By now you’re probably looking at your partner knowing that they are the person you want to be with for the rest of your life. They bring your joy, happiness, and a level of certainty that you’ve never had before.
Knowing that this person means the world to you is just the beginning. Now, you get to make them legally your spouse too.
Just like everything in the LGBT+ community, we like to do things a little differently. But it doesn’t matter if you are a traditionalist or a risk taker, with our guide you can ensure the perfect day for you both.
Before we get started, we want to say hello to the readers of MyBellisima.com. We have recently acquired the website and are super excited to welcome you into the fold.
When it comes to engagements two things spring to mind – the rings and the parties. If you’re the couple in question or a guest at the event, it can be difficult to find gifts and rings which aren’t heavily “Bride and Groom” themed.
To help you navigate the heteronormative landscape of marriage and engagement, we’ve collected our own directory to make this process easier.
First, we need to explain the difference between engagement rings and wedding rings. To really simplify the differences, all you need to know is that an engagement ring is meant to be lavish while a wedding ring is more subdued.
Back in the days of old, an engagement ring was a promise that if the groom ran away before the wedding day, the bride could sell the diamond ring to support herself in her new title of Spinster.
But nowadays the engagement ring is a symbol of tradition.
What Type Of Ring Do You Desire?
The first thing you should consider is the type of rings you and your partner would enjoy. The obvious split is masculine and feminine, but some of us feel more one way or another depending on the day.
If that sounds like you, you should look through a collection of rings to see where your happy medium is.
For this exercise, we need to look towards our LGBT celebrities. Dripping in so much wealth, these creative people get to pick the ring they most desire, allowing us to see more unique options that may otherwise be completely undiscovered.
Use the link above as your starting point and highlight any rings to which you feel a connection to.
If nothing from that list sparks joy, then perhaps this list of gender-neutral engagement rings can help light a fire of intrigue.
Our favorite is the Black and White Diamond Split Shank, which uses a feminine shape with masculine colors to perfectly balance a gender-neutral ring.
If you’re buying a ring for a masculine person, you can still purchase a lavish piece of jewelry without needing it to glitter.
Instead, you could have a cobalt ring with rosewood inlay to create a beautiful yet strong unique item.
In the link above we have found 5 amazing rings which are stunning enough to be perfect for an engagement, but subtle enough to feel natural on a masculine finger.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl, boy, or somewhere in between, you deserve to wear an engagement ring. Masculine rings are beautiful too.
There is a growing amount of love for vintage aesthetics, especially within the women-loving-women community.
Cottagecore and witchcore vibes can easily be captured in an engagement ring, as long as you look towards fashion of the past.
To help you find the perfect ring for your style, we have found 10 vintage engagement ring styles for you to consider, along with a guide to help you narrow down the perfect places to start shopping.
Finding a feminine engagement ring isn’t as difficult as the other designs we’ve mentioned already. But just because they are popular doesn’t mean they are less important.
We want to make sure that everyone feels special on their big day, which is why we have found 10 beautiful diamond LGBT engagement rings.
Search through the list to find inspiration. You might even stumble upon the perfect design!
If you’re attending an engagement party for an LGBT couple, you may end up getting frustrated at the heavy Mr and Mrs options shoved in your face.
However, if you want to offer something more personal, then think back to when you first met the couple.
Perhaps one was a friend from college, or they were both your buddies in an old job. Use that connection to pick a gift.
If you used to work in a coffee shop, maybe buy them a branded coffee cup with an inside joke printed on a card.
You could even give them a book with date ideas to help them keep those dating jitters years after their wedding day.
The Proposal Itself
If you’re unsure how to propose to your partner, have a read through Aaron & Kyler’s story alongside Rocky and April’s too. Both of these couples have sweet tales to share, which will fill you with love and inspiration for your own proposal ideas.
There are a billion ways to say “Will You Marry Me”, but the most beautiful proposals include memories, adventure, and time alone.
Think back through your relationship and pick out moments when you felt the most connected to your partner, and relive that time with pride.
To some people, the beauty of the location matters more than the connection you have to it, as new and exciting areas are what gives you and your partner joy.
In that case, you should look through our collection of stunning gay engagement photos to help inspire the image you hope to capture.
You could stage these photos after the event, or plan for a candid moment by asking your friends to sneak around the area and take photos as you fall to one knee.
If you’re still struggling to think of a cute concept, watch the 8 romantic proposal videos we collected in our Most Romantic and Inspiring Lesbian Wedding Proposals article for inspiration.
