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LGBTQ+ weddings and cishet weddings: learn the key differences

inclusivity insights Mar 10, 2023

One of the most common misconceptions I hear from people of all identities and orientations is that there is no difference between LGBTQ+ weddings and cishet weddings. (More accurately, some people claim that straight weddings and same-sex weddings aren't different, but I don't use that language anymore.) And while that statement is true enough for the purpose of fighting for marriage equality because we all deserve the right to have our marriages recognized by our government, it’s not true when you peel back the layers of what it takes to execute an LGBTQ+ wedding. There are many ways LGBTQ+ weddings and cishet weddings are different, but here are some standouts.

How LGBTQ+ and cishet weddings differ

  • LGBTQ+ weddings are challenged socially in a way that cishet weddings never are.
  • LGBTQ+ people must consider where they and their guests will feel safe during the ceremony and their reception.
  • LGBTQ+ people carefully cull their guest lists for people who haven’t...
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The art of unlearning: an essential practice for authentic inclusivity

inclusivity insights Jan 03, 2023

For inclusivity in the wedding industry, hospitality, or in any facet of personal or professional matters, we need to approach it with the understanding that we’re going to need to unlearn some things. This could be because what you’ve learned might be untrue or that things have changed. Flexibility is key here.

When I teach LGBTQ+ inclusivity in my courses, workshops and team training, I try to come to the subject and my students with an open mind. Having that open mind helps me stay curious. Even though I teach from research and data acquired over the course of nearly 13 years of professional work, I know that there’s never an end to learning about other people. People are vibrant and ever-evolving beings, so how could we know all there is to know about them, their experiences, their concepts about themselves?

Notice that I used the word “try.” It’s human nature to fail, but it is something else entirely to try again after you’ve...

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Don't be weird: LGBTQ+ inclusive wedding insights from Christy and CaSandra's private beach wedding in Moorea, French Polynesia

Adventurous couple Christy and CaSandra got engaged in Maui and then eloped on a private beach in Moorea, French Polynesia. (See more from their wedding feature on

In an idyllic way start to the wedding day, the couple was picked up by a boat from their beachside villa and driven to the private island. The only guest was CaSandra’s 25-year-old-daughter. Later, they enjoyed a reception with family and friends in Atlanta, Georgia.

Their marriers shared some advice for vendors working with LGBTQ+ couples: “Don’t be weird.

“We spoke to a couple of vendors in the Atlanta area when planning our reception and they just seemed awkward or maybe they were hesitant to accommodate us. Gay and lesbian couples are no different than your straight couples and there is no need to be weird or awkward if you truly want our business. The only thing that perhaps makes us a tad bit different is whether or not we are out to our families and wedding planning...

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Be openly LGBTQ+ inclusive: insights from Dawn and Candy’s garden chic wedding

After getting engaged on the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Dawn and Candy decided to throw the perfect garden chic wedding

Their main goal was “to let love permeate every nook and cranny of every space and heart.”

Their April celebration took place in their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. The couple ensured the space was filled with trees and other greenery, like grasses and succulents. They also wanted to support women-owned businesses so they hired an all-female team of vendors.

“The day was perfect!” they said. “Guests enjoyed an intentional and organic exchange of vows and promises and then partied the night away!”

Their advice to vendors: “Please add that you are LGBTQIA+ friendly on your website so that we can forego that opening question in the preliminary discussions.”

It’s seems like such a simple addition, but it can make all the difference for LGBTQ+ couples. Remember that for these couples, it...

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Ask questions: insights from Megan and Allyson's groovy and eclectic Indianapolis wedding

Megan and Allyson wanted a wedding filled with fun and color with a groove and eclectic vibe. The couple married at the The Nest Event Center in Indianapolis, with Megan's aunt officiating.

Their advice to wedding vendors serving LGBTQ+ weddings and couples: Ask questions.

“If you’re unsure of something, then ask the question,” they say. “Be open with LGBTQ+ couples. It makes us feel like you care about getting it right.”

Many wedding and event pros mistakenly feel that asking questions means showing signs of ignorance. However, when, if asked in the right way, doing so can often be a sign of respect.

Asking questions means you are not making assumptions about how members of a couple identify or what wedding traditions they would like to follow. It means admitting when you don’t understand something about their identity or community and being open to learning about it. That way, you can be the best possible collaborator you can be. Some...

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