Language is incredibly powerful. It literally binds marriages. It’s the thing that holds together heartfelt vows, hilarious toasts, and welcomes guests to make them feel included. As a wedding planner — language is essential for instructing my clients on how to get comfortable leading up to their wedding day. It’s a way we bond, through laughter, shared interests, and awkward banter.
11 Highlights to make your Wedding more Gender Inclusive
This minor tweaks can make everyone involved feel much more comfortable
Traditionally, weddings are based on highly-gendered expectations: brides do this, grooms do that, and that’s how it is. But with weddings not limited to opposite sex couples and the possibility of guests identifying across the gender spectrum, it’s beyond time to make weddings more equal and inclusive for all. Thinking about gender inclusivity not only liberates the couple getting married from outdated traditions, but it allows everyone involved to feel comfortable, have fun, and, most important, celebrate you!
While planning your big day, use these suggestions from wedding pros into account to make your wedding more gender inclusive.
Forget gender-separated pre-wedding events
Other than outdated tradition, there’s no real reason your showers and bach parties need to be designated by gender. Just invite whomever means the most to you.
Address your invites inclusively
When a couple is writing out save-the-dates, invitations, or any other pieces of mail that are being sent to their guest, they can skip the traditional aspect of putting a title before the name. Simply address these items to the preferred name of the guest, which can add a more 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 before the woman’s, consider switching it up.
Be aware of the “bridal bias.”
Stop calling everything bridal—the bridal suite, bridal party, etc. That language is out of date. Not only is this not applicable to weddings without brides, but it also puts the burden of planning, hosting, and most things wedding-related on a bride, rather than a groom. By relabeling classic terms such as “wedding party” rather than bridal party, you create a more balanced wedding.
Curate an inclusive wedding party.
Long gone are the days of boys on one side, girls on the other. Couples of all orientations and identities are having mixed-gender wedding parties. This can also help make all members of the party feel comfortable in their attire, not forced into wearing a suit or dress if that’s not their thing. Allow them the option to wear something that is more in-line with their identity that still fits with your wedding party attire.
Don’t force opposite sex pairings
Instead of pairing up your wedding party for the processional, recessional, or reception entrance based on gender, consider having each person walk in solo, or partner-up based on where they’ll stand at the wedding or who they are closest to.
Reconsider the aisle
A processional doesn’t necessarily have to be one person meeting their future spouse at the altar. Instead, you can both have your moments walking down the aisle, have two aisles, meet halfway down the aisle, walk down the aisle together, or even receive people into the ceremony space.
Think about flowers for all
Flowers don’t have a gender, so why limit who gets to carry them? Don’t limit the bouquet to just a bride. Both partners can carry a bouquet. Because who doesn’t love gorgeous flowers?. There are amazing groom’s bouquets, that can match bow ties or boutonnieres and make wedding photos next-level gorgeous.
Consider gender-nonconforming guests
Your job as a host is to make everyone feel welcome, so try to break rules of the binary by including preferred pronouns on place cards, ensuring your venue has a gender-neutral bathroom, and not enforcing a strict dress code modeled off traditional gender roles.
Dance with whomever you are close to
If you want to dance with an opposite sex parent, great, and if not, no pressure. Family dances (with basic choreography) and chosen family dances are also totally acceptable and fun to watch! Surprise your guests by breaking out Spice Girls dance moves with a sibling, parents, or grandparents.
Bouquet and garter toss can be for anyone
If you really want to do a bouquet or garter toss, you can call out all the single guests or all the guests to participate. Whoever catches the bouquet and garter can engage in a friendly dance competition.
Play some gender inclusive music
Request that your DJ or band use gender-inclusive language, rather than calling out husbands and wives to the dance floor, request the word “couples” or “partners” instead. Also, bands (and some DJs) can change the lyrics to songs in a minor way to make them more gender-neutral or even applicable to the couple getting married.