Every Party Before Your Wedding
Typically speaking, there will be two parties before the big day – your engagement party and your pre-wedding party.
Your pre-wedding party is the all-encompassing name for Bachelor, Bachelorette and I Do Crew party, and although we have put them all together for that introduction, we will give you different ideas for each version of the send-off.
But first to your engagement party!
If your friends and family live far away, you might have the horrible thought of cutting them out of the engagement event. Well, hold your horses!
Since the pandemic, virtual event rooms have become more detailed, allowing us to have online parties to the same standard as the in-person version.
If you have no idea how to create a virtual engagement party, look through our ultimate guide which explains the planning, and inviting side of the event.
When it comes to the party games, you can still complete the same classic activities such as Who Said It (where a list of quotes is written like a quiz and the guests have to guess which of the couple said what), or Wedding Mad Libs (where your friends guess random words which the couple then has to add to a template, creating bad wedding vows).
You can find these game ideas and more in this link.
Regardless of if your party is in-person online, you still need to consider a theme. The theme could be food-based, game-based, movie-based, or even couple based.
No matter what it is, go wild and add that concept to every part of your party. Use this list of 5 fun themes to help you get started.
Although this LGBT wedding might consist of two men, that doesn’t mean you’ll only have one bachelor party.
The couple might decide to merge the two together, but don’t assume they wouldn’t want to stick to tradition and have a night each to dedicate to their friends and family.
For the perfect LGBT bachelor party, you need to keep 4 things in mind – food, adrenaline, drinks, and dancing.
We suggest starting the event by either creating a buffet at home or heading into town for a delicious meal, so everyone can chat and catch up before the day truly begins.
Then you want an adventurous activity. If the groom is creating this event, then think about the fun things you want to do.
If the groom’s friends are taking on the challenge then they should keep the groom’s idea of fun in mind.
Maybe he would want to go zipline, perhaps ax throwing, or maybe flower arranging. You know your friend, what idea would make his day!
Once the activity is done, it’s time for drinks. Book a cocktail party where professionals make outrageous beverages in front of your eyes. This isn’t the time for an old-fashioned, we should be expecting glitz and glamor in this mini show.
And lastly, that brings us to the dancing portion. Arguably the best type of dancing occurs right after a drag show. Take the groom to your local drag performance and dance away to the death drops and wig reveals of a Ru Girl.
For an LGBT bachelorette party, the same rules apply. The bride may want to share their day with their spouse, or they might want to have a day all to themselves.
Either way, the maid or honor or the bride herself should consider these 4 aspects when creating the party – crafts, adventure, food, and spa.
At the beginning of the bachelorette party, the group should participate in some sort of crafting game.
Maybe they need to create a signature cocktail that they feel best represents the bride, perhaps everyone gets a gingerbread person and they need to decorate it to look like the bride.
You could even go wild and take the group to a blacksmith and have everyone learn how to craft a dagger. Creating something in a group will make a memorable event for everyone to share.
In our Fall guide, we suggest going vineyard hopping but anything with an adventurous spirit will do. You could go horseback riding, learn to surf or do anything that allows the bride to have a moment of recklessness before the big day.
After all of that adrenaline, it’s time for a banquette. Depending on the vibe this party is going for, you may prefer to splurge at home allowing everyone to chow down to their heart’s content.
If that’s the case, use our low-waste ideas to help stay green during the event. Or you could book the party at a restaurant with style, going all out for the bride’s day.
Regardless, this meal needs to come with entertainment. Perhaps the chef cooks in front of you all, or maybe your friends start playing a game of “do you remember when”.
To finish off the day of excitement, you need to treat the bride to a spa day. A time to relax with her friends and family and allow the adrenaline of the day to melt away with a sense of calm, ready for the wedding.
The I Do Crew Party
The I Do Crew is a gender-neutral name for a pre-wedding party. And as you’ve probably gathered from our suggestion above, none of them are truly gender-based, so you could pick any one of these ideas and use them in your party.
The most important things to consider are what makes the fiance happy, what are they interested in, and what will make this event memorable.
Use our suggestions above as inspiration or guidance on how to prepare for the party. And remember, it’s all about having fun.
Planning The Wedding
When it comes to planning your wedding, your mind will be racing about all the little details you’re scared to forget. Take a breath. We are here to help.
We are going to walk you through the 4 most important parts of wedding planning – the location you want to get married in, the atmosphere you’re trying to create, the decoration to fill the space, and the laws which might affect your wedding.
Generally speaking, none of these aspects are specifically LGBT related, however, depending on your location, you may find some laws or customs in place to prevent your happy day.
