How To De-Traditionalise Your Wedding Day (And Make It More Gay)

Wedding planning

Wedding planning expert Bernadette Smith shares her tips for empowering yourself on your glorious lesbian wedding day.

Bernadette Smith is the founder of 14 Stories, the event-planning company on a mission to make the wedding industry inclusive of all couples. Here, she shares her expert tips and message of empowerment for same-sex couples on their wedding day.

“First of all, we just need to remind ourselves that we don’t have to fit into the heteronormative structure. We don’t have to follow those rules. If our relationships are not based on gender roles, there’s no reason that anything related to our engagement, proposal or wedding has to fit into gender roles.”

Next, she says, think about what you both want for your wedding, what your must haves and deal breakers are. What do you want your wedding to feel like? What do you want the energy to be like? “From there, start thinking about those traditional elements and how they can be adapted.”


Young couples often take turns proposing to each other, especially if they don’t have gender roles in their relationship. “It presents a sense of equality in the relationship; the sense that we’re doing this together. And if someone is more butch or masculine they might want to have an engagement gift that’s not a ring.”


Consider dressing and preparing for the ceremony together. It’s a personal decision and there is certainly merit in the big reveal, but, Bernadette says, “If you are each other’s best friend and closest confidant on clothing and wardrobe, why not get ready and dressed together?” If you want to dress separately, Bernadette suggests a ‘first look’ before the ceremony, giving the photographer time to capture the energy and emotion of the moment.


Much of the tradition of getting married comes with the ceremony. Consider walking into the ceremony space together. Options include using two different aisles or walking in from different directions so you can walk with your parents if you desire. Bernadette says, “In addition to creating that sense of equality, this is a metaphor for two becoming one. It’s a unity ritual, in a way.”


It’s not necessary to have bridal music. Use pop music or something that is meaningful to both of you.


It’s vital to feel beautiful and comfortable in yourself, or guests will pick up your awkward energy. “If you didn’t have to worry about what anyone else thought, what would you wear? What feels right to you? Give yourselves permission to break the rules if that’s what you want to do. If you want to be traditional, that’s fine as well.”


You can take traditional elements out, like the first dance or cutting the cake, but Bernadette emphasises the need to replace them with something. “These elements add structure and flow to a wedding. They’re conversation starters for guests, especially guests who are shy or more reserved.” So what do you replace them with? Bernadette has seen clients choose dance performances like flamenco and tango, and even a drag king show.


Consider handing champagne around before the ceremony. “It sends the message that this is celebratory, that it’s something extra special, and it’s a really nice way to break the ice.” But while you should care about your guests comfort, “it’s really important that you don’t let that be a distraction. You can’t let it be something that is stopping you from expressing yourself.”

This is your day, so give yourself permission to own it!