23 Wedding Ceremony Ideas for Same-Sex Couples

For same-sex couples, trying to model your wedding off of traditional ceremonies can be complicated and stressful. Here are 23 ways to make your own traditions and create a ceremony that embraces your uniqueness.

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Photo By: Ian Borgerhoff

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Photo By: Marc Millman

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Photo By: Abie Livesay

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

Match Your Outfits

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

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.

Wear Different Colors

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

I Now Pronounce You United in Marriage

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

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