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How to Host a Gender Neutral Wedding

Wedding Resources

POV: You’re getting married soon and the excitement is building. You love many of the wedding traditions, but some of them are very heteronormative and don’t represent you or your guests. You want everyone to feel comfortable and celebrated, so what do you do?

At Holden, we get it.

Traditions are a beautiful way to make an occasion feel extra special and connect us to our loved ones, but there’s a lot of room to adapt, or make entirely new, traditions that better reflect and respect our communities’ gender identities. This had us asking ourselves some questions: Why can’t a groomsman catch a bouquet? What if I want my brother to be in the bridal party? Not everyone is comfortable wearing a bridesmaid dress, what should they wear instead? What if we don’t identify as a bride or groom at all? 

We’ve come up with just a few suggestions on how to handle some of the more heteronormative wedding traditions and to make sure everyone feels welcome at your wedding.

 

1. Pronouns Matter

When creating your wedding invitations and place cards, be sure that you are using your guests’ correct pronouns. Don’t know what their pronouns are? Be sure to double check. You can either reach out personally, or have everyone clarify when they RSVP through snail mail. 

 

2. Forego Gendered Wedding Parties

We’ll keep it simple here. Nix the rules and invite your favorite people (no matter their gender identity) to stand next to you on the big day. You can also scrap the language of “bridal parties” and instead opt for a more inclusive term like “wedding parties.”

 

3. Flexible Guest Attire

Rather than demand a specific uniform (like a dress or a tux) for members of your wedding party to wear, consider asking everyone to wear a specific color (or group of colors) that fit with your vision. That way no one feels compelled to wear a type of clothing that isn’t reflective of their identity.

Similar to your loved ones in the wedding party, your guests may not feel comfortable wearing clothes based on traditional gender norms. Be clear about your expectations regarding formality, but be sure to make everyone feel welcomed in whatever attire suits them best.

 

4. Bouquet Bounty

Who says that flowers are just for the flower girl or for the bridesmaids? Let everyone in the wedding party hold or catch bouquets. If you want to distinguish you and your partners’ wedding party, consider even having slightly different bouquets or flowers for your guests to wear. 

 

5. Walking Down the Aisle

You don’t have to meet your spouse at the end of an aisle. You can also walk down separately, together, or with one or both of your parents. 

At the end of the day, your wedding is all about YOU and what makes you comfortable. Take whichever traditions resonate with you, and either adjust or scrap anything that doesn’t fit with your vision. Get creative and have fun with it!

 

Questions? Give us a shout at help@hiholden.com or a ring (pun intended) at 917.719.3634.

 

Cover by: Celeste Burns Photography 

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