To avoid this heartbreak, we’ve included information that can help you veto locations that would reject you first.
Before we get into the difficult aspects of this conversation, let’s just into the fun stuff first.
The destination of your wedding will set the whole tone for the day. The main concepts to consider are price, distance, landscape, and season.
Cheap Wedding Locations In North America
Weddings are expensive no matter where you intend to marry. However, some cities in the US have dramatically different pay brackets than others.
If you happen to live in Utah, then congratulations, you live in the cheapest state to get married in.
On average, your ceremony and reception will cost around $15,600 (accurate in 2020), with the cheapest city being Salt Lake City with venue prices starting at $650 for 50 guests.
We should also note that Utah has some of the best LGBT protection laws in the US.
However, just being cheap might not be your overall aim. Sure it’s nice to save a couple of nickels here and there, but this is your wedding day. You shouldn’t cut everything out simply to avoid a loan.
A very popular place to get married is in Florida. The beautiful beaches, chilled vibes, and fantastic weather make it a picture-perfect wedding destination.
Just because Florida weddings look like a scene from a movie, doesn’t mean that they are expensive to plan. Use our list of 10 Affordable Places to Elope in Florida to find the right price for you.
Get Married Somewhere New Or Close To Home?
If you’re hoping to travel far on a destination wedding, then you need to consider a handful of additional issues.
First, will your guests want to travel to this destination, and do you need to pay for their flights to encourage them? If not, you may end up receiving a lot of rejection letters and paid-for no-shows.
Secondly, if you are traveling abroad, does this country allow gay marriages? Only 33 of 195 countries have passed laws allowing gay marriages, which means your country of choice may not choose you.
If you have a country in mind, make sure to complete a google search to see if they allow for same-sex marriages.
If you want to travel by staying within the US, take a look at the 6 perfect places in the US to get married.
A Room With A View
If you’re planning on getting married outdoors, then you need to consider the landscape of your destination. Take Ireland for example.
The castles and rolling hills make this area a beauty like no other. If you plan on getting married in this country, you need to ensure a great portion of your wedding is outdoors.
Photos in nature are always elegant and beautiful, so try to incorporate as many natural landscapes as you can.
Lastly, if you want to explore the best from any location, you need to plan your wedding to coincide with that area’s best season.
For example, if you’re hoping to go skiing and enjoy a snow-white background for your dance, then don’t visit your Alaskan destination in the summer.
When it comes to booking your venue of choice, you often encounter two issues – a long waiting list or no choice in seasons.
If you know you want to have your wedding in the summer, you may have to wait years to experience walking down the aisle due to the popularity of the venue.
However, if you don’t mind when you get married as long as it’s at this particular destination, then you may be given an unusual time of year to show your love to each other.
Neither option is bad, as an odd time of year will come with cheaper prices, while a long wait means getting exactly what you want.
The real issue is understanding which of these options are the most important to you, and recognizing that you may need to sacrifice something to create the day you’ve been dreaming about.
The ambiance or atmosphere for your wedding can be created through music, lights, and the venue. Of course, the decoration will play a part too, but there is so much to say about the decoration that it needs its own subheading.
First, we need to discuss the venue.
Pick A Venue
Creating an atmosphere through your venue will allow you to continue your theme from every angle.
Getting married in a castle creates an idea of longevity and royalty, getting married in a forest creates a magical ambiance of whimsy and connectivity, while getting married in a church brings your connection closer to religion.
Before you get your heart set on any location, make sure to ask the venue about their opinions about the LGBT+ community. Unfortunately, a lot of North Carolina venues are turning away gay couples due to the lack of LGBTQ+ rights in the state’s law.
To help you avoid this type of upset, we have created an article to help you find venues that are welcoming of LGBT+ couples.
In fact here are some articles dedicated to finding amazing LGBT-friendly venues:
Lights, Lights, and Lights
The lighting you use in your wedding can help create the mood you are looking for. Just as overhead fluorescent light instantly reminds you of work or school, a warm orange bulb creates the magical feel of dawn.
This is why the first thing you need to consider is the color of your lights. Warm lighting can create a cozy feeling, and symbolize a new beginning – like dawn – while fairy lights create a whimsical ambiance of child-like wonder.
If there is any “dead space” in your venue, you can cover that area by handing fabrics to create fake archways with lights dropping down. This makes the drab area detailed with simple but effective archways.
Look through the links above to see how you can make lighting change your venue into the exact mood you are trying to create.
Music To Your Ears
When it comes to music, there are 6 important songs or collections of songs that you need to consider. We have already created an ultimate guide to help you pick the best song for your wedding, but here we will break down what these 6 types are.
