10 ways to make your wedding more inclusive

10 ways to make your wedding more inclusive
May 12, 2021 Sandra Henri

Image by Henry Paul Photography


Written by Hank Paul, Sydney Wedding Photographer

In 2017, many people thought that true inclusion had been achieved in the wedding space due to the “yes” result in the same-sex marriage plebiscite. ‘Inclusion’ may be the buzz-word of the decade, but the term is incredibly broad and diverse in meaning. It’s important to remember that true inclusion makes space for all people.

If you are planning a wedding, and you value inclusivity, then here are 10 ways to actively pursue inclusion on your big day;


Image by Henry Paul Photography


Having an Acknowledgement of Country at your ceremony
Why is this important? It is a statement of recognition to the continuing connection Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have with the land. I’ve written further about this over on my blog, complete with suggested scripts to pass along to your celebrant.


Lauren and Scott asked a friend to introduce their wedding with a smoking ceremony. Image by Sandra Henri Photography.


Research the land
This one may take some time, but it’s important to acknowledge the fact that we live on and benefit from stolen land here in Australia. Undertake some research through your local land council to fully understand the history of the land you are choosing to get married. This will result in a deeper connection to Country and the traditional owners of the land.


Image by Henry Paul Photography


Ditch the gendered pre-wedding events
Keeping your hens and bucks celebrations to men- or women-only might mean some of your more gender fluid friends don’t feel welcome to come and celebrate with you.


Image by Sandra Henri Photography.


Tending to your guests unique needs
Keep in mind all of the guests you’ve invited. Does anyone have mobility issues, and do you have an easy and safe option for them to access the venue? A friend with chronic fatigue might prefer to be seated near the exit. A family with a newborn might need priority parking. You may also like to thoughtfully assign seats closer to the front for your hearing-impaired guests, or would it be of benefit to anyone at the wedding to have an interpreter or translator present? Be open with your guests in finding out how you can make things easier for them on the big day.


Image by Henry Paul Photography


Catering – gluten-free, vegan
As people’s diets become more bespoke, so should your menu. Asking your guests for their dietary requirements is one thing, but ensuring they are still given adequate food and portion sizes is another. No one wants to be served a garden salad because they happen to be vegan…vegans get hungry too!


Vegan catering by Vegan Weddings and Events. Image by Liam Foster.


Ask your celebrant to use inclusive language
Using language such as “friends and family” rather than “ladies and gentlemen” is one example of how your celebrant may choose to use inclusive language during a ceremony.

Accessible and Gender-inclusive bathroom options
Select a venue that offers bathrooms for all people to feel safe.


Image by Henry Paul Photography


Offering child-minding, or making it kid-friendly
If we’re going for ultimate inclusivity, we can’t forget the kids (and their parents)! Try to think of some ways to make the wedding more engaging for the kids. Can they participate in the ring exchange? Or is there some kids entertainment during the cocktail hour? Whether you choose to have kids involved for the entire wedding, or if you manage to arrange child-minding services, parents will appreciate your thoughtfulness.


Image by Sandra Henri Photography


Traditional wedding gender norms
Okay, let’s really push the boundaries of gender-norms with this one. Have you considered giving the groomsmen a bouquet? Or dressing all the women in suits? Why does a bride walk down the aisle, but not a groom? Why does the groom kiss the bride, rather than kissing each other? Playing around with gender roles can be a fun, inclusive way of ditching toxic masculinity and reclaiming old wedding traditions to align closer to your personal values.

Taking this a step further, how many times have you heard wedding speeches acknowledge the hard work undertaken by the bride to arrange the wedding? Sharing the mental load of wedding planning between you and your fiancé not only makes the process inclusive of both partners, it also sets the foundation of sharing responsibilities equally going forward into your marriage.


Image by Henry Paul Photography


Conscious consumption
In making your wedding more inclusive, ensure your products and services haven’t disadvantaged communities or farmers overseas. This might include your flowers, garments, catering ingredients, and jewellery etc. Don’t be afraid to ask your vendors directly whether their products are ethically made/grown or fair trade.


Collaboration between #teamless vendors Florist The Graceful Bloom , Venue Mimosa Glen , Celebrant Katie Reeve , Gowns Love Me Twice , MUA Makeup by Inèz , and Photographer Kylie Knight.


A wedding is such a fun and celebratory occasion, so it’s only natural that all guests should feel welcome too. By being intentional about inclusion, you’ll be creating a safe space for everyone to join in the festivities.


Written by Hank Paul, Sydney Wedding Photographer who specialises in sustainable and inclusive weddings. For more information, or to read more of his writing, head to his website.


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