Pop the Question: "How Do I Make Sure My Wedding Is Gender-Inclusive?"

In this month's Ask Us Anything, our Team-Z experts share tips for making your wedding more gender-inclusive, no matter your orientation.

By Emily Forrest

Pop the Question: "How Do I Make Sure My Wedding Is Gender-Inclusive?"
Photo by Caroline Veronez

Have a burning wedding planning question on your mind? Pop the question to our Zola advisors on Team-Z!

Dear Team-Z, Both my fiance and I are actively wedding planning, and as a queer couple with lots of friends and fam across the spectrum, making our wedding feel inclusive is a priority. We have some ideas in mind, but we'd love any tips on how to make sure everyone feels respected. Sharing our love for each other while showing our guests that we care about them is a must, but we need ideas to ensure we cover all the bases in fun, creative, and inclusive ways. Think you could help?

~ Queer Without Fear

So, How Do You Have a Gender-Inclusive Wedding — No Matter Your Orientation?

Dear Queer Without Fear, Thank you for your honest question! You’re definitely on the right track by prioritizing a safe and inclusive environment for all, and your query is important for non-community members as they also try to navigate having an inclusive wedding. Keeping couples in the know, no matter their orientation, is a way to keep the positive vibes flowing as you celebrate your love, which is just that — your love, no matter what form it takes.

Many folks have felt left out because the wedding community of the past was fairly gendered, but that’s thankfully been changing within the industry over the past several years. After all, “bride and groom” doesn’t describe every couple. Plus, putting genders aside is a fun way to get creative and let your personality shine through on your wedding day. Whether you have a wedding full of LGBTQ+ friends or only one attending, the last thing any couple wants on their big day is to make a loved one feel excluded at their wedding unintentionally.

So, prepare for some ultra-creative ideas that will make everyone feel loved as you celebrate the start of a lifetime together.

How to Have a Gender-Inclusive Wedding

From creative wording to eye-catching signs, feel free to have tongue-in-cheek fun that everyone can enjoy so they’ll have a great time! Team-Z has ten tips for an inclusive wedding day as you look at wedding planning in a new light.

1. Propose (or Be Proposed to)

Even if you’re a straight couple, it’s perfectly appropriate for either partner to pop the question and for the other to tear up as they hear the proposal. Team-Z loves it when these traditional roles are reversed or banished altogether with same-sex, non-binary, and other types of couples. In short, if you want to be the one to arrange the proposal — do it!

2. Set the Tone With Your Wedding Stationery

Your save-the-dates and wedding invitations are the first impression of your big day, so create boundaries from the start with non-gendered language. Here are a few of Team Z’s favorites.

  • Future spouse
  • Marrier
  • To-be-wed
  • Nearlyweds
  • Broom/Gride
  • Mx. and Mx.
  • Partner
  • Significant other

3. Mix up Your Wedding Party

Who says that wedding attendants need to be divided by gender? Bridesmen and groomswomen have taken their place alongside couples, but you can knock out all gender norms using a term such as groomsmates or bridesallies. Create your own terminology, or simply call them your wedding party. Swap traditional positions, such as best man and maid of honor, for verbiages like best person, person of honor, or best mate.

4. Choose Community-Minded Wedding Pros

Now is the time to support LGBTQ+ wedding vendors by choosing them to orchestrate your big day. Not only will you be giving them your business, but they’ll be able to help you with thoughtful ways to implement inclusivity on your big day. If you can’t find community wedding professionals, seek out those who are allies to hire for vital wedding tasks. At Zola we work with Vendors who embrace our same core values of tolerance, acceptance and respect laid out in our Vendor Vows, so that everyone in our community feels welcome.

5. Plan a Bachelorx Party

Instead of traditional bachelor and bachelorette parties, schedule a gender-neutral bachelorx celebration instead. Do all of the necessary fun things — AKA partying with your friends before the big day — and invite all genders. Plan a double celebration with your partner or throw separate bashes.

6. Swap Traditional Attire Choices

Have you always dreamed of wearing a wedding dress? Do it, no matter what tradition dictates. It’s your big day, and you and your partner should feel free to express your true personality, especially at a time when everyone is coming together to celebrate you. You don’t have to reveal what you’re wearing on the big day but also make it clear to your wedding guests that they can wear whatever they want.

7. Walk Down the Aisle Creatively

Talk with your partner about who will stand at the front of the aisle and who will walk down. If you both want to walk the aisle, a sweet way to accomplish that is to have both of you start from opposite ends, meet in the middle, and then walk to the front together. You can either walk down the aisle with a mentor or go alone to meet your significant other.

8. Offer Pronoun Buttons

A fun way to add a playful element while doing away with ambiguity is to have pronoun buttons available for everyone. Have small, round pins printed with he, she, they, them, him, her, and other pronouns of choice. That way, folks can make combinations, such as she/them or he/him. To be sure all bases are covered, have a few “ask me” buttons available in case someone can’t find their pronouns on a button or you run out of a particular one.

9. Toss the Toss

Many couples are doing away with the bouquet and garter tosses, and you can follow suit. However, if you’d still like to do this, be ingenious. Either partner — or both of you — can wear a garter or carry a bouquet. Also, let anyone of any gender participate in either, neither, or both tosses! They’re just for fun and are a great way to include everyone.

10. Banish Bathroom Woes

Instead of gendered bathrooms, make each one for all genders or describe the rooms. Signs that indicate whether there are only toilets inside or toilets and urinals can be beneficial. And don’t feel like you have to use words. Quirky line drawings indicating what awaits behind the door can add an element of whimsy.

Thank you, Queer without Fear! Team-Z wishes you a fabulous planning season and a beautifully inclusive wedding. Enjoy!

Pop the Question with our Team-Z

You’ve got questions. The wedding planning experts of Zola’s Team-Z have answers! You’ve finally found the one and know the next steps, but how do you plan the perfect wedding day? From proposal etiquette and wedding websites to registry items, your head is probably spinning as your to-do list gets longer. That’s where Zola’s smart, savvy team — Team Z — can help! You ask, we answer. It’s as simple as that!

P.S. If you aren’t already a part of Zola’s active community yet, put joining on your wedding checklist. Not familiar? It’s where Zola’s couples ask questions and share their best wedding planning tips with other couples just like you.

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