Same-sex wedding planning

You’re about to celebrate your same-sex wedding – congratulations! Although if you’re also confused as to who does what and what you should be wearing when most of the available advice is written for brides and grooms, here’s a few handy tips to set you on the path to happy ever after.

Wedding photography by Paola De Paola

Forget about what you ‘should’ do
Having a same-sex wedding is a great opportunity to do away with a range of traditions that usually apply to brides and grooms, and do things your way.

Who pays?
In the absence of traditional bride and groom roles at a same-sex wedding, how do you decide whose parents pay for what, or who else should contribute? Really, this is a difficult question that all couples face, and these days many couples foot the bill themselves.

Still, financing the wedding often comes down to who can afford it, and it’s great when parents offer to help out with the costs. As for who covers what, you might split the costs three ways (your parents, his or her parents, and the two of you), or ask each side what they think is most important, whether it’s the food, the entertainment, or the wedding styling, and ask them to cover more of those costs.

Pre-wedding parties
There’s no reason you have to miss a night out with your mates simply because you’re both bachelors or both bachelorettes. So go ahead and plan your own celebration, whether it’s lunch at a vineyard, a day at a spa, or a traditional hens or bucks-style celebration out on the town. A nice idea might be for both partners to begin their celebrations at separate parties on the same night and then meet up at the end.

Mr and Mrs?
Bride, groom, husband, wife – marriage terms are all gendered, so what do you call yourselves?

Once again you can choose to call yourselves whatever you wish! In many countries same-sex couples often to refer to one another as ‘spouses’ or ‘partners’ instead of husband or wife. When it comes to your ceremony, gendered terms like ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ can simply be deleted out of the ceremony. For example, “You may now kiss your partner”, or “I now pronounce you equally wed”, or “I now pronounce you partners for life” instead of husband and wife.

If you’re worried about verbal blunders on your wedding day, give your guests and wedding suppliers a heads-up in person or on your invites. Ask everyone to refer to you and your newlywed by their name rather than a label, (“Sarah and Amy” rather than “the bride and bride”), or make it clear who prefers to be called what, no matter how non-traditional it sounds.

What to wear?
Wedding fashion is all about your personal style, so wear what you’re each comfortable in. That may be a classic suit and gown, double gowns or double wedding tuxes. If those options don’t suit, find whatever makes you happy and label the ceremony dress code accordingly on your invites.

What about changing your surname?
Why not highlight your new union by changing your surname? There’s no right or wrong answer to this question – it’s for you and your partner to decide. You may choose to keep your own surnames, or you may both use one of your surnames, or you may choose to hyphenate your surnames and both use the hyphenated name. Keep in mind that if you change your name, you’ll also need to change your bank accounts, passports, drivers licences and so on.

Processional order
Couples of every orientation are customising their marriage ceremonies, so feel free to choose your own style to get you down the aisle. You can ask a mutually important person to walk you both down the aisle on each arm. Or you could walk one behind the other with your respective parents, though you’ll have to decide who will go first! Or if neither of you is being ‘given away,’ you might simply walk together down the aisle hand-in-hand.

Wedding attendants
Create your wedding party of friends and family, irrespective of their gender or traditional definitions. You may choose to have ‘best men’ or ‘maids of honour’. Or you may choose to call your wedding attendants ‘honour attendants’ for a gender-neutral name. Or you may decide to skip wedding attendants altogether.

However you decide to celebrate your wedding, have a fabulous day and enjoy married life!

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