It might seem like a given that the language used in an LGBTQ+ wedding ceremony should be welcoming to the couple, and also to the guests in attendance. However, if you haven’t considered this for your own ceremony plan or are wondering how ceremony language can be updated for diverse weddings, we have a few tips that can help.
In the past, when same-sex marriages were not legal but were instead classified as “commitment ceremonies” or “holy unions,” there were differences in the scripts used in LGBTQ+ ceremonies, but all that changed in late June 2015 when gay marriage was legalized in all 50 states!While there no longer has to be a difference in the script officiants use, you may still want to consider how you want to be addressed during your vows and throughout the wedding as a whole. Clearly, “We now pronounce you husband and wife,” needs respectful modification.
“In all my ceremonies, whether hetero couples or LGBTQ+ couples, I make sure that I don’t have any language that implies that marriage is only between a man and a woman,” says Reverend Kayelily Middleton. Kayelily uses the term “partner” when referring to the couple during a ceremony. “At the end of the ceremony when I make the pronouncement of marriage I say, ‘I pronounce you equal partners joined in marriage,’” she explains.
Alternatives to “I Now Pronounce You Husband and Wife”
We’re all know the traditional wording of wedding ceremonies. Wondering what other alternatives to “I now pronounce you husband and wife” you could use? Think about the terms you feel describe your partnership and how you view the union you are entering. Maybe “I pronounce you a married couple” feels right. Or, “husbands together,” or “wife and wife,” or maybe “partners for life.” These are all inclusive ceremony language options that you could discuss with your officiant. Any of these pronouncement options should, ultimately, be chosen based on what makes you most comfortable as a couple. After all, it’s your day! It’s important to discuss your preferences ahead of time with your officiant and make sure they are willing to respect your wishes.
Don’t forget to have a conversation with other vendors involved in your wedding, such as DJs, announcers (wedding planners), stationers or family members to remind them what kind of inclusive language is preferred. They may be in the position to make introductions or even address the couple during toasts.