Planning your wedding is hectic. There’s vendors, the venue, the invitations, the outfits – the wedding checklist can seem endless. When you’re an LGBTQ+ couple, things can get even more complicated.
The wedding industry has made strides toward inclusivity in recent years, but is still heteronormative in nature. Contracts have signature lines for “bride” and “groom,” traditions like the bride walking down the aisle first are considered a given, ‘Mr.’ and Mrs.’ are taken for granted. But what if there are two brides? Or two grooms? Or something in between?
While it may seem daunting to plan your day as an LGBTQ+ couple, don’t worry. We’re here to give you a few useful tips to help take the stress out of the day, so you can focus on enjoying it!
Here’s five ways you can prepare for the big day.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Adjust Tradition, or Scrap it Entirely
Most of the traditions we associate with weddings rely on gendered roles that don’t apply to same-sex, or other types of LGBTQ+ weddings. Take our earlier example of the bride walking down the aisle first – how would that be handled at a gay wedding, where both participants are men?
Take this as an opportunity to plan your day on your terms. It is, after all, your day. Deciding which traditions to keep, which to discard, and which to modify can be a liberating feeling, as you have complete control over the situation.
If you and your spouse-to-be are fans of wedding traditions, then don’t change anything! Do whatever makes you happy.
You’re in the driver’s seat, so don’t feel pressured to conform to societal standards of what a wedding ‘should’ be. Maybe you want to walk down the aisle together, hand in hand, or approach the altar at the same time from different sides. Even the proposal is subject to a little creativity if you feel like it.
Also, don’t think that two grooms or two brides means no bachelor or bachelorette party. If you’d rather not have one, you don’t have to, but there’s no reason not to celebrate your wedding with friends because you don’t fit the outdated, gendered definition for “bachelor” or “bachelorette.”
2. Be Careful When Choosing Your Vendors
Unfortunately, despite how far we’ve come toward accepting LGBTQ+ relationships and weddings as a society, there are still some people who haven’t caught up. When looking for a vendor, make sure to find out whether they are friendly to LGBTQ+ couples.
Kristen Palladino, founder of the website Equally Wed, and author of “Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding,” describes one such experience in an article she wrote for the Washington Post.
In the piece, she reached out to non-traditional couples and asked about the challenges they faced when planning their wedding. One lesbian couple spoke of how they had to deal with discriminatory behavior from the photographer they booked.
No one should have to put up with that on their big day. Make sure you don’t waste precious time and energy on vendors who won’t behave professionally. If you have the money, consider hiring a planner who specializes in LGBTQ+ wedding planning. They’ll have an established list of reliable vendors for you to choose from.
3. Mine Social Media for Inspiration
If it’s two men getting married and they both just want to rent a tuxedo, then by all means, keep things simple. But what if you’re a lesbian couple and neither wants to wear a dress? Or what if you want to do something a little funkier?
Instagram’s got you covered. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of photos to choose from for everything from table settings to outfits to photoshoot ideas. Pinterest can also be a goldmine of inspirational fun. Scroll through the explore page, save your favorites, and adapt them however you’d like. And speaking of outfits…
4. Plan Out What You’re Wearing Way Ahead of Time
Once you have your outfit idea, starting on it months in advance gives you time to get things tailored or custom made if you have the money to spend on it. It’ll also give you time to find deals on just the right pieces if you’d rather not fork over the cash to get something specially made.
If you do plan to wear a dress or gown – and don’t want to spoil the surprise for your spouse-to-be – you can send pictures of it to your close friend who’s helping you plan everything, or your wedding planner if you’ve hired one. They can help you both choose something that will compliment the other.
You can also get creative with the outfits of the wedding party. For example, instead of choosing one color for himself, and one for his husband that their friends had to match, Psychotherapist Mark O’Connell decided to set a theme instead.
If you want to get really colorful, you could even have each member of the wedding party wear a color from the rainbow flag. There are plenty of online resources specializing in LGBTQ+ wedding planning you can browse for ideas, help, and inspiration. Find the vibe that works best for you, and run with it.
5. Research Your Honeymoon Spot
This is especially true if you’re planning to travel internationally for your honeymoon(or if you’re planning a destination wedding), as there are some countries which may not offer the same level of legal protection or cultural acceptance that LGBTQ+ couples have here in North America.
Make sure you know the laws of where you’re going, so you can choose the right place to relax and enjoy each other’s company after your wedding. And if you don’t want to travel internationally, there are plenty of places you and your beaux can go right here in the states. Check out the ABTA’s list of the top LGBTQ+ honeymoon destinations for 2018 to get started.
For more ideas on where to go, check out our piece on the 15 Best Honeymoon Locations for 2018!
Got some of your own creative ideas or tips for planning an LGBTQ+ wedding? Let us know in the comments! Also, don’t forget to check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages for daily wedding inspiration!