Making the Wedding World More Inclusive!
Weddings are meant to be the best day ever arent they? And as 'gwedding directory' points out, using the wrong terminology can kill the party vibe. Here at my services within Amanda-Louise Knight Weddings Proposals & Events, we love all our clients and want to offer a safe and inclusive place for planning a wedding or celebration to everyone. After all love is love is love right?
Our ethos of wanting to create a positive impact in the world of weddings and events (we shout out our love for our planet and the people who live in it) but its all well and good, service providers saying they are inclusive and what does that mean in practice?
Here is our commitment on how we work, and advice for anyone who wants to have a gender neutral wedding......
Pronouns Do Count!
We have taken into our hands doing everything we can to get it right. Once terminology was "bride and groom" or "bridal suite" was ditched to be more respectful to "couple", "brides and grooms" or "newylwed" or "spouse" or "happy couple" and that ever so important room we like to refer to as "VIP suite" or "wedding suite". We have since dropped the wording "gay wedding" so not to label as a wedding is a wedding right?
And it doesnt stop at the couple, there are the guests so we make no assumption they would want to be called "Ladies and Gentleman" for example, and anyway isnt "family and friends" much nicer?
More recently we have what was once an all female line up of "bridesmaids" now include males in that party too, as well as those who are non-binary, gender free or transgender; so "wedding crew" was adopted and another wedding the couple preferred "bridal folkes people". The point here is it up to the individuals how they want to be referred to. So after booking with us, we send out a questionnaire which covers all the logistics but importantly we ask about gendered language you wish us to use.
Why do we start with the right words to use?
Although pronouns is a hot topic, the world has got along way to go in getting it right around misgendering. Not everyone outwardly expresses their gender presentation, so we dont assume, we ask. Of course that doesnt mean we dont always get it right but our sheer ambition to change the out of date wedding terminology that excludes so many - for example trans and other gender-nonconfirming people - lets face it, even the Marriage Law Act is way over due to be rewritten! Whilst we know that the majority of weddings are for cisgender couples, but they still discriminate others.
Here are some key words to know, taken from gweddings directory (thank you!) "so you’re ready when you are planning your wedding or celebration:
Someone whose gender identity matches with the sex they were assigned at birth, for example, a man who was assigned male at birth or a woman who was assigned female at birth.
Someone whose gender identity does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth, for example, a woman who was assigned male at birth or a nonbinary person who was assigned female at birth.
Anyone who doesn’t conform to the binary of either man or woman. Not all gender-nonconforming people identify as trans, but many do. Once again, it all comes down to the individual. Examples include nonbinary, genderqueer, bigender and genderfluid.
Assigned Gender at Birth (AGAB) / Sex/:
This is basically whatever the doctor wrote on your birth certificate on the line marked sex. Though biological sex is not actually as binary as we’ve been taught to believe, this typically refers to a person’s sex as defined by their chromosomes, hormone production and reproductive organs. Examples include male, female and intersex. Additionally, AMAB (assigned male at birth) and AFAB (assigned female at birth) are common subterms."
How To Have a Friendly LGBTQ+ Wedding
As I said above, using the right words count.
Use wedding suppliers that are allies (they dont have to be part of the LGTQ+ community just respectful of everyone). Of course anyone is full of excitement, nerves and needs support, advice and reassurance when planning a wedding, so if you are trans you want to ensure you are working in a safe environment.
The venue is another key. Look at their signs ie "ladies" and "gentlemen" toilets or do they say "bathrooms". Of course you dont want to be greeted at reception with them apologising they had booked you in a double room, then you have to explain you are a couple.
Getting the right vibe for your vision - think about the stationary, this will set the scene for your preferences.
Wedding Aisle - you dont have to conform with one waiting at the altar, while the other partner walks up the aisle to greet them - why not walk in together, or walk in separately accompanied by your chosen person to escort you. Then of course a wedding aisle doesnt have to be straight in structure, why not go for a curved or even one that goes around a circle until you get to the middle?
Dont want to exchange rings? - why not consider exchanging watches instead, you can weave the words spoken about stopping the clock or this is your time to pledge your promises to one another.
Your I Dos - thank goodness Celebrants are available to book for your wedding ceremony, writing a service that reflects you and your personalities as you pledge your promises to one another. And there will be NO "you may now kiss your bride" !! (unless you want that of course!) - as a leading celebrant in the wedding industry, I welcome everyone, every planning meeting starts with a blank canvas, then curate something extra ordinary (and shouldnt your wedding be extra ordinary?)
Not All Weddings Have a Bride or a Groom
I hope this blog has been thoughtful, and highlights not only what we do within our wedding planning and celebrant services here in the UK, but also raises awareness of what is gender and society's perceptions of woman, man or other.
So hope you have fun breaking traditions, and have the most epic day of your lives as you 'tie your knot' (oh goodness there is another use of words - wrapped around the celtic handfasting ritual, which you may like as part of your wedding ceremony, either in the spiritual version or a more modern way? - see Paul and Jack below when they included handfasting in their ceremony as they 'tied their knot' with me in Devon.
So, it all starts at the very beginning of your wedding planning journey...why not browse my collection of wedding services from planner, celebrant, furniture and decor hire, wedding dog chaperone to mention just a few shown across my website and say hello to me and my team