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Gender-Inclusive Wedding Terms

Wedding Resources

POV: You’re getting married soon and the excitement is building, but so much of the traditional wedding terminology is heteronormative or doesn’t represent you or your guests. You want everyone to feel comfortable and celebrated, so what do you do?

At Holden, we get it.

Wedding traditions are a beautiful way to make an occasion feel extra special and connect us to our loved ones. However, there’s a lot of room to adapt or make new traditions to better reflect and respect our communities’ gender identities.

If you’re looking to create a safe, inclusive space at your wedding, we’ve come up with a few suggestions on gender-inclusive alternatives to traditional wedding terms to help make sure everyone feels welcome at your wedding.


Celebrant - an inclusive term for a person engaged to be married

Alternatives: marrier, nearlywed, to-be-wed


Spouses - a gender neutral term for the couple once they’ve tied the knot

Alternatives: couple, partners, newlyweds


Bach party - an inclusive term for a celebration for a soon-to-be celebrant organized and attended primarily by their wedding attendants, often on the night before or in the days leading up to the wedding

Alternative: bachelorx party


Wedding shower - an inclusive term for a gift-giving party held for a celebrant in anticipation of their wedding

Alternative: couple’s shower


Wedding attendants - a gender-neutral term for a group of people chosen by the couple to support them from engagement to marriage

Alternatives: wedding party, matrimony homies, wedding crew


Best Person - a gender-neutral term for the principle wedding attendant of one of the celebrants

Alternatives: Friend of Honor, Matrimony Homie of Honor


Wedding suite - an inclusive term for the room in the venue where the wedding party can get ready (what is traditionally referred to as the “bridal suite”)


Wedding attire - a gender-neutral term for the garments worn by a celebrant on their wedding day (as opposed to assuming that a celebrant will wear a garment traditionally associated with a particular gender identity)


Flower child - a gender-neutral term for a child who carries flowers or scatters them in front of a celebrant at a wedding

Alternative: Flower person


Primary bouquet - a gender-neutral term for a bouquet that’s carried by one of the celebrants (as opposed to a “bridal bouquet”)


Special dances - an inclusive term for the first dances between a celebrant and their parent (traditionally, these are the father-daughter and mother-son dances)


“Excuse me”/”pardon me” - a way to address wedding guests that doesn’t assume gender (as opposed to “ma’am,” “sir,” or “ladies and gentlemen”)


“I now pronounce you married.” - a gender-inclusive alternative to the heteronormative phrasing: “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”


“You may kiss your partner.” - an inclusive alternative to: “You may now kiss the bride.”


“Please welcome the happy newlyweds!” - a way to introduce the couple at the reception that isn’t gendered, as opposed to the traditional phrasing: “Please welcome for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. XXX!”


At the end of the day, your wedding is all about YOU and what makes you and your guests comfortable. Keep whichever traditional terms resonate with you, and either adjust or scrap anything that doesn’t fit with your vision.


Any other wedding tips you’ve discovered while wedding planning? Send us an email at!


Questions? Give us a shout at or a ring (pun intended) at 646.722.6817.


All credits go to @Impatient.Hero on TikTok for the “Matrimony Homie of Honor” idea. It goes to show that you can definitely be creative and have fun with it!