Queering Wedding Traditions

· Updated on May 29, 2018

Marriage is a beautiful tradition between a man and a woman. At least that’s what every wedding tradition we’ve been taught and served by movies, television, and the media would lead us to believe. But it’s 2017, and we’ve come a long way as a society that has actually begun to recognize the whole equality thing. So why should we be stuck in the same heteronormative practices that weddings and marriages revolve around?

As a queer kid, it’s commonplace to grow up in a world that expects you to marry a person of a certain gender and to conform to a certain set of rules. If you’re a man, you ask her parents’ permission and buy an engagement ring. If you’re a woman, you pick out a white dress and take his last name. But if you’re a man not marrying a woman or vice versa, what do you make of these traditions?


One tradition that feels a bit outdated is requesting permission from the bride’s parents. Since we don’t live in Victorian England, parents don’t exactly own their adult spawn anymore. Nonetheless, it’s still seen as a courtesy.

But as queer people, our family isn’t always the people who birthed or raised us. If bringing your other half home is a bit daunting because they don’t support same-sex marriage, let alone you having a same-sex partner, perhaps it’s not their approval you need.


“Put a ring on it” has become a popular phrase thanks to Queen Bey and millions of women ready to lock down a man. But that also suggests a bit of inequality and a power imbalance that a woman should depend on a man to pick out an engagement ring.

As a same-sex couple, the rules are ultimately off. If the woman gets a ring in a same-sex couple, who gets it when there are two women or no women? Instead of opting for one engagement ring, just pick out rings for each other that can celebrate both the engagement and the wedding.

And if you want to spend the rest of your life with that person, tell them. Does it have to be a grand gesture that one-half of the couple is totally responsible for? Not at all. In 2017, it’s just as mature to come to a mutual agreement.

But a queer marriage proposal is ultimately a chance for a public statement of love and equality. So why not take advantage of the moment?

Bachelor/bachelorette parties

Before you get married, it’s only fair you get one last night as a single man or woman. Whether you’re throwing singles at strippers or getting drunk off wine with your sorority sisters, it’s that one night when you get to pretend you’re not spending the rest of your life with one person.

Some same-sex couples have opted for joint bachelor/bachelorette parties. If you’re into the same thing, you’ll save money on the stripper. Also, you’re more likely to have the same friends, which means they won’t have to choose whose party to attend.

If you want to preserve the sanctity of the bachelor/bachelorette party, separate parties are still the way to go. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a boys’ club or a “no men allowed” event. Have your parties on separate nights so your friends don’t have to choose.

Wearing white

The wedding is always about the bride. And the bride is supposed to wear white. Some say it represents purity, but the trend began when Queen Victoria opted for a white gown instead of the traditional red at the time. It was pretty unconventional since white represented mourning.

As queer folk, we have an entire rainbow of symbolic colors to choose from. And since we’re often frowned upon in the eyes of Christians, who are we trying to appear pure to?


The wedding party is a group of friends and family curated by the bride and groom. It’s a symbol of support, having those closest to you prepare you for that walk down the aisle. The groom traditionally picks a group of men while the bride chooses women.

For queer people, those closest to us rarely belong to one gender. So, feel free to add some bridesmen and groomsmaids to the mix.

But do away with the assigned dresses and tuxedos. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, they’re rarely comfortable. Instead, choose a color scheme and let them put together their own outfit (with your final approval of course).

Bride reveal

Everyone knows you’re not supposed to see the bride before the wedding. Some associate it with bad luck. In actuality, it originated with arranged marriages when couples weren’t allowed to see each other at all before that moment. It was also to deter the groom from calling it off if he thought his bride was unattractivehow romantic.

These days, that tradition just seems a little unnecessary, especially if there’s no bride. Take that walk down the aisle together. Do away with the power imbalance and the archaic idea of parents presenting their daughter to a man as if she’s a piece of meat.

Bouquet/garter toss

It’s one of the most entertaining moments of the reception. When you toss the bouquet, 20 single ladies form a mosh pit and gladiate to the death. It’s another superstition that they hold onto for the hope that they’ll be next to walk down the aisle.

Although it’s superstitious, it doesn’t mean we can’t keep enjoying it. But why not make it queer friendly? Form a lesbian bouquet toss. Toss two bouquets and whoever catches have to go on a date together.

Last names

When you get married, the woman takes the man’s last name for herself and their new family. This tradition began because married couples were seen as one person. And because for so long, the man was the only one who could vote or own property, his name was superior.

For gay couples, it’s one of the most confusing parts of marriage. Who takes whose last name? Do they just hyphenate? Some even make their own new last name. What better way to start a new life together as equals?

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