8 Tips for Throwing an Unforgettable Same-Sex Wedding Online!

June 13, 2022
8 min

Same-sex couples in the US have been legally allowed to marry since the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, but they still face unique challenges when it comes to planning their wedding day.

same-sex couple with pride flag by the beach

While states have been more accepting of same sex weddings than ever, there are still many gay couples who prefer to tie the knot in a state that has legalized marriage equality. In this article, we’ll lay out some tips for navigating these issues and show you how to plan an unforgettable same-sex wedding, virtual or otherwise.

First things first: What is marriage?

The accepted definition of marriage varies from country to country, but in the United States it is generally understood as a formal contract between two people (not necessarily of opposite genders). The main purpose of this contract is for those people to enter into an agreement with each other that will allow them live together as husband and wife while also giving them certain legal rights such as property ownership and mutual financial responsibility.

In most cases, after being married by a judge or religious official such as a priest or rabbi — all depending on what kind of marriage license they choose — these partners will sign a document called “the certificate,” which makes their union official according to both state law and federal tax policy.

Additionally, there are no citizenship requirements to marry in the U.S., meaning that couples do not need to be U.S. citizens or residents to obtain a marriage license. As a result, the U.S. has become a popular location for same-sex destination weddings, offering a diverse range of locations and inclusive services to create memorable and legally recognized weddings.

If you're abroad and prefer not to travel to the U.S., online weddings offer a flexible alternative for couples facing travel restrictions or other barriers. Courtly can help plan your same-sex wedding seamlessly from anywhere in the world, ensuring a beautiful and legally recognized ceremony without the need for travel.

Tips on how to throw an unforgettable same-sex wedding online

1. Same-sex wedding rings mean you can get creative and mix things up since there are no set rules.

If you and your partner are planning a gay or lesbian wedding, you may already be aware that there are no rules to follow. You can get creative and do whatever feels right for the two of you. This includes everything from the big picture down to the smallest detail.

One specific area where you can have fun experimenting is with your rings. In sharp contrast to traditional heterosexual weddings, there is no default position when it comes to choosing gay wedding bands. Here are some things that you might want to consider:

  • Do you want matching rings or not?
  • Do you want your rings to reflect each other's in terms of materials and design, or will one look different from the other? Maybe one partner will wear a ring made out of platinum while his lover wears one made out of gold.
  • Will your rings fit together like puzzle pieces? Maybe each ring has only part of the whole design on it, and they interlock when they're worn together on opposite hands.
  • Will one ring be slightly bigger than the other, or will they both be exactly the same size? There is no right answer here; it all depends on what feels right for both partners. It doesn't even matter if one person has larger fingers than his mate; he might prefer a smaller (and perhaps more delicate) ring just because he likes how it looks on his hand.
garden party with rainbow confetti

2. You might want to include a rainbow in your decor as a tribute to LGBT supporters.

Incorporating a rainbow into your wedding decor is a beautiful and meaningful tribute to LGBT supporters. The rainbow symbolizes diversity, inclusion, and the vibrant spectrum of love, making it a powerful addition to your celebration. Here are some ideas for weaving rainbows into your decor:

  • Rainbow flag
  • Rainbow cake with rainbow frosting
  • Rainbow bouquets made from rainbow flowers
  • A rainbow tablecloth and napkins with rainbow utensils, plates, and cups
  • Large rainbow balloons tied to the backs of all guests' chairs for an added festive flair

3. Don't be afraid to write your own vows.

Writing your own vows is a great way to make the ceremony more personal and unique to you and your partner. When creating your own vows, we suggest keeping it simple. Don't try to write a whole novel about how you feel about each other. Keep it positive and don't dwell on the negative because you're planning to spend the rest of your life with this person!

Try writing down some things that are special or important to you and your partner, then think of what they mean to you and why they're important in the relationship. If one of you has trouble expressing yourself in front of a large audience, talk over how comfortable he or she would be at sharing these thoughts with everyone listening or have someone else read the vows for him or her. You can also try out vow writing apps like Provenance to help out with writers block!

same-sex couple exchanging vows

4. Find ways to make the day exactly what you want it to be, and keep it fun!

Creating a wedding day that perfectly reflects your desires and keeps the celebration fun is essential for same-sex couples. Start by envisioning what a perfect day looks like for you both, incorporating elements that highlight your unique love story and personalities. Personalize the ceremony with meaningful readings, music, and rituals that resonate with you.

