Wedding planning can be dizzying to navigate for any couple but we understand that there are a few unique circumstances when it comes to planning an LGBTQ+ wedding. While most couples lean into wedding traditions, they don’t often translate very well.
Traditional methods of paying for your wedding, walking down the aisle, and even choosing your outfits might feel like a minefield. If you’ve found yourself recently engaged and planning an LGBTQ+ wedding, congratulations! Now let’s plan a celebration that is as beautiful as your love story.
Paying For The Wedding
The age-old custom of having the bride’s parents pay for the wedding is evolving with the times, so don’t worry if you’re unsure of who is going to foot the bill. In fact, many couples of all genders are taking on the wedding finances themselves.
Who pays for the wedding truly comes down to who can afford it. If you have multiple parties willing to pitch in, split the costs three ways or have each party pay for what they’re most interested in. As soon as you’ve built your wedding budget, you can get started on the more fun parts of planning.
Hiring Your Wedding Vendors
We’d be lying if we said we hadn’t heard horror stories from LGBTQ+ couples who were refused service by wedding vendors. That’s why when we hand-select our Junebug wedding vendors, inclusivity is one of our main focuses. Beyond our own directory–when searching for vendors–we recommend looking for professionals in your area who showcase diversity in their portfolios.
However, we also know that there are plenty of wedding vendors who haven’t had the opportunity to work with LGBTQ+ couples yet but would love to do so. When reaching out to a vendor whose portfolio doesn’t necessarily represent you as a couple, keep these things in mind:
- You’re the one in control, so don’t let anyone make you feel less-than. You’re paying for a service and if a business owner feels it’s in their best interest to refuse you service, they’re not the kind of vendor you want to work with anyway
- Finding the right vendors for you is like finding your best friend. Have high expectations as you prepare to meet a few before you find that spark with “the one”
- If you have an unpleasant experience with a vendor, don’t be afraid to leave them a public review. Other couples–LGBTQ+ or otherwise–need to know about poor customer service or discrimination. By leaving an honest review of what happened, you can help keep other couples from going through the same thing
Your Wedding Party
We love mixed-gender wedding parties, so don’t fret over separating your friends and family by gender on either side of the altar. Think about who has supported you in your life and relationship up to this point and you’ll know which close friends are meant to stand by your side as you tie the knot.
If you’re not into the idea of a wedding party, don’t be afraid to ditch the idea completely. Wedding planning isn’t about following rules. It’s about making your own celebration and doing what feels right for you as a couple.
Your Guest List
Speaking of including people who support you, your guest list should only include those who will be excited for your special day. Getting married doesn’t mean that you have to throw a huge party just for the sake of it. Keeping that in mind, only invite friends and family that have supported your love from the very beginning. This will also help you avoid unwanted and unnecessary drama on your wedding day.
Bachelor And Bachelorette Parties
Planning a bachelor or bachelorette party is just like any other aspect of wedding planning–it’s completely up to what feels best to you. You can still celebrate separately and throw individual parties where your future spouse isn’t invited, or you can celebrate your last hurrah before the wedding together in one big party.
If you decide to throw your bachelor or bachelorette parties, our guide to hosting a bachelorette party can help kickstart your celebration.
Wedding Day Traditions
Aside from your wedding party, there are a few other wedding traditions you may want to personalize or do away with altogether. Here are a few important considerations for your wedding planning:
- Walking down the aisle – You have the freedom to decide who walks who down the aisle. If you want to walk down the aisle together, go for it! You might also decide that you both want to walk down the aisle together or escorted by someone special. Your wedding aisle escort can be your father, mother, brother, mentor, or friend. If Jonathan Van Ness is available to escort you down the aisle, we’d start there.
- First looks – We’re big fans of first looks here at Junebug. It gives you intimate one-on-one time together before you get whisked away in the chaos of the special day. If you’re on the fence about it, consider adding one of these intimate experiences instead.
- Ceremony readings – Many of the customary wedding ceremony readings may not apply to your relationship, and not just because you’re an LGTBQ+ couple. Personalize your ceremony with readings and music that are significant to you rather than relying on words that don’t represent your relationship. To get inspired, check out these gender neutral wedding ceremony script ideas or these non-religious readings.
What to Wear
You should feel like a million bucks on your wedding day, so it’s important that your wedding outfits are something you’re comfortable in. If you feel most comfortable in a high-end fashion designer suit, wear one. If you both want to wear dresses, do it! Don’t worry about upstaging each other, either. Say “yes” to each of your dream dresses and you can keep them a secret until the big day–or don’t. Like we’ve said before, it’s up to you.
If you both want to wear suits, consider colors that complement each other and coordinate your tie, pocket square, or shirt patterns for a cohesive look. You can also ask your florist to create boutonnieres that match without being identical.
Last Name Changes
There’s no right or wrong answer in deciding who takes who’s last name. You may want to go by two different last names, hyphen them together, or blend the two surnames to create a unique last name just for the two of you. Some couples opt to choose a new name entirely that they’ll both take on. This choice is completely up to you—depending on where you’re getting married.
Keep in mind that each country differs on how to legally alter your name. In some countries, your marriage license may determine your last name choices.
Final Thoughts To Keep In Mind
All weddings come with a certain amount of expectations from friends and family members. Tough as it may be, try to silence that noise and focus on what matters most to you as a couple. Whether you’re faced with the unfortunate judgment of relatives who aren’t supportive or your family is too involved in the decision-making, remember that this is your love being honored in your wedding. Don’t let anyone else’s opinion dictate the planning process if they wouldn’t also have a say in your marriage.
Now that you’ve got the basics of planning an LGTBQ+ wedding down, be sure to check out these stylish LGBTQ+ wedding outfits to get inspired for your special day and wedding shower!