Ceremony Language for LGBTQ Weddings

by Megan Hill

May 27, 2015

© Ivonne Wierink | Dreamstime


Weddings are so engrained in American culture most of us can probably recite the famous lines, “I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.” But that simple sentence is rife with heteronormativity, leaving the LGBTQ population out entirely. It’s fine for a straight wedding, but it just won’t work for the rest of us.


Luckily, if you’re a member of the LGBTQ community and you’re planning a wedding, there are plenty of people who have already gotten married who can show you the way. A simple search for LGBTQ wedding ceremonies yields hundreds of hits, and often you can read ceremony texts verbatim to get a sense of what others have done. One great resource is The Knot.


Some ways to work around the heteronormative binary in wedding ceremonies is to use the gender-neutral word “spouse” instead of “husband” or “wife.” You can also utilize gender-neutral quotes or readings about love and commitment that do not mention the husband-wife combination specifically.


You may also choose to pay homage to the LGBTQ-rights activists who have made it possible to get married in your state or country. You might also think it appropriate to acknowledge that in most places in the world, LGBTQ couples are still fighting for marriage equality.


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