If you and your partner are two cisgender hetero people planning your wedding day, you may think that supporting LGBTQIA+ rights and promoting LGBTQIA+ visibility doesn’t have a place in your wedding, but the truth is there are lots of ways to still support your LGBTQIA+ friends and family on your wedding day!
Here are 5 simple ways to show support for your LGBTQIA+ friends and family through your wedding.
1. Ask For Pronouns on Your RSVP Cards
Gender identity is a spectrum, and it’s also fluid. Someone who once identified as male may now identify as nonbinary, gender non-conforming, or female. By including a space for pronouns on your RSVP cards, you’re saying to your guests that you respect their current gender identity, no matter what it is. You’re giving your guests space to be themselves, and you’re also providing a subtle reminder to all of your cisgender guests that they should not make assumptions about anyone’s gender identity or what they want to be called.
Pro Tip: Use the label “Pronouns” instead of “Preferred Pronouns”. A person’s gender identity is part of who they are, it’s not a preference.
2. Include Pronouns on Seating Place Cards
In addition to names and table numbers, it’s pretty common to include things like menu choices or dietary restrictions on place cards to make sure that your guests can have the best experience possible at your wedding. Pronouns are really no different. By including pronouns for your guests on all of your place cards you are helping to reinforce that asking about and checking pronouns is better than making assumptions based on someone’s appearance or your history with them.
That being said, if someone asks you to not include their pronouns on place cards or does not include them on their RSVP card, respect that. By asking, you are giving them space to share, but if they do not want to share their pronouns DO NOT FORCE IT. Forcing them to give you pronouns can be alienating. Encourage guests to always refer to someone by name if they don’t know their pronouns, and possibly add a note about this to your ceremony program.
3. Ditch Gendered Wedding Parties and Traditional Gender Roles
Gendered wedding parties are one tradition that we won’t be sad to see go. The idea that women can only have female friends and men can only have male friends is constantly being reinforced by the traditional bridesmaid and groomsman dynamic. Throw this outdated idea out the door and make space for all of your nonbinary or gender non-conforming friends by ditching gendered wedding parties and simply choosing the people you love to surround you on your wedding day, regardless of what their gender is. Use terminology like “Will you be in my wedding party?” or “Will you be my wedding attendant?” instead of “Will you be my bridesmaid?” Get rid of traditions like the “Best Man Speech,” and instead use labels like “Friends and Family Speeches.” These small changes will go a long way toward making all of your friends and family feel welcome while also increasing LGBTQIA+ visibility.
4. In Lieu of Gifts, Ask Your Guests to Donate to Organizations Fighting for LGBTQIA+ Rights
I don’t know about you, but I registered for a lot of stuff for my wedding that I didn’t really need. The appeal of “Ooooh! Presents!” set in and I ended up with a few kitchen appliances that really don’t get used as often as they should. Instead of contributing to the waste and commercialism of weddings and registries, ask your guests to donate money to organizations that you feel are doing a great job at fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights. Awesome registry services like Thankful Registry make it easy to include non-profit donations as part of your online registry. Some of our favorite organizations to support include Human Rights Campaign, Trans Lifeline, Third Wave Fund, The Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, The Sex Workers Project, PFLAG, It Gets Better Project, Lambda Legal, GLSEN, The Trevor Project, Equality Federation, and Southerners on New Ground.
5. Hire LGBTQIA+ Wedding Vendors
This is hopefully a pretty obvious one, but every time you hire a LGBTQIA+ vendor you are showing support for the larger community. People of color and members of the LGBTIA+ community are disproportionately affected by poverty and workplace discrimination. Help to fight this by taking the thousands of dollars that you are going to spend on your wedding day anyway and put it in the hands of a capable and amazing LGBTQIA+ wedding vendor!
Jen Siomacco is the CEO and Creative Director of Catalyst Wedding Co. She works to mesh together her love of feminism, love stories, equality and design into the layout and brand of Catalyst while she sits on her couch and snuggles up with her SUPER lazy cats.