47 Wedding Ideas for Gay and Lesbian Couples

From cake toppers to ceremony ideas, here are 47 ways to make your own traditions and plan a wedding that embraces your uniqueness.

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For same-sex couples, it can be stressful trying to model your wedding day off traditional ceremonies. Simply finding things can be tough: LGBT-friendly vendors, same-sex cake toppers, same-sex gift sets. The list goes on.

Planning the Ceremony

Surrounded With Love

Surrounded With Love

If you don't want to have traditional bride and groom sides, make a heart or a circle with wedding guests.

Photo by: Marc Millman

Marc Millman

Many same-sex couples are redefining wedding ceremonies and tailoring traditions to suit them. From walking each other down the aisle to planning outfits for bridesmaids and brides-men or groomsmen and grooms-women, here are some ideas for the ceremony.

23 Ceremony Ideas for Same-Sex Couples

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Surrounded With Love

You don't have to have traditional "bride" and "groom" sides at your wedding. Have guests circle around you or even make a heart.

Photo By: Marc Millman

Or Have a Crowd

Grooms Luke and George didn't have sides at their wedding. Guests stood, concert-style, watching them exchange vows up on a stage.

Photo By: Abie Livesay

Go Traditional

Husbands Brett and Mike had a traditional chapel ceremony in the Smoky Mountains at Chapel at the Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. If you're looking for an LGBT-friendly vendor, especially a religious venue, look for the Human Rights Campaign's blue and yellow equal sign logo on the vendor website. Some sites display a rainbow flag. That's a great way to know before you call when booking.

Photo By: Gatlinburg Wedding Center

Think Outside the Chapel

Brides Julia and Amber had their ceremony in a natural history museum. We're obsessed with the ornate molding and gorgeous tile floor.

Photo By: Ian Borgerhoff

Or Have a Cocktail Hour

Grooms Luke and George had champagne flutes waiting for guests as they arrived for the wedding. Guests sipped on bubbly, cocktail-hour style, during the ceremony.

Photo By: Abie Livesay

Or Have a Dinner Party

Brides and Charlotte and Gina integrated their ceremony and reception with a luxe dinner party. We love the long dinner tables with dramatic lines of candles. It's easy to create yet incredibly elegant and dramatic.

Photo By: Linda Arredondo

Make It a Family Vacation

Husbands Scott and Tony and their three children had a small wedding ceremony in Hawaii to celebrate their history together and make their union legal. They kept the ceremony casual with coordinated Hawaiian fabrics, leis and flip flops for the whole family.

©Tony Frost

Walk Each Other Down the Aisle

Shake off the idea of one person walks down the aisle while the other waits at the end. Same-sex couples are making their own rules. Brides Julia and Amber walked down the aisle together, with a bouquet each.

Photo By: Ian Borgerhoff

Dance Down the Aisle

You don't have to walk down the aisle. Grooms John Henry and John danced down the aisle to "I'm Coming Out."

Photo By: Marc Millman

Walk With Family Down the Aisle

The traditional dad-walks-bride-down-the-aisle doesn't work for everyone. You don't have to have anyone walk you. Or give you away. You could walk yourself. Or you could ask a family member or friend to walk you down and give you away, too. And if you want, a little bit of both is OK, too. Before grooms John and John Henry danced down the aisle together, they had their moms walk them down halfway. It gave them a special moment to share together before the big ceremony.

Photo By: Marc Millman

Match Your Outfits

George and Luke wore matching black tuxedos with gold accents: bow ties, watches and gold-tipped shoes.

Photo By: Abie Livesay

Or Just Match the Color

Brides Julia and Amber both wore white wedding dresses but showed off their own personalities with different silhouettes and styles.

Photo By: Ian Borgerhoff

Wear Different Colors

Grooms John Henry and John wore suits in different soft, neutral colors to go with their beach wedding.

Photo By: Marc Millman

Rock Black Dresses

Brides Charlotte and Gina had a formal dinner party as their ceremony with evening gowns fit for the red carpet. This allowed them to step outside traditional silhouettes for wedding dresses and rock more modern styles like a peplum.

Photo By: Linda Arredondo

Or Rock a Tuxe

Any bride should remember that a dress is not mandatory. It's your day and you get to wear what makes you feel like you. Brides Gina and Charlotte changed into tuxedo jackets and suit pieces after their ceremony. They look just as fabulous in these outfits as their black dresses.

