Navigating the Gendered Verbiage of Weddings and Marriage

Weddings aren’t a strictly gendered thing, as most of us reading this know, but many of the words around weddings and marriage are very gendered. Whether you’re having a same-sex or completely gender-neutral wedding, it can start to get difficult talking about it without using gendered verbiage that others will understand.


Photo Credit: © Wild About You Photography

No two people are the same, as no two relationships are the same. There are plenty of words out there that you can substitute to suit your ceremony and personality and if you can’t find them… create them! (How cool is that?) A wedding (coupling, commitment ceremony, civil union, etc.) is at its root, an expression of love. Find your expression of love and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. 

Here are some traditional wedding-related terms and a few of their substitutes to fit the needs of the LGBTQ community:

  • Bride/Groom: spouse, partner, husband, wife, mate, betrothed, companion, ball and chain (haha, just checking to see if you’re actually reading this.)
  • Bridesmaid/Groomsman: attendants, bridesman, groomsmaid, bridesperson, groomsperson, best person, person of honour
  • Best man/Maid/Matron of honour: Best person, Best woman, best mate, man of honour, woman of honour, person of honour, attendant of honour, wedding chief
  • Wedding: Civil Union, Holy Union, Commitment Ceremony, nuptials, matrimony, coupling
  • Acronyms MOB, MOG, FOB, FOG (mother of the bride/groom; father of the bride/groom): Parents of [Name]
  • I now pronounce you Man/Husband and Wife: I Pronounce you are married, I pronounce you husband and husband, wife and wife, woman and woman, man and man, life partners 
  • Vows: I take you as my husband/wife: partner, spouse, lover, beloved, sweetheart


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