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LGBTQ Wedding Trends for 2019
We Asked 20 Top Wedding Industry Pros to Predict the Biggest LGBTQ Wedding Trends of 2019.
We asked each contributor for their top 3 trend predictions for the coming wedding season and have compiled all of their expert answers for you below. If you’re currently planning your 2019-2020 wedding, read on for the low-down on everything from colour palettes to wedding party size predictions for this years wedding season.
In 2019, LGBTQ+ folks will continue to throw wedding traditions out the window.
- We’ve been seeing a lot of small ceremonies and wedding weekends where the couple gets to spend quality time with their guests versus a huge one night affair.
- Wedding party attire has been one area where LGBTQ+ couples excel – gone are the days of matching, frilly dresses. Members of wedding parties don attire that is reflective of their gender identity, which allows everyone to be comfortable and enjoy themselves.
- Lastly, eco-conscious and ethical weddings will take center stage (and, honestly, it’s about time). Couples are becoming more and more aware of the excessive waste in the wedding industry and they are taking a stand by doing something about it.
LGBTQ couples are bold and authentic. Their weddings almost always stray from the traditional, and that’s what I love so much about planning LGBTQ events. The top 3 trends I have noted stem from this breaking-away from tradition to create a wedding the uniquely represents their story.
- Blended Wedding Parties. More and more couples want their wedding parties to be composed of those who have impacted their relationship and witnessed their love story first-hand—gender need not apply. In 2019, we will see not only a rise in Bridesmen and Groomsmaids, but also in wedding parties not necessarily divided down the middle. Instead, wedding parties will be blended, including the people that mean the most to both members of the wedding couple.
- Non-traditional wedding attire. LGBTQ couples recognize that traditional wedding attire (white, flowy wedding dress/pressed black tuxedo) may not fit their style or story. In 2019, we will see more couples opting for custom suits, tuxedos, dresses, etc. in non-traditional styles and colors. Your wedding day likely the biggest party you will ever throw; why not wear something unique and personalized that makes you feel like a million bucks?
- Destination elopements. LGBTQ couples share a unique story not only of their relationship, but also of triumph. Some couples want to share this victory with all their friends and family with a big wedding celebration, but an increasing number of couples are choosing to elope in a destination that means something special to them. They want to share this intimate moment between themselves or with their closest friends and family, and it makes for a beautiful love story of overcoming all obstacles.
- There is a continuation of doing smaller, less complicated weddings and intimate receptions — and throwing a big, over-the-top after party where everyone on the couple’s radar can attend.
- For guys, the tuxes are a tad more fashion forward than traditional, especially for some millennials . Think of actor Timothee Chalamet’s sense of fresh and fashion forward looks on the red carpet. In addition, the black or blue tuxedo may still be worn by the couple, but the styles are created differently based on the individual’s personal style and taste. The exact matching attire is passe.
- More and more couples are selecting vendors who support the local LGBTQ community and business owners who support the right to marry. It’s no longer just selecting the equipment rental company who has tables and chairs, but finding those vendors who truly support the couple’s values and not just interested in making a dollar because they provide wedding supplies. Lastly, the hyphenated last name is waning, whereas couples prefer to keep their last name as part of their own identity.
- Unexpected color palettes: We love seeing color palettes evolve over the years, and see our couples more and more likely to choose something fun and unexpected instead of “coloring within the lines” so to speak. Pairing a dusty blue with pops of orange hues happens to be one of my personal favorites as of lately- it’s absolutely stunning and makes such an incredible statement.
- Unique Ceremonies: Think outside the Church-(Unless your religion is a factor, of course!) Finding the most outside-of-the-box locations that haven’t been done a million times can be challenging in certain areas, but are almost always worth it in every way. Saying your vows at the top of a mountain, in the middle of an enchanted forest, a big beautiful library, or on a secluded beach will not only be special for the couple, but your guests will find it refreshing and like they’ve been invited to an exclusive event that they have never seen before. Aside from the venue itself, come up with ways you can tie the knot with a personal twist on it… one of our favorites was when one of our Brides’ daughter also got a ring during their vows, and the other Bride vowed to the little girl to be another Mother figure in her life, and to always be there for her. There wasn’t a dry eye in sight! We had waited way too long for LGBTQ weddings to become legal, so naturally we want to ensure they are filled with extra special touches and love, and each one is unique and fabulous in every way.