The first 2 songs are the ones in which you and your partner walk down the aisle. These are known as processional songs.
They should represent the two of you individually and could be funny, romantic, or an indication of what’s to come.
For example, if someone is in love with a specific movie they might use that title song to walk down the aisle too. No matter what you pick, this choice is often an instrumental version of a classic.
The 3rd song you need to consider is your register song. This is the music you play while you’re signing the papers of your marriage.
Seeing as this is your first official song together, it should represent the two of you coming together. However, unlike the 4th song, this one most people will be talking through, so it should be subtle to fit with the moment.
No matter what you pick, we again suggest using an acoustic version spending on the ambiance you are creating.
The 4th song you need to consider is the one you walk down the aisle together to – the song as a married couple. At this point you’ll have the crowd’s attention again, so play a song that is full of heart and soul.
The 5th is a collection of songs, as we are now reaching the dinner portion of your wedding. While your friends and family are eating, you should play a collection of songs that are easy to listen to and reflect your love for one another.
This isn’t the time for party songs to sing along to. Instead, you’re looking for romantic melodies to help the wedding keep its overall ambiance.
The last collection of songs to consider is the tunes you want to play on the dance floor.
Your first dance of course is one of these songs, and whatever you choose should easily merge into the next lot of songs for people to jive to.
Depending on what your style is, here is a list of genres to help you create your personalized playlist:
- Songs from the 00s
- Song by Beyonce
- Irish songs
- Hip-Hop songs
- R&B Songs
- Indie songs
- Country Songs
- Songs from the 90s
- Songs from the 80s
- Songs from the 70s
Use these links to help you gather all of your favorite songs.
The decorations in your wedding will tell your guests exactly who you are as a couple. If your guests see jigsaw puzzles, keys, and a chance to win prizes, they know that you and your partner enjoy games.
If they see black candles, tarot cards, and empty gin bottles, they will pick up on the Wiccan vibe. Using decorations, you can let your guests peak into your life and see who you are as a couple. We can help you create these glimpses with the 4 suggestions below.
Do you want to come across as whimsical, natural, light, or traditional? Of course, there are way more variations that you can lean into, but those 4 are the most popular, and so we will teach you to create them.
A Whimsical Wedding
Think about Alice in Wonderland. A whimsical wedding makes you feel as though you have walked into a new world. You can do this by including unexpected items as decoration.
Perhaps each table has a thrift shop teapot as the centerpiece, maybe the tables are covered in heart-shaped cutouts of maps, or perhaps eagle-eyed guests see pictures of the two of you poking your heads through the decorative floral arrangements.
Ideally, your whimsical design should mirror the rest of your decoration ideas, so they feel connected and part of the same thought process. Pick a theme like games, travel, or movies, and find interesting ways to include these ideas in your displays.
As part of the LGBT+ community, you may want rainbows to play a big part in your day. If that’s the case look through this list of 20 Gorgeous Lesbian Wedding Decoration Ideas to help you pick the best collection.
Let Nature Speak
If you don’t want to go too crazy in your designs, we suggest adding a touch of nature to your display.
You could use lanterns as part of your walkway, with white petals decorating the edges, wooden logs covered in foliage as your centerpieces, or archways made out of twigs with flowers poking their heads through the weaves.
All of these natural ideas and more can be found on this link. Along with pictures, we show you how you can bring nature into your wedding, adding elegance and beauty to your day without it feeling out of place.
Let There Be Light
Although nature is beautiful, for some it can feel claustrophobic. Instead of putting plants all over your venue, you could instead incorporate light into the area.
You can do this by adding actual lights such as fairy lights or hanging lanterns, or you could use choice colors and fabrics to create a false light instead.
If the area is dark in places, draping white fabric over the area will instantly brighten the room as a whole.
With your venue in mind, consider places that need a lighter touch and use these ideas to remove any negative energy.
Traditional designs have stayed fashionable because they allow us to recognize the momentous occasion we are about to embark on.
The traditions you uphold could be connected to your heritage and the unique vows that come with it.
For example, the Celtic tradition of a handfasting ceremony, asks the couple to hold hands as a ribbon ties the two together.
You can use this ceremony as a spark of decoration inspiration, adding ribbons to your hanging baskets or tying them in knots around the venue’s archways.
This can help you make traditional moments feel amplified and modern.
Laws To Be Aware Of
As we have said before, only 33 countries in the world have legalized same-sex marriages. This means destination weddings in other countries may not be possible for LGBT couples.
