Planning a Gay Wedding: 5 Practical Tips for Your Ceremony

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

No one said that planning a wedding would be easy. Certainly, planning a gay wedding is no walk in the park. There’s a lot to consider. There’s a hell of a lot to arrange and organise, too. It’s enough to make anyone want to elope. What makes planning a wedding harder for gay couples is that the wedding industry in the UK (and in many places abroad, too) has remained very hetero-normative despite same-sex marriage being legalised in 2013.

Things take time to change.

Weddings have been exclusively the domain of opposite-sex couples for so long that much of the terminology and expectation is still heavily influenced by ideas of man and wife. It can be frustrating but inevitable to see bridal boutiques, bridal suites etc. Gay men, in particular, will quickly realise how traditionally, wedding planning was the domain of the woman.

Same-sex couples are nothing if not adaptable because they’ve had to be.  What’s great about gay weddings is that there’s a chance to reject and alter many of the traditions that don’t speak to or work for the couple.

Ripping up the playbook comes easier to same-sex couples than straight ones. With that in 
mind, we’ve got 5 simple tips for planning your gay wedding ceremony, and we’d love to hear what advice you’d give to couples approaching their big day.

1.  First-look photographs are a fantastic idea. Unless you’re super superstitious (do any of us really believe that seeing your partner on the day of the wedding is bad luck?) waiting to see your partner at the altar is an old tradition that has little to no relevance in the modern wedding and first-look photographs often provide real emotion and provide fantastic keepsakes – usually overshadowing the more posed photographs from later in the day.

Photo by Natasha Fernandez from Pexels

2.  It often takes more than a man to raise a bride or groom and mothers have been left out of heterosexual weddings for too long! Invite both parents to walk you down the aisle or if that’s not suitable or possible then ask close friends, family members or anyone in your life that deserves a spot by your side. Men, we are talking to you, too!  The entrance is such a touching moment and it’s a beautiful way of honouring those you love whilst having a bit of support as you walk towards your partner.

Or why not walk down the aisle with your partner together.  You’re embarking on married life together and who better to have by your side as you go to make your vows than the person you love.

3.  Let’s face it as a gay couple you’re probably not getting married in a church. For LGBTQ Christians, this can be hard but by embracing what’s important to you and your partner you can bring religion, spirituality or any belief system into your ceremony. You can customise the experience entirely to better fit your personality.  Blending two faiths together – if you and your partner have different belief systems – is a great way to honour both religions.  Otherwise known as interfaith ceremonies this could see traditional dress, language and customs mixed with the practices of an entirely different system of belief: Hindu and Christian or Atheist and Pagan.  This works on an intercultural level, too. Perhaps your partner is Nigerian or Indian or Jamaican: how can you introduce their history, dress and customs (or your own) into the ceremony and reception.

Of course, not all religions are against same-sex marriage.  We’d recommend looking to the Unitarian Church if you’d like a religious service that accepts homosexuality. 

Photo by Qazi Ikram Ul Haq from Pexels

4.  Readings at weddings are popular and most people don’t want one that doesn’t reflect their personality.  Personalisation is such a key element in a wedding and it's why same-sex couples will probably have to look outside the usual channels. Most wedding readings are hetero-normative. You'll be talking 'he' and 'she' and 'man' and 'wife'. Sure, sometimes you can switch the pronouns around but, generally, they aren’t always suitable without some tweaking.

That’s why same-sex couples can look at TV and film for inspiration.  If there’s a television show you love watching together or if an on-screen or on-page wedding resonated with you both then why not include it. You could even ask someone to write a reading for you or you could ask someone to recite advice from their own marriage or relationships. There's plenty to pick from in literature, too, including William Shakespeare. 

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