- Vellum- Vellum has made quite the comeback, and is being used in lots of different & creative ways, including escort cards, custom signage, menus, and of course invitations, which is where we’ve mostly seen it in the past. The end result is super chic, clean and romantic!
- We’re seeing more couples doing things their own way come through. A lot of couples are throwing traditions out the window and doing their wedding in a way that’s authentic to them and their relationship.
- Another trend, small and meaningful weddings. We’re seeing a whole lot more elopements and micro weddings with less than 30 guests. These weddings tend to be spread across a weekend [and in some cases a long weekend], where guests are invited to stay and celebrate for a few days with the couple to celebrate their love. We love weekends that involved good food and activities in nature the best, think kayaking and hiking. These wedding weekends also tend to have everyone involved in some capacity when it comes to putting together the wedding day, be it the florals or the food.
- The last trend we’re seeing for LGBTQ+ weddings in 2019 is weddings with a whole pop of color! The Pantone color might be living coral, but we’re seeing a whole range of pinks and reds, with silver, dominating color palettes. It’s really the year for creative flair when it comes to weddings.
- In general, I think a really cool shift we’re seeing is that same sex weddings are starting to look more like most people would consider a traditional wedding. When same sex marriage first became legal here, many of our couples didn’t grow up imagining their wedding, simply because they never thought it would be possible. But now, we’re seeing couples who did spend time imagining their wedding day, and as a result, we’re seeing more traditional elements come into play: the ladies are going more bridal with their attire, and the men are even doing matching, custom suits. Their wedding day is also starting to look more traditional, with a ceremony, cocktail hour and reception to follow, vs. the cocktail party style weddings we were seeing in the past. This also means that we’re seeing an increase in same sex couples who are working with traditional wedding vendors, including planners, and they’re very conscience of who they’re working with. Same sex couples want to make sure they are supporting small businesses that support and celebrate diversity.
- Another big trend is that the wedding industry is starting to acknowledge, and cater to, the same sex wedding market. We’re seeing more and more designers creating gender neutral clothing and suits, menswear that may be a little more flamboyant and flashy. Also seeing wedding cards that acknowledge same sex couples. And, same sex weddings are starting to pop up in mainstream wedding media outlets: instead of media specifically for same sex weddings, you can now pick up almost any wedding magazine and find gay couples mixed in with straight couples.
- The third trend is travel! More and more same sex couples are starting to feel more comfortable about celebrating their love abroad as it becomes legal across the world. So destination weddings, and honeymoon options, are growing.
I have weddings where LGBT community is present as members of the wedding party, which is shown in their attire. Among the vendors I am working with are many who belong to this community. Because of that I would say that the top three trends to me are:
- Wide acceptance by everyone involved: family, friends, vendors, venues etc;
- Less fuss as a result – the weddings are pretty much the same as other weddings
- As always – ultimate understanding of beauty, refined taste – the weddings tend to be a bit more sophisticated as compared to an average wedding, which is reflected in the couple’s attire, decor, design, the cake and the food.
I would say that the top three trends we are seeing are:
- Classic, but edgy color palettes
- Going back to one statement wedding cake.
- Meaningful-Creative vows and minimalism
Libby Tao Kelson-Fulcher
So I’m happy to chime in here. With Weddings A La Heart, I specialize in LGBTQ weddings as well as Jewish weddings. In fact, I have officiated and planned same-sex unions since the early 90’s before they were given legal status. So happy and so right that they now are!
- Simplicity. Couples are dressing nicely but casually, comfortably. One very sweet bridal couple, a total matched set, both with very slender bodies in khakis and thin white long-sleeved shirts. They only wanted leis to exchange and matched bouquets.
- Marrying more mature couples who have been together for a lot of years.
- More elopements. Seem to be really in fashion now. True that mine are mostly destination weddings here in Hawaii but in the past there were more guests on the trip.
- It’s an experience. Our LGBTQ couples want their guests to be able to celebrate with them through the entire weekend making it more of an experience instead of just the wedding night. They are planning river rafting, sunrise yoga, distillery tours, and even family vs. family softball games! It’s their way of saying “thank you” to those who have stood by them and making sure everyone feels welcome and included.
