Make Your Wedding Ceremony Your Own -Tips for LGBTQ+ Couples
Making Your Wedding Ceremony Your Own- Tips for LGBTQ+ Couples Tips for LGBTQ+ Couples Planning Their Weddings in North Carolina At Stylus Weddings, we love love! We’ve proudly served the LGBTQ+ community since before marriage equality was the law of the land. And we believe that all couples should have the wedding of their dreams!
We also understand that LGBTQ+ wedding planning can bring particular stressors and questions for the wedding couple that many other wedding professionals aren’t willing or able to address in knowledgeable and respectful ways.
We’re here to save the day!
Stylus Weddings DJs have the experience, awareness, and style needed to answer all your questions and create a wedding day experience that exceeds all of your expectations!
To get you started, we’ve put together some tips and considerations to create the wedding ceremony you and your spouse-to-be deserve!
Create a Wedding Ceremony That Works for You
LGBTQ+ couples are in a unique position to create a wedding that wholeheartedly embraces all that they are and all that they want to be.
Wedding guests often expect LGBTQ+ weddings to depart from the traditional. This gives you and your spouse-to-be incredible freedom to fully recreate the meaning of “wedding,” to surprise everyone with a thoroughly traditional affair, or to combine the two to highlight the multitude of complexities and blessings that come with being a part of the queer community.
Stylus Weddings specializes in wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions that go above and beyond the typical. We work with you to learn what makes you and your fiance extraordinary and will craft a wedding experience tailored to exactly who you are!
The Wedding Party
When thinking about who you want to stand next to you as you say your vows and kiss your beloved for the first time as a married couple, consider all of your options.
Yes, it’s traditional to have groomsmen on the right and bridesmaids on the left during the wedding ceremony and you can certainly go with tradition. But that tradition (not to mention the wedding party titles) can be too confining or downright repulsive for many LGBTQ+ wedding couples when thinking about their own wedding.
Instead, you could arrange your chosen family around you and your soon-to-be spouse in a way that feels right without regard to gender- gathering one spouse-to-be’s close people on one side and the other’s on the other side.
Alternately, if you find that you have an equal number of femmes and butches of all genders that you’d like to include in the wedding party, it might be delightful to ask femmes to stand on the left and butches on the right (or vice versa) in a nod to tradition with a distinctly queer twist. This may work especially well if you and your spouse share a friend circle.
Don’t forget that members of the wedding party do more than just stand there! They are your support system during the wedding planning and your indispensable crew on the day you tie the knot.
For many cis-hetero wedding couples, the roles and jobs of wedding party members are assumed and set in stone. Happily, this is not the case for LGBTQ+ couples!
Wherever wedding party members stand or what titles you bestow on them, think about what tasks are best suited to each member of your wedding party.
Who will be the best help in finding the perfect dress or suit?
Who would be great at taking the lead with set-up on your big day?
Who can hold on to your rings without any risk of them misplacing them?
You know your friends better than anyone- let them be themselves too!
Invitations, Communications, and That One Relative
Invitations, wedding websites, and other communication with wedding guests can be stressful for all wedding couples. But they can be especially treacherous for many LGBTQ+ couples.
Nearly all queer couples have at least one family member who is not supportive of their love. You may also have a family member (or many family members) who are inconsistent at best in using the correct names and pronouns for one or both spouses-to-be, members of the wedding party, or other wedding guests.
There is no shame in having difficult feelings or struggling with what to do in these situations, but remember- this is your wedding and not theirs.
Your wedding day is one of the most joyous, tender, and memorable days of your life! You want to be and deserve to be fully present to enjoy it. And that goes for the pre-wedding events and details, as well.
If you go by a name that’s different than your legal name, you may need to fill in the legal name on your wedding certificate. But your guests only need to see and hear the name that is truly yours! Always use the names you love on your wedding invitations, website, wedding program, etc. You’ll likely want to keep some of these items to remember your wedding day decades from now. You won’t regret being yourself.
If you’re worried that some wedding guests might get your, your fiance’s, or other wedding guests’ names or pronouns wrong, consider including an invitation insert about respecting names and pronouns or putting a statement or link to educational information on your wedding website.
That being said, know that it isn’t your job to educate others on these topics. Setting expectations and providing guidance on respecting names and pronouns before the wedding day may curb unwanted drama on the day itself, but it’s never a required part of your wedding planning.
If a member of your wedding party or another close friend or family member is particularly skilled at educating others on respectful name and pronoun use, consider enlisting their help.
Many LGBTQ+ wedding couples also have concerns about whether or not to even invite that one relative (or two or ten or fifty relatives) who may be less than supportive at the wedding. There are many different schools of thought on whether these relatives should be invited or not.
For some, weddings can be a great place to bring people together and to start (or continue) the work of healing past traumas. For many others, it’s simply too stressful or painful to think about including someone who’s been hurtful or disrespectful in the past.
Only you and your fiance can decide what’s best for your wedding. Trust your gut and, if you’d like, enlist the input of those you trust. And remember, even if the invitation process is anxiety-producing, you’ll end up with a solid group of wedding guests and wedding professionals like our Stylus DJs looking out for you and holding you up on your big day!
Send invitations that show your style!
Feature your favorite photos on your wedding website!
Tell everyone what you love about your fiance and your relationship!
Do what feels best to the two of you! It’s your day!
Attire and Accessories
Your wedding day attire is yet another opportunity for you and your spouse-to-be to be unabashedly you!
If you’d both like to wear suits or would both like to wear dresses, one option is to wear the same cut of suit or style of dress in different colors or fabrics. You could also mismatch your suits and dresses to highlight your individual styles while adding color-coordinated accessories like boutonnieres, earrings, or shoes.
