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Inclusive Weddings: Gender-Neutral Terms for Your Wedding

Two newly wed husbands are kissing in front of a wedding arch; their queer celebrant / officiant is in the background. Zwei frisch verheiratete Ehemänner küssen sich vor einem Traubogen; die queere Hochzeitsrednerin / Traurednerin steht im Hintergrund.

Gender-neutral language, also called gender-inclusive language, tries to include all people–no matter their gender: not all people are men or women.

All of us appreciate to be addressed with the right terms. And while the terms in the context of marriage ceremonies between men and women seem to be obvious, we need different–maybe even new!–words for LGBTIQ+ weddings. In some instances, it's easy: many words already are gender-neutral. In others, we have to find alternatives. Luckily, languages are flexible and change all the time. And we can influence these changes. So: get creative!

Most importantly: you decide which terms are right for you. And, of course, everyone else can decide on their terms as well. If the traditional terms work for you: that's wonderful, too!

Wedding Couple, Throuple, Quad, Polycule etc.

As an alternative to bridal couple or pair, which linguistically requires a bride, you could also use the terms wedding couple or wedding pair. These terms do not consider poly weddings, though. But we can easily swap the couple for, e.g., throuple, quad, or polycule: wedding throuple, wedding quad, and wedding polycule.

... I declare you married!

You know the line: at the end of the ceremony, the couple is declared husband and wife. But what happens in those cases where there is not exactly one woman and one man? You decide if you want to be declared wives, husbands, spouses, partners for life, or similar. Personally, I like to focus on what just happened and declare the new status.

The Wedding Entourage: Best Persons & Co.

Gender-inclusive terms for the best persons and persons of honor are rather easy. But what about bridesmaids and groomsmen? How about a wedding entourage? This term could include everyone who supports those who marry and sounds wonderfully royal. Perfect for your special day!

Flower Children–or Flower Persons!

Not only girls can be flower children. And it doesn't always have to be children! My favorite flower persons are those who are less conventional. For example here.

Ring Bearer

Who brings the rings? The ring bearer! And everyone can be a ring bearer.

(If you would like to include your fur babies here: consider if this would work well for your pet.)

This photograph was taken by Karsten Reifer during a styled shoot we organized together. You'll find the entire list of vendors on my Instagram account; more pictures from this shoot here.


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