LGBTQ Wedding Guide | Helpful Wedding Advice | Ft Lauderdale LGBTQ Wedding Photographer

How to plan an LGBTQ Wedding or Elopement

Engayged? Super glad you’re here!

You met, you U-hauled and now you’ve popped the question… now what? Wedding Planning can be super painful, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve put together this guide to help you plan the wedding of your dreams.

Wedding-Rings-Love-is-Real-LGBTQ-Bands elaine-jenn-engagement-ring-session.jpg

Best Resources Online for LGBTQ Wedding Planning:

Equally Wed – Seriously start here. This is such an incredible online resource for LGBTQ couples who need inspiration, vendors and all of the help planning.

A Practical Wedding – This blog has always been a favorite of mine! Here is a link to their incredible worksheets for budgets, planning and creating your guest list.

Dancing with Her – This Lesbian Wedding Magazine IS EVERYTHING! And not just because I’ve been featured a few times. I just love the love stories they share, amplifying beautiful lesbian weddings all over the world. What a time to be alive. Head here for all of the wedding inspiration you need!

Engayged Weddings – Looking for LGBTQ vendors? This is the most complete site I’ve found yet.

Rainbow Wedding Network – They have paid advertisers that are LGBTQ friendly, but they also have an AWESOME Facebook Group where you can chat with other LGBTQ Couples for ideas, inspiration and get your questions answered!

Gunnison Colorado LGBTQ Elopement Ceremony.jpg Benvenuto_Wedding_Tiny_House_Photo_LGBT_Ceremony.jpg

Decide What Kind of Wedding Day You Both Want

Are you thinking super traditional Church Wedding or flying to Iceland for an Epic Adventure Elopement? Whatever you decide to do, listen to each other’s ideas, wants and needs. Come up with a list of what you both desire your day to look like, and be open to compromise! There are so many ways to celebrate your marriage.

Traditional Wedding – Church or Temple Service with a reception after
Non-Traditional Wedding – Making your wedding day your own in every way
Intimate Weddings – Weddings with 30 guests or less
Destination Wedding – Having your wedding in another city / state / country
Destination Elopement – Eloping in another city / state / country
Courthouse Elopement – Eloping at your local courthouse

Also consider your budget. Come up with a budget plan together and decide what your priorities are for your day and start researching actual prices for your budget. It’s not wise to simply write down what you think things cost, actually do research when creating your budget or you might be heartbroken when you discover what things actually cost. Weddings and even Elopements can be super expensive.

Here’s an awesome blog post by Adam Kol, a financial planner who helps couples talk about finances.

Pick Your Date

Do you have a special date you both love that gives you enough time for planning an epic wedding? Go for it. If you don’t have something in mind, it might be a little tricky to pick your date. Decide what kind of weather you want. If you live in a place where it rains all summer, you might want a fall or winter wedding. If you live somewhere with snow, you might choose fall or spring.

Larger weddings need at least a year for planning, where smaller weddings you can pull off in 6 months.

Book Your Venue

The venue is the absolute first vendor you must book once you solidify your wedding date. Without a venue, you can’t really book other vendors.

There are SO MANY options for wedding venues. Here are a few of my favorites: Barns, Zoos, Aquariums, Museums, Libraries, Parks and Farms. Just remember if you’re choosing a location that isn’t an actual wedding venue, you’ll need a planner to help coordinate all of the moving pieces. Wedding venues are all-in-one with coordinators on site and typically have catering and lots of go to vendors which can make things a bit easier.

Pro Tip* If you’re choosing to throw an outdoor wedding, make sure there is a “Plan B” for inclement weather.

wedding_venue_destination_islamorada_amara_cay_out_of_town_tiny_house_photo.jpg boca-raton-wedding-photographer-the-addison-venue-.jpg

Book Your LGBTQ Friendly Vendors

Those websites that are listed above are AMAZING resources for LGBTQ wedding vendors. It’s important to choose vendors who show off their LGBTQ couples with pride. You want to surround yourself with vendors that are celebrating along with you, not silently judging your marriage. Ask your friends for suggestions and join the LGBTQ Wedding Ideas, Tips & Discussion where many couples who have already said “They Do” chime in with their experiences.

My friends over at Lumen Studios have worked really hard putting together a list of welcoming vendors.

Book Your Engagement Session

Once you book your venue, you’ll want to inquire with your favorite photographer(s) to get quotes. Once you select your photographer, get your Engagement Session booked! Engagement sessions are often included in your Wedding Packages for a few reasons. First you’ll want some professional images to share with your friends and family and on your Wedding Website. Second, it is AWESOME getting to work with your wedding photographer BEFORE your big day. You’ll feel so much more relaxed in front of the camera on wedding day, having already rocked an engagement session with them! It also helps your wedding photographer know what you are comfortable with as a couple for posing, PDA, etc.

Pro Tip * Schedule your wedding trial hair/makeup for your engagement session and then head out for a super hot date night after your session!

same-sex-engagement-session-lesbian-wedding-photographer-tiny-house-photo.jpg Fort-Lauderdale-Destination-Elopement-LGBTQ-Tiny-House-Photo-2.jpg

Save the Dates & Invitations & Wedding Website

Save the dates have been super popular over the years. If you don’t want to spend money on them, you can always use websites like Zola or create your own Wedding Website on Squarespace with all of the wedding information. Wedding Websites are SUPER HELPFUL when planning a destination wedding, especially when you have welcome dinners, rehearsals, and after wedding events as well.

Here is a helpful blog post I found from Off Beat Bride with amazing LGBTQ invitations.

Wedding Showers & Parties

Wedding Showers and Bachelor / Bachelorette Parties can be kind of confusing for some LGBTQ Couples. They are heteronormative traditions and some couples find it difficult to navigate. Instead of “Bridesmaids” and “Groomsman” consider calling your wedding parties your “Best mates” or “Wedding Mates”. Some Couples are opting for “Broomsman” and some just our “Wedding People”.

If you have a lot of mutual friends as a couple, consider having joint parties and inviting all of your closest friends or Wedding Party. If your friend circles are totally separate, you can go the traditional route and have separate events. Some couples opt for just one big party before the big day.

the_bridesmaids_lgbtq_wedding_destination_islamorada.jpg happy_engagement_session_lesbians_kissing_south_florida_gardens_homestead_redland_koi_garden.jpg

Stay Organized!!

There are so many ways to stay organized while planning your wedding or elopement. Here are some tips on keeping your day planning under control.

Create a Wedding Binder – Old fashioned but keeps all of your documents in one place. There are TONS of free templates online or you can support a small business on Etsy!

Set up a Wedding Email Account – Keep all of the wedding vendor emails in one place by setting up a joint email account. This keeps all of your important documents in one central place so you can find communication with ease. This is a better solution than using websites such as the Knot. Many vendors refuse to communicate through those platforms.

Hire a Planner / Coordinator – If the thought of choosing vendors and colors and every single wedding detail is causing your blood pressure to rise, you might consider hiring a planner or a day of coordinator to help you with the planning process.

Ask your Married Friends – Your married friends are a wonderful source of information. Ask around.