Photo By: Linda Arredondo

Go Casual

It's your day! Wear jeans if you want. Husbands Mike and Brett have been together for more than 20 years. Their marriage renewal ceremony this past year was non-fussy and relaxed, keeping the focus on their history and journey together.

Photo By: Gatlinburg Wedding Center

Or Go Funky

Have I said it's your day yet? Don't feel confined to traditional colors or fabrics. Be bold and show off your personalities. Grooms Luke and George changed into funky, glitter blazers for their New Year's Eve wedding reception.

Photo By: Abie Livesay

Mixed Bridal Party

Many same-sex couples have both bridesmaids and brides-men. Or groomsmen. Or grooms-women. Finding outfits that suit every body type and person--and in the same color--can be tough. Black and white is a classic and easy combo for a bridal party with men and women.

Photo By: Ian Borgerhoff

Use One Color to Unify Wedding Parties

George and Luke used gold for their wedding party. Everyone got to wear something unique that fit them best, but the metallic neutral pulls everything together.

Photo By: Abie Livesay

Or Have a Color Palette for More Options

Give your wedding party a palette of colors. Grooms John Henry and John wore neutral suits, so they invited their wedding guests to wear bold, bright colors instead.

Photo By: Marc Millman

More Than Just Vows

Grooms John and John Henry had family and friends write down what they loved about the couple and words that described them. These words went into metallic shells and guests took turns reading the words during their beach wedding.

Photo By: John Henry Watson

Twist on Traditional Phrases

If lines like "You may now kiss the bride." aren't exactly how you want to end your ceremony, you could have your guests send you off. Grooms Luke and George had guests give cheers with champagne.

Photo By: Abie Livesay

I Now Pronounce You United in Marriage

Just remember: There are no rules. And there are no expectations. Only love.

Photo By: Abie Livesay, Ian Borgerhoff and Linda Arredondo

Finding a Cake Topper

Peg People Cake Toppers

Peg People Cake Toppers

These hand-painted wooden pegs from Lovebirds Goods offer personalized and intricate details from white lace patterns to tiny boutonnieres.

Photo by: Melissa Clark

Melissa Clark

A quick trip to a big box store usually isn't fruitful for same-sex cake toppers. Check out online stores for DIYers making handmade and custom-designed toppers. Here are 10 of our favorites.

10 Cake Toppers for Same-Sex Couples

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Peg People Cake Toppers

These hand-painted wooden pegs from Lovebirds Goods offer personalized and intricate details from white lace patterns to tiny boutonnieres.

  1. cake topper

Photo By: Melissa Clark

Mr. and Mr.

Keep it classy with thin script. Save this plastic cake topper and repurpose on a wreath for your new home.

  1. cake topper

Photo By: Derek Chad Marsh

Dramatic Silhouette

Turn an engagement picture into a silhouette for your cake topper. After the wedding, frame it in a shadow box for a chic (and budget-friendly) piece of art.

  1. cake topper

Photo By: Derek Chad Marsh

Clay People Cake Toppers

Make clay versions of you and your spouse. You could copy your exact wedding outfits or show different parts of your personalities and hobbies. The material, Fimo (a type of polymer), is hardy and will last for years after.

  1. cake topper

Photo By: Helen Baggett

Paper Cutouts

Paper dolls aren't just for kids. These easy print-outs are budget-friendly and can be framed or turned into a holiday ornament after the wedding.

  1. cake topper

Photo By: James Berglie

For the Ultimate "Friends" Fan

If your love is as strong as Ross and Rachael, say it with this same-sex couple twist.

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Photo By: Chicago Factory

Dapper Penguin Cake Toppers

Animals are a fun way to liven up a cake and these penguins are extra cute with bow and neck ties.

  1. cake topper

Photo By: Aleksandra Vargas

Crochet Couple

These hand-crocheted figures are perfect for retro weddings and pair well with lace doilies as table decor.

  1. cake topper

Photo By: Cherry Time Design

"Best Day Ever" Banner

You don't have to have people cake toppers. Use a phrase that sums up the whole day or even a quote about love that you and your spouse like. Tiny banners with twine are a great choice for rustic weddings.

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Photo By: David's Bridal

Wobble People

Cake toppers don't have to be on top of the cake. Since these figures are so large compared to the cake, the hand-painted family is featured on the side.

