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Out With The Old, In With The New? What Traditions and Trends To Keep vs. Toss at an LGBTQ Wedding


With same-sex marriages allowed by law becoming more common and normalized, it’s hard to decipher when planning your wedding which of the traditions should be kept and which should be tossed. The great thing about it is – there are NO RULES.

Your wedding day is whatever you want to make of it, so you can decide to be traditional or completely reinvent the wheel if you fancy. The wedding industry has fully embraced this personalized approach and most wedding vendors are truly interested in providing whatever experience you want, regardless of what’s common or the norm. “We’ll work with you to plan your day and implement any requests you have. While we still check in and suggest what we commonly see or what’s known as traditional, your wedding day should be unique to you as a couple,” says Adam Michaels, owner of Around Town Entertainment, a New York City live wedding band company.


It is true that many of the normal wedding traditions cater more to the bride’s side of things, so it may blur the lines when determining what applies to you. There are some traditions that have been kept by same-sex couples and others that have been either changed or completely thrown to the curb. In fact, a lot of these adaptations hold true for ANY marriage today.


Gender Roles

Anyone who loves and supports you has a right to stand by you on your special day. There are no grooms or brides, best man or maid of honor. The day is all about sharing the love with your partner and those who surround you can just BE there. Those who you want to stand with you and support your love are welcome, and the idea that there needs to be specialized speeches or duties as being part of the wedding are gone. Wedding parties don’t need to be a certain number of people, or any people at all. Some couples opt just have their one and only best and dearest friend at their side – their soon-to-be spouse.


White Dresses and Tuxes

Attire is another aspect of weddings that has evolved. Want to wear two dresses that aren’t white? Suits? Something completely casual? There is no limit to what attire is acceptable. Formal, casual, jeans, even one wedding both partners wore dresses that weren’t white, complete with fairy wings since they were married in October, and had a huge Halloween-style party of guests in costume! There is no set rule stating there has to be a white dress and a tuxedo that matches flowers, so that tradition has been TOSSED!


What is for Dessert?

Of all of these traditions, having cake is still a staple for the majority. Feeding each other (and sometimes, smashing each other in the face) is one of those traditions that is going to stay at weddings for years to come. There have been a few spins on the idea: some couples use cupcakes instead of layered cakes, and some do different kinds of desserts like cheesecake or cookies. But in general, this is a tradition that will not be going anytime soon.


The Rings

The exchanging of rings seems to be another tradition that has been kept intact in the LGBTQ world, however, there are some that have reinvented the idea of the ring, and turned into a more modernized custom. These 3 couples kept things very simple. Some couples have decided to get ring tattoos on their fingers to make a very permanent statement, and then there are others that exchange other pieces of jewelry instead of traditional rings at all such as watches or necklaces that they have engraved.



The flower situation has been widely accepted by same-sex couples, with grooms now carrying bouquets of their own to compliment their outfits, colors, and decorations. Some grooms put flowers on the lapels if they are wearing suits, and others adorn their beards with them. Some couples don’t have flowers at all and don’t walk with bouquets, because they aren’t important to them. This challenges the idea that the flowers are just for women to carry down the aisle and demonstrates the fact that in your own wedding, you have the power to do what you wish.


Aisle Walks

Being walked down the aisle by your father as a tradition is one that is definitely out. Some couples walk individually, together, or not even having the aisle at all! In some cases, couples may have a family member walk them down the aisle, but the majority have completely tossed this custom.


First Looks – Not Bad Luck

Couples do not care about seeing one another in their wedding-day outfit before getting married so that superstition about it being “bad luck” does not apply here. Many couples are actually staying together the night before the wedding as well, instead of spending the night apart. A lot of photographers have utilized the “first look” which is a spin and new tradition, where couples get pictures when they first see each other in their attire before they walk down the aisle, but depending on the couple it doesn’t seem that the first look is important in LGBTQ weddings at all, especially when they can make their grand entrance together.


Taking a New Name

Do you take on your partner’s last name? The etiquette adapted in LGBTQ weddings seems to point to keeping your own name and not worrying about taking on a new one, in other words, just keep the name you have. But in some cases, to demonstrate their unity, one or the other will take on his/her spouse’s name. This tradition seems to go more 50/50 between tossing or keeping – and is ultimately up to the couple how they want to proclaim their marriage. Most of the ones that do want to grow a family and feel that the family should be under one name.


Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties

This one is easy – TOSS. Most of these traditional parties are now being taken on as just a fun night out with friends. The idea was that the party signified your last “free” night before becoming part of a unit, sort of a pass for men and women to do things that wouldn’t be considered very considerate of their partner if they were married. Instead of this “just guys” or “just the girls” outing, couples are opting for vacationing together with friends or just throwing a party for a night.


At the end of the day, weddings are still wonderful events where you can drink and dance the night away while supporting the people you love and care about as they start their new journey together. Your wedding should strive to just be an honest reflection of who you are together, with whatever traditions and customs you want to keep, or not. Congratulations and all the best!


Donna Maurer

As an experienced content creator, Donna has written about weddings and marriage for numerous publications. She is a newlywed herself and a former writer for a wedding planner; she’s conquered the realm of wedding coordination and is now fully immersed in married life. Donna can often be found sharing the insight she’s learned from past weddings she’s worked on, along with anything she tackled in her own planning process.


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