That feeling when both you and your guests feel included at your wedding ceremony? Priceless! Be proactive to ensure this is a reality. Using gender neutral and affirming wedding terms is one step to achieve your goal. Think about the words that you are using and if they carry additional (unwanted or unnecessary) significance. For instance, to do this focus on the relationship, rather than the gender.
Your engagement is a special time of your relationship. As your wedding day approaches, the excitement builds. Naturally, you want to enjoy the process. Especially as you begin a new life together with your partner, using terms that reflect who you are is important.
For those who always felt included, this is easy – not much to think about. If the traditional “bride and groom” or “groom and groom” or “bride and bride” feels right, go for it. But for others, especially people whose gender doesn’t conform with current social expectations, titles can create a complicated web of emotional triggers.
Even if you identify with your gender assigned at birth, gender-weighted terms might not quite “fit.” You have the liberty to use whatever titles you like. Or, modify the language used based on your social values or in solidarity with others. Transitioning our vocabulary to gender neutral terms is one way of being more inclusive and relieving undue angst so everyone feels like they belong.
It is so important that we are authentic and our true selves. Always. And, especially when making a lifelong commitment to another person. There are no rules, so go with what the words that work for you.
- Love or Lover or Loveperson
- Nearlywed and Newlywed
Specifically, some terms that are affirming for non-binary people.
- Enby (is the phonetic pronunciation for NB, or non-binary)
Wedding Party Terms
Think about the entire wedding ceremony experience. To illustrate, consider the titles for different roles.
- Best Person and Person of Honor
- Wedding party
- Flower person
- Bachelorx (pronounced bachelor-ex) or Bach party
After you find your officiant on www.findaJP.com, talk with them about what words you’d like to use in your ceremony. Stuck? Your JP or notary is a professional with the experience to talk through options and help you find the best words for you.
Do you have other terms that you like? Tell us in the comments.
- Be You! Tradition be Gone!
- How to find LGBTQ+ Welcoming Officiants
- The Justice of the Peace Association, representing the officiants on findaJP.com, advocates on behalf of our membership. Read about our journey advocating for gender-neutral terms on marriage licenses.
Loretta Jay is the Managing Member of the Justice of the Peace Association. This is the membership organization for professional marriage officiants. All officiants’ profiles are searchable at findaJP.com, the place where Couples who Click can find their perfect JP.