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Photo By: Jennifer McFarlane

Gifts for Same-Sex Couples

Romantic Mug Set

Romantic Mug Set

There are Mr. and Mrs. sets for just about anything in big box stores but it can be hard to find sets for same-sex couples. You can find custom, handmade mug sets from online makers like Ink Letter Love.

Photo by: Crystal Bolin

Crystal Bolin

If you get invited to a same-sex wedding, finding a gift or even a card can be tough. There are so many online shops offering custom-made gifts for gay and lesbian couples. Here are some of our favorites, from matching pillowcases to first Christmas ornaments.

14 Adorable Wedding Gifts

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Hers and Hers Sinks

Finding a wedding card for two brides can be difficult in stores. Opt for a hand-drawn and custom-printed design from DIYers and makers online, like this one from Lost Marbles Co.

Photo By: Katrina Dixon

Hedgehog Grooms

We just love the adorable hedgehog grooms (in top hats!) on this wedding card from Compatible Cards. The London-based company designs greeting cards exclusively for LGBT couples and was funded by the Prince's Trust charity. And, yes, they have hedgehog brides, too.

Photo By: Stephanie Chrysostomou

Romantic Mug Set

There are Mr. and Mrs. sets for just about anything in big box stores but it can be hard to find sets for same-sex couples. You can find custom, handmade mug sets from online makers like Ink Letter Love.

Photo By: Crystal Bolin

Hers and Hers Decorative Pillows

Gift the new couple extra pillows that remind them of their special day, like these throw pillows from Pillow Art Designs.

Photo By: Abby Henry

Missing Piece Bracelets

These "missing piece" bracelets from Jane R Jewelry are a great shower or bachelor/bachelorette party gift. The beads remind the couple that their better half is always with them.

Photo By: Jane R Jewelry

Cheeky Wine Glasses

We love these stemless wine glasses from Kris Gets Crafty. Include a note with your gift that lets the grooms decide who gets which glass! 

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Photo By: Kristine Dyck

Or Beer Glasses

This set is a perfect bachelor party gift for grooms who love beer. We love these Weizen glasses from Tipsy Home.

  1. pint glass

Photo By: Sally Braddy

Personalized Burlap Pillow

A decorative pillow makes a great addition to a mudroom or entryway bench, welcoming guests to the new couple's home. Find this one from Etsy shop Urban Pebble Trailz.

  1. burlap

Photo By: Marion Catalano

Couple Bracelets

These handmade leather bracelets from Risky Beads are a great pre-wedding or shower gift. 

  1. bracelet

Photo By: Lori Ward

Travel Set

Outfit the new couple with matching passport covers and luggage tags for their honeymoon. These sets from A Box Full of Matches make great wedding shower gifts.

Photo By: Emily Keown

Parent Mug Set

Many same-sex couples who married before the 2015 Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality are now throwing renewal parties to honor their marriage and make it legal. For these couples, gift something that celebrates their history and family. We love these ceramic, same-sex parent mug sets from Sam's Muddy Mom Pottery.

  1. mug

Photo By: Louann Glasgow

Custom Ornaments

Give the couple an ornament to celebrate their first Christmas or other holiday together as a married couple. It's something they'll enjoy unwrapping year after year. We love the rustic ornament from Marked Moments and the punched metal from White Lilie Designs.

Photo By: Travis Coppock and Rebecca Blundell

Double-Duty Gift Tags

You could also use an ornament as a gift tag for a larger wedding present. We love the hand-carved pottery from Heart Stone Gallery.

Photo By: Kerri Michaud-Bagley

Matching Pillowcases

Give the new couple a fun set of matching pillowcases to celebrate their union. Send to their honeymoon hotel ahead of time for a surprise when they walk into the room! We love these sets from Wystar Wedding Shop.

Photo By: Wylee Jacobson

Gifts That Give Back

Honor a couple's bravery and strength by gifting an item that benefits an LGBT charity. One Hope Wine carries a sparkling wine (in a rainbow glitter bottle!) that benefits The Trevor Project, a group focused on suicide prevention for LGBT youth. Four bottles fund one hour of counseling services.

  1. wine
  2. rainbow

Gifts for the Kids, Too

Not having equal marriage rights until last year didn't stop LGBT couples from having families. If you're invited to a marriage renewal party for same-sex couples making their union legal, bring an extra gift for the kids. It's an important celebration for them, too. We love these mom and dad squared tees from Imagine Mint.

Photo By: Abby Henry

Always remember: It's your day. There are no rules and expectations. Only love.

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