Wedding planning can be a minefield; there’s so many traditions to consider, lots of family members to please and certain etiquette around the events of the day. With Pride Month being celebrated this June, and more LGBTQ+ couples planning their big day than ever before, we reveal eight things to consider when planning your same sex wedding.
What happens when there’s no rulebook? Same sex weddings are fairly new in the UK, having only become legal in 2014, so for LGBTQ+ couples planning their big day, it’s all about doing what feels right. Discover our top tips below.
8 Things to Consider When Planning a Same Sex Wedding
A wedding is all about celebrating your special love for one another so if anything that is deemed a ‘wedding tradition’ that doesn’t make sense to you or feels outdated then you can simply ignore it.
The only part of a wedding you have to do is the official wording of the vows if you want to make it legal, everything else after that is up for personalisation.
Everything from the first dance and cutting of the cake to the bouquet toss can be changed to suit your personality and budget, so be creative and have some fun with it. You never know you might just create a new LGBTQ+ wedding tradition that other couples enjoy for years to come.
Combine Your Pre-wedding Celebrations
If you have a lot of friends and family in common and mix in similar social circles, you might want to combine your ‘stag’ or ‘hen’ dos to avoid inviting the same people to two events. Combining parties can be a lot more fun too. You’re getting married to your other half so they’re probably the person you most love to party with anyway!
Get Around Traditional Gendered Wedding Roles
The well-known, traditional wedding party goes – bride, groom, best man, maid of honour, ushers and bridesmaids. These are really gender-specific roles and they don’t really represent a lot of marriages in 2022.
A lot of same-sex weddings have a mixture of male and female attendants instead. Without the classic labels though you’ll need to make sure everyone in your party knows what is expected of them.
If you’ve not called anyone your ‘best man’ or ‘maid of honour’ then you’ll have to make sure someone is arranging your hen or stag do, likewise when it comes to speeches.
Walking Down the Aisle
If you can’t decide who will walk down the aisle and who will wait at the top, or simply don’t like the idea of sticking to this tradition, then don’t.
There are plenty of other options including walking down the aisle together, walking down the aisle one at a time with a parent or friend to “give you away” (give you support) or neither of you walking down the aisle and just being there in the ceremony room to greet everyone on your guest list.
Embrace the Rainbow
If white isn’t your colour or seems a little bit conservative to you then have fun with colours instead. Go as bright and bold as you fancy with your outfits and wear what you feel comfortable with.
The same goes for your wedding decor – at same-sex weddings it can be fun to go with a rainbow theme as a symbol of LGBTQ+ pride too.
Perhaps you could take inspiration from garden designer Manoj Malde and Clive Gillmor, who were the first to ever exchange nuptials at the Chelsea Flower Show on the 22nd of May. The couple wed in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony, and exchanged vows in the RHS and Eastern Eye Garden of Unity, which Malde designed himself. The garden was adorned with spiritually significant plants such as Japanese cherry, cardoon and oregano, which complimented the vibrant decorations and brightly dressed guests.
“Isn’t it a glorious idea?” says James Alexander-Sinclair, an RHS judge who introduced the ceremony. “Somebody who actually designs this garden about bringing people together, and then gets married [in] it. It’s just a really nice way to connect the whole thing together.”
Manoj and Clive beautifully harnessed personal inspiration for their ceremony, with small but significant touches serving as an ode to their beliefs.
Changing Your Name
In typical wedding traditions, the bride takes the groom’s surname, and although many modern heterosexual couples are choosing to go against this ‘rule’ in today’s world, the question of who takes whose name after the big day is one to consider when planning your nuptials.
You could either mesh the two names together to create a completely new name that’s special and unique to you, double-barrel your names or just keep your own names to mark your individuality.
The traditional speech line-up goes: father of the bride, groom and best man. But more and more couples are mixing this up in the 21st century – you can have as many or as few speeches by different members of the wedding party as you like.
Regardless of who talks, remember to ask your wedding party to keep them short and entertaining so they don’t go on for too long and you don’t bore your guests.
What about a joint couple speech at your same sex wedding if you’re both feeling brave enough to do some public speaking?
Do What Makes you Happy
The general rule when planning any wedding is to put yourself and your partner first – try to block out the noise coming from family members or friends and instead focus on what you want and what you enjoy.
Want a pizza van instead of a three-course wedding breakfast? Do it! Want to set off fireworks as you share your first kiss as a married couple? Do it!