Weddings are traditionally based on gendered expectations: brides do this, grooms do that, and there isn’t much deviation, if any. But in 2021, couples of all identities are celebrating their love and weddings are no longer limited to unions of the opposite sex. Beyond that, those who are coming to celebrate these unions may also identify beyond the binary. That said, it’s high time that weddings become more inclusive so that everyone in attendance, from the spouses-to-be to their guests, feel comfortable, safe, and most importantly, have fun!
There are many ways to celebrate your union that are unique to you as a couple. As you plan your big day, consider the following ideas to keep your wedding more gender-inclusive.
Tradition With a Twist
If you’re a fan of more traditional wedding characteristics (you’ve always dreamed of getting married in white!) but you still want you add an inclusive touch, here are some ideas:
1. Skip the Titles on Your Invitations
When mailing out your save-the-dates and wedding invitations, skip the titles on the envelopes. Instead of “Mr. and Mrs. Jones,” address the envelope with the person’s preferred name, like “Michael Jones.” This has the added benefit of giving the invitation a more personal touch.
2. A New Kind of Veil
Wearing a veil on your wedding day was traditionally a sign of modesty and virginity. Nowadays, it’s more of an accessory. If you have your heart set on a headpiece but don’t want the traditional, opaque veil, consider using other accessories such as flowered headbands, a small tiara, or a birdcage blusher veil, which, according to Megan at the Silk Stem, is a small piece of tulle that sits on top of the head and can cover your entire face.
3. Vows as a Promise, not a Script
Traditional wedding vows include phrases such as “a marriage is between a man and woman,” or “lawfully wedded wife.” These scripted lines are beautiful, but not always applicable to you as a couple. Ask your officiant to leave out gendered phrases like these, or consider writing your own. If the idea of writing out your feelings throws you into a panic, sit with your partner and write out a set of vows together that you can both repeat.
4. Invite All the Singles to the Floor
Whether you opt for a garter toss, bouquet toss, or both, invite anyone who has yet to be married up to the dance floor. This allows you freedom as a couple to choose which traditional item you go with, and makes the celebratory catching an inclusive activity for everyone at your wedding.
New and Non-Conforming
The great thing about changing the way we celebrate love is that there are no rules. You’re free to integrate any ritual into your ceremony, and who knows, it may be used for generations to come. Here are some ideas for new ways to celebrate:
5. Pre-Wedding Parties
Your wedding is a lengthy celebration that begins well before you dress up and say “I do.” Celebrating your upcoming nuptials with your closest friends and family is part of the fun! Have your individual parties with your friends and invite whomever you want to celebrate with the most, regardless of gender. For extra fun, give this new party a new title, like “Last Fling Before the Ring.”
6. Meet in the Middle of the Aisle
Rather than having one person waiting at the altar for the other to come down the aisle, both you and your soon-to-be spouse can walk in at the same time, from opposite sides of the room, and meet in the middle. This is a great symbolization of you both walking your own paths and joining together to create a new life.
7. Skip the “Mr. & Mrs.”
For centuries, women have taken their husband’s last name after marriage, and it starts from the moment they say “I do.” That is usually followed by “I now pronounce you husband and wife.” Ask your officiant if they would use an alternative phrase, such as “I now pronounce you joined together in marriage,” or “Introducing Nicole and Breonna for the first time as a married couple.”
8. Have a Mixed-Gender Wedding Party
Gone are the days of “boys on one side, girls on the other.” You should have whomever is the most important to you standing by your side as you say “I do,” regardless of gender. Allow flexibility in attire that still fits your color scheme, that way no one is forced to wear a dress or tux if they aren’t comfortable in it.