- We see a lot of our couples opting for less-traditional meal styles and going for immersive stations with different cuisines. The traditional buffet or plated meal is out. They want guests to continue the feel of truly being all together so designing stations around the room featuring different culinary treats – usually celebrating their individual heritages – gives guests the opportunity to mix and mingle, walk around, and dine at their own pace.
- Signature cocktails are all the rage. Our couples let their creativity shine through specialty cocktails curated especially for them. From clever names to designer delivery, guests love a good twist on an old favorite. One of our bar services went as far as to dye bottles of vodka black and created a stunning Tequila Sunrise with the black vodka floating on top, which we named the “Black Heart” for a Dia de Los Muertos themed wedding. It was s huge hit and you could hear guests asking, “where did you get that?!” and rushing to the bar to try it. Anything you can personalize will leave a lasting memory your guests will love.
- Stand Out Suiting – for men and women, jewel toned tuxedos, embroidery, harnesses, patterned suits, white dinner jackets…to name a few. Fit is everything.
- Toasts during the ceremony. The officiant, the couple, and their guests all raise a glass together during the ceremony to symbolize the inclusion of the couple’s village and to celebrate the occasion together, in style. (We love a champagne tray-passed down the aisle about a quarter of the way into the ceremony.)
- Mixed Up Wedding Party – or no wedding party at all. We seldom see two even sides of men and women lined up with the couple at the altar. This is becoming more typical for straight weddings as well.
- They’re smaller and much more intimate than typical straight weddings. LGBTQI couples are highly selective about who they invite to their weddings. Sometimes, there are no blood family members invited. Usually, the total number of guests is fewer than 40.
- LGBTQI couples are generally shunning the rituals and associated costs that usually accompany weddings – for example, no aisles, no wedding cake, few (if any) flowers, no hiring of limousines and luxury cars, no first dance.
- They’re more emotional. In fact, the emotions are off the scale, reflecting the hurt and struggles that the couples have been through to get to this point and just soaking up the moment when two LGBTQI people can get married.
- My LGBTQ clients pull away from the many of the typical traditions with a wedding. They are really more in it for the celebration of starting a new life together as a couple with all their friends and family. It tends to be more of a grand party than hitting all the “tradition” wedding events (bouquet toss, etc)
- They are typically a little older (not meaning old, but not 20) and they have a little more expendable cash, so the weddings tend to be more “upscale”. We can bring in bands, specialty vendors (cigar rollers, food trucks, special cocktail bars, etc.)
- Not that this is a trend, but they are some of the most gracious, loving clients I have ever worked with in my 14 years of business. Everyone just seems to embrace the love and joy of the event rather than getting so hung up in the details of all the small things of the day, that in the end, don’t really matter anyway!
One of the things that I enjoy a lot about being a wedding planner is seeing trends come and go, and here is what I am see happening in the LGTBQ community for 2019.
- We are going big! Now that same-sex marriage is legal in a lot of states, couples are going all out! From an increase in the budget, guests counts to over the top venues and décor!
- We are going from intimate small weddings to grand!
- Another great thing that is changing within the wedding industry is the importance of being sensitive, flexible and providing equality to same-sex couples. Meaning we as professional wedding pros are offering couples more options that cater to their beliefs and expectations, this includes wedding attire and formalities that take place during the wedding day!
- LGBTQ couples are moving away from traditions like the “First Look” and getting ready separately. Many are opting for a small or no wedding party and don’t care about the sex of bridesmaids/groomsmen. And they often enter the ceremony at the same time and walk down the aisle together.
- LGBTQ couples are bringing elements of the LGBTQ culture into their celebration. This may occur in the form of entertainment such as singers, dancers, performances by drag queens, and music by gay icons.
- Another trend is to prolong the celebration with an extended after party where the dancing and fun continues for hours after the reception.
The top 3 trends for Same Sex couples, especially when choosing a destination wedding in Hawaii.
- A beach where they can fairly well be sure it feels like it’s all their own. If anyone is around usually it is a fisherman but the semi-private vibe is very important.
- The reason it needs to be like this is that often couples want to feel comfortable when the pronouncement moment comes for kissing their true love. Public display of affection is still often a private experience for many and having a location that is relatively secluded allows for a couple to feel relaxed and in-the-moment, just like they always dreamed of. And
- Having a team of experts that care deeply about their work and it shows; in all they do from communication to the day of events. LGBTQ friendly is a requirement. It’s about respect and every team member must be on board.
