Many people know who they will ask to be part of their wedding before they even get engaged. They are often the first people you call to announce your engagement and the first people you call when you need help with wedding planning. When deciding who your wedding party members will be, an equally important consideration is how to have an inclusive wedding party. How can you create a space for all of your wedding party members to feel safe, comfortable, and like they can truly be themselves at your wedding?
5 Tips to Have an Inclusive Wedding Party
1. Forget about gender.
Who are your favourite humans in the world? Does gender actually play an integral part in these people being your favourites?
Gender should not be a consideration when deciding who to ask to be part of your wedding party. Instead, focus on who knows you best, who has supported you and your relationship with your partner, and who you most would like to be standing up next to you on your wedding day.
2. Be mindful of terminology.
A lot of wedding terminology is extremely gendered. Bridesmaids, groomsmen, maid of honour, best man, flower girl, bridal party, the list goes on and on…
Creating an inclusive space means being mindful of the impact of gendered language. Can you use a gender-neutral term to describe your wedding party? Wedding party, party people, wedding crew, best people, attendants, and friends of honour are all great gender-neutral terms you could use instead of the gendered alternatives.
3. Give freedom with attire.
Do you already have a vision for what your wedding party will wear? Be conscious that your vision may not be comfortable for every member of your wedding party. Not everyone is going to feel their best in the same style and material.
How can you allow for some freedom of choice? Perhaps provide your wedding party members with a colour scheme for their attire and allow them to pick a style that they feel most confident in. Not only will your wedding party feel more comfortable on your wedding day, but variation in styles creates visual interest and often photographs better than a collection of identical outfits.
4. Think about entrances.
Traditionally, wedding party members walk down the aisle with a member of the other wedding party, they enter the reception this way, and they sometimes also have a dance together to open the dance floor.
Are these forced pairings really necessary? If creating an inclusive, comfortable space for your wedding party is important to you, eliminating these arbitrary couplings is probably a good place to start.
5. Manage your own expectations.
There are often a LOT of expectations involved in being part of the wedding party. These totally vary from wedding to wedding but can include being available to field questions and help with wedding planning, assisting in creating DIY components for decor, planning events leading up to the wedding, as well as financial expectations like travel for pre-wedding events, hotel rooms, paying for attire, hair and make-up, etc.
Not everyone has the resources to be available in every capacity, and that’s okay. Have an honest conversation with yourself and with your wedding party about what is most important to you and what your expectations are. Are there ways you can reduce or eliminate some of these barriers?
Have you thought about how to make your wedding party more inclusive? Which of these tips are you going to use in planning your wedding party for your wedding?
Want to read more in the inclusive wedding planning series? Click here to read about choosing an inclusive wedding venue.