If you’re planning a same-sex wedding or civil ceremony, there are a lot of ways to adapt traditional customs to suit your celebration. Here are some tips for making your wedding day special and personal:
Walking Down the Aisle: If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of one of you meeting the other at the altar, there are ways to remedy the problem. If the ceremony site only has a center aisle, consider walking down the aisle together. If you’re planning to be escorted by a parent, relative, or friend, you can each walk down the aisle, one after the other. If the site has two or three aisles, consider entering at the same time down different aisles and meeting at the front.
Seating the Guests: Before the ceremony, designate which side of the altar you’ll each be standing on. Notify your ushers so they can seat guests on the appropriate side. Depending on the layout of your ceremony site, you can also arrange the seats to the sides of the altar to create a half-circle around you and your partner, surrounding you with loved ones.
Choosing an Officiant: While many churches and religions are accepting of same-sex marriage, you may prefer to have a personal friend or relative conduct the wedding ceremony. If they’re not ordained, fear not. There are many nondenominational or interfaith ministries that offer online ordainment. The process is relatively easy, allowing anyone to become legally equipped to perform your wedding ceremony.
Wedding Vows: The vows you recite to one another during the ceremony summarize the commitment you are making to one another. You can either opt to use traditional vows (which may require a bit of editing and tweaking) or write your own. Writing your own vows is a great way to honor the uniqueness of your relationship and express your love to one another.
Exchanging Rings: The ring is one of the most important symbols of the marriage covenant. If you and your partner have already exchanged rings and aren’t planning on adding a second ring, you may want to reenact the ring exchange during the wedding ceremony with a few words about love and commitment. Many gay couples choose to wear commitment rings on their right hand instead of on their left hand or wear a nontraditional band on their left hand.