Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Wedding Tips & Advice
It has been my pleasure to host a number of LGBT weddings over the years. The first gay wedding I hosted was Tom & Mario’s in Lewes, DE, (right outside Rehoboth beach) at Nassau Valley Vineyards in 2012 (catered by the Blue Moon). Since 2012, I’ve also been a proud sponsor of the Rainbow Wedding Network. From Philadelphia, to Rehoboth Beach, to DC, I’ve been the main DJ for many of their LGBT wedding expos.
Since same sex marriage became legal across the US, many LGBT couples have a lot of questions when it comes to handling traditional wedding ceremonies. When I sit down with these couples, I find they can become nervous wondering, “How should we be introduced?”, “How do we handle throwing our bouquets and/or garters?”, “Which one of us walks down the aisle?”
I advise both my opposite sex couples and LGBT couples the same – It is YOUR Wedding. It is YOUR big day. There is no “right” or “wrong” way! Do what feels the most comfortable to you both, and what you feel represents you best! You’ll be surprised to know many opposite sex couples are deciding not to hold certain traditional wedding ceremonies. In this past year, many couples decided not to even have a wedding cake! They opted to do a different type of dessert. Even if they did hold a cake cutting, couples chose to do it with no announcement.
Are you are a lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender couple engaged to be married, and struggling with these same concerns? If so, below are some examples of how you can handle these traditional wedding ceremonies.
Many things have changed in our society. The family model isn’t what it used to be. For this reason, even opposite sex couples can have a hard time deciding who walks down the aisle and with whom. Here are some suggestions:
1) Walk down the aisle together! I’ve become a big fan of couples walking down the aisle together! I think it is such a beautiful way to honor each other.
2) Walk down the aisle individually – one after the other. Or, walk down the aisle with one of your parents – one after the other.
3) One of you stand at the alter, and the other walk down the aisle.
I would suggest talking about it with your significant other, and decide what feels most comfortable for the both of you.
Suggestions for Introductions
1) You want a casual, relaxed feel to your wedding:
“Lisa & Sarah”
2) One of you is taking the other’s last name. You want a more formal feel to the wedding:
“Mr. & Mr. John Smith”
3) Neither of you is taking the other’s last name. You want a formal feel:
“Mrs. Kate Smith and Mrs. Jennifer Jones”
Suggestions for Bouquet & Garter
Let’s put a spin on this wedding tradition! Are you a couple who likes the nostalgia of this wedding ceremony, yet you’re not sure how you could incorporate it into your same sex wedding? Are you a couple who doesn’t like this ceremony at all, yet you want to include something traditional into your big day? Here are some suggestions:
An anniversary dance is a great way to honor the couple at your wedding who has been married, or committed to each other, the longest.
It’s a dance where we invite these couples to the dance floor to dance to a slow song. After each verse, we ask couples to sit down based on the number of years they’ve been together – 5, 10, 15, etc. We continue to do this until there is only one couple left standing. The couple who has been married the longest. Sometimes the newly wed couple will then present them with a small gift. Yet, hugs and kisses always work well too! (Photo credit to Sharyn Frenkle Photography from Christian & Mark’s wedding we hosted at the Please Touch Museum).
You can also decide to honor all of these couples by just inviting them up for a slow dance.
2) “Freshen up the traditional bouquet toss!”
You and your bride to be (or husband to be) can hold the “Ribbon Cutting“. It’s a fun way to put a spin on an old wedding tradition. Or, both of you throw your bouquets!
So what happens when someone catches the bouquet/s? Doesn’t someone have to catch a garter?
Believe it or not, many opposite sex couples decide to only have the bride throw the bouquet. The guest who catches it receives a round of applause as the “winner”.
Can guys throw a bouquet too?
Why not?! Many of my gay friends love flowers! Any couple, regardless if you’re lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, or opposite sex, can have fun with putting a spin on the bouquet toss!
3) My third suggestion? Don’t worry about it!
Are you the type of couple who wants to just dance and have a great time at your wedding? If so, it’s better not to include too many extra activities. Between your photos, introductions, your first dance, toasts, blessing, and mingling with guests – trust me – there’s already enough to do!
Another concern I’ve found LGBT couples have is finding friendly vendors. If a vendor is LGBT friendly, they should have something on their website which indicates this. MLE proudly displays on our website we are members of the Rainbow Wedding Network.
On ALL of our wedding brochures, we feature Rachael Conlan’s photo of a rainbow wedding cake (from Alissa & Karen’s wedding).
If you’re having difficulty finding a friendly vendor, one of the best resources for you is the Rainbow Wedding Network’s website. I strongly suggest checking out their site, and better yet, attend one of their wedding expos!
If you have questions, or concerns about your unique LGBT wedding, we want to help! CONTACT Michelle Lee Entertainment today for a complimentary consultation.
Via email: Info@MichelleLeeEntertainment.com.
Via phone: 267-640-2731.
“This lady right here kept the entire wedding going. From her energy to her killer DJ skills, saying thank you doesn’t do her justice. We can’t even express how grateful we are that you were our DJ, thank you Michelle Lee
-Christian & Mark
“One of our guests approached us to say, “I only have one complaint. The music is soooo great. I CAN’T STOP DANCING!”
– Trevor & Fritz
“DJ Shellie was the best! She took over the event and made sure everything was perfect! I’m so glad we found her. All our guests commented on how great the DJ was. We can’t put a price on how much Michelle offers.” – Wedding Wire review Zelma & Jean
“Michelle- Jean and I had the best time of our lives and you made it happen. Thank you so much for all that you did. THANKS!!!!” – Zelma & Jean
“Hi DeeJay Shelly!
Wow! What a night! Thank you so much for “getting” us so well, and for mixing and playing such great sets! We have received so many compliments about the music, dance lighting, and that everyone actually was dancing! Which we attribute to your great skill, experience and warm personality. Thanks again; we’ll be sure to recommend you to any other friends that we know that might be marrying as a result of the new marriage equality status in Pennsylvania.” – Hugs, Larry & Dave
We’re still showing everyone the photos. Everyone is still RAVING about what a great time they had! The photos are GREAT! And we still haven’t even looked at the CD! Rachael Conlan, you did an awesome job with what my friends are confirming was a tough light to get a decent non-blurry photo out of… It was an AWESOMENIGHT and I still SMILE when I think about it – I wish that night could have gone on for days – surely it will live FOREVER in my HEART and memory. Thanks again! – Alissa & Karen