To make things worse states such as Idaho are trying to add anti-transgender laws which in turn can restrict more couples in our own country.
If you’re unsure if your country of origin or preferred destination allows same-sex marriage, you should use their government website to search for the answer. We have already gathered information on 6 LGBT+ friendly countries for you to consider in this link.
Depending on which state you reside in, a company can turn you away based on your sexual orientation. Because of this, you should start your journey learning about the LGBT+ friendly shops and venues in your area.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as some areas such as New Jersey are making extra protection laws for same-sex marriages. Read all about it through this link.
For some couples the honeymoon comes straight after the wedding, for others, the idea of traveling after such a stressful event is too much. Instead, they would rather give themselves a little break before heading on their next adventure.
Regardless of when you start your honeymoon, the experience should leave you relaxed and more in love than ever before.
Best Hot Locations For An LGBT+ Honeymoon
For an LGBT+ safe honeymoon, your country of choice needs to have LGBT+ laws in place to help protect you. Unlike straight honeymoons, you can’t just fly anywhere and know you will be accepted.
To help you avoid issues with the law or unfriendly people, we have found the best places for you to explore with your new spouse.
Costa Rica was the country that spearheaded LGBT+ acceptance in Central America, making it one of the friendliest countries on the continent. They have a thriving gay scene and beautiful landscapes for you to enjoy.
Picking Costa Rica means enjoying scenic spars, natural warm springs, and a jungle aesthetic for a picture-perfect view from every angle.
If this sounds like destiny to you, look through our 5 Best Costa Rica Gay Resorts to find the best hotel to stay in.
Australia is a no-brainer when it comes to gay acceptance, as you’ll have no issues with the law or the community in the country.
Australia is known for its strange wildlife but did you know that the unusual nature doesn’t stop there? The island called Makepeace is one of the most romantic places to visit, due to its unusual shape – an actual love heart.
The island is pulsing with love, allowing you to take a slow pace and enjoy your spouse’s company through therapeutic messages and moonlight cinema dates, or by going down the adventurous route and kayaking through the calm waters.
Read more about Makepeace Island and the 5 other romantic destinations of Australia here.
Of course, you don’t need to fly to experience a romantic honeymoon. You can stay right here in the US, using the trains to explore areas you’ve never been to before.
A road trip with your spouse will allow you to take the slow route through the beautiful countryside, enjoying each other’s company and space without whisking each other from one place to another.
We have created a list of 7 non-flying travel ideas to help you come up with adventurous ways to explore your own country.
When you are mapping out your adventure, remember that not all of your stops need to include beach resorts. Instead, you could go skiing, hunting, visiting the city, or traverse through valleys. Look through our non-beach-themed ideas to help spark inspiration!
And if you prefer the sapphic vibes of gardens, cottagecore aesthetics, and spa days, then check out our list of lesbian-friendly honeymoon resorts across the US.
Best Cold Locations For An LGBT+ Honeymoon
Cold countries often mean hot tub experiences in the snow, skiing down mountain sides, and maybe even seeing the Northern Lights.
Finding the right cold country isn’t hard, especially if you use our handy guide below.
Finland has one of the most advanced LGBT laws and community levels of acceptance around the world. And even though the legalities haven’t been around for long, they celebrate same-sex marriages are intense as we do.
If you manage to book your honeymoon during the right time of year, you’ll be able to witness the Northern Lights. Alongside that beautiful natural snow, you can also go skiing, dine by candlelight, and swim in the iconic Finnish lakes.
From one chilly country to the next, Iceland. But this cold country will give you a Lord of the Rings aesthetic instead of a pure snowy terrain. Here you can visit the Blue Lagoon, the lava fields, and the black sand beaches.
Greenland isn’t as green as the name suggests. Instead, most of the landscape is covered in snow for the majority of the year. However, these icy temperatures allow you to witness icebergs, natural hot springs, and the migration of whales on the open seas.
You can even see Viking ruins and 500-year-old mummies by visiting the Norse colonies and Greenland’s National Museum.
Remember that there is no road system in Greenland which means the main way to travel around this isolated country is by dog sledding or snowmobile!
Using our guide you can learn which engagement rings styles you prefer, how to plan a pre-wedding party, the aesthetics you may like for your wedding, and where to go on your honeymoon.
LGBT+ weddings aren’t normally any different from straight weddings, however, we have to consider laws and the chance of rejection from other establishments.
Our number one takeaway from this article is to talk to all of your suppliers and venue options before getting your hopes set on something. This way you can walk away from non-friendly situations before getting finances involved.