- Leaving the wedding party behind! Couples have decided to forgo having a wedding party and let their friends and family enjoy the experience of being a guest at their wedding.
- Intimate Weddings! The average guest count is now 75, couples are really curating their guests list to create more intimate experiences.
- Colorful Color Stories! Couples are incorporating their personalities in their wedding color stories, we are seeing less neutrals and more colorful and dramatic palettes.
Being in business for 20+ years, I’ve seen some incredible changes in the LGBTQ community and their weddings.
- There are a few that I’ve noticed but the biggest change seems to be an increase for this year in that younger people are now getting married. I have a greater number of 20 and 30 year old clients getting married this year. Traditionally, my same sex wedding couples were older, in their 40’s and 50’s now I’m happy to see that more and more younger couples are getting married.
- Another trend that I’m seeing is that LGBTQ couples are having more and more “traditional” weddings and not just “city hall” weddings. More and more venues are slowly embracing the LGBTQ community and opening their doors which leads more couples to have bigger weddings than in the past. I’m also seeing that they tend to have more attendants in their wedding parties than in the past. I’ve also noticed that my straight wedding couples are taking cues from my same sex couples in that they are now mixing their attendants so that it’s not all women on one side and men on the other.
- Another thing that I have noticed, is that as more and more parents and families are accepting them, they are stepping up and becoming more involved in their weddings. It’s such a great joy to see the look on my clients’ faces when their parents are there and supporting them, they literally glow. I think that has to be the most beautiful trend of all.
- LGBTQ couples continue to personalize and make their wedding representative of who they are in the world. They bring forward their passions, style, values and politics in a unique weave that says US. I see them spending money on the aspects of the day that holds value for them rather than riding the wave of I must do this because it’s what everyone else is doing, selecting details that might buck current trends to bring their uniqueness forward. This might not always be obvious: maybe it’s a reading in the ceremony from Justice Kennedy’s opinion in the landmark case making marriage a right for all US citizens or tucking a sprig of wheat into the boutonniere’s to honor the ancestral lands of one of the spouses or hosting the day in the gardens where they work the land.
- Playing Big and Connecting seems to be on trend right now. Whether that means hosting their wedding in another country and having their nearest and dearest make the trip across the globe to celebrate with them or having a three day getaway weekend for family and friends. Carving lots of time to connect with loved one seems to be important.
- Lastly, style. All of my LGBTQ clients come forward with undeniable style. Whether it’s urban chic or hipster chill or Francophile foodies. It’s undeniable and we work to bring this style forward into a day that is uniquely them.
- We are seeing most couples spending their celebrations with a series of events for the week of their celebrations with active inclusions such as; Hikes, pub crawls, surfing/taco beach parties, catamaran adventures, welcome receptions at unique island venues, post wedding day brunch with zip lining to name a few.
- Gender Neutral Wedding Wear: Wedding attire that does not fit into the white dress/suit categories has been gaining lots of popularity with our readers as many members in the LGBTQ+ community do not necessarily want to wear a dress if they are female-identified or wear a suit if they are male-identified, and these more traditional options are especially difficult for gender non-conforming individuals. Gender neutral options provide more flexibility for all style choices and gender expressions and give couples a chance to really be comfortable and themselves on their wedding day.
- Handfasting and Self-Uniting Quaker Ceremonies: We’ve seen more and more couples choosing to ditch a religious ceremony and opt for ceremony approaches that place a focus on the couple and their individual values. Handfasting is a tradition that has long been used in Neo-Pagan circles, but we’re seeing increased popularity of handfasting with secular couples, as well. Self-Unitied Quaker ceremonies allow couples to marry themselves in the eyes of their family and friends, and don’t require them to have an officiant present, though it’s important to note these ceremonies are only available in select US states currently.
- Ditching Gendered Roles, Terms, and Traditions: We’re also seeing more and more couples opting to leave behind gendered terms like, bride, groom, bridesmaid, and groomsman, and instead use terms like partner, spouse, and wedding party that are gender neutral. Similarly, gendered traditions like having the bride walk down the aisle or doing a garter or bouquet toss are also decreasing in popularity, as more couples want to make their weddings a more inclusive place for guests of all gender identities.
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