9 Ways To Have a More Gender-Neutral Wedding

Blog, November 30, 2023

The institution of marriage has been around for centuries. That’s why weddings are rife with so many antiquated traditions – from what couples have to wear (and what color) to the language they use in their vows. And for the most part, these traditions are based on gendered roles and expectations. But just because something’s been around for a long time doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of a revision. Fortunately, today, more and more couples are adopting inclusive ways to celebrate their union, while making everyone at their wedding feel loved and welcomed. 

Don’t prevent yourself from having your dream wedding because of social norms or gender norms,” Flora’s wedding experts say. Situated in the heart of San Diego, California, Flora is a wedding venue that puts focus on inclusively celebrating all types of love stories. Here, the team at Flora shares a few things you can do at your own wedding – from embracing a more gender-neutral lexicon to opening up the bouquet toss to everyone!

1. Ditch the Traditional Bouquet Toss

The bouquet toss has been a quintessential part of weddings for hundreds of years. During the second half of the reception (although this timing isn’t a hard-and-fast rule), the bride tosses her bouquet of blooms over her shoulder and into an excited crowd of single or unmarried females. Tradition dictates that whoever catches the bouquet is next to wed. However, today, couples are either ditching this gendered activity altogether or adding modern updates, like opening it up to everyone and using both bouquets and boutonnieres.

2.Zhuzh up the Dress Code

The bridal gown is almost synonymous with the color white – the symbolic shade of “purity and innocence.” But other than symbolism, there’s nothing that restricts couples to a particular color palette. Want to don your favorite color? Go right ahead! And if you’re looking to keep your wedding more gender-neutral, trade in colors like blush pinks and baby blues for less gendered shades like greens, yellows, and reds. Give your wedding party the freedom to wear what they’re comfortable with instead of having to choose between a dress and a suit.

3.Change the Language

The words “bride” and “groom” (or variations like “bridal”) are deeply embedded in the industry’s language – but this doesn’t mean you have to apply them to your own wedding. You can ask your officiant to adopt neutral language throughout your ceremony. For example, instead of saying, “You may now kiss the bride,” they can say, “You may now share a kiss.” Small changes and tweaks can go a long way in making sure both you and your guests feel affirmed and acknowledged.

4. Use Gender-Neutral Honorifics

For years, it’s been customary to use formal titles such as Mr. and Mrs. on every piece of wedding stationery, from the save-the-date cards to thank-you letters. However, if you’re looking to update your wedding suite with more inclusive language, use a guest’s full name instead. And if you’re addressing an opposite-sex couple, make sure you’re not subconsciously always listing the male member’s name first.

5. Honor Your Guests’ Preferred Names and Pronouns

One way to make sure your guests feel affirmed is by using their correct pronouns. Ask your guests to share their preferred names and pronouns before or even during your wedding day. A few opportunities for posing that question: RSVPs, your wedding website, and even escort cards. Pay special attention to your guests’ preferred names rather than their legal names, and ensure you’re using them correctly throughout your ceremony and reception. Lastly, don’t forget to communicate your own pronouns to your guests!

6. Assign Gender-Neutral Roles

At ceremonies, it’s customary for the flower girl – a role typically assigned to children – to walk down the aisle before the marrier, scattering petals along her path. However, there’s no rule that says the role has to be assigned to a little girl – or to children in general. Put a new spin on the tradition by electing whoever you want for this ceremonial duty. It could be your close friends passing out an item, perhaps something cheeky and relevant to you. It could even be your furry friend (if your venue allows pets)!

7. Have Mixed-Gender Wedding Parties

Ditch the old-fashioned gender roles, and offer anyone you want a spot in your wedding party – regardless of their gender. Consider replacing the terms “bridesmaids” and “groomsmen” with “attendants,” and the terms “maid of honor” and “best man” with “best person” or “mate of honor.” Beyond your wedding, rethink the traditional bachelor or bachelorette party. For example, a lot of couples are opting to host non-gendered bachelorx parties, allowing everyone to join in on the pre-wedding fun.

8. Work With Supportive Vendors

To make sure your gender-neutral wedding is executed exactly the way you envisioned it, it’s important to work with vendors who are supportive of gender inclusivity. From your florist to your DJ, make sure to hire the right (read: compassionate and thoughtful) professionals for the job. Flora, for example, recommends a list of vetted vendors who support diversity and inclusion in the wedding industry, and always make sure every couple’s love story is represented and celebrated.

9. Pick Your Venue Wisely

Most importantly, choose a wedding venue that puts inclusivity at the heart of everything they do. Make sure that said venue understands that every love story is different – and every couple deserves to be celebrated with the wedding of their dreams. On top of that, be ready to ask questions about what your venue of choice does to accommodate the needs and interests of transgender and gender-nonconforming guests. Wedding venues like Flora offer gender-neutral restrooms, inclusive signage, a supportive staff, and so much more!

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