What Is The Etiquette For Planning A Same-Sex Wedding?

Category: Wedding Tips Date: 26th March 2018

Here at Broadoaks, we’re proud to be a same-sex friendly venue and we’ve been lucky enough to have hosted many same-sex marriages and civil partnerships here in the beautiful Lake District.

One of many questions we get from our couples and their families is regarding the etiquette for various elements of a same-sex wedding, as a lot of the traditional etiquette is very much gender specific.

So, with that in mind, we thought we’d put together this post to clear up a few things and answer a few questions you may have!

The proposal

In heterosexual couples, traditionally, the groom will propose to the bride, usually after seeking approval from her father. However, in a same-sex relationship it’s entirely up to you who does the asking.

By the time you come to get engaged, it’s likely that you’ll already have a good idea of which one of you wants to do the proposing and whether it’s important to either of you to be asked. On the other hand, you may decide to just have a discussion about the future together and decide mutually, as is the case with many heterosexual couples these days, too.

When it comes to asking for the blessing of your partner’s family, this is something of a formality in this day and age, even in a heterosexual pairing, but it can be a nice gesture to make them feel included.

Who pays for what?

Traditionally, the bride’s family paid for the reception and the groom’s family would cover the honeymoon and rehearsal dinner, but these days the majority of couples are covering the big day themselves, whether they’re gay or straight.

Your parents may wish to pitch in if they can afford to and, if this is the case, it’s up to you how you split the costs. They may even just offer to pay for a specific element of the celebration!

Bridesmaids and groomsmen

Typically at an LGBT wedding, the bridesmaids or groomsmen are referred to as ‘honour attendants’ and may well be a gender mix that suits the couple’s friendships.

For best men and maids (or matrons) of honour, they’re often referred to as commanders-in-chief, or simply the usual terms.

That’s not to say that you can’t mix things up, however, and these terms can be as non-traditional as you like. It’s not uncommon to call them bridesmen, men of honour, groomswomen, groomsmaids or best women, or even something you decide to make up yourself!

What to wear

The traditional white dress and suit combo obviously won’t work for every same-sex couple out there, but it really is entirely up to you what you want to wear on your special day.

Perhaps you want to match and co-ordinate outfits or maybe you’d like to go for something completely unique altogether.

Meeting at the ceremony 

This is an area where you have a variety of choices, as who meets who at the ceremony front can be worked out in a few different ways.

You may wish to have somebody who’s important to you both walk you both down the aisle together, with one on each arm. Or, perhaps you’d like to widen the aisle so that you can both walk side by side with your parents.

Another option is to reconfigure the seating completely to allow for two aisles and for both of you meet in the middle! If you do opt for this, just make sure you have a second photographer to capture this moment properly.

The pronouncement

Deciding how the two of you would like to be pronounced is definitely a big decision for the day and something you should discuss with your officiant.

You could always opt for ‘husbands’ or ‘wives’ or simply ‘married’, but some couples like to go for ‘partners for life’ as it rhymes with ‘man and wife’.

Last name

When it comes to changes of your last names, the rules are exactly the same as for heterosexual couples and, as for who takes whose, that’s entirely up to you as a couple. In fact, you could both take a double-barreled surname or even choose a new surname for you both if you wanted to!

We hope this has given you some ideas for how you may want to go about planning your own same-sex marriage.

One of the most fun things about a same-sex wedding is that there isn’t really so much expectation to stick to conventional traditions, so you can have fun planning a wonderful day that really suits you as a couple. 

And, if you’re interested in using our venue here at Broadoaks for your wedding, check out our site for more information. As the number one venue in Cumbria for same-sex marriages, we’re the perfect choice to make your big day come true!