The Ring

How Can We Re-Define Gender Roles at a Same-Sex Wedding?

How Can We Re-Define Gender Roles at a Same-Sex Wedding?

They can dispense with those old and stuffy traditional wedding customs and roles and make the day truly their own.

But when some elements of a straight wedding are adapted to structure the day, it can lead to a lot of confusion. Who should walk down the aisle first? What should be done about being “given away”?  What job should the parents have? And will there be the best person, ushers or a man or maid of honor? Bridesmen or maids? Here are some suggestions for re-defining the roles in any LGBTQ wedding.

Best Man and Maid of Honor Roles

Same-sex weddings don’t need two best men and two loads of ushers or two maids of honor and more than one set of bridesmaids. Gender shouldn’t be the defining factor in anybody’s role. What is most important is having those who are closest to you by your side. It’s common for a bride to have a mix of women and men attendants and for a groom to have a woman best friend or relative adopting the role of “best man”.

A wedding is a big undertaking, and you need to define the attendant’s duties when you dispense with tradition.

  • Maid of Honor/Best Man duties.  On the day, both will help with preparations and act as witnesses when signing the register, but best men will do more welcoming and guiding the guests, ensuring suppliers are in place and holding the rings.
  • Usher and Bridesmaid duties. Helping with planning and setting up the venue. On the day, they will help the couple get ready. Then, bridesmaids will go with the “bride” to the venue and walk behind down the aisle, while ushers greet and guide. Both bridesmaids and ushers act as hosts at the wedding breakfast tables.

Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony Traditions

Most couples will choose to avoid anything reinforcing gender stereotypes, so those customs that are conventionally “masculine” or “feminine” can be dispensed with.

Walking down the Aisle

Traditionally, brides are walked down the aisle and “given away” by the father. With a same-sex ceremony, each couple decides what suits them and their circumstances. Being walked down the aisle means the other half is waiting at the other end with the officiant, so you first need to decide whether this is what is desired. You both could walk down the aisle, or neither needs to walk down the aisle. It’s up to you.

Being Given Away

The old idea of transferral of the ownership of the bride from father to husband can be binned but you can keep it in if you see it more as parents giving the marriage their blessing.

The Vows

Personalizing the vows is a marvelous way of demonstrating love and marriage. You have to say the standard legal declarations and the words of the contract, but apart from that, be as creative as you want to be.

The world really is your oyster.