenty of wedding tips out there – but your wedding might look a little different, and that should be celebrated, not molded to fit the traditions and expectations the wedding industry often comes with! There are more factors to think about and things to take into consideration that don’t cross many heterosexual couples’ minds – so this guide will take you through some LGBTQ+ wedding planning tips!
Before the wedding happens and we get into LGBTQ+ wedding planning tips, there’s the proposal – which has its own gendered traditions. Talk to your partner about what the two of you want when it comes to popping the question. Maybe one of you wants to propose or be proposed to, or maybe both of you want the experience of asking and being asked! Maybe both of you want to wear engagement rings, or maybe rings aren’t your thing to begin with.
There’s no need to feel pressured to squeeze your relationship into the traditional gender roles of proposing – figure out what works for the two of you!
As every LGBTQ+ person and couple knows, there’s a huge difference between “allowing” same sex weddings and truly embracing them – and when it comes to choosing your wedding venue, you shouldn’t have to settle for the former!
Your wedding venue will likely be one of the first decisions you make as you get into the planning process, and it will likely be one of your biggest expenses. There are directories like Engayged Weddings to help you get started, and here are a few tips for making sure your wedding venue is LGBTQ+ friendly!
One of the first things you can do when you find a wedding venue that you like is look through their photos – both on their website and on Instagram. Are there any same sex couples featured?
While not having any photos of seemingly LGBTQ+ couples may not always be a total deal breaker, showcasing those photos is a great sign that the venue celebrates couples that don’t fit into our society’s heteronormative view of marriage.
This is your wedding day, and you have every right to be upfront with your questions. You’ll likely schedule a consultation call with a venue coordinator, where you can ask if they’ve ever hosted a same sex wedding, ask them how LGBTQ+ couples are treated, ask about the venues values as well as the values of the people they employ. The coordinator can be totally friendly and accepting, but there are a lot of people involved in your wedding day, and the last thing you want is a waiter who gives you a glare all night.
Most venues will have reviews on Google, The Knot, Wedding Wire, or all three! It’s always important to read reviews from past couples, but it can be especially helpful to read any that were left by other LBGTQ+ couples. This is probably one of the best ways to gauge how LGBTQ+ friendly the venue is!
There are no rules when it comes to deciding what to wear on your wedding day. You can wear a dress or a suit, a pantsuit or a cape, a white dress or a black dress, a black suit or a gold one – don’t be afraid to get creative with it!
Some couples like to talk about their attire beforehand – whether it’s coordinating dress length, matching ties, or complementary pops of color, even if you aren’t seeing each other’s attire before the wedding day, you can discuss with your partner and set some ground rules.
Many of the traditions of wedding ceremonies cater to the gender binary – the groom walks down the aisle first, waiting for the bride to be walked down by her father. But, one of the best LGBTQ+ wedding planning tips I’ve got is to remember that you don’t have to follow traditions! It’s totally fine to keep the ones you like – maybe you want to do a cake cutting but the bouquet toss feels outdated. Don’t hesitate to think outside the box and get creative! Here are some tips for the ceremony.
One way to change up the traditional walking-down-the-aisle order is to have two! That way you can walk down at the same time, without feeling like one of you is the center of attention while the other waits. Ask your venue ahead of time if this would be possible!
There are other ways to jazz up this part of your ceremony – you can have a friend or another family member walk you down the aisle, or even join your partner and walk down together!
Traditionally, the wedding party is divided by gender – but just like all the other “rules” in these LGBTQ+ wedding tips, you can make this one your own! Instead of worrying about having the same number of people on either side or thinking about the gender of the people in your life, choose the ones you really believe should be next to you on your wedding day – dress or suit, it’s about choosing the people who matter to you. And if a wedding party isn’t your thing, it’s fine to not have one!
Unfortunately, it’s common for members of the LGBTQ+ community to have strained relationships with family members, or to have to deal with people who aren’t supportive. Weddings include a lot of family traditions, and there can be a lot of pressure to invite relatives that people feel are “supposed to” be there – but this is your wedding day, and there’s no reason why you should feel obligated to invite someone who doesn’t make you feel loved and supported. When writing your guest list, think about who you really want to be there!
Your wedding vendors play a huge part in your day – and you want them to be nothing but thrilled for you and your soon to be spouse. Just like finding a venue, there are a few things you can do to scope out the wedding vendors – look at their portfolios (for photographers and videographers), look for LGBTQ+ affirming badges on their websites, and don’t be afraid to ask them directly!
A photographer and videographer are going to be some of the most important vendors (not to toot our own horns) that you’ll hire, as they’ll be responsible for documenting the day, and they’ll also be spending pretty much all day with you! If you’re planning your wedding, contact us – we’ll celebrate with you the way your love deserves to be celebrated, and help you find other vendors who will do the same!