Going with a traditional suit and dress can also be a fun and exciting option for LGBTQ+ couples. Depending on the couple, this typically traditional pairing can be anything but traditional! Instead, it can be a way to play with gender presentation in a distinctly queer way. Or it could be an opportunity to finally feel at home within yourself as you put on the outfit you longed for as a child. Or both!
You could also consider mixing traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine elements within each outfit- add a train to your suit, wear stilettos with your tux, or donn a perfectly tailored blazer over your gown.
If formal isn’t your thing, consider ditching the suit or fancy wedding dress for khakis with a cardigan or a flowy skirt and tank top. And don’t be afraid to mix formal with casual elements. A white dress with black boots or a gray pinstripe suit with a lilac t-shirt will both look stunning!
Whatever you and your fiance choose, it’s always a good idea to have a stylish friend or a knowledgeable tailor or boutique owner take a look before your big day. They can help make sure that you both look stellar and well-coordinated without looking too matchy.
Walk Down the Aisle in Style, Or Don’t
While a lot of cis-hetero couples don’t give a second thought about how to make an entrance at their wedding ceremony, LGBTQ+ couples often have a lot to think about.
Would you both like to be given away? If so, do you want to be given away by a member of your family of origin or your chosen family?
Are you more comfortable entering alone? Or Together?
Do you both want to find a stealthy way to get up to the front without making the long walk down the aisle?
There’s no right or wrong answer to any of these questions. Here are just a few options to consider:
Walk down the aisle one at a time ahead of your wedding party
Each walk down the aisle with a member of your wedding party
Meet together at the back of the aisle and walk together hand in hand to the front
Both enter from side doors or entry points at the front near the spot where you will say your vows
Set up the seating so that there are two aisles and walk down alone at the same time, one of you in each aisle
Arrange the wedding guests’ chairs in a circle and enter from opposite sides
And don’t forget the music! Stylus Wedding DJs are well versed in helping you choose the ideal music for your grand (or subtle) entrances- from the traditional wedding march to the Indigo Girls’ Power of Two to ABBA’s I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do , and more.
Wedding Guest Seating
Traditionally, wedding guests are seated according to how they are connected to the wedding couple. People connected to the bride sit on the left and people connected to the groom sit on the right. At LGBTQ+ weddings, this may not make a lot of sense as there may be two brides, two grooms, or two nonbinary spouses. Even if your LGBTQ+ wedding has a bride and a groom, you may not feel comfortable with this traditional seating method. Plus, LGBTQ+ couples are more likely than cis-hetero couples to share a circle of friends, which can make it awkward for guests trying to decide where to sit.
If your wedding venue is set up for two clear seating areas, but you don’t want to follow the traditional seating rules, consider adding signage that shows your personal style while instructing guests to sit wherever they’d like. Signage can also be helpful if you do want to separate the guests into one spouse’s side or the other’s as some guests may assume there will not be any separated or assigned seating at an LGBTQ+ wedding ceremony.
If your venue allows, you could also do away with the traditional two sides altogether. Consider arranging seating in three or more sections to create two or more aisles. Or arrange the seating in a circle and say your “I do”s while literally being surrounded by your friends and family.
Traditional seating or not, it’s still a nice gesture to reserve seats for special guests, such as parents, grandparents, or children of the wedding couple.
It’s also important to consider sound. You want to make sure everyone can hear the music, readings you’d like to include, and, most importantly, your vows. Your Stylus Weddings DJ can give you input on how to set up seating or sound equipment to make sure there isn’t a dry eye in the place.
The Ceremony and Vows
Just like other aspects of the wedding, LGBTQ+ wedding couples can be as traditional or non-traditional as they’d like with the wedding ceremony itself.
If religion or a specific spiritual tradition is important to you- incorporate it!
Religious communities may not always approach LGBTQ+ folks with open arms and queer communities may not always approach religious communities with open arms either (often for good reason). But if you’ve found a home within a religious and spiritual community and it plays a role in your commitment to your soon-to-be spouse, don’t shy away from your beliefs because of the views or expectations of others. LGBTQ+ people are just as deserving of divine love and connection as anyone else!
Similarly, if you’re not religious at all or don’t feel comfortable including religious or spiritual elements in your wedding ceremony, don’t include them!
Secular weddings and marriages are just as valid as religious ones. Incorporating religious elements that might make you or your spouse-to-be uncomfortable (or worse) simply for the sake of tradition isn’t worth it. This day is yours and you deserve to feel at home and supported in all the ways that are important to you.
Incorporating non-religious cultural traditions from your or your fiance’s family heritage can be a great way to include connection to tradition and history whether you have a secular or religious wedding ceremony.
Another fantastic way to celebrate LGBTQ+ love and tradition is by including the work of other LGBTQ+ people in your ceremony. Think about reading a poem by a queer poet, playing a song by a queer musician, or mentioning the LGBTQ+ elders who came before you and helped make this day possible in your vows.
A Few More Thoughts
As you’re planning your wedding ceremony, you may feel the abundance of joys and struggles of the LGBTQ+ couples who came before you. You may also have big feelings about how far you’ve come in your own queer life. It can be healing and inspiring and a bit overwhelming to take a moment to recognize that you come from a long line of queer love and that you are also lighting the way for the next generation.
Still, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You are also simply one singular rare and beautiful couple- the history of LGBTQ+ love is big, but this day is also all about you and your extraordinary love.
We look forward to hearing your love story and playing a part in its next chapter!
Let us know what you’re envisioning for your wedding day and we’ll help you get all the details in exactly the right place!
Keep watching our blog for tips on throwing a fabulous LGBTQ+ wedding reception and for information you can give your family and friends to help get them up to speed on LGBTQ+ wedding etiquette before your big day!