When it comes to planning a wedding, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. As far as planning a same-sex wedding goes, there are even less guidelines for engaged couples to follow. With two brides or two grooms, same-sex couples can be unsure of to how to navigate the traditionally gender-specific nuances of their big day.
So how do gay weddings work? The answer is, they work like any other wedding — you get to decide which traditions to include and how to adapt them. Trust us — if you focus on finding the perfect way for you and your partner to express your unique love, the rest will naturally fall into place.
Gay wedding etiquette FAQs
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t experience any obstacles while planning your big day. However, just in case you are unsure of how to approach a specific tradition, we’ve created this gay wedding etiquette guide for your reference. We hope this helps you and your partner find creative alternatives to overcome roadblocks and enrich your union.
1. Who should be paying for our gay wedding?
All weddings, gay or straight, eventually need to address the same dreaded question — – who’s going to pay for all of this?
Luckily, for fathers of the bride everywhere, traditions such as the bride’s family footing the entire wedding bill have been thrown out of the proverbial window. Now more than ever, couples are choosing to pay for their own wedding or split the bill more equitably between families.
The trend toward independence
The default has shifted toward couples picking up the tabs themselves, potentially with help from their families if offered. Same-sex couples seem to be particularly on board with this trend. In 2014, 86 percent of surveyed gay and lesbian partners reported that they paid for their own nuptials, compared to 40 percent of heterosexual couples.
Your money, your decision
Remember, you don’t have to follow the crowd. Deciding who is going to foot the bill is a personal decision, and it should depend on your finances as well as your families’ situations.
Looking for additional ways to save money on your wedding? These 10 tips can help you trim tens of thousands off of your wedding budget.
2. What titles do we give our attendants?
Choosing your wedding party is a delicate operation for any couple. “Will you be my best man/maid of honor?” can be a stressful question, especially if you have multiple people vying for the positions.
For same sex-couples, things can be trickier. If you are both brides, do you each have bridesmaids — or should one of them throw on a fitted suit and be your best man? What if your primary attendant identifies as non-binary?
Let the name fit the person
You can title your attendants in any way that seems to fit, and of course, they can be any gender. If you want to skip the semantics, you can simplify the process and call everyone in your wedding party “attendants.” At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the comfort of you, your partner, and your wedding party.
3. What are our invite obligations?
Gay wedding invitation etiquette can be particularly delicate. Despite all of the progress that gay rights advocates have made over the years, it is still common for a queer bride or groom to have family members who don’t support their union.
Treat family fairly
Opinions can be divided on whether to invite these unsupportive relatives. Traditional wedding invitation etiquette holds that immediate family should always receive an invitation, no matter what, and that extended family should be invited on an all-or-none basis. That means, if you’re going to invite Uncle Sid, you also have to invite the aunt who still thinks you’re “going through a phase.”
Love comes first
LGBT rights activists and gay marriage etiquette experts tend to err on the side of inclusivity. First, it can be one more chance to mend a relationship and enrich your family life. It can also be a way for you to show your challenging family members that your union and your ceremony are about love and commitment, just like theirs. Many opinions on gay marriage change through this kind of personal experience.
The exception to the rule
That being said, if there is someone whose presence would make you truly uncomfortable, leave them out. This day is about your happiness, love, and commitment, and if you believe someone may want to detract from that, it is okay to leave them out.
4. Who walks whom down the aisle?
The father-daughter walk down the aisle is still a beautiful thing for many brides, but it doesn’t work for everyone. To start, your wedding might not have a bride. Or, you might have two brides, both of whose fathers are gearing up to walk them down the aisle.
Whatever your situation, you should walk down the aisle with a person who is special to you, whether that is your dad, uncle, sister, or best friend. Who you want by your side at that moment is entirely up to you.
Not sure how to include your dad(s) in the wedding? Check out these 8 unconventional ways to involve your dad in your wedding day.
5. How can we incorporate our faith traditions?
Although faith can be a beautiful addition to your gay wedding ceremony, finding the best way to incorporate it can be confusing. Your shared religion may not support your union, or you may have different faiths that need to be incorporated. Either way, you don’t have to erase your heritage from the ceremony, even if you’re hosting your wedding outside of a house of worship.
To decide, talk to your families, your faith leaders, and each other. There are plenty of cultural and religious customs that you can incorporate into an interfaith or otherwise secular wedding, including:
- Breaking a glass underfoot, as in the Jewish tradition
- Placing crowns on each new spouse’s head, as in the Greek Orthodox tradition
- Handfasting, a custom that involves draping or tying cloth around the couple’s joined hands, as in the Celtic traditions
- Incorporate words of faith into your vows, in the manner of your own tradition
Ultimately, your choice of cultural traditions will depend on your individual family backgrounds and what is important to you.
Same sex wedding etiquette – you do you
At the end of the day, your wedding is yours. As long as you make your decisions out of respect and love, it’s hard to go wrong.
So go ahead. Start your married life by expressing and celebrating who you are. After all, isn’t that the point of any wedding?
Looking for information on how to approach the logistics for your big day? Check out these 5 tips for planning your LGBTQ wedding. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages for daily wedding inspiration!