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How To Plan a Gay Wedding (and is there a difference?)

Cat Arnott 4th of July 2022

Choosing Your Wedding Party

Choosing Your Wedding Party as an LGBTQ Couple

The point of a wedding party is to ensure that the couple has their closest friends around them as support and to celebrate this special day with them. Should be simple enough, but since same-sex marriage has only been legal for a relatively short amount of time, there are less customs or practices related to choosing a wedding party. So, some feel the pressure to conform to traditional wedding party roles, while others may not know where to start!

Realistically, the wedding party is entirely what you make it but it tends to fall into two categories; traditional and mixed wedding parties. Here, we have some suggestions about how to get started, and how to know what’s right for you.

A Traditional Wedding Party

A traditional wedding party typically sees the bride’s female friends and relatives acting as bridesmaids or maid of honour and the groom’s male friends or relatives acting as groomsmen or best man. Of course, in the case of the same sex-wedding, this gender split doesn’t work. But, there are some same-sex couples who wish to make their wedding as traditional as possible. In fact, female couples are more likely to follow tradition as 46 per cent of female couples versus 30 per cent male couples had bridesmaids and groomsmen. And overall, 38 percent of couples had mixed-gender wedding parties.

So, depending on if you are brides or grooms, you could each have individual, traditional wedding parties and roles or simply have one shared party.

A Mixed Wedding Party

However, it can still be confusing as there are many traditions surrounding wedding parties so you may be torn between choosing to follow tradition or break them for the sake of your own happiness, and your friend’s happiness! Most of us have close friends of a different gender, so you might want to consider a co-ed wedding party. In fact, nearly one in three couples are rejecting gendered traditions. When creating a mixed wedding party, a key tradition to do away with is gender-specific roles. For example, the terms groomsmen and bridesmaids are totally optional, with honour attendants being a common alternative.

Some may still feel restricted about inviting members of the opposite gender to become a part of their wedding party. However, there is really no need to restrain yourself as mixed-gender parties can actually be a positive change. For gay and straight weddings alike. For example, if the couple getting married is male, including their sisters or close female friends as part of the wedding party along with their male friends and relatives can be a nice touch. After all, what matters most is that nobody important in your life is left out of this important occasion on the basis of gender, right?

If you do decide on a mixed-gender wedding party, though, this can interfere with some other wedding traditions and even basic organisation. So here are some tips for making your mixed wedding party work as smoothly as possible:

  • Make sure your wedding attendant attire is coordinated. This doesn’t mean everyone has to match, but you’ll want the shades, patterns and fabrics you choose to work well for both suits and dresses. An easy way to achieve coordination is to select something like a colour palette, fabric or designer to unify the look.
  • Be prepared for hair, makeup and grooming on your wedding day. Since your mixed wedding party will have diverse needs, make a plan to provide the necessary grooming for everyone in your wedding party on your wedding day.
  • Choose gender-neutral gifts. With a mixed wedding party, you’re either faced with gifting different items or selecting a gift that everyone will enjoy. Just as you would with a single-gender wedding party, think about what your friends really like to do or wear, and what would best commemorate the time you spent together.

Of course, you can just do away with the wedding party altogether to save the potentially challenging decision making! But whatever you decide, my advice to you is just to ask yourselves what is right for you? You’re the ones getting married. The most important thing is sharing this special day with people most important to you.

Cat Arnott

About the author

Cat Arnott

With a Masters degree in History, Cat is the best person to consult if you need wedding facts and information fast. Her passion for weddings has led to her having a broad and up to date knowledge of trends and traditions and she is here to research on your behalf to find the answer to any wedding related problem.

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