Wedding Planning Advice | Same-Sex Wedding Etiquette

SAME-SEX WEDDING ETIQUETTE: THE BRIDAL PARTY

To celebrate two years of legal same-sex marriage in the UK, over the past few months we've been working with the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, of which we are a proud member, to produce some articles on the new gay wedding etiquette - what are the new traditions we can expect to see in coming years? Here's one we had featured on G Wedding Directory this month - let us know your thoughts!

Our gay wedding etiquette series continues with the big question of the bridal party. Same-sex wedding etiquette is still developing, so it’s an exciting time for couples to lead the way and write the etiquette handbook for couples down the line. So, what does a same-sex bridal party look like?

First of all, the phrase ‘bridal party’ has to be thrown out completely when it comes to men. A phrase that is littered all over the wedding world just does not apply to so many couples getting married now. Find a way to rebrand that works for you and your friends - ‘The I Do Crew’, ‘People of Honour’ or simply just attendants.

The same goes for the individuals - ignore the terms that have gender stereotypes attached to them and create your own. Describe your friends and family in the order of service however you like - your best man and maid of honour become your commanders in chief. Your bridesmaids and groomsmen become attendants. Get creative to find the best description for that person. Maybe a Director of Champagne, Vice President of Speeches or Mistress of Disco? All very important jobs.

For any couple, the jury is out about whether their parents would count as part of the wedding party. For some, it feels right to include them for every element of planning. For others, it's just a case of being part of the procession on the day. Do what feels right based on your relationship but don't be afraid to play it safe and consider parents their own wedding entity.

Typically, wedding party seating would be a long row made up of you in the centre, flanked by your parents and your main wedding party. But if that doesn't work for you there's no reason why you couldn't mix up the seating a little. Have a table just for your wedding party or scatter them amongst the other guests as ice-breakers. Parents can sit with their friends or closer to you. Maybe you get your own sweetheart table just for the two of you, or seat yourselves right in the middle of the action with your friends.

When it comes to choosing the honoured individuals for your party, don’t feel like you have to stick to convention here either. There’s no need to opt for a group of the same gender you are - men don’t have to have an entirely male party, and women don’t have to have females. Best friends are best friends - go with your gut and have a gender blind wedding party.

But with such a carte blanche on your wedding party, it can be tempting to become indecisive and ask a ton of friends to be a part of it. You have to consider what kind of role you want your wedding party to play during planning and on the day - are you just after some cheerleaders to keep you motivated and celebration? Do you need doers who can get stuck into envelope addressing and flower arranging? Set expectations for your team and assess which of your family and friends fit the job descriptions.

Whoever you choose - male or female, two or twenty, one mixed party or two teams - you need to make sure you have a good mix of responsible, loving, enthusiastic and encouraging people for all the highs and lows of planning a wedding!