Choose vendors who are enthusiastic and supportive of same-sex weddings, ensuring a comfortable and inclusive atmosphere. Infuse fun elements such as interactive guest activities, personalized favors, and unique entertainment that will keep your guests engaged and entertained.

Want to include your furry friend in your wedding as a dog ring bearer or do the Macarena as your first dance? Go for it! It's your day, after all! Remember, this day is about celebrating your love in the way that feels most authentic and joyous to you, so don’t be afraid to break from tradition and make it truly your own.

5. A cake cutting ceremony is an important part of any wedding, so think about how you'll make that a memorable part of the day for you.

Cake cutting is a tradition that has been around for ages. The couple makes the first cut together, and then the cake is served to their guests. Since many couples are planning weddings without having their friends and family present, how can they carry on this tradition? Here are some ideas:

  • Have your cake delivered to a friend or family member’s home along with two forks, plates and napkins. Then do a virtual cake cutting ceremony!
  • If you’re having an in-person wedding, but with fewer guests than normal, you might want to consider having your friends and family arrive early so that they can see you cut the cake together before heading off to Zoom for the rest of your virtual wedding celebration!
  • You can also have one person (or both!) cut it while on camera during your Zoom call. This way all of your friends and family members will be able to watch as well!
old gay couple standing in front of each other

6. The wedding is just one of many events in your life, so don't expect perfection!

The first thing to keep in mind when planning an online same-sex wedding is that it's one day in many, and the memory of it will last a lifetime. There will be days before it and days after it. It's going to be great, but wherever you are in your life right now, there will be more great moments!

With that in mind: don't expect perfection. Laugh at yourself when things go wrong—and they probably will! When you choose your partner, you also choose their imperfections, so don't let them ruin anything for you. If your laptop won't stop crashing during the ceremony or you forget the backup link to join a Zoom call—these are just minor hiccups. Life is too short to be upset over these things! The real guests won't mind either because they're just happy to see you get married; trust me on this one! Be flexible with everything and everyone involved (including yourself). One day could have any number of plans go awry; it'll all work out!

7. Have fun with gay wedding planning by creating your own traditions.

Want to spice up your same-sex wedding planning? Then you need to get a little creative. While traditional weddings are lovely, gay weddings are an opportunity for you and your partner to make a celebration that's all about *you.* When you think about it, starting from scratch can be a wonderful thing.

lesbian newly-weds holding pride flag

So what's the secret of pulling off an unforgettable same-sex wedding? First, take time to plan the day *you* want, not what you think other people think it should be like. Give some thought to how you and your partner met, who you two are as individuals, and what makes your relationship unique.

Once you know the answer to these questions, start looking at ways to incorporate them into the big day! Maybe that means having your tuxes custom made or designing invitations with a photo of the two of us sharing our first dance together. Whatever it is that makes our life special—and shows how much we love each other—is worth highlighting in this momentous occasion!

Finally: Don't be afraid to experiment! Make sure that whatever traditions or ideas we include don't feel forced or contrived; they should reflect who *we* are as people (and as partners). If something feels off about it—or if there's just no way for everyone involved in this celebration could have any fun doing it—then take another look at our plans until everything seems perfect! Move forward only when everything feels just right :)

8. Pick an officiant that shares your values.

Choosing an officiant who shares your values is crucial for creating a meaningful wedding ceremony, especially for same-sex couples. Start by considering your shared beliefs and the atmosphere you want to create. Look for officiants who have experience with same-sex weddings and demonstrate a genuine understanding and respect for LGBTQ+ relationships.

Seek recommendations from friends or online communities, and review potential officiants' websites and social media for their views on inclusivity and diversity. Schedule meetings to discuss your vision, ensuring they are supportive and willing to personalize the ceremony to reflect your love story and values. Trust your instincts; the right officiant will make you feel comfortable, respected, and celebrated.

gay couple getting married online through courtly on zoom

At Courtly, we are honored to marry couples of all backgrounds, firmly believing that love transcends race, sexual orientation, and religion. Contact us for assistance with your online wedding, no matter where you are in the world.

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Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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