Wedding Wisdom Wednesday: How to Plan a More Inclusive Wedding

Local wedding pros share insight and tips for planning your wedding.

Amy Tannenbaum
Gender-affirming attire and mixed wedding party

You’ve probably heard the word "inclusive" thrown around a lot lately, and not just in the "all-inclusive wedding venue" sense. You may be wondering: How can I make my wedding more inclusive? 

The great thing about planning an inclusive wedding is that you can throw so many traditions out the window. You can feel proud of the mindful celebration you’re planning—supporting those who align with your values, uplifting marginalized communities, making your friends and family feel seen, and hosting an event (the beginning of your marriage!)—that stands for good

So how exactly can you plan an inclusive wedding? Here are some ideas! 

Use Inclusive Language 

Use both names when addressing your guests. For example, no "Mr. and Mrs. John Joe"—the Mrs. has a name, too! "Mr. John and Mrs. Jane Doe" acknowledges both parties equally. Also, use more inclusive terms like "wedding party" instead of "bridal party," or "attendants" instead of "bridesmaids and groomsmen." You may even feel empowered to use alternatives to "bride" or "groom," like "marrier," "broom," or "lovebird," just to name a few. And instead of announcing you as "husband and wife," your officiant or DJ could announce you as "the newlyweds," "newly married spouses" or "married partners." 

Hire Inclusive Vendors 

Choose vendors who share your values and make inclusivity a priority in their businesses. Choose vendors who celebrate diversity and use inclusive language on their website, contact form and contracts. Not sure what their stance is? Ask in your first email or during an initial consult. 

Mixed wedding parties and gender-affirming attire

Affirm Inclusive Attire 

Let your wedding party choose the attire that best fits their comfort and style. Yes, you can guide them in the general color and vibe as it fits with your wedding, but don’t force someone to wear a dress who would never don one otherwise. And by the way, same goes for the couple getting married. Just because you're a bride doesn’t mean you have to wear a dress! Use inclusive suit makers that make suits for all genders, like our very own Pursuit. 

Mixed wedding parties and gender-affirming attire

Reimagine Gendered Traditions 

You can throw all the gendered traditions out the window! Have both parents walk you down the aisle, or ask a non-parent to serve as your processional escort. You can mix up the parent dances too, for whatever feels right for you. You can invite any gender to be on either side the wedding party, and also invite all genders to catch the bouquet if you decide to throw it! You can even make your pre-wedding festivities, like a shower, celebrate both of you.  

Ceremony interpreter

Be Mindful of Your Guests’ Needs 

Ask for dietary restrictions—allergies, yes, but also vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free or other special diets—right on your RSVP card. Provide alternative entertainment to dancing at the reception, like board games or a comedian. Make your wedding sober-friendly by offering a non-alcoholic signature drink alongside your boozy signature beverage. Make your wedding more accessible by hiring an interpreter for the ceremony and making sure that spaces at all the day’s events accommodate all body types and physical abilities. And finally, relay family sensitivities and the pronouns of your most important people to your vendors ahead of time. 

Amy Tannenbaum (she/her) is the owner and lead photographer for Amy Ann Photography. She takes pride in being an inclusive photographer who captures and represents the love of all couples and families; she is pro-LGBTQ+, pro-immigrant, pro-social-justice, pro-poly and anti-racism. She has been in business for 10 years and has photographed hundreds of weddings, but remains just as passionate as ever about the work she does. Amy describes her photography style as true-to-life, vibrant and in-the-moment.