The Complete Guide to Gay Marriage

Every union is totally unique and should be celebrated as such! LGBTQ+ couples, allies and wedding guests alike can all attest to having questions regarding same-sex wedding etiquette, and in the world of weddings where there are so many long-standing rules and traditions, we can understand why! Nuptials can be confusing enough going by the book, so we knew nontraditional couples could use a newer guide to go by – we provided answers to a few common questions we’ve received regarding gay marriage celebrations and LGBTQ+ weddings we think will help! Read on down below.


Who Takes Whose Last Name?

As arbitrary as it seems, this is totally up to you and your partner! Many LGBTQ+ couples opt for hyphenation, some take one name or the other, while other couples choose an entirely new last name altogether. Blend your middle name with your significant other’s or steal something sentimental from your late grandmother. What feels the most authentic to the new life you’re starting together? When planning a gay marriage, the choice is truly yours!


Gay Wedding Walking Down the Aisle

How to Create a Processional Order with Two Grooms

So many gay couples choose to customize their ceremony beyond the traditions we knew before. If one party is being given away, this can be the deciding factor as to who goes first and waits on the other. Other options are that a person of mutual importance can escort you both down the aisle on each arm, or you can proceed hand-in-hand if no one is being given away.

Creating a Processional Order with Two Brides

Similar to creating a nontraditional wedding processional without a bride, a lesbian couple can also proceed together, whether escorted or alone, one can opt to go first, or two brides can even proceed toward each other from separate points, converging at the altar at once. Who says there has to be just one aisle? Depending on your ceremony set-up and where your guests’ seating will be, you can really get as creative or dramatic with processionals as you want!

Weddings are one of the most rigidly traditional aspects of Western culture, so turning a wedding on a nontraditional head may seem like an uphill battle at times. Writing your own vows is one of the easiest ways to ensure that the words spoken on your big day are truly reflective of the love you and your partner share and the future you look to create together. We recommend customizing your gay marriage vows and ceremony readings even if you aren’t the one delivering them – which includes asking your wedding officiant to alter any traditional texts to be LGBTQ+ friendly, gender-neutral, or include religious-leaning aspects. We now pronounce you equally wed!


Writing Your Own Gay Wedding Vows

Gay Wedding Ideas

Navigating Your Wedding Party Labels

It’s your day! You ultimately dictate what works best for your group, and that extends to giving your wedding party any label that resonates best with them. We’ve heard the use of everything from “bridesmen” to “groomswomen,” and we also love names like “best women,” “groomsmaids,” “men-of-honor” or genderless terms such as “attendants” or “party people.”

Who Wears What?

At the end of the day, your comfortability is most important, and letting your personality shine through is next on the list! Don’t feel pressured to wear something totally out of your comfort zone due to societal norms. Whether your vibe is menswear, bridal gowns or something ungendered altogether, there are local fashion options out there for you! Consider your tastes, your wedding’s theme and what your partner is choosing to wear for a completely cohesive wedding look.

Who Pays for What?

Ages-old traditions of the bride and her family footing the bill are long gone among more than just nontraditional couples. Today, many couples of all kinds are footing the bill themselves. We think it truly comes down to who can afford it, and if parents are able to pitch in, more power to you! If you’re splitting it up, it may be best practice to ask each contributing party to rank their vendor priorities and budget accordingly. Plus, planning it out with your partner can make for great bonding moments that strengthen your relationship before matrimony.

How Can LGBTQ+ Couples Decide Who to Work With?

Let’s be honest – it can be hard to decipher whether a wedding vendor in the south is LGBTQ+ friendly just by the verbiage on their website or social media. We recommend seeking out vendors who give representation to diversity in their portfolio, or perusing newer Instagram directories like

Midwestern LGBTQ+ Wedding Vendor Collectives:


Do Unsupportive Relatives Require an Invitation?

Navigating who to invite to your gay wedding can be tricky enough, but add relatives with anti-gay-marriage ideologies into the mix and it gets even more complex. You want to please everyone, but it can be hard to tell mom and dad that you won’t be inviting certain unsupportive parties if they’re paying the majority of the bill. On the bright side, the unsupportive side will likely no-show, and if you and your partner are footing the bill yourselves, we say stick to your guns and only invite the people who love and support you two through and through.


Making Your Nontraditional Wedding Feel Just as “Real”

Skipping out on a fair share of wedding traditions as we know them (and maybe even receiving backlash for doing so) may leave you and your partner feeling disheartened or invalidated about your nuptials. Whether you engage in a civil ceremony, elope away in the mountains, or tie the knot locally with additions that are totally “you,” just know that the love that brought you together is what matters above all. Keep what’s important to both of you central in things. If your same-sex wedding is celebrating the relationship and love you created at its core, then you’re doing it right! There is no wrong way to be wed – love is love!

Photo: Feather & Twine