Language is incredibly powerful. It binds marriages through heartfelt vows, hilarious toasts, and welcoming words that make guests feel included. As a wedding planner, language is essential for helping my clients feel comfortable leading up to their big day. It’s a way we bond, through laughter, shared interests, and sometimes awkward banter.

A Wedding That Welcomes All Guests

These minor tweaks can make everyone involved feel much more comfortable.

Traditionally, weddings have been based on highly gendered expectations: brides do this, grooms do that. But with weddings now embracing couples of all orientations and guests identifying across the gender spectrum, it’s time to make weddings more inclusive. Thinking about gender inclusivity not only liberates the couple getting married from outdated traditions but also allows everyone involved to feel comfortable, have fun, and, most importantly, celebrate you!

While planning your big day, consider these suggestions from wedding pros to make your wedding more gender-inclusive.

1. Forget Gender-Separated Pre-Wedding Events

There’s no real reason your showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties need to be divided by gender. Invite whoever means the most to you, regardless of gender.

2. Address Your Invites Inclusively

When writing out save-the-dates, invitations, or any other mail for your guests, skip traditional titles before names. Simply address them to the preferred name of the guest, which adds a personal touch. Avoid honorifics and consider how the addresses will read—while it’s traditional to put the male member of an opposite-sex couple’s name first, consider switching it up.

3. Be Aware of the “Bridal Bias”

Stop calling everything bridal—the bridal suite, bridal party, etc. This language is outdated and not applicable to weddings without brides. By relabeling classic terms such as “wedding party” instead of “bridal party,” you create a more balanced wedding.

4. Curate an Inclusive Wedding Party

Gone are the days of boys on one side, and girls on the other. Couples of all orientations and identities are having mixed-gender wedding parties. This can help all members feel comfortable in their attire, allowing them to wear something in line with their identity that still fits with your wedding party’s look.

5. Don’t Force Opposite-Sex Pairings

Instead of pairing your wedding party based on gender for the processional, recessional, or reception entrance, consider having each person walk in solo or pair up based on their preferences or closeness.

6. Reconsider the Aisle

A procession doesn’t have to be one person meeting their future spouse at the altar. Both partners can have their moments walking down the aisle, have two aisles, meet halfway, walk down together, or even receive guests into the ceremony space.

7. Think About Flowers for All

Flowers don’t have a gender, so why limit who gets to carry them? Both partners can carry bouquets. There are amazing groom’s bouquets that can match bow ties or boutonnieres and make wedding photos next-level gorgeous.

8. Consider Gender-Nonconforming Guests

Your job as a host is to make everyone feel welcome. Include preferred pronouns on place cards, ensure your venue has a gender-neutral bathroom, and avoid enforcing a strict dress code based on traditional gender roles.

9. Dance with Whoever You Are Close To

If you want to dance with an opposite-sex parent, great, and if not, no pressure. Family dances and chosen family dances are also acceptable and fun to watch! Surprise your guests by breaking out dance moves with siblings, parents, or grandparents.

10. Bouquet and Garter Toss Can Be for Anyone

If you want to do a bouquet or garter toss, invite all the single guests or all the guests to participate. Whoever catches the bouquet or garter can engage in a friendly dance competition.

11. Play Gender-Inclusive Music

Request that your DJ or band use gender-inclusive language. Instead of calling out husbands and wives to the dance floor, use “couples” or “partners.” Bands and DJs can also tweak song lyrics to be more gender-neutral or specific to the couple getting married.

By making these adjustments, you can ensure your wedding is inclusive, welcoming, and a true reflection of your love and values.

For personalized inclusive wedding planning assistance, contact us for a free consultation, and let us help make your special day perfect!